One of the most important things in visiting a country is learning the history, language and culture. Getting to know others means I am discovering new things; I am also realizing how people live or have lived life differently. Exploring different history and culture helps me construct my knowledge and build a sense of pride in being part of a new nation for a specific amount of time. It gives me an opportunity to speak in one language, practice another, and have a clear vision about my future. I have chosen to discuss three historical places I went to in Madrid. They are Plaza Mayor, Museo del Prado, Parque del Retiro, y Puerto de Alcala.
Here are my personal reactions in visiting these places:
Visiting Plaza Mayor, I was surrounded inside a huge square of buildings with the statue of Felipe III. Before Madrid became a capital city, with its wide avenues and boulevards, its footprint consisted of narrow streets, alleys and passageways. When I was inside the plaza, I felt like I was living in a different generation during the 1600s seeing soldiers ride their horses as an only way of traveling.
Museo del Prado
Inside the museum, I have seen numerous paintings and drawings of famous artists who have lived during the 1600s and 1900s. In a lot of the caricatures, I see a lot of punishing, fighting, old clothing, and horse riding in at least 100% of the art. The building that is now the home of the Museo Nacional del Prado was designed in 1785 by architect of the Enlightenment in Spain Juan de Villanueva on the orders of Charles III to house the Natural History Cabinet.
Parque del Retiro
With 125 hectares and more than 15,000 trees, El Retiro Park is a green backwater in the center of Madrid where I saw people going on canoes and birds with swimming feet flying in. Walking in the park, it felt like being in central park in New York City with a different design.