Didem Doğan

Atocha Train Station and Retiro Park

When you leave the Arte Reina Sofia Museum behind and walk to the main avenue of Prado Passage, you will see right in from of you the entrance of Atocha Train Station. A nice brown building from the outside it has a tropical botanic garden inside and is one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. A tragic event occurred here on March 11, 2004, here, at this beautiful station, in the morning when many people were going to work, ten synchronized bombs exploded and 191 people died. It was three days before the general elections and the losing party of the election was the Aznar government which had approved of the invasion of Iraq. At than time the main big cities of the world had started to have their own September 11s in turns: London, Paris, Istanbul, Madrid, Barcelona,… Right across the station you can enter from one of the gates of the huge Retiro Park. Madrid is not a coastal city but this is the place where you can breathe. It is really big so you will not be able to walk the whole park at once. During the work days when there was nobody at the park, you will hear a Latin tune coming from the radios attached on the vehicles of the Latin American park attendants which make you feel that they are thinking of their home country with longing. On Sundays, the whole city, having freed themselves of the cares of their jobs, comes together at the park, letting their hair down with the samba tunes of the hundreds of percussionists at the meeting spot in the center. You can also visit the Crystal Palace, which is an extension of the Arte Reina Sofia museum and other modern art spaces inside the park.