As I’ve been getting more settled in to my new neighborhood here in Madrid, as well as trying to get to know some other areas as well, I’ve found myself many evenings making a little detour as I head home a bit before dinner time. (You know that you’ll get laughed out of town if you eat dinner before 10pm, right?)
Behind the opera house, before you get to the royal palace, there is this charming little park at Plaza de Oriente. The style is a lot more groomed than what I usually love in parks — labyrinthine hedges, lollipop-esque trees, trimmed pines and hidden fountains — it’s just the right size for a little stroll, and the absolute perfect location to watch the sun begin to set. Find a spot to sit a while at the right angle, and the light glows first white, then yellow, then shades of orange and pink as evening falls (which is still quite late, well after 9 these days).
There are plenty of places where young couples sit between the hedges, where their teenaged counterparts aggressively make out, and others let their dogs take a run or set up little picnics in the grass. You’ve got to take advantage after all of the only advantage to the ridiculous heat we’ve been experiencing — which is how pleasant it is in the evenings to sit al fresco with no hint of chill.