Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Retiro at Xmas

Charlotte and I had an interesting experience the other night...

Madrid is knee-deep in Xmas decor at the moment, so we decided every evening after dark to go for a long walk and discover a different part of town's contribution to the festivities.

On my last night we opted for a trip over to the Retiro park as we were sure it would be a highlight. Being sensible, as always, Lots checked if the park had a closing time and we saw it was 10 pm. We wandered round the lakes, taking pics and finally made our way to the main exit. The park was pretty full as many had had the same idea. I stopped to take one last photo of a pink Xmas tree reflecting in some water, three steps from the gate. As you can see on my last photo, time-stamped at 10pm, there were a number of us.

None of us, however, spied the bloke I have circled in red. The park attendant who was tasked we thought with emptying the park... In fact his job actually seemed to be more specific than that - more locking up the park than emptying it. Despite being less than three steps from Charlotte and within shouting distance of everyone in the picture, do you think the bastard shouted over 'closing time!' or do you think he sneaked some hefty padlocks onto all the gates then disappeared in a puff of smoke?! 

Yup, you got it in one! He didn't utter a peep! So one minute later when we attempted to leave, he was nowhere in sight! A crowd of about ten of us figured we should probably walk to the next entrance/exit, though given the main one was shut, it was a long shot.

The crowd had swelled to about thirty, including some elderly Spaniards who were finding the going quite hard. Needless to say the next exit was also bolted, and the next and the next! By 10:19 I was beginning to wonder if my Iberia flight the next morning could be moved if I was still locked in the park! 

Finally after about 25 minutes of walking the perimeter in the dark, we found one park attendant who let us all out, but I am still puzzled as to why the first guy didn't simply announce it was everyone's last opportunity to escape. I guess he was maybe just in grinch-mode and having some free fun at our expense!

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