|Feeding the ducks.|
The Park and Plaza are in the southern part of the city, which was redeveloped in the early 20th century to house the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Essentially it is a patchwork of gardens, parks, and grand boulevards--what better place to spend an afternoon of play? We knew there would be lots of playgrounds and fun things to do, but we had no idea how great it would be. The plaza itself houses several government offices and is a giant monument to the various provinces of Spain. It is seriously one of the most beautiful buildings I've seen.
Maria Louisa Park was way bigger than I thought it was. There were long promenades with vendors and snacks, and little quiet playgrounds and gardens spotted everywhere. We really tried to enjoy the opportunity to be tourists while we were here. Right off the bat we rented a boat to row around the Plaza's moat. I must clarify, WE rented a boat so that I could row us around the moat. According to the owner of the boats, there was no other options--this is a sexist country. Seriously, though it was a lot of fun.
Next, Miko wanted to see the Island of Ducks, so we took a stroll through the park to find it. Almost immediately we were distracted by these giant 4 wheel bike/cars. Very intriguing and only 10 euros for a half hour. Now THIS was possibly the most fun I've ever had in my life, once Rachel stopped screaming profanities at me concerning my driving skills. We spent half an hour tearing through the park and the plaza terrorizing innocent tourists. I was at the wheel, Miko was on bell ringing duty (also yelling "KOO-DATO!" at pedestrians as we whizzed past), and Rachel was helping pedal and making sure no one fell off. This is something the pictures will not do justice to, but it was absolutely the best way to see the grounds.
After our time was up, we found the Island of Ducks and let Miko do her duck thing for a while. This was also her first interaction with swans, which we had to warn her are MUCH meaner than they look. Once we felt like the birds were adequately terrorized, we strolled back through the park and plaza on our way out. After all this fun it was time to catch the train and find a bite to eat on the way home. Dinner ended up being from a small fried fish place not far from our house where they pretty much specialize in selling cones of fried fish by the kilo, chips, and drinks. Simple, effective, and delicious. When we got there it was unbelievably loud and crowded which made ordering an adventure, but it was also one of the most pleasurable eating experiences I've had since I've been here. It was a lovely end to the night.
|Plaza de España.|
|Rowing the boat.|