There’s no place like the Retiro Park in Madrid when it comes to seeking refuge of all that which worries and overwhelms us. For long time urbanites, El Retiro has always been there as a means of solace. It has accompanied me through all stages of my life, ever since as a child I was taken by my father for a boat ride at the lake in the heart of the park. As years went by, I always went back. My youth and formative years saw me taking strolls through the various spots highlighted by tourism brochures as well as through hidden corners not so well known to occasional visitors. Memories of shared solitude with friends and girlfriends. Time stood still, the surrounding greenery, the soft singing of birds and the playful screams of children in the distance created an atmosphere which brought the best of us. In later years, the Retiro came alive with cultural attractions of all sorts. Musicians, street theatre for children and grownups, art exhibits at the Crystal Palace, the Book Fair which takes place every year around this time and may other features, turned this historic landmark of Spain’s capital into an urban sanctuary not to be missed by locals and tourists alike. The Retiro Park is not only a place to “retire”, as its name properly indicates. It is a large area where you can feel at peace with yourself, either by reading a book in a discreet spot of your choice or by mixing with the crowd on the steps of King Alfonso XII’s monument at the edge of the lake. Nearby, there is much to be admired. The Prado Museum, for instance. Nevertheless, after a grueling day at the office, on weekends and holidays or, simply for the simple pleasure of it, a visit to Madrid’s Retiro Park is fuel for the spirit. It is one of those free of charge experiences which brings renewal and joie de vivre.