|Manzanares River in January, Madrid|
Yesterday, I cajoled two teenagers into accompanying me south by metro to the Museum of Angel Nieto, Spain's 13-time Grand Prix World Champion in motorcycle road racing . (Angel Nieto is so superstitious, I read, that he refers to this feat as 12 +1). Alas, we walked up to a crumbling brick building with broken panes. Weeds sprouted from cracks in the sidewalk. A grimy flag with a motorcycle stenciled on it hung limply over the shuttered entrance. The temperature outside was almost 100 degrees. Then a miracle occurred: my sons did not throttle me. They agreed to walk on, into the nearby Park Tierno Galvan. We came across a few men drying their clothes on park benches; saw an igloo, which turned out to be the Madrid Planetarium, shimmering in the distance; and finally, stopped near a statue of Enrique Tierno Galvan, a former Mayor of Madrid. Sometimes an outing does not go as planned, and to my immense delight, the progeny have learned to take such things in stride.
In contrast, our recent bike ride down the new riverside parkway Madrid Río exceeded all expectations. The massive Madrid Río project diverts the M-30 ring road underground, and has developed the banks along the Manzanares River into a 10k walking and bike path, with many interesting stops along the way: playgrounds, fountains, cafes, bridges, a skate park, sculptures and lovely vistas of the city. Along with visiting family, we rented 8 bikes at the friendly store Mi Bike Río (Aniceto Marinas, 26; metro Principe Pío; www.mibikerio.com).
|Striding towards the Planetarium, Parque Tierno Galvan|
|Bike rental store near Manzanares River|
|One of many innovative playgrounds|
|Stopping for splashes, and ice cream. New spiral bridge in background.|
|Climbing the steps for city view. Southern end of the route.|
We rented the bikes for 3 hours, enough time to ride to the end of the route and back. Sights along the way include the Vincente Calderon Stadium, home of the football team Atletico Madrid, and Matadero Madrid, a former slaughterhouse complex with neo-mudéjar features, that has been turned into a contemporary arts center.
Our year in Madrid, one of the world's great cities, has come to an end. I can't wait to return here again someday.
|Dulcinea (L) and friend near Plaza de Oriente|