parque juan carlos i

We're now quite a few weeks removed from Madrid, and sometimes it feels much farther than that...especially when looking at these bright, sunny pictures of us enjoying the city without layers and jackets - Danny's even in a short-sleeved shirt in some of them!  Feels light years away as I write this in Scotland with an inch of snow on the ground and more coming down.  Apparently this is fairly unusual for this part of the country (it's snowed every day this week!), but the kids are so excited and are begging to build a snowman and saying it's Christmas!  Oh yes, the park.  

I'd heard Parque Juan Carlos I mentioned in a Facebook group we're a part of and people said that it made them feel like they were in Star Wars Episode I, which didn't necessarily attract me to it as I've never seen the movie, but it did pique my attention.  On maps it appeared very big, so I figured it must be all right, so we decided to go check it out one Sunday afternoon in mid-March.  

We soon discovered that there's a lot to like about Parque Juan Carlos I: huge sculptures, hills, free bike rentals, fountains, an olive grove, a dog park, many children's playgrounds, landscaped gardens, a river, walking/jogging/biking paths, and more.  Oh, and turtles!

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D - Parque Juan Carlos I was, for me, a totally unexpected treasure!  Looking at it on the map, I hadn't really wanted to go because it was pretty far from where we lived but I'm so glad we did!  I think that it's become my favorite park in Madrid due to its interesting sculptures, variety of apparatuses, and its casual, laid back feeling.  

We went back to Parque Juan Carlos I about a week and a half later on the day before we left Madrid.  It was a beautiful day, more sunny blue Spanish skies and even warm enough to not wear jackets.  We tried to check out parts of the park we hadn't seen the week before, so we climbed up a hill with great views of the city, the mountains, and beyond, attempted to rent bikes (I guess we missed some sort of arbitrary time cut off, though), and brought snacks to eat by the water.  My favorite part, just like before, was standing outside the dog park and watching the dogs run around and interact and go over obstacles.  

Yep.  I could go for a Sunday afternoon of dog park-watching and Digestive eating under the palm trees about now.  I've made bold statements about the Madrid Río (read about our love for it here) and of course we're all about Madrid's premier park, Retiro (see some of our trips to Retiro here), but after spending some time at Juan Carlos I, I think we've found a third to round out a trifecta of public parks in the capital city.  They're all really, really different from one another, and all so worth visiting if you have the time.