Casa de Campo es la leche

I mean this in all seriousness. This afternoon I had the loveliest of walks with a friend who’s new to Madrid and, seeing that the western edge of Madrid was an enormous green blob on her map, decided she wanted to explore the Casa de Campo. I’m not going to lie—I was a bit wary of her proposal at first. My previous experiences in the park included a trip to the zoo with five- and six-year olds from my school by way of the prostitute-lined entrance road, as well as several tennis lessons on the courts near the lake in full [rather distracting] view of prostitutes plying their trade. I also remembered how pleased I was upon seeing “Volver” after living in Madrid for six months and getting the joke Raimunda’s prostitute friend Regina makes about working in Casa de Campo. But in considering the possible occurrences occasioned by a visit to the park, I also heard the voices of my adult English students telling me about their weekends spent riding bikes through it with their kids or running on the kilometers of trails to get away from those same kids.

I am happy to report, then, that we saw not a single prostitute on our two-hour jaunt through the park. Instead, we saw dozens of cyclists (of both the mountain and road species), runners, walkers, and others seeking a respite from Madrid’s crazy streets (to paraphrase the recording you hear in the teleférico on the way over). Speaking of which, after doing a little research we figured that said cable car was the best way to get there (you can also go by metro, but it leaves you closer to the zoo and the amusement park rather than the part less touched by man). So we joined the multitudes and boarded the cable car near the Rosaleda in the Parque del Oeste and in only 11 minutes were whisked away to Madrid’s lungs.

We struck out for what I think were the park’s northwestern reaches and were extremely pleasantly surprised. We strolled along the dirt paths under an intensely blue fall sky, accompanied by bird sounds and the occasional whizzz as a cyclist passed, and came upon a spectacular grove of pines with enormous umbrella-like tops and, shortly thereafter, a wall that we discovered had played a role in the Guerra de Independencia as well as the Spanish Civil War. There was a little stream and a dam, plenty of encinas, and in general enough people about to send you on your way if you were to get turned around, but few enough scattered across the 4,000-acre expanse that it was the complete antithesis of Calle Preciados during December or any Madrid supermarket on a Saturday evening at 8.

Revived and content from the afternoon’s paseo, we boarded the teleférico again and in the setting sun returned to the packed city streets.

Unfortunately I neglected to take photographs of the park today, and the above photo is the only one I have. It is taken on a much gloomier day and in late November. You get the idea, though.

4 Responses to “Casa de Campo es la leche”

  1. 1 graeme Wednesday, 29 October, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    It’s only really a small area of the Casa de Campo that is affected by prostitution, significantly less since they stopped traffic going through the whole area. The other side of the teleferico more or less marks the boundary beyond which you are only likely to see walkers and cyclists. It’s amazing that it survives given the urban pressures, but it’s great to have something like this just below the centre of the city.

  2. 2 clarissa Monday, 3 November, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    You know, I lived in Madrid for three years and never took the Teleférico. Shame. Now we have a dog, and I have wondered if I were back in Madrid, would there be a place to take her out exploring (in London I’m spoilt for choice), and I kept thinking that the Retiro wouldn’t cut it for my pup. I had completely forgotten about Casa de Campo!

  3. 3 Margaret Friday, 28 November, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Hey! It’s me from Verde Que Te Quiero Verde…Gabriel from Mil Historias told me about your blog….you go girl! Will take some time to check it out…Keep posting! And check out others in the madroñosfera, buena onda por allí.

  4. 4 Rossi Monday, 12 December, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Did they stop prostitution in casa de campo? Can i still see naked prostitutes there cause im visiting with my little son, dont want him to see naked prostitutes…
    Please somebody tell me

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