23.05.20 — Journal

Open Parks & Closed Stations

I ended my last blog post by stressing my desire for freedom, and thanks to the collaboration of the people here in Spain and the four-step plan laid out by the government, that will soon be on it’s way. The central government have just announced that Madrid will be allowed to move from Phase 0 to Phase 1 of the de-escalation plan on Monday, meaning that I’ll be able to visit friends, wander as far as my heart may desire, and many other things as of next week.

For now, however, I’ve still to keep within my 1km limit, but this has been made more enjoyable my discovery of a park in my neighbourhood that is now open to wander through. This park is quite an interesting one, as it includes a few live railway lines, some wild architecture, and a huge steep hill which gives you some awesome views over the south of the city.

The evening sun illuminates the facade of a redbrick building in Madrid, Spain.

These evening walks keep my energy and optimism up.

Clouds and blue sky over the city of Madrid as seen from a park in the south.

The focal point of the park is a large concrete structure and metal chimney which mark the midpoint of a bridge which crosses one of the railway lines. From here, you can enjoy some lovely views up towards the north of the city, as in the photo above. Just off to the east of this structure, which interestingly also doubles as an outdoor expert-level climbing wall, lies the planetarium. I’ve been meaning to visit the planetarium for a while now, but I’ve never got round to it, so I guess it’ll have to wait until the return to the new normality.

Madrid's planetarium seen from a bridge nearby.

On my way home from this park, I noticed that some train tracks in the pavement led under a set of black iron gates which had been sealed tight and covered in dark netting such as to obscure whatever laid behind them. Spotting what looked to be some train platform canopies above the gates, I knew that there was a good chance of spotting some abandoned trains in an abandoned train station, and so began my investigations in earnest.

Following the line of the iron railing, I looked for spots where the netting might have been damaged or loose, but they seemed to have done quite a thorough job of keeping prying eyes (like mine) out. They didn’t fully succeed, however, as I eventually found a couple of gaps, and managed to snap these awesome photos of this closed train station and the rotting rolling stock within.

An abandoned train half-covered by black netting lies abandoned in a train station overrun by nature.
Two old railway cars sit abandoned facing each other. One if more futuristic in its styling, the other much more classical.

After some later investigation, it turns out that these platforms used to form part of the old Delicias station, whose new incarnation is where I used to get the train to the office from before lockdown. The old Delicias station is now partly used by the Museo del Ferrocarril (Railway Museum), and party left as storage for old abandoned trains.

On these walks to and from the park, I also found a couple of architectural gems hidden in amongst the generic-looking blocks of apartments which make up a large percentage of my neighbourhood. How lovely would it be to live in a pretty little two-storey apartment in the centre of Madrid, or have a balcony on such a lovely and intricate facade?

The corner of a two-storey building, with a plant-filled balcony.
A red facade intricately detailed with geometric ornaments and black iron railings.

Another day I returned to said park a little later in the evening, which provided some lovely evening lighting. This time, I took a few more photos of the large concrete structure which forms part of the bridge, an even a panorama of the views over the south of the city from aforementioned embankment.

Trees and sky are seen through a circular hole in a concrete wall, with a streetlamp in the foreground.
Looking up at the angular forms of a concrete structure in Parque de las Delicias, Madrid, Spain.
A panorama over the south of Madrid during sunset.

In other trips out and about, I headed back up to the main train station, Atocha, and wandered some of the more historical streets of Madrid. I do love my neighbourhood, but it’s always lovely to pass through the beautifully rough majesty of the city centre.

A sign reading "Escuela de artes" (Art School) on a facade in the historic centre of Madrid, Spain.
The facade of Atocha Train Station, currently out of use due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Madrid, Spain.

When not out and about, my culinary experiments at home continue, this week with an Italian-style flatbread covered in mozzarella, pesto, dried tomato, olives, and parmesan. It reminded me somewhat of a white pizza, or perhaps even Germany’s flammkuchen, but either way it was delicious.

An Italian-style flatbread covered in mozzarella, pesto, dried tomato, olives, and parmesan.

With that little update, I’ve to leave you until next time, as this weekend I’ve some admin that I’ve to get on with and a lovely steak meal to cook. Keeping with the tradition of my last two blog posts, however, I’ll leave you with a song that I’ve been listening to. This week, it’s time for a Spanish classic, Rocío Jurado’s “Déjala correr”, an absolute belter that always leaves me with goosebumps:

¡Déjala correr! Agua que no es de beber…