October 8, 2016 | Several local friends had recommended that we check out a new development called Madrid Río, so when our teach abroad program sponsored a bike tour in the area, we were some of the first people to sign up. It was so fun!!
Creating a biking/walking path along the river was no small undertaking for the city, but I think the end result was worth every penny. Apparently, there used to be a highway alongside the river that prevented people from being able to enjoy this part of town without the sights and sounds of speeding cars. Nevertheless, the city was able to restructure the highway so that it’s now underground, which allowed them to repurpose the above-ground surface as a beautiful park called Madrid Río. As it was a bike tour, each of us in the 15-person group were given bikes (and helmets!), and then we were off!
The weather was gorgeous, and we all diligently followed behind our savvy guide, Juan, who led us along the southern side of the river development. We stopped a few times to take some pics and discuss the bridges we were passing, but most of the time we were weaving around slower travelers while also avoiding those who were going faster than us. Ultimately, because the riverside was so crowded, Juan suggested that we head into Madrid’s biggest park, called Casa de Campo (which we had also wanted to visit), so we took a few turns and then found ourselves in a giant park on the western side of downtown Madrid.
Jenni and I both agree that biking through Casa de Campo was the highlight of the day. Even though many of the trails in the park were paved, a good portion of the trails that we conquered were made of dirt. Although my clothes ended up smelling dusty, the rustic paths were the best part because we were navigating through trees and over rocks, which catered to our adventurous side.
We ended up biking up a big-but-not-too-big hill, which offered us a great view of the royal palace, the cathedral, and the four skyscrapers a few miles north of the city. Perfect photo opportunity!!
The ride back to the bike shop was equally enjoyable, and the excursion really couldn’t have been any better. We’ll definitely be heading back to both parks.