As part of the Verano Español study abroad program, our student site leaders coordinate weekly cultural activities, from museum visits to cable car rides. Their purpose is to engage us with the Spanish culture with as much breadth and depth as possible. One of my favorite activities has been a stroll through Retiro park, one of Madrid’s most renowned sites. It’s filled with plenty of shady green spaces, cafés with local cuisine, and beautiful statues in a glass palace tucked away deep in the park. On weekends artists line the main path, from young violinists playing an elegant tango to painters displaying their work. Retiro also has a breathtaking rosaleda, or rose garden, at its center. Without a doubt, it boasts perhaps the largest quantity of roses I have ever seen, complete with robust fountains and magnificent archways. All of these wonderful features have led me to return to Retiro park countless times since my first visit early on in the program. I know I will never forget this special place.

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