Minutes before 10.30 in the morning, when twelve of the 17 doors of the Retreat have been opened after 45 days closed by Filomena’s scourge, dozens of citizens were stationed at the entrances with their pets. The partial reopening of the most emblematic park in the capital was reminiscent of those moments before the sales period began, with the illusion of being the first to set foot on what is perhaps one of the most beloved venues by locals and visitors. «I was looking forward to it being opened to return, I am one of the people who come in the morning at 8.30 a.m. 365 days a year and walk for an hour and a quarter. My legs needed it already ”, commented to ABC Dolores, one of the early risers to enter the park, who during this month and a half has had to settle for skirting the enclosure.
Of the 118 hectares, 60 percent have already been recovered, which will be available during its usual hours, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. until April. The remaining forty percent will remain sealed, since these are areas that are still dangerous because they are home to many heavily affected conifers. Therefore, until April 1, when the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, has dated the total reopening of the enclosure, the Campo Grande, the Rosaleda and part of the Isabel II gardens, which will remain closed until the experts complete inspections. However, on March 15, new areas that have already been revised will be enabled.
An hour and a half after it reopened, the Paseo de Caros already looked like an ordinary Sunday. Despite being Monday, the fact that the schoolchildren had a non-school day, has pushed many grandparents to accompany their grandchildren to skate, bike or go back to take that walk they longed for. In the case of Eugenio and Leticia, residents of Las Rozas, they have taken the opportunity to enjoy a day with their partner after years without stepping on the park. “We haven’t been here for three years. We have placed the five children and we have taken the opportunity to go for a walk ”, commented the couple, who was heading towards the Big Pond, where they can now go back to boating and the canoeing clubs will be able to rejoin.
“To be able to release her freely on the grass, because there is no where in the area,” Brígida commented as her dog barked and pulled on the leash, eager to make up for lost space. «We have been looking forward to this day. These days we have despaired, because with the dogs you don’t know where to go, it has been horrible ”, celebrated Amanda Muñiz, who had to travel to Casa de Campo or Monte del Pardo. «With the dog there was no other choice but to look for these alternatives, they go crazy, at home they were terrible. From coming here once or twice a day to not coming, “he adds. «With the snow, all the parks were fatal, there were not many alternatives. It was sad and wanted to cry about how they were, “said Juan Antonio Orozco, a resident neighbor in the Mariano de Cavia area who also usually goes daily with his pet. «For me this is a jewel, staying without a walk around here was a real torture”, Both valued, aware of the privilege of living near this historic lung of the city.
The councilor has called on the responsibility of visitors to respect the marking of restricted spaces at all times. The agents of the authority, both the Municipal Police and those responsible for park security may sanction those who bypass the precincts with fines of between 30 and 600 euros.
Of the 17,400 trees in El Retiro, Filomena left sequelae, to varying degrees, in 12,180 specimens, that is, in 70 percent of the tree mass. Of these, a thousand is irrecoverable and will have to be cut down. However, in the coming months they will be replanted. The work to date has focused on removing specimens that had collapsed on the ground and on undertaking interventions in all those that posed a risk of falling in the short term.
The work will continue in the coming months after a reassessment of the damage to intervene in the trees that present risks of fall in the medium term or their survival is unviable. More than 20,000 cubic meters of wood, stems, branches and plant debris have been removed since the work began.
At the Puerta del Niño Jesús, some almond trees in bloom welcome visitors who have come to the reunion with their park. Around it, dozens of branches of pinyon pine trees still remain detached from the slopes that overlook Menéndez Pelayo street as far as Mariano de Cavia square. It is the sign that life always makes its way after devastation.