Passages-4 Playing Tourist

Geo ran to the door, backpack bouncing on her shoulders. Adriana hurried after her, calling “Wait! Look through the peephole before you open the door!” Geo wasn’t tall enough to look unless she got a stool, so she stopped and let her aunt look. After Adriana nodded her permission, Geo flung the door open.

Before them stood a dark-haired, dark-eyed young man of medium height. He was smiling widely. “Good morning, Adriana, Geo. Oh, good morning, Cam,” he said, as Cam came into sight. “Are you girls ready to go?”

“They are,” Adriana spoke up. “I think they’ve got everything they’ll need for the day. You girls mind David, now, and have fun.”

David was the son of Adriana’s next door neighbor, Paca. He served as occasional tourist guide and part-time nanny to Cam and Geo. He refused any pay, saying that it was good practice for his English, but the girls knew that besides that, Adriana had helped Paca a lot in the past.

“Where are we going?” Geo skipped beside David as they headed into the subway.

He grinned at her. “Well, we’ve already visited the Puerta del Sol, Plaza de España, the Palacio Real, and Debod Temple. Today we’re going to visit someplace closer. It’s called Parque de Buen Retiro, or Retiro Park.

“A park?” Cam stopped walking for a moment. “You don’t have to take us to a park, we’re not little kids.”

David waved her forward. “It’s a big park, and tourists always go there. We’re playing tourist, so we definitely need to visit this park. Don’t worry,” he added, “there’ll be plenty of things to take pictures of.”

“Like what?” Cam was skeptical. She had been to a lot of parks, and she couldn’t remember taking many photos.

“First of all, we’ll see the Puerta de Alcala before we enter Parque del Retiro.” They were on a subway train now, and David was sitting down on a seat in the train car while the two girls stood in front of him, hanging on to handholds nearby, swaying on their feet like seasoned subway riders as the car rattled through a curve. “It’s almost 250 years old, and you can see marks on it where shrapnel hit it during a battle. Then inside the park there’s a statue of King Alfonso the 12th beside a lake with rowboats. Besides that, there’s the Crystal Palace-“

“Can we go in a rowboat?” Geo was almost hopping with excitement at the idea. “I’ve never been in a rowboat before!”

“Of course,” replied David. “That’s an important part of the Parque del Retiro experience. And if you go later in the day, there are more boats on the lake, making it more difficult to maneuver. So that’s the very first thing we’re going to do. Here’s our stop, time to get off the train.”


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