Hundreds, if not thousands of uniformed bodies lay in the grass, scattered around the park. It looked like an impromptu field hospital from a Ken Burns documentary, but of course with much less blood and nary an amputation in sight.
Rather, all of these napping and lounging youngsters were wearing matching t-shirts and hats for the large gathering of Catholic Youth from around the world this week in Madrid.
World Youth Day 2011 is expected to draw over 100,000 young faithful from around the world. It will be a week long celebration of the Catholic faith with the grand finale being a visit from the Pope himself.
All very exciting I'm sure, but on this warm afternoon, it seemed as though all 100,000 kids had descended upon Retiro Park to take naps in the shaded grass. Not generally a bad idea, but Retiro Park is also the location of choice for amorous young couples, dog walkers, roller bladers, street performers, families and the occasional expat out for an afternoon jog.
I felt as though I were running an obstacle course of devout children.