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Spain - Part I

SPAIN | Thursday, 1 August 2013 | Views [591] | Comments [1]

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

Madrid

OK, so I’m running about four weeks behind in my blogging – having too much fun and putting too many things on the itinerary to keep up with writing.  Sorry it’s so late, but here it is.

We made the three-leg flight from Belize City to Madrid (via Miami and London) fairly smoothly.  We all slept a little and Jackson was a pretty good boy considering all the travel. We thought we were going to miss our connection in London, rushing through the airport (or as fast as a couple with six pieces of luggage and a child strapped to their backs can rush), only to have the flight thankfully delayed an hour.

We found our little hostel, which was situated perfectly in the Huerta district of Madrid, which was completely by chance.  We went immediately back out to do a bit of exploring before an afternoon nap.  However, we had so much fun wandering, finding a playground for Jackson only two blocks from the hostel and drinking Sangria in a lovely plaza, that we didn’t end up back at our room until 9pm anyways.  We were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to adjust ourselves and Jackson to the time change, but we all slept in until 11am and were ready to take on Madrid the next morning/afternoon. Our first breakfast in Europe was at 1pm – aaah, now that’s vacation!

Our first day was spent wandering around and spending a little time at the Contemporary Museum of Art (Reina Sofia). We opted for this over the Prado Museum due to concerns that Jackson would not make it for several hours in the backpack carrier looking at “fine” art.  As it was, he made it about 45 minutes before meltdown started.  We enjoyed Picasso’s Guernica (in shifts) which was his protest against the German bombing of a small town during the Spanish civil war. Quite a powerful piece and different from most of his other work in that it is all black, grey and white. We also learned some useful information for future museum visits: get Jackson his own audio guide, as he stole ours and we didn’t get to listen, but it helped keep him occupied temporarily. 

Our second day we went to the Palacio Real, a grand 1700’s palace of King Filipe V.  Again it was a difficult time for Jackson, as he was only able to enjoy so many lavishly decorated rooms until he was bored.  We couldn’t let him down due to there being ropes to keep people out and not actual barricades, so he would attempt to just walk right under them to go sit on some 400 year old furniture – eeeks! Not a happy day for any of us.  However, despite all the adjustments to living a more “cultured” life of travel than in Central America, we are loving the food and the faster pace of a European city!

Day three was spent again with a leisurely lunch, more wandering around the city, and exploring Madrid’s version of Central Park: El Ritiro.  Lovely lakes, gardens, and the only known sculpture/fountain in Europe that celebrates the fallen angel (aka the Devil) – see photo, it’s quite lovely. El Angel Caido is apparently at exactly 666 meters above sea level for a nice symbolism to the statue. We also made it back in time for both the boys to get a well-needed haircut after almost seven weeks on the road.

The thing I am enjoying most in Europe so far is the timing of things.  The day starts late and ends very very late.  Dinners, even with small children, begin about 10pm and everyone is up until well after midnight.  I felt a little guilty our first night out, as we went somewhere very touristy (Plaza Mayor) and there were no other children.  But the next two nights we stayed a little more with the locals and there were children everywhere.  Jackson is enjoying the frequent playgrounds and slides – there seems to be a strong focus on family here and making time for your children, which is unexpected for me given how young and metropolitan this part of the city is.  We just happened to be in town the week of Gay Pride (although flew out to Portugal Sunday morning before the parade), so there was a fun crowd in town during our brief visit.

We are moving on to Portugal, but we’ll be back in Spain in 20 days. So far we are liking it very very much!

Comments

1

Looks like it has been an awesome trip so far, besides maybe a little hickup at first. Megan and I both get very grumpy when we are overheated, too :) I can't believe that I am just getting to your blog and you are over half way through your trip. Work and so life have been very busy. Can't wait to hear more about all your favorite spots. It already looks like we need to plan trips to Belize and the BVIs.

All is well here. Work has settled down some, Megan is starting 5th grade 8/26, and Kevin and Kim have finally started building their house next to us.

Keep enjoying the big adventure and hopefully we can catch up with you this winter. Vail Ski Company now owns Canyons, so our season passes will work at Heavenly, Northstar & Kirkwood, too, although with some blackout dates.

Love you guys,
Ben

Ben

  Ben Aug 17, 2013 6:24 AM

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