Last month we visited Madrid as a family and I’ve been meaning to blog about it for some time. We really loved Madrid. The architecture, the bustling city, the history, art and food were all amazing. We stayed at an Airbnb (See my previous blogpost) which was centrally located next to Plaza de España.
We started off our trip on City Tour Madrid which is a double decker version of the Hop On-Hop Off Bus. That way we could all listen to the tour in English and relax while we got an overview of the city. The first stop we got off was The National Museum of Natural Science which my kids really enjoyed. It was relatively small and easy to navigate for about an hour or two – dinosaur bones and artifacts from every era.
We stopped off for sangria and paella in Plaza Mayor which was built in the early 1600’s. There are plenty of choices for food, and the kids loved seeing the performers and running around the cobblestone area.
Our second stop was the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium where Real Madrid, the soccer (or fútbol) team plays. Honestly, I wasn’t that excited about seeing a stadium, but I ended up being really impressed! Madrid is very proud of their team and the extensive tour included the trophy room, videos of the most famous plays, the field, the players seats, even the locker room. My kids (ages 11, 10 and 8) were pretty fired up, especially my daughter who is passionate about the sport.
Since we had been traveling so much my back and muscles were aching from planes and trains so I booked a massage. I was hoping to find a spa that would give me the Spanish experience but after plenty of online research I found Kenika Thai Massage. It is located across from the soccer stadium in an office-type building. The staff was so warm and friendly and offered tea. The massage was just what I needed – plenty of pressure and my masseuse worked out the kinks.
That was until I jumped on a Segway! I think that was my favorite thing I had done since being in Europe. My youngest son is a huge fan of the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop and he’s always wanted to try one. The kids were actually awesome on them! The tour guide took us through the city and into Parque del Buen Retiro known as El Retiro Park. It was so beautiful with a lake and rowboats, roses and even peacocks. We learned so much about the history of the city. The park is so big and it was really hot so for us the Segways were perfect. We cracked up as we whizzed past people and the kids kept high-fiving pedestrians as we passed them. We stopped a the Mercado San Miguel where you can try so many different Spanish foods or grab a quick beverage.
That evening we hit a Flamenco Show at Essential Flamenco which was in a very small, cozy, cave-like environment where we sit very close to the perfomers and feel the drumbeats and really experience the dance. There are so many choices in Madrid but we chose a show that was on the earlier side since we have the kids. Plus we got free sangria! My kids all had the opportunity to learn the Flamenco in 2nd grade at their elementary school in Los Angeles. I was so glad they could appreciate it!
We ended the night with Churros y Chocolate – one of Spain’s most famous dishes and I think their best. What a concept. Love them both! We ate and watched the street perfomers. Madrid is such a fun, lively city!
We took a tour of the Royal Palace with headsets in English. The kids seemed to be totally
interested in this grandiose attraction and were curious about the way the royal family once lived. They had really never seen anything like it and neither had I!
It was really hot in Madrid so we grabbed a late lunch and walked Gran Via, a main drag in the city. Afterwards we all enjoyed the air conditioning, Wifi, and pool at our apartment building. I relaxed while my husband took the kids to the movies see The Secret Life of Pets, or Mascotas in Spain! He thought it would be in Spanish but it ended up being in English with Spanish subtitles. It was still a cool, new experience.
The next morning my husband headed out to rent a car for our trip to Granada but there was not an automatic car that was big enough for us! So he took my oldest son and I bought trains ticket for myself and our other two kids. We were sad to say goodbye to Madrid…but guess what? We are heading back this week! Stay tuned!
A Fun Scene From Paul Blart. You’re Welcome!