Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spain with Kids - Part 5 - Madrid - Short but Sweet Visit

We woke up early (for a change) today as it was our last day in Seville and we were back on the AVE train to spend a day in Madrid before flying back to the US tomorrow. In Madrid we were staying at the Melia Princesa – a very modern nice hotel within walking distance to all the main attractions. The hotel itself is situated on a small street off one of the main boulevards in the city and was very nicely appointed by US standards. We had a queen size bed and we had asked for a trundle for Victor which was already set up when we arrived.

We dropped off our luggage and, since our hotel was right on the edge of Park de la Montana, we decided to walk around a bit and let Victor play and run. The park is huge, similar to New York’s Central Park, and has lots of playgrounds and walking paths for kids to explore. I know this is not a “must see” attraction in the city but I have found that when you travel with younger kids you have to balance things like churches and museums with parks, playgrounds and other things that they consider fun. This will give them an opportunity to burn some energy and be more patient while mom and dad explore the 5th cathedral of the day.

The park is also a home to Teleferico – a gondola ride that flies high above the city and takes you to a mountain park on the other side where locals love to have picnics and hike. I am definitely not a fan of heights but when Victor saw the gondola he got giddy with excitement that he would be able to fly so I had to muster up the courage and get on. Teleferico is not like any gondola rides I have been on (usually of the ski lift variety) in that it goes pretty high over the city and the support beams and very far between. Once I got over the initial panic we actually enjoyed the ride and seeing all the houses and buildings below us. We did not get off on the top but chose to come back down and be able to see some more of the city.

Next stop was the Royal Palace, which was quite pretty and we were lucky that the King was coming back from an international visit so we were able to see the royal guard on their horses guarding the road as his car was driving in. The grounds were very lush and green and, again, Victor’s favorite thing was playing in the garden mazes surrounding the palace.

It was getting later and we were getting tired so we got on the Hop On Hop Off but and crisscrossed the city for a couple of hours, just to get an idea of some of the major sights.

 It is definitely worthy of a longer visit but I’m glad we chose Seville as our main destination this time. Madrid is huge, busy and on the surface reminds me of many other big cities that we’ve been to. Seville was smaller, more intimate, walkable and unique. As a matter of fact, we were not sure whether Victor would really remember much of Seville since he was only 4 at the time, but he definitely remembers it in his own way and every time he hears someone talking about Spain he proudly says “I know, I have been there”.

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