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Ah Spain, glorious Spain!
June 3rd, 2010 by Kate
In front of the Royal Palace (I think - so many pretty buildings!)

In front of the Royal Palace (I think - so many pretty buildings!)

During about our third week in India we decided we needed to stop moving around for a bit and rest our tired backs.  Our onward tickets to UAE and Egypt were already bought and our plans made – so we had 2 more weeks of moving and then… what?

And now I’ll make a long story short… my best girlfriend from high school (hey Kel!) is engaged to a great guy (hey Mariano!) who has a really cool sister (yeah Koren!) who very generously offered us her townhouse in southern Spain way back last year when we were planning our trip.  At the time we thought maybe we’d go and stay a week or so, but when we decided we needed to stop moving for a while I thought of her offer, and after a few emails we arranged to stay for a MONTH!  Woohoo!

So, onward to Spain – to Malaga and the Costa del Sol via Madrid.  As fate would have it, half my family was already planning on being in Spain the week we arrived.  My sister Claudia and stepmom Bo were on a high school trip with Caud’s school, and my cousin Sydney was there visiting friends (we had a great dinner with her our first night in Madrid – so funny!!)  Then, my sister Krissy and her son Jack amazingly arranged to meet up with us in Madrid and join us for a week down south (amazing, because she has one year old twins at home!).  So it was like a little family reunion!

Our first night in Madrid with my cousin Sydney!

Our first night in Madrid with my cousin Sydney!

Madrid was awesome.  We all loved it and were SOOOO happy to be in a “first world” country again (our idea of the high-life is being able to drink the tap water!).

In Madrid, we decided to do the most touristy of things to kick off our trip – hop on the Big Red Bus tour!  I know… it sounds lame, but with three kids, three jet-lagged adults, and 1000 years of Spanish history to tackle in three days, it was the only way to go!  Madrid was the perfect city to do this in… it brought us all over the city, we got to see all the sites from high above the traffic, and when we saw a museum, palace, or giant hill that needed to be rolled down, we just hopped off the bus!

My sister Krissy, nephew Jack, Tess & Phoebe cruising Madrid on the Big Red Bus!

My sister Krissy, nephew Jack, Tess & Phoebe cruising Madrid on the Big Red Bus!

Jack and Phoebe taking part in our family tradition of rolling down any large grassy hill we can find - in this case behind the Del Prado Musuem!

Jack and Phoebe taking part in our family tradition of rolling down any large grassy hill we can find - in this case behind the Del Prado Museum!

Madrid is very pretty – lots of great architecture, fountains, tons of parks and lots of green space.  We had been good about not shopping too much up to this point, but it was in Madrid where we started slipping down the slope of retail therapy… the shops here are amazing, and everywhere.  Tess, Phoebe and I did a great job justifying our purchases because it indeed was springtime in Europe and much cooler (both temperature-wise and cool/hip-wise) and we only had clothes for hot weather!  And the baby clothes – wow!  The Spanish babies are the best dressed I have ever seen.  The other funny thing that all of us noticed was that the older people here (grandma and grandpa-aged) are impeccably coiffed!  Smart suits, dresses, furs, hats, lovely handbags and jewels and beauty shop hair dos.  Phoebe commented that when Auntie Tasch and I are old that we should move to Spain so we can dress up every day and walk around together.  I think we might just have to do that.

Tess, Jack & Phoebe at a park in Madrid.

Tess, Jack & Phoebe at a park in Madrid.

mad tess w statue

Spain has been doing its best to displace France as the culinary capital of the world.  And I have to say they are doing a pretty darn good job!  We opted for tapas and bar food over the fancy-smanchy dining rooms of Madrid, but we still ate like kings.  By FAR our favorite and most often eaten meal was fresh bread with Iberica ham (or Serrano ham…those acorn-fed piggies sure are tasty!) and Manchego cheese.  Grilled veggies, mystery sausages, anchovies in olive oil and lemon with crushed sea salt, and gazpacho rounded out many-a-meal.  And in Madrid, we couldn’t pass up their famous churros and chocolate!  Yes, churros like we have at home, but freshly fried, and served with a cup of “hot chocolate” that is more like hot chocolate pudding that you dip your churro into.  OMG!  I’m getting fat just writing about it!

All and all, Madrid is definitely a city to come back to and spend more time in.  We didn’t even scratch the surface of the museums and cultural sites I wanted to see, plus there really are some amazing restaurants that I need to experience.  I would definitely put Madrid high on my list of places to come back to.

Phoebe & Jack in their scarves, cruising the streets of Madrid, lookin so hip!

Phoebe & Jack in their scarves, cruising the streets of Madrid, lookin so hip!


One Response  
Duffy writes:
June 5th, 2010 at 10:30 am

Ok…you really know how to make us jealous…Pat has been salavating just listening to me read the food from Spain. It’s one of his favorite places and he loves tapas. He wanted me to tell you that he wants to hear about all the food experiences when you get back and figures you will know how to make a variety of tapas for him. All here is great, we talk about you all the time and love catching up on your adventures. I can’t believe you’re supposed to be home in a couple of months. The years has gone so quickly. Miss you and keep on having a great time. One thing for sure, Jeff will love the beer in Spain, but Spanish wines are incredible.

Love
Pat and Duf

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