So I lied about our last day #stillinMadrid

Well the day started promising enough. I heard the alarm go at 5:30 and got right up and in the shower. The boys didn’t require 15 wake up prompts! There was a little bit of food left for breakfast to tide us over until we got to the airport. The taxi app we used to get a taxi to pick us up at our apartment worked like a charm ( if you could see the crazy, convoluted, tiny warren of streets we navigated you’d share my amazement!) 

There is little to no traffic on Madrid streets at 7 am so we made it to the airport in record time 👍🏻 it was a bit disconcerting that at 7:20 am there were next to no security staff on but they all hustled out to man their X-ray machines quick enough.

 I wasn’t chosen for extra screening! 🎉


Some time for candy choosing! 


Settled in nicely! 


Reading and making notes so not paying attention to the time. And then I kept seeing some people pacing and I was thinking ” what hell is going on? Sit the freak down already!” 

And I looked at the time. And the announcements started. Followed by the dreaded “gather all your belongings” 

That’s the kiss of death. 


Bus delivery.


Air Canada is hosting flight 837 here with all meals included. 

It was almost 4 before we got here. 


Football in the bar keeps the boys occupied.

Then we went out to explore around the hotel. There’s a lovely park next door.






It’s almost time for dinner 🎉🍷

Then early to bed to start it all again tomorrow. 


So far they are sticking to ⬆️ the above insanity 

Friday: Last day in Madrid 

We’ve had a lovely Spanish holiday! The weather has been beautiful for sightseeing and eating on patios. Our Spanish has improved because it only had one way to go 🤣 We have eaten amazing food and seen awesome things and thoroughly enjoyed pretending to live in Madrid. 

Last walk through the hood


Everyday surrealism 


One more trip to mecca ( football headquarters)


A last lunch in tourist central; Plaza Mayor


My lunch 


My view 


In all the main squares there are gypsies begging and crazies dressed up vying for photo ops ( and cash) most of them are CREEPY! 

Like these weirdo goats with clacking heads

But Spider-Man made us laugh out loud


If you are ever in the mood for a holiday in Madrid we would be happy to share all of our favourites with you. 

Sleep in Thursday aka travelling with teenagers

After 2 days of setting an alarm to get up and out in time to catch trains, today was a nice respite of sleeping until we woke up and then having a leisurely breakfast. The teenagers still required multiple prompts to Get. Out. Of. Bed. but I wasn’t losing my mind. So much. 


When we were all ( finally) upright, we walked over to the Reina Sofia ( have I mentioned how awesomely located our apartment is? We can walk everywhere but Metro is super handy too! ) 



The Reina Sofia, Madrid’s modern art museum, is in Madrid’s first public hospital. The focus is 20 th century Spanish artists but there are others to see. What John loved  is that they have curated film to match the art periods! It’s a very cool presentation that presents the art and the time in which it was created.


Picasso ⬆️


Sonia de Klamery ⬆️


Dali ⬆️

Picasso’s Guernica is here ❤️ I have been intrigued and enamoured by this work of art since I encountered it on my history text book in high school. That a painting could demonstrate and express the horrors of war on a basic and intricate level at the same time, unbelievable. It is huge IRL. You can not photograph it ☹️ #bucketlist #nailedit


You’d never guess how engaged they were looking at this photo 


Lunch is Galatian inspired, so Turkey?


With sangria because I drink at lunch time now. And dinner. I guess when I start at breakfast we can worry. 



 Calamari stew ❤️


Lots of seafood!!!

Walking and shopping followed.


A hole in the wall soccer store with a HUGE selection of jerseys. Both boys bought one. Gunnar got new boots for outdoor season. Still not sure how we even saw it, oh wait, we are travelling with teenagers 😂

Beckett likes to mock me because I am so easily distracted while we walk down the street. The buildings are breathtaking, the people wear such awesome shoes, everyone has such cool scarves on, stores have cute stuff, bakeries………


I mean look at this ⬆️



Somehow it got dark while we were walking 🤣

I may have done some shopping ( and found my new favourite store, only in Spain 😝) 

Holy Toledo!  ( or where we went on Wednesday) 

Another high speed adventure for us, this time to Toledo. A very holy city where people of the big three faiths live in harmony; Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Sephardic Jews coined the term Holy Toledo once upon a time


The train station ⬆️ is gorgeous and a heritage site. 


The view is all up upon arrival! 



There are a few ways into the walled city, we walked and thankfully that included about 6 escalators 🤣


And coffee ☕️

Our main focus in Toledo was the cathedral. Otherwise we just wanted to wander the streets some no wider than a coffee table and older than our brains could grasp. 



Once upon a time there was a mosque here. The king, when beginning plans on his cathedral, promised he would find a site that did not impact on the mosque. Then he left town and the queen and chief advisor said ” build on the mosque” ( no wonder we have trouble getting along) Anyways, the cathedral is built in such a way that the mosque is incorporated inside with soaring inner halls that makes it wider and airier than all previous cathedrals. Amazing and gorgeous! And freezing! 

The cloisters are my favourite! 


The art work was astounding! Between the art work commissioned by artists like El Greco and the frescos covering wall after wall, this cathedral is truly unlike any I have seen. It is light filled and feels celestial. It is a tribute to God but a testimony to the amazing skills and talent of so many people. 


After a traditional lunch, we sat outside in the sunshine and listened to this wonderfully talented man play Spanish guitar 🎵🎶 

Perfect! 


 Another history filled day that we rounded out with a walk through a Templar exhibit in a monastery and a final stroll through the crazy little streets that don’t seem capable of fitting cars and yet ….

Tuesday is sightseeing in Segovia day 

ROAD TRIP!!! 

Canada needs high speed trains! People would ride them. Segovia is about 100 km from Madrid. We took the high speed train 


and it took less than 30 minutes 👍🏻🎉😂

No wifi like in the Netherlands ☹️ but we survived.


It was a bit confusing tho’ but that’s because…… Spanish. We walked to the Metro station that is by the big department store ( El Corte Inglés) to catch one of the commuter subways to one of the train stations which we thought ( John had asked for it to be) was  included in our train tickets but, no. So we had to buy Metro  tickets from a kiosk with limited English prompts and 2 ‘assistants’ and a LOT of people in need #increasedstresslevels. Then mine was defective going through  the turnstiles ( I know what defecto means 🤓, John not so much when I tried to explain 😝 ) but a very nice lady told her husband to hold the gate for me 😘😘 needless to say we missed the subway 👎🏻 We made it to train station but no signage in any language and lots of trains and platforms and hurrying people. Thank god for security people. The above pictures prove we got on and fast it was!

 It was just slightly longer from Madrid to Segovia than from Segovia train station to the aquaduct 😂

The weather is just gorgeous as these pictures will testify to, blue skies and mid teens in temps.

We walked and strolled and ambled our way through the town.


A strong Moorish influence is seen everywhere you look. All of these homes had towers that the king made the owners ‘crop’ in order to retain their property as Catholicism exerted its influence. 

We explored a castle, Alcázar ( that Disney used as inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s which means I might need some new charms 🤔 as souvenirs ) 



We walked through the cathedral. 



The highlight for the boys was lunch José Maria.


I don’t know who those people were, they wouldn’t leave 😂

Here’s our pig ⬇️ they bring it by your table to show you, then the pig guy uses a plate to cut it up ( there is a lot of whacking and crunching) 


Best. Lunch. Ever. 

Overall a wonderful day spent immersed in history.

Monday in Madrid

Aka the day we slept in cuz we stayed out late the night before at a soccer match and we are so not on this time zone #lotsofcrankypantsinourapartment

MUCH cooler today, not like home,  we had to wear jackets #madridproblems

Today we walked in a different direction of old Madrid to the Prado ( Museo del Prado) and interesting fact: students and teachers get in free to all museums 🎉👍🏻 so glad everyone brought their student cards/teacher cards 


Again, no photography inside but lots of interest in seeing the IRL versions of paintings I learned about in art classes and English/history class. A few debates over the proper names of gods depicted in extra gory detail ( Saturn/Chronos eating one of his children). We can all spot King Carlos a mile away, bonus points to whomever sees him first ( museum version of yellow car 🤣 #itsalondonthing) 


We are not respectful at all. His expression cracks us up.

We finally saw the bear/tree sculpture and it was just like seeing the peeing boy in Brussels, we expected it to be huge


It’s bigger than the boy but still…..

Lunch was OMG good at Estado Puro with more tapas and lots of sharing but we sat down so way more relaxing 


We had croquettes with mushroom or ox tail or ham filling. Octopus. Cod Madrid style. Tortilla Español. Spanish style ham sandwich. And cava 🥂

More walking and some shopping. I found a Camper store and bought the shoes I wanted. We went to the big department store El Corte Ingles and the boys got new bathing suits and some shirts. Gunnar is trying to talk me into a sport coat but I don’t know.

Then it was the grocery store AGAIN for supplies for dinner and just because we don’t have it at home. 


Overall a lovely day, very windy and still amazed we are here. Now to get on this time zone.

Day 2: Madrid

So being up for 30 + hours means the second day starts kinda slow. But it is Sunday, so it’s all good.

Sunday is Flea Market day and the biggest and best happens at El Rastro. It goes on forever. And it seems like everyone is there.

 

The boys bought belts and got them custom fitted.


It got overwhelming after a while, so food.

Tapas after El Rastro is a Sunday thing.


The Palace was next.


No photos inside but it is gorgeous and in pristine condition. The fabric and art is gorgeous. There is an amazing display of armour. Loved it. 

Time for churros.


We headed back to the apartment for a quick dinner before the epic moment of our trip. Soccer match with Real Madrid.



They won, thank goodness 🎉CR scored an amazing goal 🙏🏻

Now bed 😴

Spring Break 2017: Madrid, Spain

This year we choose to go a little farther than our usual March Break destination because this is probably Gunnar’s last March Break with us for a while ( he graduates in June). We wanted somewhere European, somewhere with direct flights from Toronto and somewhere we could use our Aeroplan points to = lots of options that were awesome BUT there was a deal ( like half points) to Madrid, so our decision was EASY! 


Boys sat behind us on the flight, which was a tad bumpy so nobody got a lot of rest and that made for a long first day. No one was complaining because the weather was gorgeous. And churros.


We went to Parque de el Retiro for a couple of hours just to walk and it was a perfect antidote to sitting on a transatlantic flight ( and the fact the weather 24 degrees C didn’t hurt).




Interesting fact, people in Madrid love roller blades. I should have taken a picture.

We spent about 2 hours exploring what used to be the royal gardens that were opened to the public in the 18th century. It used to have the city zoo in it which has since moved on to larger quarters in the outskirts, ( abandoned spaces ALWAYS make me think of The Walking Dead) but some enclosures are still there. 

We stored our bags and coats in the train station until we caught a cab to the apartment we rented through Home Away.


After a crazy, seemingly random turn filled FAST taxi drive ⬆️ this apartment is a lovely home away from home.

We didn’t take a long time to settle before we headed out into Old Madrid and get our bearings.


More food;


God, I LOVE European bread!!!! ( that’s calamari in that sandwich #swoon) 

We did a bit of shopping, I bought shoes ( big surprise), the boys bought soccer shirts (thanks grandma Mary Margaret) and we picked up groceries. We were at Lidl first and then El Corte Inglés ( the big Spanish department store) which has an AWESOME grocery section ( I can only imagine what Harrods is like) and the boys wanted this:


a giant pork rind made on site. I got the freshest, most amazing, home made potato chips on the planet but they pale in comparison 😂

We were officially exhausted. So dinner and bed.