MARVELOUS MADRID

We finished up our holiday travels with a 4 day stop in Madrid on the way back to Granada. We had been to Madrid a year ago and liked it very much. Was that merely a first impression or a lasting one? It is now confirmed. We are tremendously fond of Madrid and may be the only Americans to prefer Madrid to Barcelona.

After a short flight from Vienna, our taxi took us to the Petit Palace Savoy Alfonso. For anyone looking to travel to Madrid, this is a great boutique hotel alongside Retiro Park, where you can stay for under 100 euros a night–at least this time of year. Pretty incredible. They also have a very solid breakfast buffet, which is a tremendous plus for our family–particularly as the boys continue to eat more and more!

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Once in Madrid, we really just relaxed on the heels of such a busy adventure in Central Europe. The hotel is just a short walk to the Golden Triangle of Museums (Prado, Reina Sofia, Thyssen). We visited the Prado last year, so it was nice to get to the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen. Picasso’s Guernica hangs at the Reina Sofia, and it is quite impressive in person for those who may not have seen it. It’s absolutely massive and truly stands as a powerful and imposing work of art.

We also had the opportunity to enjoy Retiro Park with daily trips to run, walk, and kick a soccer ball. This is unquestionably one of the most spectacular urban green spaces we have seen. It offers incredibly diverse activities, and only Central Park compares among the city parks I have been fortunate enough to visit. From the boats to the statues to the gardens, it really is a beautiful place to be outdoors, tucked from the cars and corridors of buildings that line the Spanish capital.

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And finally, this trip to Madrid was also highlighted by a trip to the famed Santiago Bernabéu to watch our hometown team Granada CF take on Spanish giants Real Madrid. The boys were excited to root for Granada while also having the opportunity to see Ronaldo, Benzema, Casemiro, Isco, Modric, and Marcelo play up close for the reigning European Champions. Karen was excited to see Zinedine Zidane prowl along the sideline, as we share the same barber. Unfortunately, the game was over quickly, as Real Madrid got on the board early and coasted to a 5-0 victory.

However, what made this game unique, was that Jackson and Cassius sat together in the 5th row, while Karen and I sat together in the top row. 🙂  This provided the boys with an incredible view of the pitch in one of the world’s most famous football venues, while offering Karen and I something of a “date” for these two hours in the cheap seats. All told this was probably good practice for the two of us and a sign of what’s to come in the years ahead–Jackson and Cassius stepping out on their own with us keeping a watchful eye from a distance–albeit a vertical one.

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