Arriving in Madrid, Spain
For this year’s family city break, we headed to Madrid – paella, red wine, and sun – what more could you want?!
Having never been before, I didn’t have many pre-empted expectations of how the holiday would go, or how hot it would be. Very different in culture to other Spainsh cities such as Barcelona, Madrid felt almost like a Spanish version of London.
We stayed a street away from the Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s central plaza. On arrival, we took in our surroundings and decided to head towards Retiro park – which was about a half an hour walk from the centre, and really worth visiting.
There are areas where you can hire out a boat for a couple of hours to make the most of the sun, and a beautiful greenhouse where we found records of old cameras, contemporary art and sculptures as part of a temporary exhibition.
Outside the greenhouse, there was a little pond containing a family of terrapins, which local kids were picking up out of the water and giving names before placing them back down and watching them swim off.
I’d definitely recommend spending a full day in Retiro park – it was a beautiful place to be when the sun was setting and it was full of families enjoying picnics, as well as locals going out for a jog or having a casual afternoon paddle in the boats.
Having heard amazing reviews, one of the main places I wanted to visit was the Royal Palace. On first glance, the palace itself is massive, and although beautiful, the outside was nothing compared to the interior. The entrance hall fit the definition of grandeur like a glove – the ceiling was covered in beautiful, intricate carvings and paintings, encapsulated by a gold edging.
Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to take photos of the rest of the palace (shortly after the above photo was taken I received a very stern look, and was promptly asked to put my camera away), but each room had a specific theme – one was decorated only with porcelain (walls and ceiling included!).
The next day, we crossed the last stop off our list – the Museo Thyssen. If Wes Anderson had designed an art gallery – this would definitely have been it. The walls are all splashed with a peachy colour and everything was totally symmetrical. The art itself was impressive – they had pieces by Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gogh, and David Hockney to name a few.
Overall, Madrid is an extremely clean city, with plenty of flea markets, places to get authentic paella/tapas, a vibrant nightlife, and lots of places to simply sit and take in the city. Just beware of those tinsel goats….
Submitted by Freya, from Chester
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