Travelling with kids (and babies)
November brought to London the predictable dull, grey, windy and wet weather. So when my other half mentioned a business trip to Madrid, I decided it was only right to join him.
The Arctic winds arrived one day before us in Madrid as well and ended the balmy weather. But despite the cold, Madrid was sunny and with its majestic parks and architecture, delighted us for 3 days.
We chose a boutique hotel next to Parque El Retiro which proved great. Petit Palace Alfonso XII is perfectly located 3min from El Prado museum and even better 2 minutes from a playground, to my joy and our toddler’s.
The breakfasts were amazing, with a vast selection of jamon iberico, bruschettas, cheese, croissants, fois gras, cava, bread, cakes, fruit & yoghurts. At Euro10 per person and gracefully not charging for kids, breakfasts were impressive value for money and a proper feast. My little one and I loved them, one of the rare places when his patience stretched for an hour at the table. The staff is helpful, efficient and kind, a great combination. We chose a triple room for space considerations, we had an extra single bed plus a big cot – the room was a good size 26sqm with lovely balconies and views to the park. One evening we also had a lovely small dinner – too many tapas during the day, so 8pm just in a mood of starters and a glass of wine. Garlic prawns wrapped in crispy potatoes and croquettas black squid delicious, whilst the house wine a treat and bargain – Euro4 per glass of wine does not compare well with Euro5 big sparkling water and one may decide to indulge a tad too much.
With manicured trees, statues, fountains and beautiful alleys, El Retiro park is great to explore. Size wise also quite impressive, we were very grateful to discover the playground in such short distance to the hotel, plus the lake with various birds and more majestic monuments. We spent a glorious morning feeding the ducks and socialising with grandparents and kids. The people of Madrid are just so warm, kind and approachable.
One afternoon has been spent discovering the charming streets and plazas around El Prado. And of course tapas and some hearty pork dishes plus great red wine to warm up next to Jardin Botanico.
Another afternoon we explored Puerta de Alcala and calle Serano, seen old friend & former colleague and caught up over tapas (of course what else?). Pastelleria Mallorca has some great bocadillos & pinchos options (i.e. little bites), macaroons, hot chocolate and artisan sweets. The little one running around and using the stairs as slides plus exploring all the corners – luckily again the staff is kind, entertaining and helpful.
One morning after a bit of sightseeing and more great architecture, we caught a taxi to the Zoo at Casa del Campo. Great playgrounds and shows every 30 minutes. The little one he really liked the jumpy sea lions but not convinced about the dolphins – perhaps like his mum he’s got mixed feelings about keeping them in captivity? We glanced at penguins, bears, wolves, giraffes and bisons, again not sure if my son agrees with keeping them in captivity. Playgrounds are cool and with lots of kids around, he had a great time.
Madrid airport has been another pleasant surprise, just 20 minutes taxi ride from the city centre, very impressive architecture and lots of areas for kids. Our son already loves airports, this one must have been in his top 5 🙂
One nice minibreak, charging batteries seeing the sun, enjoying great food and hanging out with nice people.