It’s been over a year since we vacationed in Europe but I felt like I left a lot of pending posts in the queue to later realize that life and “now” kept superseding all these posts that I should have tapped months ago. In any case I will try to finish up some of our Europe with kids posts before I go back to writing about our amazing time in Mexico. After all Joshua wasn’t even crawling when we went to Europe and now he is a handsome toddler whose personality is portrayed in his beautiful smile and intense ways. My Evan has become a little boy now and he makes us so proud every single day.
Going back to these pictures and reminiscing about our trip brings a smile to my heart. I hope you enjoy the following posts as much as I am enjoying remembering our fun trip and the fact that we were crazy enough to think we could visit 3 countries in Europe with two boys in diapers and still have a blast.
After Frankfurt came Paris and a 7 hour train ride later we were in Barcelona. We then headed a bit south and visited family in Madrid. One of our favorite things to do in Madrid was to ride the hop-on-hop-off bus. It was affordable and allowed us to go to the most famous tourist sites without having to make tons of transfers in the metro.
One of our favorite things about Europe was the availability of kids playgrounds and parks. They seemed to be everywhere and they were impeccably up kept. Madrid was no exception and the parks there did not disappoint. We had heard we had to visit the Parque del Buen Retiro in downtown Madrid and so we followed instructions and headed over to the park one fine day.
Getting there was a breeze. There is a metro stop nearby or you can just walk from the Puerta de Alcala or Museo del Prado if you are in the area. The metro stations are not exactly stroller friendly since most of them have steps and the elevators are not always working but we got there stroller and all without any big mishaps.
As soon as we got there we were greeted by several characters that expected a tip in return for taking a picture with them or saying hi to the kids. I was glad to pay 1 or 2 euros to them in comparison for the over 20 euros we paid for a picture with Mickey in Disney Paris.
As we walked around the park we noticed there were dozens of different sections and the food stands, benches and fountains abounded most everywhere. We loved being able to walk around and enjoyed the lovely weather. We considered renting a paddle boat to ride in the big artificial lake but decided against it as we thought there was a huge risk the boys might think it was swim time.
The park was full of families both local and foreign. This was just the perfect spot to spend a few hours with loved ones. The park was the meeting place for people from all over to spend a few hours of leisure and learn to relax.
After walking for a few minutes we encountered our first play area. Evan was thrilled and ran directly to the playground where he made new friends right away. After an intense day of sightseeing I am sure he was relieved to have to Evan time and be able to run around like he likes. The playground was amazing. Everything was very safe and the sand on the ground made for a great buffer in case of falls.
Josh gave the playground a try and had a great time playing with daddy. He had a lot of fun and was up for playing with his big brother and his new friends.
Evan and Josh really enjoyed the park and I had such a relaxing time just being able to watch them play and enjoying the beautiful trees and great sitting areas. We probably spent about 3 hours at the park and had to drag the kiddos out as it was getting late and we needed to take the metro back.
After the park we walked a bit more and delighted in the wonderful Madrilean architecture. It reminded me of Mexico City and made me nostalgic.
If you are planning to visit Madrid with kids and you feel like they need to burn some energy, visit the Parque del Buen Retiro. It is beautiful and very easy to reach. This will be the perfect spot for the kids to run around and parents to be able to sneak in some quality time while the kids play. As the name suggests it, this park is a great place to retreat from the city and to experience lush greenery and nature within the concrete jungle.
- Bring spare change if you think your kids will want to take a picture with the characters on site. You will probably need some change to buy a drink or snack from one of the many vendors.
- If you are a planner, plan for a picnic at the park. There are dozens of wonderful spots to sit down and eat a snack.
- If you thirst, don’t fret. There are several drinking water fountains throughout the park. Refill your empty bottles and get ready for the next site.
- To reach the park ride the metro line 2 and hop off in the Retiro Station.