Madrid is a large, fast-paced city. But about 7 years ago I managed to take a leisurely trip to Madrid, Seville and Granada with my husband and our 2 year old son. I say leisurely, because with my husband attending a conference in Madrid we had the luxury of spending nearly a week in the city, with plenty of time to embrace its ebbs and flows, like true Madrileños.
This is a way of travelling that I really enjoy. There is no rush to fit every major city highlight into a single day. We visited the Reina Sofía one afternoon and the Museo del Prado the next evening. One day we even went to the zoo. With no reason to jump up at the crack of dawn or map out most efficient routes we absorbed the city over time. It was a pleasure to visit the same coffee shop more than once and it’s a thrill to know one’s way around a city without needing a map.
It definitely helped that my son needed a daily siesta (or as we call it, naptime) around the same time that the Spaniards all take their mid-day break. After this break my son and I would take a leisurely stroll through one of the many parks in the city, grabbing a café con leche along the way. In Parque del Retiro, my son had the opportunity to play with local children and I had the time to admire the Palacio de Cristal, stroll the tree-lined lanes, and watch street performers. After a delicious late evening meal we’d head back to a city playground, often across the street from the Royal Palace – a common meeting spot for adults and children in the city. With so many beautiful outdoor spaces, fountains and playgrounds people tend to congregate outside well into the evening.
My life seems to revolve around squeezing way too much into very limited time. When I travel, I like to feel I have all the time in the world. – Julie, February 2014