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This weekend we did the unthinkable. We got on a plane with a toddler and a newborn baby for a long weekend in Madrid. I was pretty terrified of he we’d survive the flight, the heat, the upset in sleeping patterns, the unfamiliar surroundings, but I really needn’t have worried as we all had a wonderful time. There were a few missed naps which led to tears and tantrums but nothing worse than we’ve experienced at home.
We were there to celebrate the wedding of my sister in law, Becky, who’s lived in Spain as long as I’ve known her (if you fancy the same kind of trip, how about checking out a Boutique hotel near Ronda, Andalucia?).
I find it really funny that’s she’s never known as Rebecca anymore as Rebecca translated in to Spanish is cardigan. Snort. She is basically Spanish now though, when we went for a cocktail the day before the wedding the barman commented how good her English was for a Spaniard and was amazed when I told him she was English.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous, between 37 and 40 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Becky had bought a paddling pool for Elfie which we set up on the balcony of our (gorgeous) rented apartment and she had a ball cooling down in there. And for the times it was too hot we always had Peppa Pig on the iPad.
The first night we ate in a proper Spanish restaurant – on arrival at 9pm it was filled to the brim with noisy, gesticulating families tucking into huge platters of fresh shellfish. Will and I stayed there with the kids for about an hour before Elfie got too fractious after a day of no naps and needed to go to bed. The food we did manage to eat was absolutely delicious – meaty prawns and langoustines, amazing clams and really tender, delicious octopus. And I don’t even like Octopus!
The wedding itself was in a flower shop in the centre of Madrid, a glass building with a lovely old courtyard garden where the 7pm ceremony took place. Fairy lights and flowers were everywhere and fans were handed out to quell the heat that still hovered at 38 degrees, even at that time of night. Hux slept through most of the evening and Elfie went slightly crazy before falling asleep in a tiny moses basket at 11pm with her feet hanging out the top. Whilst everyone partied on at a rooftop hotel bar, Will and I did the grownup thing and wheeled the sleeping babes home through the balmy streets at midnight.
Madrid is such a gorgeous city – amazing architecture and parks – and I was amazed at the cleanliness of it (aside from a huge amount of dog crap). We stayed in the area of Anton Martin, and trekked around the locality on foot rather than use the Metro which involved a lot of stairs (difficult with the pram in such heat). In every other respect the Metro was wonderful – such great value for money at 1.50 euros for a single trip, air conditioned and OMG 3G signal! Unless you pre-booked a cab you couldn’t get car seats but we managed to transport Elfie and Huxley safely to and from the airport thanks to a great car company who supplied us with the proper safety equipment.
The kids were so well behaved the whole time we were there and handled the heat like champs. Hux hung out in a borrowed moses basket most of the time, snoozing on and off, and Elfie flittered between Aunties, stickers, Peppa Pig and the paddling pool.
On the last evening we spent some time with Becky’s new Spanish family, an interesting evening given the language divide, but we got through it with lots of hand gestures and the newlyweds acting as translators. Elfie loved playing with her new Spanish friends, turns out when you can’t speak Spanish OR English that well you can communicate through playing. And weird hats.
I found out that evening that Becky’s new Spanish Cousin-in-Law, a nurse, spent the whole wedding carrying around some emergency medicine for Elfie. She’d already translated all of Elfie’s medical notes for us in case anything happened and I was so touched to find out that she was watching out for us. You don’t see that sort of kindness in many places these days, we were incredibly grateful.
It was such a wonderful weekend; congratulations Becky and Ivan! We love you both and can’t wait to come back to Madrid for more fun, summer wine and octopus. Salud!!!