Tuesday I took the kids out to Casa De Campo which is a 1700 acres of wild land. It used to be the royal hunting grounds, but it now is home to the zoo, aquarium, amusement park and an honestest to goodness Egyptian temple. Because of the size I really had no idea what metro station to get off at but figured that the Casa de Campo station was a safe bet. I found that that is where the zoo is (although we didn't go, I'll have to plan a full day for that) but that was about all that was there except for a playground, and with a 2 and 3 year old that is all they really care about anyway.
Wednesday was fun. I had the royal gardens on the itinerary but when we got there across the street was the most awesome playground (are you sensing a theme with my life?) and I had one very whiny boy so we made a detour. It is in such a beautiful setting and the play area had an abundance of trees so the bench in the shade was very welcoming to me on the hot afternoon. We never did make it to the gardens because Andrew made a friend with Valentina, a little 5 year old Spanish girl who spoke pretty good English. He was in heaven and I couldn't break up the love fest that was going on between them.
Thursday I tried out an English playgroup that I found on line. It was just ok, I was a little disappointed but I think it was mostly due to the fact that I didn't meet and connect with anyone like I'd hoped I'd do, although I did meet someone who was in Westlake for a wedding last year (random!). The kids had a blast and although a little farther than I'd like we'll probably go back this coming week. Nick came home for lunch with a surprise that he had the rest of the day off along with Friday afternoon. We were pretty excited and pretty much headed straight out the door. Andrew asked to see Valentina again even after we explained that she wouldn't be at the park he insisted on going and Nick hadn't been down to the palace yet so we gave in. Unfortunately Valentina wasn't there although Andrew being the social kid that he is quickly made friends. (who needs to speak the same language when you play tag?)Afterward we grabbed some empanadas at the Mercado de San Miguel.
When Nick got home on Friday we decided to explore our neighborhood a bit more and in doing so discovered just how crazy Spaniards get on game day. It must have been a big game but we left the house just after it had finished so we were walking around in a mob of Athletic Bilbao fans, it was so funny to see them burst into song especially when a person wearing a Barcelona jersey walked by. We walked all the way down our street and found a Dahlia garden attached to a beautiful cathedral, it had some amazing views of the city. From there we followed another street and ended up at the palace, Andrew knew exactly where we were and sprinted for the playground. He made friends with an American boy and played for quite a long time.
Saturday we planed on taking the bus out to Toledo for the day, unfortunately the directions to the bus that I got online were outdated and we missed our bus. BUT at least we know for next time. We decided to head out to the Parque de retiro (Madrid's central park). It turned out to be such a great day. We explored the entire park (my legs are paying the price today) and had a blast.
Sunday was our first day at church, in the Madrid 5th ward. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. We met someone who is in the military who grew up in Thousand Oaks (we even spatted about what high school was better, although everyone already knows that Westlake is the best). We also met a guy from Santa Barbra who we found out lived in L.A. at the same time we did (he was in the singles ward) and he literally lived down the street from us. I love how small of a world it is. Every Sunday starting on our block is the Rastro, it's Europe's largest and oldest open air flea market (half a century old). We walked around a bit even though everyone started packing up about 5 minutes after we got there. Next time we need to remember to get there by two since they all close at 3.
The kids and their new shades.
Besides the park Andrews favorite pass time has been standing on our balcony and yelling Hola! to everyone who passes. Well, that's our first week in Spain and we love it so far. Especially because we found software called Hide My Ass that lets me watch Hulu and Netflix from here. So in between the sight seeing I can still keep up on the Bachelorette. (I know you were all losing sleep over it!)