We woke up this morning thinking we were going on a walking tour. It was supposed to leave at 10:30 by 11:30 it hadn’t started so we said forget it. We decided to visit the Royal Palace of Madrid, it is still in use today. It was large and grand. We were constantly sandwiched in between two tour groups. There was no escaping them. At least they weren’t screaming, “Laura, Laura!” , like the lady we kept running into all over Italy, including the airport. We thought she was going to haunt our entire trip.

After the museum. We had a nice relaxing lunch where we met a grandpa and his 8 year old spoiled grandson from Puerto Rico. You could tell the grandfather was educated and well traveled. I shared my pitcher of sangria with him and made a friend instantly. He was offering us all of his food and friendship. The lone guy at the table next to us wanted to be included into the conversation so the grandfather translated. It was a nice time.

We then came across a Spanish television station promoting the world basketball championship. They had a court set up to play against people for prizes. Of course I played and got prizes for all four of the kids. It was a ton of fun!

We then had to rush to a suburb of Madrid for the kids to swim with the local swim team. It was easy to spot the coach on deck. The guy wearing the USA swimming t-shirt. What a great experience for the girls to get to swim for a coach giving sets in Spanish. On a team of mostly boys. The opposite of their swim team in Vacaville.

We then returned for showers and we were back out for Tapas. The greatest front desk guys in the hostel were working and sent us to the cheapest Tapas place in Madrid. For 14.50€ I got a huge sangria and the kids each got a schweps limón (their new favorite drink in Europe). Coming to about 3€ a drink. Around what we have come to expect for a drink. It then came with a huge plate of Tapas per drink. So we had 5 large plates full of tapas, the croquettes were the best. Then we did a second round, so they throw in an extra plate. 6 more large plates of tapas. This time the potato egg frittata was the big hit. We were so stuffed! The bartender was awesome and made the place a blast!

We then walked around the pedestrian streets. Madrid is unlike any city I have visited. You are constantly surrounded by hundreds of people on every street. Every hour of the day. I don’t think these people sleep. Bars and clubs don’t start jumping until 2am. It is the perfect vacation destination for the young. My kids were the only ones in the tapas bar but kids are out everywhere at all hours also. It wasn’t inappropriate to have the kids in the tapas bar, it’s just standing room only and most families with kids need to sit. You’ll see stroller age kids in tapas bars sitting in their strollers while parents stand.

We walked down one pedestrian walkway, packed just like all the others, but this one employed the Romanian ladies of the night. They weren’t lurking in dark corners, they stood along the center of the street leaning on trees, displaying their goods like all the other street vendors. Skyler just said, “How inappropriate”.

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