Day 132 - Happy 3rd Birthday (for real) Hannah & a Taste of Madrid

Our Hannah is officially 3!  We started off our first full day in Madrid right by stopping at a Starbucks to get the birthday girl and Kian some doughnuts, and we enjoyed a giant cup of pumpkin spice latte!  Ahhhh....delicioso! 

You might start seeing a trend in the places we ate at while in Madrid...I'll give you a hint now...none of them were Spanish =P 

After breakfast and some silliness at Starbucks, we set off to explore the beautiful city of Madrid.  The cooler temperatures, the colorful leaves, the tall buildings, and "Broadway" shows all made me think of NYC!  A Spanish speaking New York City ;) 

I dubbed Plaza de Espana "Bryant Park", especially because of the small shops set up all around it,  just like the shops that get set up around Thanksgiving time until after Christmas.  Calle Gran Via felt a bit like 42nd street between 6th and 8th Avenues.  Of course New York City has a lot more to offer, but Madrid is really quite nice and gave us a great taste of home.  

One of the things I have noticed is lacking though in NYC is a pedestrian ONLY area with shops.  I have seen this in almost all large or large-ish cities in Europe, and it is amazing because you can walk around without having to worry about cars or crossing a street. 

Any idea where we can set up one of these in NYC?  Close off a part of 5th Ave perhaps? ;) 

Our hotel location was amazing because we actually ended up walking everywhere, no subway ride was necessary.  In the afternoon, we headed over towards the Royal Palace of Madrid and the Catedral Almudena.  On the way, we passed through Jardines de Sabatini, where we found adorable little mazes made out of bushes.  The kids loved running through these and laughed a lot when they kept going in circles.  Honestly I am not sure whether or not kids are supposed to play in these mazes, but we saw a few other kids running around and there seemed to be an "entrance" into the maze.  We didn't overthink it since the kids had a great time and were able to get in and out without trouble, and we could see them running around since the hedges were not very tall.

After the mazes, we continued to walk towards the Cathedral and we found....a playground!!!  We hadn't seen a playground since Barcelona.  They did not seem to exist in the small villages in south of Spain, and we can understand why.  The villages are very small and probably the maintenance is a cost the villages are not really interested in paying.  We did see a few places that were meant to be playgrounds, but there were no swings or slides...just a few things you could stand and spin in or use your arms to spin around. 

Kian and Hannah had a blast running around and playing, and I loved looking at little fashionistas in Madrid.  Most of these kids were dressed better than their parents :)  Totally adorable!

As the sun began to set and it started to get cooler, we pried little hands off the playground and walked over to see the Catedral Almudena.  We were really lucky to see the Cathedral during the sunset and lit up shortly after the sunset. 

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed a "home" cooked meal.  Hannah requested her favorite meal, pasta with meatballs and cheese, and I obliged.  The tiny kitchenette in our room is fabulous.  It actually is more or less the same size as the one we had in the apartment in Barcelona. 

After dinner, we watched the Tigger movie.  What an adorable movie!  Have you seen it?  And we ended Miss Hannah's birthday with some delicious sweets bought from a local bakery.  After walking all over the place and playing in the playground, she had definitely earned her tiny cake. 

Can't wait to explore more of Madrid tomorrow!  The city we had no intention in seeing when we originally made our plans has definitely surprised us in the best ways possible so far.