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Trip Report Trip Report- Easter in Madrid/Jerez/Granada with children

My husband and I did this trip in 2009 with our two children who were 8 and 6 at the time. (Time flies) I found a few scratchy notes to share and mostly you will find hotel information with reviews and some sightseeing things.

Hubby is always encouraging me to travel light. Whatever I lay out to pack he says to remove some items from the pile. His method works and for 10 days of travel we ended up with two backpacks for the family of four (carried by hubby and myself); each child carried their own small backpack filled with their activity stuff and books; and in addition we had one small carryon type bag that held all the leftover just in case items, electrical cord, chargers etc!

This trip was also about taking the trains from city to city. I did not feel comfortable booking on the Renfe system and found this GREAT website...... www.raileurope.com
Using this I was able to do ALL my bookings in English and could pick and choose from exactly what was available in terms of local or speed train etc. Quick, easy, piece of cake! I live in Sweden so the tickets were sent to family in the US and sent by insured mail to me.

When travelling with our kids we don't exactly gear all our activities to them but add a couple of things for them to keep them interested.

Madrid- taxi from airport to hotel.
Hotel was Petit Palace Art Gallery in the Salamanca neighborhood. I booked this place in part due to needing a quad room and wanted a quiet neighborhood. We got both! The room was equipped with bunk beds tuck around the corner from the queen sized bed. The top bunk did not have a safety bar and youngest fell out of bed the first night. The room was fairly dark and I did not like the bathroom setup. It was basically a glass wall and door sitting right at the end of the bed. Every sound in the bathroom echoed......not for the modest. Breakfast was ok, in the cellar room of the hotel. Hotel staff were ok friendly.
Meals- Don't yell at me, but we opted for VIP's restaurant twice. Basically a burger/sandwich chain. My kids love their clubsandwiches where ever we are! The restaurants around the hotel served larger and fancier meals than what we wanted anyway.
The Salamanca neighborhood is upscale with high end designer stores. It is very family and very quiet and not much happening at night.
We walked thru Retiro park and met up with a marathon race.
Toured the Prado. Interesting. General sightseeing over the city by foot.
Took a double decker bus tour. Many are down on those but I enjoy getting the lay of the land in any city that offers one.

Jerez de la Frontera-
Next city was Jerez. I hemmed and hawed over where we should spend Easter. The prices in Sevilla were expensive so we booked in Jerez instead and had a fab experience.
We took the train from Madrid to Jerez. I was impressed by the Madrid train station in that had palm trees indoors and then we had to go thru security, xray etc. on the way boarding the train. That was actually nice for piece of mind.

In Jerez I booked us at La Fonda Barranco. Great choice that I see is number 1 on Trip Advisor now. Again, family of four seeking room is not easy. We scored a top floor one bedroom apartment with tiny kitchenette. Kids slept on the sofas in the main room. We did not use the kitchen except for storing beverages. It was essentially a b and b so breakfast was delivered every morning. The owner is a wonderful Irish man and super hospitable without being overbearing.

In Jerez we stayed probably 4 nights due to Easter. That was one night too many but we didn't have a car and were actually feeling lazy to do one more city. The best was that we really lucked out and chose an ideal place to stay and city for the Semana Santa. Who needs Sevilla?! Day and night the parades took place. I was amazed at the number-there must be a whole lot of church parishes in Jerez! One morning at 3 am. the parade went in front of the hotel- sound echoing but we didn't mind at all.

I enjoyed Jerez since it is not touristy in the touristy sense. This Semana Santa time was all about family- Spanish families getting together. Our family got out in the a.m., ate lunch with a glass of Fino, did the afternoon siesta and out in the evenings. We were always the first to any restaurant. ha ha! I can't remember the names but ate some good food in Jerez.
I pre-booked tickets to the Real Escuela Andaluza horse show. We walked to the location from the hotel-we walked everywhere and the kids were champs about it. The show was a real treat and something I would recommend.
We did not do any Sherry tours but walked by and drank some Fino everyday.

Taxi to train station on the way to our last city, Granada.
I hemmed and hawed over Granada accommodations as finding a quad room was tricky. We ended up at the Hotel Macia Real de la Alhambra and had adjoining rooms with the door in between. Hotel was situated about 10 minutes outside of town It was easy enough getting into Granada by the bus which travelled right outside the hotel.
Hotel was nice enough but too stuffy in the business sense. I would not do that one again but instead stay close to the Cathedral area in Granada.

I pre booked tickets to the Alhambra and we arrived there on time to pick them up after taking a taxi up to the ticket booth. Like you read, the lines were long. Somehow I figured out that one could pick up the pre booked tickets in a different line in a little building behind where most of the queue was standing. Anyway, you sweat those things when they say you HAVE to be on time but we made it.
We were in Granada at Easter time but was happy to have packed gloves and hats for our Alhambra tour. It was that chilly up there! Was a great walking feat and was so happy to have done it. Those outings are great for the kids-burning off steam. We packed some fruit and water in backpacks to help tide us till lunch.

On the walk down we explored the windy neighborhood and i pulled out a restaurant recommendation from one of the online Maribel guides of Granada. If you are planning a trip to Spain-check out those guides! Lunch was fantastic and we basically let the waiter guide us as to what to eat. We also watched neighboring tables. After lunch, it was suggested to take coffee at a nearby coffee bar. The waiter walked us there and we spotted our table neighbors there too!
Visited many more shops, cafes, and Cathedral.

We rounded out Granada in the evening by pizza in a street cafe. Time to find the bus back to the hotel but were literally STUCK! In every direction we tried walking was a Semana Santa parade going on. We felt like extras in a movies set! It took us a while. We found a retired couple who could do not English and they steered us by arm motions to another bus stop.

Home-I booked us on a first class train from Granada to Madrid. The price difference was not so much and was a little luxury to have a served meal placed on a crisp white placemat.
I think we had to stay one night in a boring business hotel near the airport for an early a.m. flight home the next day.

All in all, was a fabulous family trip and writing this just adds to the travel bug! We had fantastic weather everyday and even though we had two backpacks- I felt we over packed. Loved Spain and went back there a year or so later.

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