My husband is in Manchester at the World Ruby watching the Australians take it out. He left two days ago. To break up my weekend, we have decide that I will take the girls to Madrid and then we will meet him at the airport Sunday evening. Sure, I think. I can manage this. The last two days have felt very long being on my own with the girls. Trying to keep girls entertained in below zero temperatures in a 3 bedroom unit has been draining. We are playdohed out, painted out and cubby housed out. There’s been Christmas cookie baking and even a dance off. I don’t’ think I can visit the indoor play centre again without taking it out on the lovely girl at the reception desk.
Hmmm the cold weather is wearing thin now and I realise how much of an outdoor sunny person I am and our children are. The girls hate layering up and they just want to wear dresses. Not ideal winter attire. I get through the end of the week without hubby and have arranged for a driver to take us to Madrid from Salamanca. It was either this or drive myself or catch the train with three little ones, luggage and a pram. No chance. I know my limits. So the private driver is perfect. The gentleman picks us up around 1pm and the girls sleeps pretty much the whole 2 hours to Madrid. We arrive in the hotel around 4pm and I decide to take the girls to the Plaza Mayor in Madrid to experience the Christmas Markets.
Christmas in Salamanca hasn’t registered yet. Spain is broke so Christmas lights and any form of festivities are low on the agenda. In Salamanca there are no signs that Christmas is only 3 weeks away. Unlike Australia where retail rides the Christmas bandwagon straight after Father’s Day, the Spanish do not. So I figure it’s time for the girls to feel Christmas. I ask the concierge which would be the best way to get the four of us to the Plaza Mayor. He looks at each of my children and then myself, “YOU, want to go to the Plaza Mayor?”. “Yes, would that be okay” I respond not sure why he is looking at me like I am crazy. He orders a cab and we head into town. The cab driver also asks me if I’m crazy. I’m not sure why all the fuss. I’m starting to wonder given the child count is so low in Spain, have they forgotten how to live with them or what to do with them.
The kind cab driver leaves us at a couple of blocks back from the gates. OMG. Now I’m getting the picture. Apparently 6 million people come into la Plaza Mayor to open the Christmas markets. I live in Brisbane. I don’t know what 6 million people looks like. Now I’m beginning to understand. The girls are amazed and super excited by all the lights and action. Madrid has put on a a spectacular Christmas lights extravaganza. I have Tiny in the baby bjorn, Booboo in the pram and Spike holidng onto my hand. Tiny is mesmerized by the lights, Booboo is a little stunned and hiding as people stare and yell comments at her and Spike is in heaven. Spike is going to be the party animal out of these three. She thinks this adventure is awesome. She loves the noise, the colours, the lights, the chaos and being out at night.
We navigate our way through the crowds finally into the Christmas markets. We stand out like a sore thumb. So much so, that a street perform notices Me and the pram and the three girls and over loud speaker asks me if they are all mine? Everyone around is smiling and applauding the fact that I am rearing three children. It’s a surreal moment. He urges us to join his act. Ah buddy, we’re not a freak show. No, thank you but we will not join your circus act. Spike and Booboo are loving all the excitement.
We’ve zigzagged the crowds and looked at some gorgeous Christmas souvenirs. We’ve eaten giant churros with chocolate. There is no where for dinner. I have tried 3 places and people are spilling out of each of them. It’s time to go home but I promised the girls a helium character balloon (what was I thinking?).
Booboo chooses Dora and Spike chooses Hello Kitty. So now I am navigating a pram (both girls in it), Tiny in her baby bjorn and Dora and Hello Kitty who are tied to the pram taking out every single person we walk past in the head. It’s all starting to go down hill. We’ve been out for a couple of hours, the temperature has dropped, all they’ve eaten are churros and chocolate and they are getting tired. There are no cabs in sight and only very upset Madrileños who have just be head kicked by a speeding Dora and Hello Kitty balloon. We finally get a cab, I hurrily fold the pram, get the girls, Hello Kitty, Dora and myself into the cab and we are on way back to the hotel. A lovely Peruvian cab driver takes us home. He gives me the load down on the average Madrileño. They are basically a cranky bunch so apparently even if Dora and Hello Kitty hadn’t whacked them in the face, they’d still be a bit grumpy.
We get back to the hotel, the girls eat a lovely minestrone soup and we all collapse asleep ready for our next big day at the Zoo.