We have the pleasure of spending just over 2 weeks in Spain, 1 of those weeks in Gran Canaria, part of the Canary Islands just off the coast of Spain, and the second week in Madrid. So incredibly different from each other it has been an interesting 2 and a bit weeks. Seeing as though my husbands job has included Spain in our family holiday we didn't choose these places to visit, they were a necessary part of our planning process, but still places I was really excited to go.
Let me set the scene for you, we arrive in Gran Canaria around 11pm, have a driver waiting to swoop us up and drop is off at an incredible hotel. The drive into the hotel is gorgeous, the road lined with palm trees and beautiful gardens, lovely archways covered in creeping plants with sparkling hidden ponds at the bottom. Sculptures everywhere! Greeted by the doorman opening the car door and helping with our luggage as we enter the foyer. A stunning looking hotel.
Sadly though the incredibleness (that's so not a word) stops there. Still a lovely place but need to pull my description back a notch. The room is fine, a little entry foyer, bathroom with a bath/shower, good for Madison, a largish room, large for a hotel room, but with 2 single beds. All good, we didn't book it so can't really request anything specific. We have a few necessities like a fridge and hair dryer but that's really it. I had to request a kettle be brought up to the room so I could have a cup of tea and heat up some of Madisons food. The place looks like a full on resort but has a rectangle pool like you would see in someone's backyard and the silly landscaper didn't think about adding any palm trees to the pool area, just a concrete jungle.
I keep reminding myself that this is a work trip, not a holiday because it seems to explain a lot. Our hotel is around 30 mins away from everything. It's like they dropped a big (kinda) resort in the middle of suburbia. I have had trouble finding restaurants to have lunch or dinner and have had trouble finding food for Madison. On my day out yesterday though I walked for ages before I came across what was obviously the place to be......central shopping district! The main street was lined with designer stores as well as a big chain store, the street ended at one end at the water and at the other end at a big round about lined with restaurants. Once you get passed the language barrier it gets a bit easier to order and the food is nice. I decided to break up my visit to this area into a few trips, give me things to do for a few days, so I walked my way down one side of the street towards the water. Things are either the same price as back home or a bit more expensive.....I'm saving my money for when we get to Canada and the USA! I was really hoping to end up on the beach when I got to the water, unfortunately this side of the island is covered in rocks, not sand, and it looks like oil rigs in the water only 5kms from the waters edge, probably not the best place to swim! I haven't been to the other side of the island so hopefully some beautiful beaches for the tourists.
After a pretty uneventful week in Gran Canaria we headed off to Madrid, weather was hot and people everywhere! Once you get to the centre of town that is! We were stayin about a 10 minute walk from hustle and bustle town but a beautiful hotel, still no kettle in the room but otherwise a beautiful hotel with a beautiful buffet breakfast on offer!
We did a bit of sight seeing and walking around but we had the same difficulty with food as we did in Gran Canaria, restaurants don't open until after bed time for Madison so it was hard.....damn you afternoon siesta! I did find a place that seemed to be open all day and serving food, became my frequent hang out place, the food was good, the people were lovely and it was kid friendly so ticked all the boxes for me! After walking around a bit, it turns out it's a chain restaurant so you can pretty much find them all over the place. For anyone wondering the restaurant is called VIPS.
Apart from lots of walking, lots of eating and lots of hot weather it was quite similar to Gran Canaria for us, streets were quite during the day because the local schedule was so different to what we were used to. The place goes crazy at night time though. My husband has been working while we have been here and not having dinner until late, he said that at around 10.30 everyone is out and the streets are packed, kids running around, restaurants flat out and almost all the shops still open. The touristy areas are busy during the day which is good but apparently the locals come out at night.....very True Blood!
It's been a nice place though, got to check out some nice sights and some fun shops, although I would suggest that if your coming here with young kids be prepared to eat in the hotel quite a bit or find your local VIPS!! We did head downtown one day and saw some amazing things, check out some photos from our trip.
Next stop is Canada and I CAN'T WAIT!!! We are over half way through our holiday now so on the home stretch. I have never been to Canada but I know it will feel a little bit like home which will be amazing, and......everything is cheaper there so shopping here we come!!!
(Photos: all photographs were taken by Styled to Profit on an iPhone)