Saturday, 30 October 2010

Aranjuez - by Theo

A hour south of Madrid, surrounded by arid plains, lies the royal retreat of Aranjuez. It was here, among the fields of asparagus and strawberries on the banks of the river Tajo, that the Bourbon monarchs built their Spring residence in imitation of Versailles. So, while it wasn't the season to taste the produce Aranjuez is famous for, we decided to use the visit of my parents as a reason to take the car for a run and get out of the city for a day.After coffee and croissants on a cafe terraza (much to the surprise of the waitress "pero, que frio, no?") we strolled first in the beautiful and huge Jardines del Principe, the trees looking gorgeous in their autumn colours, admiring fountains and follies while Rosie snoozed in the pram. We chanced the menu in El Rana Verde (the green frog) where we managed to find enough veggie options for Kate and I. My parents weren't up for trying the house specialty - frog's legs - sticking with the relatively safe option of steak.Much fun was had during desert by offering Rosie, who had chowed down her puree and yoghurt, a slice of lemon. She masticated away enthusiastically, before pulling a priceless face, then going back for more. Learning takes a while.

More parks followed to walk off lunch, this time in the Jardin de la Isla, an artificial island behind the Royal palace, created by building a weir on the Tajo and diverting a channel. Rosie got a ride in the sling to enjoy a better view of the galleries, aviaries and fountains. A beautiful walk on what had become a warm and sunny autumn day.

Time was getting on and Rosie needed her next nap (in the car this time), so we never actually made it inside the palace. A good excuse for a second visit, then.

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