Today was a beautiful sunny day so we visited a park in the town of Torrejón de Ardoz which is only about 15km out of Madrid on the Barcelona road. We took Dani’s cousin Susana with us to give her mum a little break.
Torrejón de Ardoz
I have never actually been to Torrejón and knew little about it. The town lies on one side of the A2 motorway. On the other side of the main road is the NATO (formerly U.S.) Air Force base. The military airbase remains the thing that Torrejón is most famous for.
Another thing the town is noted for is being the home of the European Union Satellite Centre, an agency of the European Union and also the headquarters of the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial, the Spanish space agency. Yes. Me neither; but it is supposedly some claim to fame.
The European Park
Much better than all that space nonsense is the Parque Europa.
Entry to the park is free but most of the attractions are charged separately. With small kids however it is possible to have a great time without spending anything. The main attractions – while admittedly of more interest to adults – are the 18 replicas of European landmarks. These include Tower Bridge, the Eifel Tower, the Tower of Bethlehem (Lisbon) and the Brandenburg Gate.
The paid attractions include a 185m zip wire (tirolina), laser maze, trampolines (camas elásticas), boat hire and quadricycle hire.
The replica of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen is actually about twice the size of the real thing – at least as I remember it. But then that statue is probably the most disappointing of man-made landmarks. Sorry Denmark, but it’s the truth.
There are also several good places to eat and drink in the park. We ate in the Mirador de Europa restaurant which does kids meals and some great barbequed dishes. There is even a chill out terrace serving cocktails which you can sip on a chill-out bed (cama balinesa).
Same age but so different…
The day was another great lesson in how, generally, little girls behave better than little boys. Forget all that gender-neutral crap some people spout. It’s just a fact.
While his cousin was the perfectly behaved child Dani’s behaviour ran the usual roller coaster. From well behaved to little rascal in a matter of seconds. While she ate all her dinner almost unaided, he took an age and still left some. Preferring to behave as if some form of airborne plankton exists and that by talking non-stop he might ingest enough to survive. Talking but hardly listening. Please don’t get the wrong impression. I still love him even when he is not doing as he is told but there is no way he is as well behaved as his cousin. And he is not likely to be any time soon. Call me old fashioned by I believe the reason is simple. He is a typical little boy and she is a typical little girl.
Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Why would I? If you disagree with this summary of gender differences in 3-year-olds please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love a good laugh.
For park information visit these websites: http://www.parqueeuropa.es/ and http://www.parque-europa.es/