Friday, July 20, 2012

Full Wednesday in Madrid with Jacki and Grandma

You can do a lot in a day.

On Wednesday, we took our time getting ready in the morning.  I walked to McD's with grandma for a coffee, then picked up some pastries for breakfast from a nearby pastelería.

At 11 something we were ready to leave the apartment so we headed downstairs.  In the entryway, grandma was having fun looking into the two large mirrors that are opposite each other:

El Escorial

El Escorial lies 45 km northwest of Madrid and used to be where the King of Spain resided.  It has since functioned as a monastery, school, museum, and royal palace.  Grandma said she thinks it's the biggest building she's ever seen.

In 1559 Philip II appointed an architect to design El Escorial, and it was finished in 1584.

You're not allowed to take pictures inside, but I have similar pictures outside from the two times I've visited:

Jacki at El Escorial, 2012

Me at El Escorial in 2010

Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen)

After leaving El Escorial we went to the nearby Valle de los Caídos, which I've never visited before.  Here's some good information about the site. Briefly, it is a Catholic basilica where many who died during the Spanish Civil War are buried. There's lots of controversy surrounding the memorial because it was dictator Francisco Franco's idea to build it, using prisoners of war to do so. Franco is also buried in the basilica, making it a place that not many Spaniards want to visit.

Just before we got out of the car, grandma was commenting that she couldn't believe there are people who don't take off their baseball hats when visiting a church. And then this is what we did in front of the basilica:

Heh... Just having fun with each other's company--and the camera!

We stopped for lunch, then drove to our next destination: La Granja.

La Granja

We paid to visit the inside of the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso. This was where the Kings of Spain lived during the summers, since King Philip V. Grandma liked seeing the 50-year-old tapestries inside, while I preferred the gardens.

^^^Right after this picture was taken a guard blew her whistle at Jacki to tell her to get off the statue


Since we were so close, we drove to Segovia that night so Jacki and grandma could see the Roman aqueduct and the palace.

After about a two hour drive, we all went straight to bed when we got home that night.