Day 15 – Madrid

Today I visit the Royal Palace in Madrid. Since they were all booked up when I first came to Madrid with the tour group, I bought a ticket then for my return. It is a massive building built in the early 1700s by Italian architects. It has three floors above ground and five below.

An extremely large painting of the royal family greets visitors. It took the painter 20 years to complete, from 1994 to 2014. Spain’s current king Felipe VI is the prince at the far right in the painting.

The palace is the official residence of the royal family, but it is not comfortable for them so they live several kilometres of Madrid. Official events are held here.

With over 3,400 rooms in the palace, the tour could not possibly cover them all. This room served as the king’s dressing room.

The wall covering designs are not painted but every bit embroidered with silk. Unreal!

The formal dining room. Five glasses per setting for a variety of beverages throughout the meal.

I pass through many other beautiful rooms, including an instrument room containing three Stradivari violins from Cremona.

Next I visit the royal armory, which displays the armor and weapons of Charles V and other Spanish kings

And their horses

And dogs

This Japanese suit of armor was a gift from a Japanese delegation to King Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor in the 1500s. It makes for an interesting contrast with its open mouth and eyes to the closed up helmets of the Europeans. It is not complete as photos show some kind of covering made of what looks to be thin sticks tied together.

Such beauty and workmanship in the cause of war.

Next I visit the Cathedral across from the Royal Palace. It is a relatively modern structure without much interest for me, but this image is attracting crowds. She’s the Virgin of Almudena, the patroness of Madrid. I sit and watch the crowds file in front to pay homage.

For lunch, now that it’s 2:30pm, I walk to the Plaza Mayor where I finally find an open table. I am amused to see the group of eight women next to me spending lots of time trying figure out how to split the bill. It was a mistake to lunch at this hot spot. Costly and mediocre melon and tough jamon. Where is the prosciutto?

I think to have a little something for dessert but decide it’s not worth the wait. This woman in the black jacket gives up too.

Tomorrow the Museo del Prado, then on to Valencia.

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