El Escorial Monastery

Trip Start Feb 20, 2012
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Trip End Mar 12, 2012


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Flag of Spain  , Madrid,
Saturday, February 25, 2012

Today was a multi-destination day. First on our itinerary was the monastery/palace/basilica of El Escorial, about 30 minutes from Madrid. This place is a HUGE square building, with a basilica right in the middle of it, where the kings of Spain are buried. Sadly, as in many places that we went to, they don't allow pictures to be taken inside many of the rooms. I still managed to sneak a few pictures though, but some are blurry though since I was rushing to do the shot. 

This place was built in austerity, no over the top adornments anywhere except in the crypt where the kings are buried and the altar in the basilica. That doesn't mean the palace is not impressive, it has a very simple elegance to it. The mere size of the building is mesmerizing. 

Inside only a tiny portion of the building is accessible to visitors, and it's in form of a museum. The exhibits are pretty interesting, but you follow a tightly controlled route from one room to another without much exploration of your own. The first exhibit was so, so cool! The exhibits were about the construction of the building, featuring some of the tools they used, a crane, some of the original blueprints, and a scale model of the palace. It's a shame that they prohibit photography. 

Outside, the gardens are simple but pretty. The surrounding area is very nice since the palace is by a forest. Once we had taken pictures outside the building, we headed out to our next destination: Valle de los Caidos. 
  
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