On Sunday in Madrid (after the Prado but before the Escher) we went to The Escorial. Unfortunately, we could not take pictures inside.
El Escorial was both the Royal Palace of Spain and also a monastery. It is now a monastery and tourist site. When we first arrived, we were able to see the gardens of the royalty.
We were allowed to take pictures of the outside courtyard, as well. The wind was whipping, so it was difficult to even hold the camera still! This is the Plaza of the Kings, which has statues of saints throughout.
The Basilica and it altarpiece were stunning, but my favorite was the library. On the ceiling are representations of the liberal arts. My favorite was the one representing grammar: the woman was holding a whip to use on those who used incorrect grammar! In the basement are two Pantheons: the Pantheon of the Kings and the Pantheon of the Princes. All were marvelously decorated tombs of past rulers and their children.
Finally was the Hall of Battles. In the hall is a long mural depicting a number of battles from medieval times. It is supposed to be one of the most accurate depictions of the way battles were held. We found them fascinating.
After we went through the palace, we went across the street to a delightful small bar. There we had a lovely lunch, complete with creme brûlée and a chocolate cake! Afterwards, the wind that had been whipping turned into a rainstorm, the likes of which reminded us of home. The temperature plummeted, the rain was falling horizontally, and we had to run all the way across the large entrance. We were glad to get inside the store.
El Escorial is about an hour's drive from Madrid. If we had had time, we would have visited the Valley of the Fallen, but we did not. I think it would have been very depressing.
On the trip back to Madrid, we drove by these lovely little fields. The rock walls enthralled us.