Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Traveling makes me realize how absolutely amazing the human body is. How one can travel for 20 hours, eat food completely unknown to the palate, and then walk miles upon miles for the next few days is beyond me. However, I'm quite grateful for it. In fact, I've been able to make it three days before my injuries have started to really bother me--total blessing.

The past two days have been full of tourist activities, which is quite humorous to me. My mother will attest to the fact that I despise standing out anywhere and do my best to blend in. Now picture 70 Americans traipsing through the streets of Madrid, laughing and joking and unaware of the picture we make. *shakes head* I've decided it is a character building experience...

Yesterday we saw the Palacio Real, which is the Royal Palace in which the king of Spain entertains his guests. It is a gorgeous building; although we weren't allowed to take pictures of the interior, I can show a bit of the architecture.

While that was gorgeous, I far preferred El Escorial, which is both a world-famous monastery and also acts as the tombs of the past kings and queens of Spain. This is what part of the exterior looks like (again, we couldn't take pictures inside):

I'm about to nerd out for just a second, so feel free to skip this if you don't want my "fun facts." It was built in 1573 by Phillip II as a palace and is full of windows, frescos, staircases (88--the monks have to have some awesome quads..), and has a library. The library, one of my favorite places, contains thousands of books, and its oldest copy dates back to the 5th century. It was written by Saint Augustine, one of my favorite authors (although the book is called "Ceremonies for Baptizing Children," and I haven't read it...strange, huh?). 30 feet underneath is where kings from the 16th century to present day are buried. It now functions as a monastery and a school, but royalty is still buried there. Also, there is a room called "La Sala de Secretos" or the Room of Secrets. It's a small square corridor with a dome, and if you talk straight into one corner of the wall, someone listening in the corner across from you diagonally will hear what you say perfectly. Phillip did it on purpose...

My other favorite part of El Escorial were the gardens. Blond John--I think that the gardens of the Escorial are in the book of Spanish gardens you gave me! I took pictures for you, Mom, myself, and any other garden lover.

We went to El Prado as well, but by that time my knees were quite dead and my ability to correctly appreciate art quite diminished. I guess I can say I've been there, at least =)

I realized that this quite dry for anyone who hasn't seen the sites, so I'll stop there. Tomorrow we leave Madrid and bus to Sevilla, where I'll meet my host family. Keep me updated on your lives? I'd like that very much (yes, that means facebooking me--truly would make me happy).

I'll leave you with one thing I know I will dearly miss when I go home...

1 comment:

  1. que buena es la ciudad de Madrid! quiero verlo en las semanas que vendran. :)
    ayy que adventura. me hace feliz a saber que estas en el mismo pais q yo.
    te amo, chiquitina :)