Palacio Real de Madrid
Charles III Exhibition
Museo Naval Museum
Today is another cold and soggy day.
Fortunately, we are spending most of the morning in the Palacio Real de Madrid. The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family however it is only used for state ceremonies, which is likely what we ran into yesterday in attempting to visit it.
Construction on the palace began in 1735 in the Baroque, Classicism architecture with the first monarch to occupy it being Charles III in 1764. This palace is huge with a floor area 1,450,000 ft2. It is built on the former site of the old Alcázar of Madrid that burned to the ground over four days. The structure is built around a very large courtyard.
Unfortunately, there were very few pictures allowed, however we did purchase postcards and some along with pics I was able to take are shown here. The rooms we were allowed to visit were extraordinary, especially the Royal Chapel, The Crown Room and the Grand Staircase.
There was also a special exhibition featuring Charles III at the palace and we did take the time to visit.
After spending the morning at the palace, we flagged down a cab which took us to the Museo Naval de Madrid. We grabbed a quick bite and then entered the museum. This is a national museum that details the history of the Spanish Navy from 15th century in chronological order. It was all very interesting however we both tired of it after we had gone through the 19th century.
The rain had stopped by the time we left and we decided we could make the 30 minute walk back to the apartment. It was quite interesting as the pictures show.
Today is our final day in Spain. As I reflect back on our month plus over here, i can’t help but be amazed at what we have seen. To experience Cordoba, Granada, Malaga, and Seville with our friends Cathy and Scott was wonderful and Madrid the last three days proved that we can do this on our own in a country where our language skills are virtually non existent.
Thank you airbnb.com, visitacity.com, expedia.ca, google.ca/maps and translate.google.com. Couldn’t have done it without you. London and the Norwegian Fjords in August.
Jill & Kerry
Footnote: While doing our Air Canada online check in we discovered that our flight had been moved up almost one hour. Fortunately, our time for arrival at the airport was still good. Just goes to show you it is worthwhile checking in on line or at least confirming the flight time.
Yesterday, we said goodbye to our friends Cathy and Scott. We have had a great time with them in Spain. They are over a month away from returning home and Portugal is next on there travel list.
Jill and I traveled to Madrid by high speed train arriving at the train station in Madrid at just after 4:00 pm. We grabbed a cab (very efficient handling of a large number of people wanting cabs) and met Mar at the apartment. She took us through her apartment explaining how everything worked, gave us the keys and left us with a bottle wine, pastries, milk, orange juice, bread and chocolates on the bed. The apartment is in a wonderful location, literally minutes from many attractions. Mar also arranged for a cab to pick us on Saturday morning. She is a very gracious and helpful host.
We have two words for Madrid . . . cold and wet, however we did see some very interesting churches, palaces and buildings.
We intended to begin our day by visiting the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande which was literally just around the corner from our apartment, about a one minute walk. However, we found that it was not open when we arrived and decided to come back to it later in the day.
About a five minute walk away was the Catedral de Santa María La Real de La Almudena also k own as the “Cathedral of Madrid”. The construction of this cathedral began in 1879 . Once again, this cathedral (it seems) was built on the site of a medieval mosque that was destroyed in 1083. Believe it or not the cathedral was not completed until 1983 when it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. Today it is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid. This cathedral reflects Gothic revival design with the interior being Neo-Gothic and is uniquely modern inside. This is truly a beautiful cathedral as hopefully the pictures indicate.
We discovered just how close this cathedral is to the Royal Palace. Our original plans once again were to visit the palace but it was closed for the day because of a special event. We did note that the flags were at half mast presumably because the the terrorist attack in London. We plan on returning tomorrow to visit it.
We had a late lunch and when we left the restaurant we found that is was raining quite hard and decided to return to the apartment and at 4:00 pm venture out to the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande.
The basilica is designed in the Neoclassic style in the second half of the 18th century. The dome is 108 ft in diameter and 190 ft in height. The church contains painting by Zurbarán and Francisco Goya. Once again, we joined a Spanish only tour, however pictures were allowed without flash. At the conclusion of the tour we were allowed to stay and take additional pictures. On our way the the gentleman who was selling tickets spoke enough English for us to get by and kindly took us the the very centre of the dome where he took a selfie with us under the dome with Jill’s iPhone.
After the rain abated , we went out to dinner. After dinner we walked through the streets and discovered a fairly new market. This market seemed to be designed for eating right there with tables and many different booths with all kinds of choices of food. Pity we had already eaten. From here we walked home and got some more night shots of the streets and the basilica.
All for now.