Started our morning out with a 20 minute walk to the Royal Palace. It was originally erected in the late 17th century and was patterned after Versailles in France. It has 2800 rooms. Although the royal family lives in a mansion a few miles away it still functions as the ceremonial palace for formal state receptions, royal weddings, etc. This is probably the most ornate building that we have toured. We are only able to show a few photos because the photography was restricted for the majority of the rooms.
Of course no visit would be complete without a cathedral shot. This is Almudena Cathedral, the cathedral of the Royal Family.
On our way back we navigated to the Puerta del Sol. The Puerta del Sol is the center of Madrid. On New Year’s Eve it is the equivalent of Times Square. When the clock chimes twelve, people eat one grape for each chime to bring good luck for the coming year.
And even in this shopping area you can find cheeses and hams in the window.
Our afternoon was spent visiting the Prado Museum, one of the world’s best. With more than 3,000 canvases, we were able to see some of the works of the greatest Spanish painters as well as other European masters. Keena enjoyed the paintings of Velazquez, Murillo, El Greco, Picasso, and Goya, particularly the ones she teaches about in class. I found out that Velazquez plays with light. Murillo painted religious paintings. El Greco painted his models’ hands to resemble the “live long and prosper” sign from Star Trek and Picasso did “real paintings” before he did the scrambled up ones. I also learned that Goya’s paintings were really nice…before he became depressed. Guess that’s what I get for going to this museum with a Spanish teacher!