Madrid Travel Blog› entry 2 of 12 › view all entries
It was early in the morning when we hopped on the coach bus for a 45-minute drive out of
The Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caidos) is located in the Sierra Guadarrama. Built between the 1940 and 1960, it was constructed by the orders of the Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco. It is also his burial place along with about 40, 000 Nationalist and Republican soldiers who died from both sides during the Spanish Civil War between 1936-1939.
The main entrance to the basilica is located on the east side in the big esplanade. The basilica was excavated in the rock and extends along a 262-meter (860 feet) long nave with six chapels (three on each side) devoted to the Virgin Mary. It is said to be larger than St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, technically, if measured from the main entrance to the very end of the altar nave, breaking the law of the Roman Catholic Church as there is supposed to be no church built bigger than St.
Outside the basilica is the imposing cross built on the rocky cliff known as Risco de la Nava. Designed and made by architect Diego Méndez, this enormous cross consists of granite. On the base of the cross are four colossal sculptures made by Juan de Ávalos depicting the four Evangelists: St. Luke with a bull,
This Royal Palace like many European palaces were adorned with gold, marble, countless of artworks and portraits. One thing that stood out in this royal palace was its vast collection of chandeliers! They were fantastic! I love them so much I took tons of pictures of the various chandeliers we saw as we went from room to room in the palace.
There were two rooms that I love the most in the Roya Palace of Madrid - one is not so surprising - the Throne Room! With walls covered in dark red-maroonish (I am not good at determining colors) with gold throne seats and those lions at the foot of the throne, they were imposing and very regal, indeed! Compared to other royal palaces I've visited during my travels, this throne room felt distinctively very Spanish! Maybe it was the regal red motif? The other room that I loved in the palace was the massive dining room that contained over 12 chandeliers! Why? Well, because of the chandeliers, of course!
After the Palace, we headed to the Prado Museum - a must-see place when visiting Madrid.
After the Prado Museum, we walked to Plaza Mayor. Every Spanish city has a Plaza Mayor but Madrid's Plaza Mayor is, I guess, the grandest of them all. Along the way, we stopped at a few souvenir shops to buy postcards. I'm a postcard nut! Everywhere I go, I buy postcards and mail them to all my friends and family! Before we headed back to our hotel, we stopped for a little merienda (snack) - what else but churros con chocolate! Yum yum!
My overall impression of Madrid? Well, I thought it was an okay city.
Next stop: the medieval town of Toledo and a night in Cordoba!