November 3, 2008

Royal Palace.

I then went 3-for-3 in my ratio of not finding major LARGE city monuments as I attempted to search for the Palacios Real (Royal Palace) – as you may or may not know, I couldn’t find MNAC in Barcelona and then the Alhambra in Granada and now the Royal Palace in Madrid. I wouldn’t feel so bad about this except these are all BIG places and take up good chunks on city maps that I have no excuse for NOT being able to find them. Alas, it is what it is.

Anyhow, I finally found it and am so glad I did. The presence of it from the street and just once you step into the plaza of the Palace is so overwhelming and just royal. It is still in use for the King and Queen of Spain when they have royal guests and other events so it made it even more interesting walking around the many, many rooms. I decided to take the audioguide tour – they totally hooked me with their advertising which was a big poster (in 4 languages) next to the audioguide rental desk asking “Do you know how many guests can be seated at once in the royal dining room?....Take the audioguide and find out!” Da*n, they are good. Or I am just curious but either way, I’m glad I took it because I learned way much more about each room than I never would have known otherwise.

So the rooms of the Palace. Wow. Amazing. Opulent. Artistic. Detailed. Perfect craftsmanship. Jaw-dropping. I sadly can’t show you any pictures because yet again, there were none allowed and if I slightly feared the guards working at Palau Musica, was a bit worried about those at the Picasso Museum, and fully feared the man working at the Sistine Chapel, then I was beyond fearful of the men and women who worked for the royal court of Spain! Alas, I did not even attempt a photo but am hoping my memory can retain it all for years to come because it was seriously incredible and I would definitely put it on my Top 10 of things I have seen/done since I have been here. Each room had the finest of silks and carpets and marble and commissioned paintings (on the walls AND many of the ceilings) and clocks and sculptures and furniture and floors and wallpaper and windows and the colors. The colors! Each room had a color scheme just a little different from the next but all so rich. The armory was also pretty impressive (where the kings had displayed all of their armor and swords and guns) and surprisingly, I loved the Royal Pharmacy. Just six smallish rooms but each containing shelves and shelves of ceramic urns and glass jars and some with rows upon rows of drawers all labeled with different medicines or herbs. I also found out (via my handy dandy audioguide) that there was a locked cabinet filled with poisons!

I am sorry I can’t show you anything but the exterior of the building but I CAN give you the answer to the audioguide’s intriguing question on their advertising. 140. Yes, one-hundred and forty people can sit around that royal dining room table for dinner when all of the leaves are in place and chairs are set around.

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