On Sunday, we visited the Royal Palace in Madrid – a huge and gorgeous building with over 2,000 ornately decorated rooms. Of these 2,000 we got to visit 24 including the expansive dining room where the current king of Spain (Rey Juan Carlos) still hosts guests at least twelve times a year.
The palace faces its own Cathedral, dedicated fairly recently by Pope John Paul II, and it preceded by a fabulous gate, which is actually pictured in the foreground here.
This was the buzzer at a small church tucked in the streets of Madrid that was part of the walking tour described in Rick Steves, (the tour book that Mary brought to Spain and our Bible for much of the trip).
I had to laugh. The top button was to be pushed to call the priests, the second button to call the nuns, and the final for some sort of light. The holy spirit, maybe?
On Saturday morning we moved on to our final stop of the trip, Madrid. Immediately upon arriving at the train station, it became obvious to all of us that this is the largest city (by far) that we have visited. Our hotel was right on one of the main plaza, Puerta del Sol, which was constantly hopping with people, police, and street performers.
I loved all the historic facades in the city, which reminded me a lot of my trip to Paris and how much I enjoyed all the old buildings there. Even though Mom insists that not EVERY big European city looks like this, I remain decidedly unconvinced.
On our way to dinner in Toledo, the sky looked ominous. While this made for a bit of a struggle, walking through the dust storms and high winds, it also made for incredible photos of the hilltop panoramic landscapes that the city provides.
I decided to post this photo especially in hopes that Bonnie could use her recently acquired meteorology experience to help explain what wild weather we were seeing!
All day wandering around the city we kept seeing people who seemed to be preparing for some sort of grand party. We saw caterers, ladies with fancy hats, and even a few men in tails. We spent much of the evening searching the quiet streets for the bride.
On our way to dinner we came across a sidewalk decorated in streamers and colorful glitter. While we never found the bride, we did find the site of the wedding and knew (from the discarded remnants on the streets) that it had been a fun one!