El Escorial

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       “Travel gives me the opportunity to walk through the sectors of cities where one can clearly see the passage of time.”      -Jerzy Kosinski

I’ve been quite sick with a sinus infection the past two and a half weeks. I’m finally on a second round of antibiotics and feeling a little better, which is good because I’m flying out to Dublin (AH!) tomorrow night. However, last weekend the only place you would’ve found me was in bed…or at El Escorial on a school trip for a few hours on Saturday. I had heard it was a beautiful palace/monastery 45 minutes outside of Madrid and the people in the office at school thought my sinuses could use a break from the dry, polluted air of Madrid. I signed up and made sure to pack a ton of tissues.

El Escorial was built over a period of 50 years for King Philip II. Besides the living quarters in the back, the building was half monastery (the kings of Spain were extremely Catholic, especially Philip who built his bedroom right next to the Basilica) and half university. Now, it’s mainly a museum.

We walked all around the huge building with our SU Madrid tour guide looking at the beautiful artwork, gardens, and architecture.

The glorification of war during that time period was truly ridiculous.

In case we didn’t already feel the presence of Spanish royalty in the palace…

we got to see their coffins. Kinda cool, but definitely creepy considering there are empty ones waiting for the current king and queen.

When we went to take look at the Basilica, a security guard stopped us because guests were proceeding in for a wedding. We went up to the library and by the time we came back down, the bride had already entered and we were allowed to peak inside.

The singing choir, organ playing, and exquisitely dressed wedding guests really contributed to the ambiance of the Basilica.

Finally, it was lunch time and I knew exactly what I wanted.

Paella! As a seafood and rice lover, paella is definitely my favorite Spanish dish. I’ve had it at least four times since I’ve been in Spain so far.

We paid an extra 50 euro cents to sit out on the terrace, but it was a beautiful day so in our minds there was no other option.

Plus, we got to watch this adorable little girl play on the fence.

I spent the rest of the weekend in bed writing a paper, catching up on television shows, skyping, and breathing in eucalyptus scented steam from a baby humidifier. I was thankful my señora’s daughter offered to bring this over because it did help me breath a little better. It’s probably a good thing I’m going to Dublin for my first weekend trip of the semester because it’s pretty humid there from what I’ve heard!

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