The other weekend, Nacho and I took a day-trip northwest of the city to a small town with big cultural significance called El Escorial. The day was drizzly and a little cold, but in a way, the weather helped create a pensive and tranquil tone to our excursion. We took our time touring the monastery and, in an attempt to take something away from the history surrounding us, discussed how life would be at this address so long ago. The afternoon was spent sauntering over the wet cobblestones, running from store to store if the rain came down too hard, but absorbing much more history and culture than water.
I am lucky in that Nacho's dad has a passion for history and religion, as well as story-telling. My lunches at the Casal's are jam-packed with history, and I know my sightseeing would would mean half as much as it does without these lessons.
So long story short- I learned that the monastery was also a royal palace, and in the 16th and 17th centuries, it held the power of the Spanish Monarchy and also the Roman Catholic Religion, a decision made by Phillip II of Spain. The architect of El Escorial was Juan Bautista de Toledo, who also worked in Italy for Michelangelo and on St. Peter's Basilica of Rome (and whose home-turned-museum I toured while in Toledo this past Christmas).
It was nice to get away from work and the business of the city. Next day-trip: La Granja!
|This one I took|
|This one I didn't take.. a bird's eye view of the enormous monastery|
|There was a wedding!|
|The sun came out on the drive home :)|