Left Madrid uneventfully. Quick mile or so walk to train station, rode express bus to airport, picked up mini-car, and drove to El Escorial. This combo palace, monastery, and tomb was built by Philip III of Spain at the time when his empire stretched around the world. He chose the same architect as San Quentin Prison.
The place is depressing and scary. Big crude blocks of granite with the only finished walls that we saw were,in the tomb rooms. All ten or twelve of them chock full of royalty. The one with the kings, queens and emperor (Charles V) was a perfect place to film a vampire movie. The other rooms with the lesser and smaller corpses were equally full of gravitas.
The palace rooms were full of stuff that did not make it to the Prado. An exception was the El Greco that was too avant garde for the management. He was terminated after one commission. I liked it. The whole place was cold in all known dimensions. In contrast, fun palaces like Chambord and the Lourve were going up in France. Philip wanted to be close to the monks and God and could tune into the monks 24/7. His bedroom was the same size that you would find in most tract homes built in the last half century and I mean the kids bedrooms.
Moved on to Segovia. We could not stand the idea of visiting Franco’s Valley of the Fallen after being temporarily entombed with Spanish monarchs for two hours.
Segovia is delightful. Peggy took at least thirty pictures of the storks roosting on the roof of the church a couple hundred feet from our room. The Roman aqueduct is still spectacular. The Alcazar had several hundred steps that needed massaging. Looking forward to a great evening.
O yes, pigs. Little piglets roasted whole are the Segovian specialty. Not sure if I am up to the one who went to the market.
We are going to try Palm Sunday Segovia style before heading to Salamanca.