Day 37 - Madrid Palace

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July 26th 2017
Published: July 29th 2017
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As we had to pack up and check out of OK Hostel Madrid and because we had a 4pm train to San Sebastián which would fill up the rest of our day, there isn't an awful lot to report about today other than our morning visit to Madrid Palace. Having missed our chance to get in for free the night before, but not wanting to miss out, we wandered over to the palace after having found a little cafe for breakfast (we didn't really fancy the hostel brekkie 3 days in a row).

We had seen the palace from the outside on a number of occasions already and had been informed by Viviena, our tour guide, that it had approximately 4,200 or so rooms spread over it's 8 floors. It is large but it doesn't look quite as big as that, this is due to the fact that it is built into a hill so 4 of its 8 floors are partially concealed underground.

We paid our €11 entry fee (reigniting the regret of missing last nights session) and took the self guided tour route. We started by snapping a few more pictures of the courtyard and exterior of the palace from our new, closer, viewpoint. Next we moved inside and to the main staircase where we snapped some more pictures and that was where the photo opportunities ended unfortunately, as no cameras were allowed for the rest of he tour! This was a great shame as there were some very picture worthy things ahead of us.

All of the rooms were impressive and most featured Frescos, depicting heavenly scenes, on the ceilings framed by intricate golden borders. A few of the rooms were particularly impressive, including the dinning room, a dressing room and a church/ceremonies room. The level of detail on just about everything (furniture, walls, carpets, ceilings etc) was unbelievable. We also saw Charles III's crown and sceptre, table ornaments (think mammoth marble model of he palace itself, not just a candelabra or something!) and a number of statues. After the main tour was complete we visited a little exhibition about Charles III which included some of his artwork collection and other personal effects. We learnt that he was 'obsessed' with hunting, not because he enjoyed the hunt as such but because he could relax out of the public eye and that the post-death tradition was for he king to be laid on a four poster bed in a magnificent bedroom, opened to any and all of the public to enter at their will and pay their respects.

Finally, we moved on to the armoury, which displayed numerous coats of armour for both men and horses, maces, crossbows swords, pistols and rifles (including some of the biggest ones I have ever seen, over 2 meters in length). After leaving the armoury we got a nice view of the scenery and landscape to the west of the city again before collecting our bags and exiting the palace.

On our way back to the hostel I picked up an iced coffee and we shared some churros from the very old and traditional cafe we had been recommended to visit, Chocolateria San Ginés, which we ate back at the hostel whilst we prepped for our 6h train. They were delicious, I decided to attempt to suck he chocolate dipping sauce through the churro like a straw once Dan was finished (as you can with a cuppa and a twix) which actually worked quite well! In for a penny, in for a pound I say.

The train journey was uneventful and we arrived in San Sebastián at about 21:30 and made our way to our AirB&B place, sadly our host was 1/2 late to our pre-arranged check in time, which was a little annoying but wasn't too bad. I'm not 100% sure why she was late as she spoke almost no English (and I 'No Hablo Espanol') which made for a comical check in process, but we managed. Once we were all checked in and sorted we needed to find some food before bed but as it was now coming up to 11pm most places were shut, so we had to resort to fast food. Telepizza to the rescue, we shared a medium BBQ Meat pizza and some 'fingers de queso'!

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