Wednesday, May 3, 2017

El Escorial, 1

We visited El Escorial, the 16th century royal residence, in January of 2010, during the January thaw of an historically cold winter in Spain. We had been in warmer Lisbon, but saw a January thaw coming and made a dash to Madrid for a brief visit there, with side-trips, we hoped, to El Escorial, Segovia, and Avila. It was cold, wet, and gloomy in central Spain, but above freezing for nearly a week. Our visit to El Escorial was not our happiest. In addition to the cold, wet, and gloom, El Escorial itself, the palace/monastery, is grey, gloomy, cold, not welcoming...pretty much what its creator, Philip II probably had in mind...and, in addition, the town itself was not particularly welcoming for 7 meter RVs. This time we did better in the parking department, landing a spot just outside the basilica entrance, metered, but we ended up able to spend the night there. The weather was improved, too, bright and sunny, but with temps dropping below freezing that night. Fortunately, our current 5.4 m rig can cope better with cold, and parking limitations. The palace/monastery, however, remains cold, grey, gloomy, unwelcoming...not my favorite place in Europe. Not to mention the "NO FOTOS!" policy, scrupulously enforced. Thank the gods that Versailles, not El Escorial, became the model all the later monarchs wanted to emulate.
Basilica side entrance to El Escorial; located here is a present-
day school, K-12, it seemed, with kids everywhere during
Larger partial view: EE is huge
Pano view
EE's setting, in a high valley, surrounded by mountains, an
hour's drive from Madrid; our rig is just out of view, but over
there near the other RV

Court of the Kings

The Library at EE, the one place we like

Ceiling done by a follower of Mr. Twisty (Michaelangelo); it
depicts the 7 liberal arts; here, Grammar

Philip II was a real stickler for grammar; notice the whip in
Ms. Language-Person's left hand and the putti turning away in

Copy of Papal Bull outside the library threatening ex-
communication for anyone stealing a book; so helpful to
have friends in high places

Now we are in the basilica, the church,
Baroque to the hilt, slathered in Peruvian gold

Phil and two of his wives, eternally praying:not pictured: Mary

Altar; why put a monastery in your palace? you
ask; Answer: Phil needed a lot of people
prayingfor him

In Florence, I think, it's called tranquil grey;
here, it's austere, cold grey

Famous Cellini sculpture

At this point I was finally nailed: "NO FOTOS!"

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