Last Friday, after getting out of school a little earlier than normal and feeling very excited to get a start on the weekend, despite the impending rain, some friends and I hit the road towards El Escorial, an old royal residence and monastery a little ways outside of Madrid. While I'd been to the nearby El Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen), or Franco's grave, a few years ago when I was moving to Madrid to be an au pair for the summer, I'd never managed to make it to El Escorial. I'm glad I was able to get there last week though, because it was much more beautiful than I'd imagined, and the fall colors on the trees surrounding the palace really made the experience for me. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!
Reminder to self: you now live in real Spain, not Galicia or the Basque Country!
The old glass in the windows made the trees look like a Van Gogh painting. Loved it!
I also loved this colorful Hall of Battles. So beautiful!
I may or may not have been yelled at by a security guard for taking this picture. Oops! The flash was off, at least...
I've really been missing the mountains and greenery while living in the desert-like Meseta, so El Escorial was a nice little break!
Imposing doorway to the castle
Love fall foliage, it makes me think of home!
Having a coffee every day in a square with a view like this must really be tremendous, mustn't it?
I also really liked the landscaped gardens. I'm a sucker for symmetrical patterns, so these gardens were right up my alley!
Have you ever been to El Escorial? Did you find it as beautiful as I did? What are some other daytrips near Madrid that you can recommend to me?