With no tours scheduled and only dinner/show at night, we had the day to ourselves. Our legs were feeling a little worn out after a couple of weeks marching through Spain. So we planned a light day since we knew we had a long tour to Toledo scheduled for the next morning. We slept in an extra hour to rest our weary legs. Then after a late breakfast and a couple of cups of strong Spanish coffee (the only type the Spanish make!), we set off for Palacio Real de Madrid, the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Palacio Real de Madrid
Like many royal buildings in Spain, the palace is located on the site of a Moorish era fortress. The fortress burned down in 1735, and the existing palace was built on the site. It is one of the largest palaces I have ever seen, with nearly 1.5 million feet of floor space and 3,418 rooms. Those numbers would make it the largest royal palace in Europe by square footage.
Architecturally, the palace follows a largely Baroque design style. The interior rooms were ornate to the point of opulence, but were decorated with many impressive works of art. It is obvious that the Spanish monarchy were definitely patrons of the arts. There were paintings by Spanish artists such as Goya and Velázquez. In addition, there is a room containing instruments built by Stradivarius, that if played, would be the world’s only Stradivarius string quintet. Impressive displays of dining room centerpieces, porcelain, silverware and serving sets were part of the tour.
Mercado de San Miguel
After leaving the Palace we stopped at the Mercado de San Miguel for lunch. This was the market of tapas, bars, cheese and dessert we visited the day before. The Missus was eager to eat lunch there. But after trying to find something to eat, I was underwhelmed by it all. The food was OK, but the place was PACKED, so there was no place to sit and eat. In addition, going to different merchants meant constantly standing in line at each one. To be fair, we were probably there at the absolute worst time for explore this market, but I was not a fan when we left.
Dinner and Flamenco
Our travel agent Samuel Rojo at CaramelTrail reached out to us with a slight problem. The Flamenco dinner and show we had planned for the evening had a gas problem in its kitchen and could not provide dinner. Samuel was on his game and quickly got us reservations an exclusive restaurant called Quintin near our hotel. As he lives in the area, Samuel offered to meet us for a drink before dinner and then walk us over to the restaurant. Now that’s what I call service!
We ate a great dinner at Quintin, and then caught a cab to the Flamenco show at Corral de la Moreria (they couldn’t prepare dinner, but they could still do the show). The show was excellent. Of course, it was in Spanish so we couldn’t understand the words, but the music and dancing were quite powerful. We couldn’t understand the lyrics but the emotion in the dancing and singing more than made up for that. While this was something that the Missus wanted to do, I can admit that I DID enjoy it and was thoroughly entertained. In addition, we couldn’t believe that the Corral could have made a better dinner than the restaurant Quintin. So in the end we got the best of both parts on this night.
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