El Escorial

November 19, 2010

 Magestic, both literally (the Spanish royals are all buried here) and architecturally, El Escorial is an enormous and important historical site surrounded by mountains on one side and rolling countryside on the other, it's worth the day trip from Madrid. My favorite spots were the library and the Hall of Battles. After winding your way through the impressive halls, treat yourself like royalty and eat at Charoles.  And if we make it back to El Escorial one day, I would love to do this bike trip with the kids.
LAureen Burke said...

Isn't the Grill pattern amazing? Were you told the background on it?

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

I was impressed by that ceiling in the entrance to the basilica. Tell me about the grill pattern! I would love to travel in Spain with you...maybe we should plan a mommy daughter bookclub trip to Spain?

Laureen said...

OMG. Are you serious??? I would sooooo love it. Let's talk (skype) or email. My last trip to Spain was while I was still waiting for Isabel.

Regarding the grill:
The story is that Felipe II's army (circa late 1500s) won a battle against the French at San Quintin on the fiesta of San Lorenzo (his 'saint' day). So, to give thanks for victory, Felipe II decided to build a palace dedicated to San Lorenzo.

In case you didn't know, San Lorenzo was basically barbequed - martyred on a grill, so the Monasterio Real de San Lorenzo de El Escorial pays tribute to that by incorporating the grill design in the architecture.

Basically, everything from the bars on the windows to the things that hold the ropes to keep you in line are reminiscent of the grill San Lorenzo died upon.

My favorite rooms are the Pantheon...absolutely humbling to think you are standing amidst the remains of royalty extending back centuries... and the round room where you can whisper into one corner and (because of the architecture) hear the whisper by a silent echo in the opposing corner.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Thank you for that explanation...our Spanish friend kept pointing out the grills but I didn't really get it until reading your explanation!

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