A Week In Madrid, Spain | Day 3 (10 Photos)

Early on, day 3 was another overcast day with occasional drizzle.  My plan for this day was to wake up early and check out the Royal Palace and nearby Cathedral.

1: My hotel was near Puerta del Sol, which is a square in the city center, that is a major subway hub. It was notably absent of people. This photo was taken just after sunrise on the Easter weekend. Normally the square is jam packed with people. In the foreground is an equestrian statue of King Charles III of Spain. In the background is the 18th century post office building with its clock tower, which was repurposed as offices for the President of The Community of Madrid.

2: After a 20-minute walk from Puerta del Sol, I reached the Royal Palace of Madrid early enough, that there wasn’t many people around to clog up the foreground. The palace was finished in 1755, years after the previous palace was destroyed in a fire. It was first occupied by King Carlos III in 1764, and occupied by the royal family until 1931.

3: Directly across from the palace gate was the Almudena Cathedral. Groundbreaking was in 1883, and it was completed in 1993. Yes, it took 110 years to complete, because construction had halted during the Spanish Civil War, and wasn’t restarted until 1950.

4: Once inside the palace, you really get a sense of the opulence of the Spanish monarchy. You are not supposed to take photos once you get past the entrance hall, but I managed to sneak a few.

5-6: Ceiling frescos are one of my favorite things to photograph. The palace did not disappoint. It’s hard to believe that the artists probably painted these frescos lying on their backs atop some rickety scaffolding.

7: Apart from the normal palace tour, there was a compelling exhibit about King Alfonso XIII, and how he made it his personal mission to help families determine the fate of soldiers that died in World War 1. Spain remained neutral during the war due to the King’s family ties to royal families on both sides of the conflict. Heartfelt letters were sent to the King, who often would reply. Pictured is an example of a letter from the family of a missing American.

8: When I emerged from the palace, most of the clouds had dissipated. This view is of the apse of Almudena Cathedral, with the entrance to the crypts below. You can visit the crypts for a small donation.

9: I’m not sure who is interred in this particular grave, but it appeared to be a very important member of the clergy. Not only is the display beautiful, it was situated in a place of honor.

10: Just outside the crypt entrance is the remains of some muslim walls from the 9th century. During the Middle Ages, Madrid and much of Spain was occupied by a Muslim Caliphate.

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