Friday we had another excursion to El Escorial and Valle de los Caídos. It wasn’t my favorite thing we’ve done so far, but it’s always great to see more of the local history and new parts of Spain.
El Escorial is officially called “The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.” It is the biggest building in Spain and has been a royal palace, monastery, school, and museum. It houses the tombs of former Spanish royalty. It was constructed in the 16th century, and it only took 20 some years to build which is really impressive considering some of the cathedrals took easily 200-300 years. Inside the building, we toured the museums (tons of art), tombs, library, etc. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside El Escorial.
Valle de los Caídos (“Valley of the Fallen”) is a basilica and monument near El Escorial. The Spanish dictator Francisco Franco ordered its construction to commemorate the tens of thousands of people that died during the Spanish Civil War. Francisco Franco is actually buried behind the alter in the basilica, making it a rather controversial place. The basilica and monument (a massive stone cross on the mountain) make a gorgeous backdrop, so we got some great photos of Spain’s landscape.
After returning from the excursion, I took a bus with some friends to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 at La Luz de Castilla (a mall on the outskirts of the center of Segovia). We watched the movie in Spanish, and I was pretty impressed with myself for being able to sit, listen, and understand most everything without having to concentrate too hard on translating word for word. Loved the movie! It did, however, involve a 3 mile walk home since the buses had stopped running by the time the movie was out 🙂 Always an adventure around here!