El Escorial

Good morning!DSC_0404

I am typing up this blog post at 11 am, Sunday morning, drinking coffee and eating a big bowl of peanut butter oatmeal.  I’m feeling quite perky since I slept 13 HOURS last night!  After getting hardly any sleep on Friday night, my roommates and I were up early Saturday morning for a day trip to El Escorial.DSC_0385 After being out all day- hiking, exploring, chatting- I was basically about to collapse when we got home last night.  I ate dinner, showered, and was asleep by 9 pm (but my intention was actually to nap until 11 and then go out.  My mother is horrified by that statement.)  Unfortunately (or fortunately?) that plan didn’t work and I slept all night long.

So here we are.  After typing this up, I’m going to get dressed and maybe walk around El Rastro, or go get lost somewhere in Madrid.IMG_1369 It’s beautiful out, and I need to get out of my Sunday Funkday groove.DSC_0397

Anywho, El Escorial.  We received an e-mail about a free trip to El Escorial a few weeks ago, so my roommates and I signed up.  It was a big group of Erasmus students and English teachers, with a few Spaniards sprinkled in, too.DSC_0391 I didn’t really know much about it before going, but read a bit online.  If you’re interested:

The Escorial is a vast building complex located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid, in central Spain. The building is the most important architectural monument of the Spanish Renaissance. Construction of El Escorial began in 1563 and ended in 1584.

The project was conceived by King Philip II, who wanted a building to serve the multiple purposes of a burial place for his father, Holy Roman emperor Charles V; a Hieronymite monastery; and a palace…

…There have been some losses to its collections because of fire and pillage, but El Escorial remains the most complete and impressive monument of the later Renaissance in Spain.

Today, the Escorial is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is one of Spain’s most visited landmarks.

That information was taken from the El Escorial website.  If you want more information on the history of El Escorial, click here.DSC_0379

Before actually touring El Escorial, we hiked up to La Silla de Felipe II.DSC_0414

Here is some information about it:

Approximately 4 km from El Escorial, going on the Ávila road, we branch off at the Herrería Camp to go up to the Seat of Philip II, which is in the middle of La Machota Hill, situated on a huge rock of granite in which there are four sculpted seats. It is said that from here Philip II controlled the building of the monastery. (This may or may not be a myth).

The hike was beautiful and it was so nice to actually see leaves! and trees! and nature!DSC_0401 DSC_0409 DSC_0398

We made it to la silla and took the usual touristy photos.  Do we look royal?DSC_0420

This is me, trying to look normal, while I blindly stare into the sun and my eyes beg for mercy^^DSC_0421IMG_1361

The king must have had some breathtaking views from up there.  Or maybe he just played with his iPhone?  Not sure.DSC_0416

We ate lunch on a large rock and chit-chatted for almost an hour.DSC_0433

How about some Cuban food on a mountain?DSC_0435

Then we headed back down and made our way to the monastery (not before peeing behind rocks, though.  The Royal Family is just begging to take me in).  The walk down was a lot less strenuous since the sun was setting and it was downhill.  Me gusta.DSC_0436 DSC_0437 DSC_0448 DSC_0453

Once we finally arrived at the monastery, we were all pretty exhausted (me, especially I think) so I was happy to hear that we only had one hour to explore the various rooms.DSC_0457

Before going inside, we learned a little bit about the construction of El Escorial, as well as the use of grills throughout the architecture.


There are three grills in the photo above.  Two are on the wall and one is being held by the statue at the top.  The grill at the top is made of gold.  We made our way through, reading and looking.  It was absolutely beautiful inside and if you’re a history buff (dad), I would recommend going to see it.DSC_0463

If you’re not a history buff (me), going for the day for a hike and a quick walk through is also worth it.DSC_0467“NO PHOTOS!!!!” After this was snapped 😉

The view from the bathroom ain’t half bad…DSC_0469 DSC_0472

And neither is the walk through the old Spanish town.DSC_0479 DSC_0482 DSC_0484

I’m glad we decided to sign up for the trip to El Escorial.  it was a fun day with my roommates (+ our friend, Rachel) and a great chance to get OUT of the city and see some organic material.IMG_1368

El Escorial Information

How we got there:  We took the bus from Moncloa bus station (Yellow line)

Low long the bus took: 1 hour each way

Price of bus: Free with joven abono

Price of entrance into El Escorial: 5 Euro with student ID or Spanish student card.  10 Euro, normally.

Price of total trip: 6 Euro (because I bought Dunkin Donuts iced coffee…)

Catching Up!

This week felt incredibly long.  And I don’t know WHY!  We had Monday off, so I only worked martes, miercoles, y jueves, but it was still painfully slow.  I was more than happy to see Thursday afternoon roll around, at which point I promptly went to bed for a little siesta.  But I did other things this week like…

Discover a “Bulk Bin” store!  Rices! Beans! Grains! Flours! Candies! Dried fruits!  Spices!  GALORE.IMG_1331 IMG_1332 IMG_1333 IMG_1334

Went out to dinner with my roommates (Rachel y Kristen).  We had Mexican food (which was just ok) but getting out and trying a new restaurant and not cooking at home was so great.IMG_1349

Saw a breathtaking sunset.  Only this sunset can make that hideous building look ok.  Do you think that building’s owner would consider buying this photo for their promotional materials?  IMG_1347

Made Cuban food!!  For the first time ever.  I woke up Friday morning and chopped the veggies while drinking my coffee.  Hah.IMG_1351IMG_1356Also, I made a huge mess 😉

It doesn’t taste like mama’s, but it’s not bad for my first time (in my opinion).  Also, if anyone wants beans…I have enough to last two years.IMG_1377

Had lunch with my Ex-Host Mom and Ex-Host Roommates at the National Library.  I didn’t have enough time to walk through the library, but I would like to go back and see it.  The outside was ard.IMG_1352 Kidding.

And last, but should be first.  Breakfast of champs.IMG_1337


  • Began private Spanish lessons!
  • Fully booked a trip to Belgium in December
  • Did 5 loads of laundry.  If you are ever wondering, “hmmm…should I wash black pants with a semi-new white towel?”, you should.  If you want zebra-fuzz pants.
  • My room was finished!  I have curtains, shelves and a mirror!

And from El Rastro, this morning:IMG_1371 IMG_1370

Have a fantastic week and may it fly by faster than last week did.  Amen.