The first stop we made was Puerta del Sol. It is a large square in the middle of a big shopping district close to our hotel. I was a little surprised at how small and relatively uninteresting it was given that it is listed in so many guidebooks. Then we headed off to Plaza Mayor.Plaza Mayor was at one time a huge market. Executions were held here during the Spanish Inquisition. Now it is a much more pleasant sight. It is lined with Cafes that make it a bit of a tourist trap. It has some great people watching. We ate lunch there and I had some Paella. The picture below of the building facade on the right is interesting. It is painted with a bunch of different stories with nude figures. The paintings were very beautiful. I am not sure very many places would allow that in the states.
Some highlights of the palace. The entry was beautiful. All marble with two giant lion statues with their paws on giant spheres. There was a huge tapestry with the current king and queen's symbols on it. It was very royal. When we got to the throne room I was really impressed with how beautiful the thrones were. The chairs were surrounded in gold and had red and gold fabric on them. I was really impressed how good they looked for being so old until I read in the guide book that they were made in 1977. Oh well, still beautiful. They had a few rooms where the walls were completely covered in porcelain. The walls were not tiled with grout. You could not even see the lines between one piece of porcelain to the next. They had this cherub pattern on them. The cherubs were actually 3 d and had green banners and ribbons that were 3 d too. The cherubs were about every foot or so in all directions. Now imagine that on a 20 to 30 foot tall room with giant frescoes on the ceiling. It was a bit over the top, but it was really cool. They had an Asian decorated room too. I guess that was pretty trendy at the time. Next, to the dining room. This was the largest dining room that I have ever seen. It is used for small intimate gatherings of say, 150 to 200 people. P and I decided that we would have to turn down an invitation if we were ever invited to dine here. The chairs looked extremely small and uncomfortable. We don't think we could make it through a whole meal. Lastly we went through the royal armory. I had never thought about how a man with a beer belly would wear a suit of armor until I saw some beer belly suits of armor. It would be funny to have to make a new suit every few years to keep up with an expanding waste line.
That is all for Day 2.