The 6th day of the tour was for El Escorial , almost an hour journey from Madrid (starting from Sol station). But then we had to do some laundry too. So we decided to change the plan to make it a afternoon trip and finish off with the laundry in the morning. We found a laundromat named Lavanderia close enough (almost half a km away) from the hotel. That is when we found out that there were too many Indian Restaurants in those small side roads. I was surprised actually. Started the laundry and had good breakfast in the nearby Italian place. The breakfast was very nice, with the toast with tomato puree kind of thing. It was very filling and tasty too. It was run by a family if I am not wrong and there were too many people walking in during the office break (at least that is what we guessed by their attire). Once the laundry was done, we caught our train from Sol via Chamartin.
We reached there and took the bus which goes to San Lorenzo de El Escorial and ended up in the bus station near by to it by around 13:40. We did only the Monastery and the Royal Basilica inside. Its a very quick walk through some nice streets to the entrance (in fact the side entrance is what we took) to the Monastery and again, the bags are not allowed here and has to be kept in the cloak room. We can have the camera but are not allowed to take snaps in almost all the places inside. I did sneak in one or two of them but felt bad doing it so refrained from it later.
It is a huge building and does take enough time to go around it. The two pictures that I did take were the one of a beautiful ceiling which had the paintings and a view of the garden from inside.
If you check out the floor plan of the Monastery you can see how bug it is and how long it might take. I was particularly impressed by the Pantheon and the Library. It was so so awesome. The library has the age old books saved and is so colorful you can’t help but stand and stare at it. And its HUGE. The Pantheon is in the underground and gives quite the chill. There was also a huge section where they had the bodies of all the royal families, based on the importance or age something like that. It was a little creepy actually. Not just one or two but almost 4-5 huge rooms of them. And then the rooms with paintings and everything as usual, explaining the history of the place and all. By the time we were done with it, we decided that we will skip the gardens (and there was a pretty huge crowd mostly consisting of school group tours) because all of us were tired and then we realized that it was already around 4 and we hadn’t had our lunch.
Everyone was very hungry but we couldn’t find any place nearby which was open for lunch. It was already snack and tea/coffee time and we had only one option for a restaurant after roaming around quite a bit. So if you go there make sure to be back to the plaza between 2-4 to have your lunch. Because the monastery and the basilica will take a lot of time. Or else go very early and complete it by lunch time. We were too tired to both with it and had what was available and decided that we will call it a day.That was the shortest visit. We had planned for the Valley of the fallen but it was already late and that place closes or rather the last bus from there starts by 5.30 and we didn’t have enough time to go and visit and come back. So we took the bus to the station and took the 6.45 pm train and came back to Sol, looked around a bit, and because of the late lunch, no one was particular about dinner. So went back to the hotel by 8.30 pm after some coffee. It was also decided that we would take this day slow because the next day we had to leave Madrid for Cordoba by the early morning train so we had to pack up and take rest and get up early, which is the most important part 🙂