Today I started with a visit to the Royal Palace. No, unfortunately I was not an invite guest. I was just a typical tourist who paid a fee to wander around about a third of the inside of the palace. I started by touring an area that housed a military museum of sorts that mainly contained items dating back to the time of knights in shining armour. The museum contained a whole variety of armour suites for both a men, children, and horses. It also had a few swords and a few early guns (small they weren't). It's interesting to think how technology has changed since the time of the knights in shining armour, but sadly today's military hardware still has the same sad purpose.
From the military museum I headed inside the palace, which is apparently Europe's third-greatest (after Versailles and Vienna's Schonbrunn). My first opinion of the palace was that it was too excessive, then thought at least it kept many good craftsmen and artists busy for a while.
After I completed my palace tour I headed off to the Prado Museum, but first I needed to stop by the train station to make arrangements for tomorrow. It gave may an opportunity to experience the fun of waiting at a train station. Fortunately, they have a numbering system so you don't actually have to stand in line while waiting.
Tomorrow I going to head to Toledo for the day after which I'll return to Madrid and catch the overnight train to Lisbon. I will be taking the high speed AVE train to Toledo, but a slower normal train to Lisbon. I expect to get a hotel in Lisbon that is as good or better then where I am now, so I should be able to stay connected while I'm over there.
The Prado Museum is obviously nothing like the Louvre in Paris. However, they do let you take pictures as long as you don't use a flash. The museum was good and it had a few pieces that interested me, however about two thirds of the museum was closed off for renovations. Fortunately, access to the museum is free on Sundays. That was both good and bad. It was good because I didn't have to pay to see just a third of the museum and bad because the place was packed with folks taking advantage of the free entry.
On my way back to the hotel I took a slight deter to avoid what looked like a massive protest of some sort. I don't know what it is about yet, but it seems to have caught the police by surprise. After I started on my detour I notice many police vehicles racing to that general area. Then a while ago about a 12 or more police cars and about 10 police motor cycles (each carrying two officers) raced past by my hotel and continued into a direction a ways south west of my hotel from which I could hear the faint sound of the chanting crowd. I'll have to check the news in the morning to see what it was all about.
That's about it for today. Here's a few photos of the palace and the museum.
These are from the palace. No description should be required.
These are from the museum. I have descriptions of each one, but they are in Spanish, so I'll hold off adding them until I can do the translation.
As mentioned above, I'm off to Lisbon tomorrow evening, so it may be a day two before I can do another update.