Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 6: Manzanares el Real

Our last day in Spain we ventured to the small town of Manzanares el Real. Trav had been there once before and we went kind of on a whim when we realized that we couldn't get a bus to the city we originally wanted to go to.

It was a happy accident.

This was a cool city, and a great way to end our trip.

The first thing you see when you get in the city is this beautiful old bell tower, home to nesting storks. There weren't many people in the city that day, and as we walked the quiet streets the bells were ringing and it was really quite lovely.

We only had to walk about a half mile to get to this amazing castle, The Castle of Mendoza. (If you've seen or heard of the movie El Cid, this is the castle that was used in the film). The castle was constructed in 1475 for one of Spain's most powerful families, the Mendoza's. I thoroughly enjoyed touring this castle for a few reasons, 1-it was almost empty while we were there. There was one other couple we saw outside, and a few tour guides. It was so nice to be able to just take our time and stroll through this amazing castle. And 2-this castle just felt old. Parts of it were still in ruin. This is the last time on the trip that I had the chance to wonder why I'm not Queen.
This is the wall that is built around the castle. I couldn't believe all the detail work that was done and can't imagine how they managed to do it clear back then. Astounding.
The courtyard here is surrounding by a few different 'coat of arms'. This one happens to be the Mendoza coat of arms.

Inside was pretty awesome. The paintings and tapestry's were just beautiful, and so freakin old!
This is the view from one of the balcony's, it overlooking the lake.
1 of the 4 towers.
The view from the top of this castle was just beautiful. The mountains here are worth seeing and draw a lot of attention due to the rock formations, and you could see the whole city from here. I imagine the Mendoza's view was quite different back then though.:)
This is overlooking part of the ruin. I so wish we could have explored there too.
These keyholes surround the entire wall. The details of this castle were all so beautiful.
Awesome, just awesome.
After seeing the castle we walked through the city to see the medieval bridge that the town boasts.
And after crossing the bridge we found the 'old castle'. This is where the Mendoza's lived while building the castle we just toured. It used to be fairly big, but is obviously in ruin now. Still pretty cool to see.
We then made it to the main Plaza where we dined on the biggest Spanish Tortilla sandwich ever made. Seriously, this was half a baguette. And only 2 euros! And sooo tasty. It doesn't look like much, but yum.
We left Manzanares el Real both excited to be coming home to our comfy bed, beautiful ladies, and regular life, and so sad that the trip was almost over. We decided to make the best of our last night and went to the Prado located near the beautiful banco de espana. The Prado is one of the worlds most greatest art galleries and it is huge. I was a little overwhelmed when we got there because I knew there would be no way to take it all in. We were able to see some of their most prized pieces, and Travis really wanted me to see Goya's dark pieces. A whole room with some of the most disturbing art I've ever seen. We were a little bummed because the night we went the Renoir exhibit started, and we were all excited to see it, till we finally got there and realized you had to pay extra, all the way downstairs, and we were only a half hour from closing time. We bagged it, and opted to go out to dinner instead.

Here's a cathedral located right above the Prado. Another gem in the city.
The Prado

We went to a little restaurant near our hotel for dinner and learned that Spaniards like to take their time when they eat. We were quite ready for our check by the time it came. And when it came it came with complimentary mojitos. We felt a little bad just leaving them on the table, but I couldn't get Trav to drink em with me. (I kid.) That night Real Madrid was playing Milan (Futbol), and we were able to watch the game in the restaurant. It was really cool to watch the game while in the city with some serious fans. We were talking about how we should have got tickets when they showed a clip of the policemen beating some fans from Milan for causing a bit of a riot, and I was glad we were no where near the stadium. They love them some soccer!

Our trip really was a dream come true for us, and ended up being completely amazing and time we will cherish forever. Someday we hope to take the ladies along for the ride, you know, when they are old enough to really appreciate it. It is so nice to be home though. We missed our girls, we missed our home, our bed, our friends, our family, and our boring normal life. We have it good here!


Lorinda said...

And I am so glad that you two got to take that trip together - what an excellent tour guide you had! Did you have to slip him a few euros for the "extra" stuff?? ;) I missed you though and am glad you are back in the valley.

Eileen said...

Oh. Is this the end? I loved traveling to Spain with you!

I'm glad you are home. We miss you when you are gone.

Clayton and Heidi said...

What a fun trip.

ps. props to you for not doing your hair on the trip!!!

Trisha said...

Thanks for taking us along with you!

Kylene said...

(sigh) Looks like SO much fun. Thanks for sharing all the fun pic's. And no worries about the adapter. I'm glad you got it all worked out.

The Wolfley Family said...

That was so much fun to see that I wish it wasn't over! I totally get to co me next time!

Nyman's said...

thank you for that incredible journey to Spain, I loved it!