Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MADRID: PALACIO REAL

Madrid was the final stop on our trip to Portugal and Spain, and we spent two full days there before leaving for home.  Of course, Madrid is the capital of Spain and, at over 3 million inhabitants (and over 6 million in the greater metropolitan area), is its largest city.  And while it has some of the same charms as the other, smaller cities that we visited, it has the feel of a large cosmopolitan area.

On our first day we visited the Palacio Real, the Royal Palace.  The palace was built in the mid-18th century after a fire had destroyed the prior palace, a converted Mudejar fortress.  The palace and its appointments are typical of the Baroque style, and to say it is opulent would be a gross understatement.

The first two-thirds of our trip had been marked by consistently fine weather, the last few days by rain, and this day started out rainy as well.


But that didn't matter too much as our morning tour of the Royal Palace was basically indoors.

At the beginning of the tour I got this shot of a courtyard doorway that I thought worked nicely.


Then it was on to the opulence.  I will again confess that to some extent I was focused more on my photography than I was on the narrative that our guide was providing.  But I did manage to catch a number of salon ceilings, either directly or obliquely, as in the following.





One of the rooms that we passed through was the royal dining room.  To allow room for visitors, the table was set up for only one-half its full length.  Even so . . .


I counted about 18 chairs on just one side, which means that the table when set at full length, counting seating at both ends, could accommodate about 75 guests.

Here is a shot of the dining room ceiling.


I took a number of detail photos during our tour, including the following.





I also spotted a couple of the ornate chandeliers and got these images.




During the course of the tour we passed by windows opening on to an courtyard, and I was attracted by the manner in which the old glass was distorting the view of the courtyard walls and windows, and I thought the following shot took nice advantage of the defects in the glass.


The tour then passed through a grand hallway featuring a domed ceiling.



Although I was not able to get a shot from directly under the dome, I was able to take a photo of the ceiling of a side hallway, as well as of one of the supporting pillars.  Both photos, I thought, worked well, particularly under the crowded circumstances.



We passed through the crown room that, not surprisingly, included the royal crown, which appeared huge . . .


as well as a sphinx.  I will admit that in taking this shot I set the lens's point of focus on the right nipple.


I particularly liked the following, taken of the ceiling in another of the grand salons, that I shot from behind the figure on the throne.


Finally, on our exit from the palace, we discovered that the sun and blue skies had returned, and I got this slightly surreal shot of the palace's main pavilion.


John

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