Since I arrived here, my host-mother, Isabel has been trying to plan a little family trip to El Escorial. Until we got there, I never really realized what it was. I finally did find out when we took that trip last Wednesday. El Escorial is the historical residence of Spanish royalty. It also served/serves as a monastery, museum, university, palace, and houses one of the oldest libraries in the world. El Escorial is near and dear to the hearts of my host-parents because about ten years ago they worked at the University at El Escorial. They have always worked at a university in Madrid but for that period of time they had been assigned to establish their foundation at this University.
I've included some photos from the adventure. We did the museum/palace/monastery tour as quickly as possible, given its size; for the girls were not as eager as I to listen to the headset about every single piece of art and dead royal in the place.
After our tour we headed to a favorite restaurant of the family, situated on top of the above mountain. The restaurant has not only been the setting of past birthday parties, but also the place where Isabel told me she fell in love with Angel.
As sweet as the image of your mind is, scratch that. Because it was soon tainted by pouting children who wanted to have dinner at McDonalds instead of tapas in the Pueblo of San Lorenzo.
Fortunately for us, somehow the children managed to get that fantasy out of their minds after a number of some rather tactical distraction techniques, and we were able to walk around the little town, and indulge ourselves in tapas, tinto de verano, and helado.
Despite the scattered tantrums and threatening punishments, it was a wonderful outing and I'm so glad to have spent that time with my little family in a place that has been very important to them throughout the years.