Monday, February 13, 2012

Trip #2: Aranjuez

This trip took place the day after our Toledo day trip.  But the experience could not have been more different.

My friends and I met up at Atocha, a train/metro stop, and we hopped on to a cercanías, which is equivalent to a light rail train. After an hour of whizzing through the outskirts of Madrid, we arrived in the tranquil town/city of Aranjuez.

After walking a good 10-15 minutes towards town from the train station, we came across this.

Aranjuez was more or less a layover/vacation stop for the royal family, I'm pretty sure dating all the way back to King Philip II.  (For those history newbies or junkies, Philip II was the husband to Bloody Mary, the Queen of England after Henry VIII.  His aunt was Catherine of Aragon, who was married to Henry VIII, who divorced her for Anne Boleyn and broke from the Catholic church in order to divorce her.  Mary is the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine.  So this is the 16th Century we're talking about. Chyeah, I know my British history.)  This Royal Palace (Palacio Real) was built first, and if I remember correctly, during either the 17th or 18th Century, a king ordered that a town be built around the palace, and that is how this city/town came to be. 

(Welcome to my humble abode. haha Just kidding. 
But they wouldn't let us take pictures inside. 
Sorry to leave to you hanging. But it was beautiful inside.)

After taking a tour around the palace, we had our sandwiches, packed from home (again), outside.  Thankfully the weather was uber pleasant that day.  We walked into Jardín del Parterre, which is the garden right behind the palace, and then made our way to Jardín de la Isla.  Jardín del Parterre was well groomed, with fountains and such, while Jardín de la Isla was a little more park like, and had beautiful walkways, and benches along the way.

After walking around a bit, we decided to take a coffee break at a café nearby, naturally I got a café con leche and a bollería, which is very similar to a crossiant stuffed with a custard or chocolate. Yum. :) (Side note, I think I spend too much money on café con leche in general. But how can I resist?!)  Having rested our legs a bit, we start making our way to Casa de Labrador which is nestled within Jardín de Principe.  Sadly we never made it to the Casa de Labrador (might have been my knee was killing me that day, so it was a little difficult to walk by the end of that day).  But we did get to walk around the large garden, saw funny looking ducks/birds and enjoyed the fall-like weather. :) 

We left Aranjuez around 6:30, 7PM, and by the time we got to Madrid, we were ready to eat again! So we went to a Chinese restaurant by my house, and the total ended up only being 5€ per person.  Yay for cheap international food!! 


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