We are in the perfect hotel for this city.  It is in the center of town at the Puerta del Sol.  And the room is actually quiet at night.  So today we are walking to the side where we find the Royal Palace.   This is Europe third-greatest palace, after Versailles and Vienna’s Schonbrunn.  A wooden fortress was built on this site in 1527 but it burned down and King Philip V (1683-1746) built the current structure and wished to make it his own private Versaille – for he was born in Versaille.  There are 2,800 rooms and is very grand.  We could not take pictures so I had to sneak in a few – quickly – so they are not that good.  It was a nice tour showing many rooms with beautiful tapestries, frescos, priceless porcelain, and gold leaf.  Right next to this palace is the cathedral which was opened in 1993, 100 years after they started working on it.  Much different from all the old cathedrals we have seen over the past 5 + months.  While at the palace we noticed a funicular running across a huge park so we walked to the nearest information center to find out about it.  Once we got info and directions we had a 30 minute walk to get to the starting point – and I have to say – that this was the first long wait we have had for anything over the last 5+ months.  I have a feeling that come March things really pick up over here so we are glad that we are almost finished with our adventure.  The ride was nice and we had some great panoramic views of the city.  From there we found the nearest metro and got back to the Plaza Mayor where there are a ton of outdoor restaurants for us to choose from for dinner.  On our way back to the hotel we popped into this big department store over here called El Corte Ingles and wandered up the 6 levels of stuff on three corners of this pedestrian street.  So now we are in the hotel lobby which sits on a busy corner, having a sangria, and watching the masses of people walking in all directions.

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