San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Madrid Magic.

If you travel an hour west of Madrid, you will find yourself in some of the most beautiful green landscape imaginable. This is San Lorenzo de El Escorial, and the site of the historic residence of the king of Spain, built by Philip the second in the 16th century. This controversial building constructed by Juan Bautista (who also worked on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome) has many functions within its two main and opposing halves. One, a monastery, the seat of the Spanish Catholic church, and the other, a vast library that housed the world’s knowledge, which cleverly hid many books banned from the Spanish inquisition. This walled city was the retirement home for the king of Spain, and underneath was a lavish necropolis where future royalty would be buried. All in all it is an outstanding concentration of history, beauty and wonder all in one site.

Beyond the impressive El Escorial, the town of San Lorenzo is a charming and regal affair, that is home to the royal theater. If you’re lucky like us, the ghost of Philip the second was present to bring you through a tour of the beaux arts building, to finish on stage for a little wine tasting in traditional Spanish style. There really is no better way to experience the history and culture of this fascinating regal hamlet then by sampling the best varietal of grapes the Iberian peninsula has to offer. Long live the king.

El Escorial Monastery

Stay tuned as I cover Madrid for Get Lost Magazine (www.getlostmagazine.com) this week, celebrating this ancient city who is about to host the amazing Davis Cup Tennis Championship in November.

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