El Escorial
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Monastery of San Lorenzo
At the base of the Sierra de Guadarrama is the famous Monastery of El Escorial, sitting in splendor amongst a zig zagged green backdrop. After getting off the train, keep your eyes on the prize as you make the long walk up to the monastery. Once inside, it does not disappoint. Be prepared to stretch your neck in the library, the ceiling is a breathtaking masterpiece, reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel. Statues punctuate the property, and it’s far too easy to get lost in the grandeur of it all. Marble fans, take note of the Pantheon of Kings; home to many generations of Spanish kings for eternity. The intricate statue in the entryway is a truly impressive piece of talented art and dedication to perfection. If you have the time, a visit to Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) where a 500 foot free standing cross guards over the graves of the lives lost in the Civil War. Photo by Marco Chiesa/Flickr.
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