We left our home and boarded the Metro Ligero at about 08:00. We rode to Colonia Jardine where we switched to the Blue 10 line. We rode that to the Tribunal stop and switched to the light blue 1 line. We rode that to the Atocha Renfe stop. From the Metro we made our way to the Cercanias portion of the terminal. There I bought three round-trip tickets. I was amazed it only cost 21 Euros. That is one of the best deals we have found in Spain! We rode that train to Aranjuez. We arrived at about 10:00.
Although there were a few taxis at the train station, we opted to walk the one kilometer into town. As with any trip, the first order of business was to find a cafe for coffee and to use the aseos. We stumbled upon the indoor market. There was a small coffee kiosk in there, but we decided to find an outdoor cafe.
We walked out of the market and found ourselves in Constitution Square. There was a small coffee shop, but all of the tables were full. In the square, there was a band playing. There were also campaign banners all over as this is the beginning of Spain’s very short election season. I spotted a cafe across the street; however, on closer inspection we decided not to stop. We went back to the square, thinking we could get a coffee and just sit on a bench in the square. When I went inside, the place was packed. So, we took off on foot again.
We turned back north on Calle Almibar. In about a half-block, we found the Meson Frankfurt. They did not have any tables outside, so we went in. After using the restroom, having two cafes con leche, one cafe americano, a croissant, a bacon montadito, and a lomo montadito, we all left with a smiles on our face. Part of the smiles were due to the fact Leslie and Tyler had tried their hand at the slot machine. I think each won 20 centimos!
From there, we made our way to the tourist information office. It is in the southeast corner of San Antonio Square. There we were able to obtain a tourist map of the area. We walked to the Venus fountain at the north end of the square. From there we crossed the street to the east entrance to the Royal Gardens of the Palacio Real.
The gardens are adjacent to the Rio Tajo. A small river that flows through Spain. There were quite a number of water fowl on the river. We continued through the gardens to the portion that is on an island. Like so many other palaces in Spain, there are numerous fountains in the gardens. Unfortunately, our timing has always been such that we have never seen any of the fountains at any of the palaces in operation. Regardless, they are still amazing and worth seeing.
After the 3.5 kilometer mark, we found a sidewalk cafe near the palace. We stopped to have a glass of wine. We thought that might deaden some of the pain. From there it was a short walk to the entrance of the palace. The tickets were 9 Euros per adult for the self-guided tour. We paid another 4 Euros for one audio set and we began our tour.
The tour path winds through some two dozen rooms of the palace. They are all fascinating in their own way. The two rooms that stood out the most to Leslie and I were the Arab room and the porcelain room. It is unfortunate the palace does not allow photographs inside.
The Arab Room is patterned after a room at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. This particular room was built between 1848 and 1850. The material is sculpted and painted plaster. The colors are myriad and breathtaking. The detail is also amazing. It is so difficult to describe, but so worth the trip to view the room.
In the time of Charles III of Spain, 1716 – 1788, the Porcelain Room was faced with multiple pieces of Chinese porcelain. There are all sorts of flowers, animals, and people figures in porcelain attached to the walls. There are also several, I believe seven, large mirrors on the walls in the room. Lastly, the chandelier is spectacular too because it is also a porcelain piece.
After finishing our tour, we walked from the palace across Paris Square to the Restaurante Rincon de Godoy. There we had a wonderful lunch for just over 45 Euros for the three of us. We ordered a carafe of red wine to go with our lunch. Shortly after bringing the wine, the waiter brought some fresh bread. A little later, he brought three small slices of bread. Each one had cream cheese and smoked salmon. They tasted great. For the first plate, Leslie had a type of chicken soup, Tyler had Sopa Castellana, and I had Consume de Jerez. It was a consume into which they poured a little bit of clear Sherry from the town of Jerez. We all enjoyed our soups.
The main plates were chicken, with potatoes and a side-salad for Leslie and Tyler, while I had a plate of very thinly sliced, roasted beef with sliced potatoes. Instead of dinner, we all opted for coffee to hopefully keep us awake on our walk back to the train station.
We got back on the train shortly after 16:00. By 18:00 we were all home, sore, but home.