Nuestra Señora de Almudena, Madrid, Spain Thursday, Sep 20 2012 

For my final photo from Madrid, I decided to re-scan this evening film shot of Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Almudena – a massively awesome looking church directly across from the Palacio Real. In fact, in the photo of the Palace that I posted the other day, I was standing on the steps of the cathedral.

Nuestra Señora de Almudena

Nuestra Señora de Almudena

Pictured here is the north facade – you can see the setting sun hitting it from the right side of the photo. It’s worth noting that there is a statue of Pope John Paul II in front of the east entrance to the church. Which reminds me to let you know that next week I will start posting photos from my trip to Rome this past July, which included a visit to the final resting place of John Paul II.

So, over the last few days, we’ve seen Spanish palaces, churches, gates and squares. As we say goodbye to Spain (at least for now), I should mention that I wrote additional posts about Spain for a travel blog of my friend Dave Dunn. You can read those on his blog, and see a few more of my photos if you click on the following links:

Palacio Real, Madrid, Spain Tuesday, Sep 18 2012 

Palacio Real, Madrid

Palacio Real, Madrid

I’ve been posting some photos from my trip to Madrid I took a few months ago, and yesterday I mentioned the grandiose architecture you can find all over the city. Nowhere is that more evident than right here – Palacio Real.

Quick linguistic note – seeing letters “r, e, a, l” together immediately takes me to the English word, but in Spanish, the word actually means “regal” or “royal”. And there are quite a few “real” things about Madrid, the seat of the Spanish royal family.

Speaking of the Spanish royal family, this building was their main home for centuries, until very recently, when it was open to the public. It’s just gorgeous to look at, opulent and extravagant, and I caught it in nice late afternoon light. I even included a tighter crop of the shot I took with my long lens, to show some of the detail on the roof and the facade of the building.

Palacio Real, detail

Palacio Real, detail

Pretty awesome, don’t you think?

Gates of Madrid Tuesday, Sep 18 2012 

Madrid architecture reminds visitors at all times that Spain used to be the most powerful country in the world once, and Madrid needed to convey that sense of grandeur and scale.

Puerta de Toledo

Puerta de Toledo

One of the ways this is evident is in the gates, or arches, that dominate certain points of the downtown area. They are remnants of old city walls and were erected to celebrate different events or rulers. Their locations indicate the spots where major roads would leave the city.

The one on top is Puerta de Toledo, aptly named because it is on the road leading south to Toledo. These days, the easiest way to get to Toledo is by train; we’ll talk about that more in a few days. If you’re in that area, check out the flea market that goes on every Sunday in a neighborhood just a few blocks away.

The other photo is of Puerta de Alcala, a gate on the east side of town, at the end of Alcala street. That part of town seems a bit more high-end – Ferrari store is just a few blocks away, for example.

Puerta de Alcala

Puerta de Alcala

One thing these gates have in common is that I had meals in the immediate vicinity, with great views of the gates. As far as experiences go, I highly recommend that.

Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain Sunday, Sep 16 2012 

Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain

Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain

As you may have noticed, I started my “365” project a week ago, meaning that I will post a photo each day for a year. There are a lot of photos I haven’t posted, and I’m hoping to take a lot of new ones, so the exercise is mainly in discipline and preparation.

This week, I will post a photo a day from my trip to Spain back in March.

Plaza Mayor is a rectangular square in the middle of downtown Madrid, where you can buy any type of souvenir known to man. From figurines of bulls to Soviet military memorabilia, and everything in between, you’ll find it here. In the evening, the shops close, but the restaurants open, and the waiters entice you to sit at one of the many tables outside.

When I took this picture, I didn’t even notice that the facade is actually full of painted ladies in various stages of undress. Upon further review, there are even a few male nudes. I included a 100% crop of one of the windows, flanked on each side by a beautiful woman. The Europeans definitely think differently about nudity.

Ladies of Plaza Mayor

Ladies of Plaza Mayor, 100% crop

What do you think? Can you imagine something like this on a building in your town’s main square?

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