Friday, September 28, 2012

Kimber in Madrid, Part II



The Changing of the Guard. It happens every Wednesday from 11am to 2pm (except in July, August, and September), and it includes a total of 27 guards wearing gala uniforms and six horses. Every first Wednesday of the month there is an extra special ceremony, though since Kimber came at the very end of June, we didn't get to see it, but I'm sure it's spectacular. I hear they have carriages and cannons!








Hi! We're standing at the very top of the Catedral de la Almudena, or Almudena Cathedral, Almudena being the name of the Virgin to whom the church is dedicated. It is directly across from the Royal Palace of Madrid and, in 2004, it held the marriage between Felipe, Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, now known as Letizia, Princess of Asturias. See? We get Royal Weddings, too.






If you know anything about Spanish history, then you probably know that Madrid wasn't always Spain's capital. The seat of state was moved from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, and, atypically for a Catholic country, it had no Cathedral, nor did it until 1993, when the Almudena was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. Also, it's the only Spanish Cathedral to ever be consecrated by a Pope. Fancy, huh?





Now, I want you to keep something in mind. This is what the Cathedral looks like on the outside:



It looks typical. Dignified, grandiose, and old. Now, this is what it looks line on the inside:





It's like Cathedral culture shock. "What? You're Gothic but also... brightly colorful?" Look at those beehive stained-glass windows. Gawgeous.












This is the crypt, which you find by going around the building and entering through the back.


















We also went into the Royal Palace but, again, no photography is allowed. Have I mentioned how annoying I find this? Here's a picture from the interwebs of the Royal Chapel. Enjoy.


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