During out driving tour of the royal palaces that satellite around Madrid, we visited the Royal Palace of El Pardo. This very impressing cream coloured wall and grey roofed building was originally a hunting lodge dating back to the Habsburgs as it is set in vast wooded parkland known as the Monte de El Pardo. Of the many attributes identified with the Habsburg dynasty it is the hereditary over-grown jaw (mandibular prognathism) that received attention. It is clearly visible in many of the portraits of the family from the Renaissance period and after, and also is seen on coins of the period, as in the rather unflattering phrase of ‘Leopold the Hogmouth’! The old “lodge” was restyled and extended by Francesco Sabarini into the magnificent palace we see today. The entrance road way is at least 2 kilometres long and on the slow drive down, over speed humps we saw many deer and other wild animals. The interior is gorgeous with richly decorated with frescoes and tapestries, fabulous clocks, ornaments and other treasures. We paid our fee and then had to wait for almost half an hour as entry to the Palace was only by guided tour, and eventually others arrived and when we were a group of 12, our guide put in an appearance. Sadly she was not cheerful, with no hint of a smile. The tour was so rapid, I felt like we were an imposition, and not welcome, and worse still when I lingered for an extra 30 seconds to look more closely at the fabulous items, a guard who was trailing us simply put out the lights of the room I was in so I was forced to leave. I asked if we could slow down a bit as there was so much of interest, but the speed of the guide’s delivery and movement prevented us from having a proper tour of the amazing place.
Although the visit was worthwhile, it was very disappointing to be hurried through in this almost brusque manner.
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