Before visiting the armoury of the Royal Palace in Madrid, I never imagined that it would be so interesting and exciting! It is hard to fathom the detail, design, care and craftsmanship, that went into every single weapon and suit of armour... and to think that they were made to be worn and used. In a large open room full suits of armour from different eras were displayed on dynamic bronze horses to dramatic effect. While I was drawing I was approached by a couple of lovely school children, and then swarmed by their whole class! The kids asked all sorts of questions and although there was a significant language barrier I enjoyed being able to engage with them through the drawings. When the security guard became concerned about the large crowd milling about the ancient piece of armour the school teacher simply said "VAMOS!" (let's go) and before I knew it the kids were gone and I had learnt my favourite (and most efficient) Spanish word.
Palacio Real, Madrid
Walking around the Royal Palace was pretty astounding, some things I wrote in my notebook were: "splendour and opulence to the extreme", "enormous fresco by Tiepolo is spectacular!" and "there are even peacocks in the yard... unreal." Each room was decorated in a different character or style depending on the tastes of the King at the time, my favourite was the Rococo style Gasparini room (chamber/dressing room of Carlos III). In response my notebook reads "this room is alive!" The ceiling seemed to be writhing with vines carved in wooden relief, the walls were hand embodied with sliver and gold threads, every inch of the room was decorated in some way and then those decorations were reflected times infinity by an abundance of mirrors. I admit it might have been slightly over the top, but it was very immersive and I was happy to revel in the fantasy of it all.
Gasparini room, Palacio Real, Madrid