Madrid, Spain (4) – Palacio Real de Madrid

The official residence of the Spanish Royal Family is used only for state affairs.  The Family resides at the Palace of Zarzuela located outside of Madrid.  Because there was a state event occurring, the interior of the palace was not open to the public.  We had to keep our distance from the building.

With 3,418 rooms and almost 1.5 million square feet of floor space, this is the largest Palace in Europe.  It would have been cool to take a peek in the inside.







Plaza de Oriente, located across the plaza in front of the palace, displays Statues of the Gothic Kings



Plaza de Oriente



Jardines del Cabo Noval, north of the palace



Sabatini Gardens



Madrid, Spain (3) – Royal Guards

Enroute to Plaza Mayor, we came across a large entourage of Royal Guards at the “Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperacion” building (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation).  They were escorting dignitaries to the Royal Palace.   I did get a photo of an individual getting into the carriage but after some research, I could not determine who she was.

There were a number of troops coming and going from the Government Building to Palacio Real via Plaza Mayor.

I have been unsuccessful in getting information regarding the different coloured uniforms.  There are four different uniforms with different coloured horses.

Different colored uniforms on different colored horses at the government office






Silver plumes, blue uniforms and dark brown horses



Red plumes, blue uniforms and white horses



White plumes, white uniforms and brown horses



When we reached Mayor Plaza, a different troop was passing through heading to the government building



Pink plumes, black uniforms and brown horses.  The first troop we saw, coming back from Palacio Real.



Another troop heading to the Palacio Real

Madrid, Spain (2) – Puerta de Atocha

Madrid’s largest railway station is the hub of all types of trains (commuter, intercity, regional and high speed).  Serving all these types of transit comes with confusion for those, like us, who are unfamiliar with the building.  With three floor levels and a variety of ticket machines, we spent a portion of our time on wandering through the wrong level or standing in front of the wrong machine.

However, the busyness of the main ticket area is offset by a wonderful garden area located in the old terminal.  Quiet and relaxing, it’s a perfect place for those waiting to catch a train.




The old terminal is converted to wonderful greenery.



Plenty of sitting benches












Upper level restaurant



Perfect lighting



View of the station where the ticket machines and platforms are located



View of the station from our hotel room



Madrid, Spain (1) – Touching Down

Our arrival into Madrid to begin our Spanish Adventure was welcomed with beautiful terrain.  It was dawn when we started our descent and with the sun slowly rising, I was able to get some great shots filled with highlights and shadows.



















Innsbruck, Austria (5) – Nordkette aka “Jewel of the Alps”

My last post of our European 2017 trip ends on a high note at Hafelekar Peak in Nordkette.   A cable car makes two stops along the way.  The first is The Seegrube Station, where you can participate in many climbing activities or enjoy Tyrolean cuisine in the Seegrube Restaurant.

The second and last stop is the Hafelekar Peak which is located just over 1,000 feet higher than Seegrube Station.  You get 360 degrees of breathtaking views of the city of Innsbruck to gorgeous views of the mountain range.

Seegrube Station



From Seegrube Station, you can see the cable car that continues on to Hafekelar



Just on the other side of that peak is Hafekelar



From Hafelekar Station, we climb an additional 78 meters to reach the peak.  You can see the Summit Cross that we eventually get to touch.



An avid hiker can spend hours exploring the many routes available.  Just make sure you have the right gear.



Cautious footing on very slippery conditions, would prevent sliding down and/or wiping out



Views from the Summit

From the Peak, we look down to Hafelekar Station



The Summit Cross



A feathered friend was hoping this individual was willing to share her lunch.



Unfortunately, a cloudy day prevents me from getting any photos of Innsbruck


















Two hikers make their way to another spot to enjoy the view








Innsbruck, Austria (4) – Looking Up and Looking Down (Day 14 & 15)

Surrounded by gorgeous mountains, the views are wonderful whether you are looking at them or from them.

























Innsbruck, Austria (3) – Stadtpfarrkirche Sankt Nikolaus (Day 15)

On our search to find the cable car station, we came across this wonderful church and graveyard.  You can feel the love for the individuals at rest.  Beautifully maintained sites are filled with colour and emotion.