Travels March 2008

The Travel Advisory

THE ROYAL MONASTERY of San Lorenzo of the Escorial
Monastery Lodgings

Staying in monasteries and convents is a culturally enriching and cost-effective way to visit Spain and the other countries of Catholic Europe. (My room and meals at the Valley of the Fallen, for example, were just 20 euros a day.) Standards of comfort and convenience vary, so ask in advance about such amenities as a private bath and telephone. Eileen Barish’s The Guide to Lodging in Spain’s Monasteries gives detailed information about some 150 institutions.

Callouts:

Also see:

"The Caudillo's Cloister"
Searching for tranquility in the monastery Franco built

The Valley of the Fallen (011-34-91-890-5411; ask for the padre hospedero, and be prepared to speak in Spanish) accommodates only men in the monastery proper; guests here are expected to attend several hours of worship daily. The external guesthouse (011-34-91-890-5511) is open to women and children as well, and visitors can come and go without the constraints of scheduled services. The Valley and the Escorial—the 16th-century monastery built by Philip II—are within an hour’s drive of Madrid.

Nearby Attractions

The Sierra de Guadarrama’s many activities are all an easy day trip from Madrid. Visitors to Segovia can see a Roman aqueduct, medieval castle, and late-Gothic cathedral and sample especially fine regional cuisine at the Mesón de Cándido (Calle Azoguejo, 5), whose proprietor boasts the title of “Major Innkeeper of Castile.” Classic dishes include cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) and cordero asado (roast baby lamb).

In the medieval walled town of Bui­trago del Lozoya, the Picasso Museum (Plaza de Picasso, 1; www.madrid.org/museo_picasso) exhibits drawings, lithographs, and other objects—including an engraved wooden box for haircutting tools—made by the artist for his longtime friend and barber, Eugenio Arias.

Opportunities for hiking are plentiful (the climb up Mount Abantos from the Escorial is particularly breathtaking), and the granite massif of La Pedriza in the Cuenca Alta del Manzanares Regional Park offers challenges for beginning and expert rock climbers alike.

Presented by

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Global

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In