Palaces, castles and humongous cathedrals fascinate every Filipino. 🏰The grandeur, the pomp and pageantry associated with royalty is simply not our reality. Even Malacanañ Palace is really a token 2-story palace compared with what one finds in other parts of the world.






Palacio Real literally translates to “Royal Palace”, much like Real Madrid (of football fame) means “Royal Madrid”. 👑All of 2,800 rooms covering a floor area of 135,000 square meters, it is THE largest palace in all of Europe. So…. Buckingham Palace, move over!






The present King has chosen to live with his royal family 👸elsewhere (Palacio de la Zarzuela) on the outskirts of Madrid. Thus, the State-owned Palace is only used for official or state ceremonies. At the time I visited, the Palace was closed owing to some State ceremony. Though I missed viewing the interiors of this architectural wonder, I joined many others – Madrileños and tourists alike – waiting through all the pageantry. Changing not only of the guards, but also of the horses! And my, those guards are all cuties, I kid you not! Take it from this over-the-hill hag….. I hardly use those words to describe MEN. But I must confess that I do find King Juan Carlos a HUNK very, very charming!







And look at these horses! What is it called — the Spanish Riding Academy? But that’s in Vienna, near the Hofburg Palace. Confused? The Riding School in Vienna was so named because the “noble” horses originated from the Iberian Peninsula. I know zilch about horses but I have read that the Spanish and Arabic horses rank up there among other breeds. No wonder they rub elbows (or butts?) with royalty. ☺








The Palace is just a short walk from the Opera. I took the metro 🚉 up to Opera and walked on the right side of the royal theatre till I reached the Plaza de Oriente, a well-manicured garden on the side of the royal palace. I also didn’t miss the chance to stroll along the Sabatini Garden where I felt I intruded on many a romantic trysts. 💗 Oooooops!