At 10 a.m. on Sunday morning Madrid seems barely awake. A steady but comparatively small crowd moves in and out the doors of the coffee and pastry shops at this time, after a late night of important discussions over every topic imaginable. They love to talk. About everything. And they love to discuss important issues, - the more drinks the more important the issues . . .
Beating the heat here in Spain is a lifestyle. People go to work 'around' 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. and by 2:00 p.m. they are heading to lunch, a siesta, or anywhere out of the heat. Then return to work by 4:30 p.m., work through 9:00 p.m., followed by supper.
Restaurants close at 3:00 p.m. and open again at 8:30 p.m. They are filled by 9:00 p.m. seven days a week.
In a food mall on Saturday we are guided through a main floor of produce, cold cuts and breads. Then up to a second floor of fresh meat and fish and areas to sit for tapas and wine or beer, depending on one's pleasure. A third floor is open for fine dining, and doing a brisk early afternoon business. We are told the place is "reservations only" during the evening hours.
All stores in Spain offer beer, wine and liquor sales, as do all eateries including the fast food groups. We've seen only one McDonald's, several Burger King outlets, two KFCs and the balance are local family operations, thousands of them, all with a history and all with an individual presentation of favourite tapas.
And life moves in cycles.