Madrid and Spain. The best of times and the worst of times

Turismo Madrid

Let’s face it. These are not the best of times for Spain. High unemployment, political turmoil, huge budget deficit, corrupt officials from the years of the real estate bubble having their day in court, well prepared young professionals fleeing the country in search of opportunities elsewhere and so on…Apparently, however, business remains as usual.

You take a stroll downtown Madrid and you won’t find any outward signs of despair. Is it because Spaniards, and specifically madrileños, know how to take things in stride? On any given day Spain’s capital buzzes with activity as if the hazardous political climate and the dreary reports on the country’s financial situation were no matter of concern. Of course, if you wander to working class neighborhoods you’ll run into shops gone bust and properties on the verge of foreclosure. Signs of times. Nevertheless, as strange as it may seem, people manage to maintain their poise under pressure.

Taverns, restaurants, terraces, cinemas, museums, parks and whatnot display an atmosphere of engaging joie de vivre. It is not frivolous nonchalance. Nobody is burying their head in the sand. The problems are still there and everyone is trying to make ends meet to the best of their abilities. Of course, the sunny weather helps and no Spaniard will easily renounce to the ancient right of enjoying a good tapa and a glass of cold beer. Quite an inexpensive wordly pleasure.

So what if, after almost a year, the country lacks a proper government. Let the politicians sort it out. In the meantime, get to work, try to salvage your means of making a living until better times arrive and enjoy. No sulking allowed, no need to pretend a twist of fate is around the corner. Take it as it comes, refill and have one more delicious tapa. This is the way we are…most of the time.

The best of times and the worst of times in Madrid

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