Madrid is Spain’s capital city, the land of fine architecture, great food, bullfighting, and the seat of the Royal Family of Spain, affectionately known by most Spaniards as, that’s right, the Monarchy. At the center of it all is Puerta Del Sol, translated meaning “gate of the sun”. Roads radiate from this plaza much like the rays of the sun. It is one of the busiest places in Madrid, but because of its large size, it rarely appears congested. Throngs of people are seen gathering in the plaza, all for different reasons. Some come just to take a seat on the fountain and watch others do their thing like strolling, enjoying an ice cream, playing a musical instrument, or posing as some meaningful statue creatively suspending themselves in midair in hopes of gathering enough tips to pay some bills or buy a cervesa. Strangers pass strangers, some are happy and some sad, most just living life at the very moment, enjoying whatever. It’s a relaxing feeling, free of judgment and free to just be. The energy is positive, leaving the door open for anything, including a revolution. Wait, did I just write revolution?
As the King of Spain appears on national television announcing his abdication of the thrown to his son, thousands of what most Spaniards refer to as revolutionists appear in the square and the crowd grows rather quickly, filling the square to capacity, piercing through the quiet constructive atmosphere, and obliterating the tranquility of the plaza. The demonstration lasts into the night. According to most Spaniards, the revolutionists are simply a small minority. Successful the first night at gaining attention, they were quickly squashed by the policia the next night. Unlike America, the demonstration was peaceful, no cars were burned and the only destruction was to about 100 pansies recently planted around the fountain.
While I wanted to believe it was our welcoming as viewed from our hotel room balcony upon our arrival in Madrid, reality told me what I already knew, I am not that important. What an experience nonetheless.