Madrid is one of those great capitals that manages to renew herself so that I can always rely on her to stumble upon a new district, a wonderful new bar, a new vintage shop, new trends or just a new dish.
However, on this trip I also became acquainted with the old Madrid. The VERY old Madrid – all geared up for Easter processions and dark thoughts surrounding the death of Christ. The Spanish are fond of their “pena” it seems. It is a word they refer to all the time in flamenco music as well as when it comes to their catholic faith. Translated it means something like shame and grief.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday of course… I had completely forgotten. Outside churches the gypsies were busy flogging off olive branches, much with the same passion as when the Romans flogged Jesus nearly two thousand years ago. It was a gloriously sunny day, and in some places people were queuing up to go to church.
I too went in to a church, and as I normally do, got chatting to a man. We talked about the usual things – the weather, the amount of rain this year, the beautiful church, where to have lunch. He was a very nice señor who told me his wife makes the best lentils in the world. As I left him to get on with his confession, he smiled and said “Adios”. Feeling quite spiritual about the whole thing it occurred to me that every time they say good bye to each other in Spain, they tell each other to “go with God”. Needless to say, I bought a bunch of olive sprigs which I carried with me until I made my way to the airport. They ended up in a bin in the Tribunal metro station – but who cares? It was all about the moment.