Last Day of Summer Vacation 2009

Tomorrow – or today – is the last day of summer vacation in Spain and in many European countries. Today is the 31st of August and many Spaniards have been on holiday the entire month, facing not only return traffic but also the stressful first-day-back to work. Traffic is tough but returning to work after a one month break is quite another thing.

Personally, I don’t know what all the fuss is about – but I realize I’m in the vast minority of those whom feel this way.

I’m tired of finding my neighborhood stores, bars, and restaurants closed. Sure, the owners and workers of those stores really do deserve a much-needed break but when you want that roasted chicken, churros from your favorite bar, fresh made potato chips from the Fabrica de Patatas Fritas, or need a new mattress and you find these places closed, well, all you can do is bite your lip and make do until 1 September 2009.

It’s great to have less traffic and fewer pedestrians in Madrid and you find many of those bars and restaurants – which stayed open – nearly empty. THAT is nice. The terrazas still seem as full as ever, however. Apart from closed businesses, the number of public works projects, construction, and renovation of streets and sidewalks can be particularly bothersome for the driver or pedestrian.

These days on the internet, in chat rooms, on message boards, Facebook and Twitter, you see a lot of people complaining about having to start working again. It’s always hard to “reincorporate yourself” after a long period of time. I get that. But Madrid isn’t Madrid without a lot of people, lots of movida and activity, and everything open!

So for me, I’m HAPPY all my friends are home again. I missed them! I’m also happy to have my Madrid back. Maybe I’ll change my tune when I’m waiting in long lines at the cinema or dodging cars at the crosswalk.

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