Sun Gate and 12 Grapes


Our hotel is nearby the Puerta del Sol (Sun Gate), one of the best known landmarks in Madrid. 

Puerto del Sol

In the centre of the square is a tower clock – and Madrid’s version of the NYC Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop.    The clock, broadcast nationally, chimes 12 bells at midnight each December 31, and the Spanish eat 1 grape with each chime, leading to a year of prosperity. 

Bring it! 

Uh, wait.  How does a person eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds?  Like this:

Kind of takes the romance out of the midnight kiss 💋 , but I’m sure they find a way.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Sunday’s national snap election called after the leading party’s budget was voted down and a week after negotiations with Catalan separatists broke down.   Another factor is the rise of Vox, a far right party advised by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, who oppose any kind of dialogue with Catalan separatist supporters.  (Catalan is the richest region in Spain and is crucial to Spain’s economy.) 

In Puerta del Sol, I had my first Churros e Chocolate, a Spanish classic.   The hot chocolate is as thick as pudding.

This has little to do with my travels but en route I read this sad but moving and inspiring story I want to share:

In the first few days in Madrid, Segovia and Toledo there will be some repeats but I hope to dig deeper.  We head to new ground (starting with Cordoba) on Monday.



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