The Catholic church is very good at creating loopholes (they need to at times, papal infallibility creates some issues when the pope issues an edict that directly contradicts something a previous pope has said!)
But it also appears that a pretty Catholic country’s population is also not adverse to the loophole.
Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstinence before the start of Lent, and definitely no eating meat.
And of course, a very large number of Spaniards were keeping to this to the letter (if not the spirit of the law).
In Madrid they always eat late, and by the time I finally gave in to my grumbling stomach at 10pm I thought I wouldn’t have too much problem finding a restaurant that was open and serving.
I eventually found a couple of Plaza Mayor, with a handful of tourists in them.
I thought that even in Madrid they would have started dinner by now, and then I saw the sign. Tonight the kitchen will be open until 2am.
Sneaky, you can’t eat meat and you have to fast through Ash Wednesday. However, 00:01 is Thursday, and you can now eat as much meat as you like without feeling guilty about breaking your Ash Wednesday fasting.
So, us small band of tourists sat in the restaurant having our dinners at the (for anyone other than Spanish) incredibly late hour of 10pm, whilst the Spaniards wouldn’t be eating for another two hours.
I have to wonder, if I had been here on Tuesday evening would they have been eating early to get their dinner in before Ash Wednesday started?