When another country’s holiday leaves you slightly inconvenienced, you can always count on Team America to have your back.
After a long train ride from Santiago de Compostela, I arrived in Madrid, Spain, on April 30, at night. Normally when I arrived in a new city (assuming the hostel had a place to store food) I would find a nearby grocery store and buy some food to cover me over the duration of my stay in that city. Since I arrived at night, everything was already closed, and I figured I would just go to the store the next morning. The following day, May 1, I located a store just down the street from my hostel. The sign outside stated that they opened at 10:00am, so I determined to come back in a little bit when they were open. At 10:30am I returned to the store to find it still closed. I returned to my hostel and asked the staff if today was some sort of holiday, and was told that May 1 is Labor Day in Spain. “So, what’s closed?” I asked. “Everything.” was the reply. “NOOOOOO!!!!!!” I shouted in my mind.
With all the major sights and stores closed, I made the most of the day by visiting places that were always open, regardless of the occasion. My hostel served a modest breakfast so I wasn’t going on an empty stomach, and I just skipped lunch. By the evening however the hunger was setting in and I was looking around for a store or restaurant that might still be open. It was then that I was rescued from minor discomfort by a true American hero, a defender of the American Way. I was rescued by… Burger King! A double cheeseburger with fries and a soda. The world rejoices.
Somewhat related to this, I had fast food a few times while I was overseas, and was surprised to find that McDonald’s, Burger King and the like taste better over there than in America. (UPDATE: I tried to do some actual testing on my 2015 journey to verify this. You can read my updated thoughts on fast food in Europe here.)