My last full day in Madrid, I was walking around the city, exploring the winding side streets that stretch out from the center of Puerta del Sol. I was moving along at a relatively quick pace when I came upon a group of people lined up outside the doorway of a small sweets shop. Couples were gazing dreamily into the window as the line continued to grow. I went inside to get a closer look, and found even more people there. I looked up at the next number in the queue and it was at 83. So I pulled a number from the dispenser – the next slot available was 12.
Shortly after I took my number, I noticed a couple walking through the door, appearing to me like they were wondering where to get their number. When I pointed them in the direction of the number machine, they told me that they weren’t there to buy anything – they were good friends with the owner Carlos Mira and interested to see what his shop looked like. We talked for awhile, and since it was so loud with all the customers placing their orders, we stepped outside to continue our conversation. With nearly 30 people in line ahead of me, I figured I had a few minutes to spare.