Disclaimer: I don’t work for nor was I paid by Sandemans New Europe for this post, I just think they are THAT great.
Spain, the home of tapas! Naturally I convinced everyone I was with that we had to try it at least once, and after our amazing walking tour (thanks to ERIK, what a babe), we decided to go with Sandeman’s Tapas Experience at the end of our trip. Here’s how it went down, and why you should do it too.
Firstly, it was 18 euros as a student. EIGHTEEN. THAT’S ALL. If you do a (free) walking tour, you get a 10% discount code too, otherwise it’s 20 euros. Still an AMAZING deal.
So we all met up at the point and our lovely/amazing/great guide Vera told us all about the origins of tapas, which I didn’t really pay enough attention to because I badly needed the toilet (oops) but here is the gist (but not too much of the gist because I don’t want to spoil it)
- Food is expensive in Spain, so when the workers come into town for lunch, they just drink loads of booze. This means that they don’t go back to work after, less food gets harvested, food prices rocket up. Then a wise old king decides to start giving the workers small plates of food with their drinks, so that they don’t pass out in the centre of town somewhere and have a 5 hour siesta.
- This other king went down to the south coast to hang out, many many years later, when a lot of wind came in and blew up the sand. His bartender, in an effort not to get sand in his drink, covered it with a bit of ham. When the king asked what it was, he said it was a tapa (cover) and low and behold, tapas was named.
(This is probably not accurate and I can only apologise for being a music student and not a history graduate)
Anyway, so then we headed off to the first bar, and Vera started telling us about the time a pigeon landed on her head so she punched it (a truly amazing woman). When we got there we were delighted to be greeted with plates and plates of delicious food and we even got taught how to pour traditional cider!
The cider itself was delicious, it tasted very similar to the craft cider you get here in the west country. (Although when I said that the bartender thought I was talking about Strongbow which is the cider they supply in HELL honestly)
Our second bar was in Barceloneta, and was where we tried Bomba and learnt how to drink from a traditional Spanish porron, which was a challenge in itself. You have to kind of go for it and hope for the best… (for full lols please watch the Barcelona video montage I made)
Then after walking through the lovely streets of Barceloneta, we got to the third bar, Segon Mercat, which served us some different and more traditional different types of tapas, and my friend spilt beer all over herself. At this point I’m gradually getting rowdier as more wine goes down, and so our lovely tour guide ended the night by taking us to a final bar and supplying some shots.
Is this a thing in Spain? Free shots at the end of food etc? Because the previous night we went out for a meal and when the waiter disappeared and caused me to go look for him so I could get the bill, he greeted me with “HOLA!!!!”, a hug and a kiss, and then thrust a tray of shots into my hand. (Who’s complaining though)
It was honestly the best end to our trip, a truly unforgettable evening. The thing I love about doing food and drink tours is everyone may be nervous at first but after a while, you’re all best friends. (And the amount of tapas and drinks we got for the price of the tour was a definite bonus!) If you’re thinking of doing any tours in Barcelona, I cannot recommend this company enough!
For anyone going to anywhere in Europe on their own, I recommend booking something with Sandeman’s New Europe. I’ve done a couple of tours with them and each time I’ve ended up in a bar with a dozen new friends! It’s truly the way to meet fellow travellers.