A traveller in Spain

Travelling to Spain this summer?  Spain is a country best enjoyed if you take a step back from the fast paced environment, relax and take it easy.  Enjoy doing everything at a slow pace and this includes finding somewhere to eat, taking a trip to the beach or just enjoying an espresso after your dinner.

You should not expect to go into a restaurant for a meal and be out within an hour.  Go into a restaurant with the knowledge that you will be in there for around two and a half hours so you can enjoy each of your courses and savour the foods.

If you do think you are wasting your time that is very precious and that time could be spent sightseeing then you are going about this the wrong way!

If you do find that for whatever reason you need to get some food very quickly, don’t go to a restaurant but instead go to a bar.  The bars in Spain are very much like cafes.  They tend to serve tapas.  Tapas is a range of small dishes including breads, olives, fish and meat.  These are small meaning you can have a few dishes and try a few different things.  Alternatively you can order a “bocadillo”.  These are sandwiches made on crusty bread with fillings.  However unlike a traditional sandwich don’t expect to be served mayonnaise or even lettuce.  Common fillings include cured meats or tuna.

These bars are the perfect places to go to if you have children.  As many of the restaurants in Spain lack children facilities such as high chairs, booster chairs or even kids menus

In a restaurant, dinner is usually served around 9pm.  The waiter will ask you what you would like for a starter and main.  Once you have finished your main the waiter will ask if you would like deserts and coffees.  Coffees are traditionally liquors served after deserts and not before.  The last thing to do is ask for the bill.  The waiter will not just leave the bill without being requested to do so.  Leaving without tipping the waiter is considered to be rude, a tip is usually expected.  It is entirely up to you how much you decide to leave, but do leave something.

Usually at lunch times, there are some good deals.  A “menu de dia” means a set price for a starter, main and desert and also a drink.  Do bear in mind that you will pay the same price for meal regardless if you order a glass of wine or a glass of water.  These are great deals especially if there are large number of you.

Once the belly’s are full, go for a gentle walk and take in the sites.  There are plenty of things to see and do, including museums.  Or step down a little road off track and find a quaint little shop.  There are lots of hidden corners in Spain that often get missed.