Jerez de la Frontera, Sevilla, Ronda, and Madrid: a 5-day trip to Andalusia with a 24-hour layover in Madrid, where I enjoyed a variety of sights in a variety of cities and towns, all based around frequent tapas stops and climbing up things.
Seville had the beautiful Real Alcazar, which in its architecture and art, encapsulates the entire history of Spain into one small area. It also had the Cathedral and La Giralda, a belltower unique in its system of ramps rather than stairs, so the muezzin from the original mosque could ride his horse to the top.
Seville also had a large number of runners, many running along the Guadalqivir river. Chris and I joined the correcaminos de Sevilla (Seville Road Runners – a takeoff on my Hampton Roads Runners meetup group). Washington DC and Virginia Beach are the only two cities where I’ve seen as many people out running as we saw in Seville.
On the way to Ronda, we found a small fortress, leftover from the Reconquest, where we climbed along the walls and up into the top watchtower. There’s a legend that a warrior still walks its walls, visible only by his shadow.
In Ronda, which is a combination of The Lord of the Rings’s cities of Edoras and Gondor, we explored along the narrow winding climbing streets.
And last but certainly not least, in Madrid we ran through the enormous Bourbon Palacio. No pictures were allowed, and they were closing early due to filming for some event, so we retired to the Plaza Mayor and hot chocolate and Iberian pizza and the best Irish coffee ever.
But what does all this have to do with tapas, you may ask? Tapas, originally saucers placed over the bebidos to keep the flies out, became some bread. The bread grew toppings, which became bar snacks, which became a cuisine in its own right. And does eating tapas really make you look better?
Research on the Mediterranean diet, high in olive oil and certain kinds of lean meats, seafoods, and vegetables, does show a correlation between lower BMI and waist circumference, generally considered to be part of “looking better.” It also has a correlation with increased bone density in women, which would help us maintain height and good posture into our older years. There are mixed results on its effect on depression, either no correlation or a positive correlation with less depression, which is almost certainly related to “looking better.” Tapas are also small portions, and can be beautifully presented, which is also correlated with a greater enjoyment of food per calorie ingested. Tapas are also consumed in a convivial atmosphere, and this enjoyment of life, friends and family, is definitely associated with good health.
Even their pastries and desserts are tapas-sized.
Enjoy life – travel, climb and look out at the world, run along riverbanks, eat beautiful and delicious food, sleep on the side of a mountain, say “hello” and “thank you” in multiple languages, hang out with friends, prioritize your family – not just the tapas, but the whole Mediterranean lifestyle!