Beer, wine, and free food. What else could I ask for? In León whenever you order a beverage at a bar they also give you something called a tapa. It is kind of like an appetizer to go along with your drinks except unlike an American appetizer it is 100% free. Just yesterday I went out for some tapas and for less than 2 euros (about $2 in the US) I received a beer and a plate that included fries, ham, bread, and eggs.
Tapas are part of the way of life here and nobody from León knows anything different. It is a part of their social culture. A social culture in which going to bars is less about getting drunk and more about social interaction. As my host mom told me, “People relax after a day at work by socializing.” Every night of the week at nine or ten o’clock the streets and bars are full of people enjoying their evening with a drink and tapas. Anybody from León would tell you that they have the best tapas (not surprisingly). After having went to Barcelona and Ibiza I have to agree. To be honest it is one of my favorite parts of living in León.
The other day I went to a bar called Las Tapas and they actually have a history of the tapa comic strip on one of the walls.
For those who are not fluent in Spanish, the king was very hot and tired, and was trying to enjoy his drink but flies kept going in it. So he asked the waiter to cover it and he covered it with food. It worked well and the king also enjoyed the food. From then on a tradition of eating food while drinking was born (really rough translation, Spanish is hard).
Stay tuned for next week because I will be in Madrid for the next 5 days and will be writing about a surprise sub-culture. Gracias por leer!