Many of you will know that this summer I walked my third stage of the Camino, my first year walking solo. Now, I love me some me time and this trip definitely gave me a lot of that but I did find that one of the most challenging parts about solo travel was meal times. I’m a little self-conscious anyway and had to work on NOT feeling awkward and vulnerable eating alone at a restaurant (often at a very non-Spanish hour – because people who are walking 25km the following day don’t want to eat dinner after 10pm!).
I’d just about gotten over that when I arrived in Madrid to spend a couple of days before I went home – excited to eat all the tapas but actually wondering how I was going to do that. Tapas portions are perfect for the solo traveller, but the whole tapas experience isn’t quite the same.
Knowing I only had one full day in Madrid on this trip, I looked around at some tours to try to see and eat as much as possible in a short amount of time. For the tapas portion, I chose Devour Madrid’s Tapas Like a Local for a couple of reasons: start and end point in close proximity to my hotel, and the tour didn’t end ridiculously late (I had an early flight the following morning) and also, awesome Trip Advisor reviews.
I joined a small (10) group of people from all over the world – England, Australia, and the United States and fabulous local guide Rapha (my first meal with other people on the trip!) – for a few hours of eating and drinking, “local style”.
(When in Spain, you must try Vermut – “a fortified, aromatic wine with a bitter aftertaste usually produced in three varieties: red, white, and rosé.”)
We learned the ground rules for ordering and eating tapas in Spain and Rapha talked us through the various menu items, suggesting what to order at each place but also helping those who had various dietary restrictions (they seemed to be pretty good about accommodating people – the restaurant serving the garlic shrimp, above, even had gluten-free bread for dipping in the buttery sauce!).
Though I was at the end of my trip (I’ll be back en route to next year’s Camino next summer though!), I would highly recommend this as a first stop if you are visiting Madrid as it will set you up for the rest of your trip. Go on your first night (a few of my dining companions had literally just arrived that day) so you know what to eat and how to order it for the rest of your trip!
This was a wonderful way to end my trip (and I was barely able to walk at this point as I’d overdone it on the Camino but I soldiered on and walked slowly – it’s not a fast-moving tour – and was so glad I did. Worth the extra couple of days’ rest when I got home! Highly recommended.
Check out more of Devour’s offerings in Madrid here.
Disclosure: I booked and paid for the Devour Tapas Like a Local tour myself. I was not asked to write about the tour, nor am I receiving compensation for it. I just like to share things I think others would enjoy.