From siestas to Flamenco, Spain is a must-visit spot for culture seekers. Go Ahead Senior Project Manager Amanda discovered this firsthand on her tour to Madrid, where she took a culinary leap with some countrywide trends.
For me, traveling is about being immersed in a different culture. That’s why I decided to check out Madrid’s impressive tapas and gin bar scene to discover why these food and drink trends are all the rage in Spain.
I opted to try an inviting bar on the city’s main road called Mercado de la Reina. It was full of a diverse set of customers, including young people hanging out after work, fellow travelers taking a break and locals enjoying a drink on their own.
I grabbed a seat at the bar—the perfect place to people watch—and was presented with the gin book. I’m not much of a gin drinker and there were so many different options to choose from, so I randomly picked London No. 1 gin and ordered a classic gin and tonic. It was served in a large glass with mint and lemon, and came alongside a tapas menu.
The tapas were reasonably priced, so I thought, “Why not order something I wouldn’t usually eat?” A few people had told me that I should try the octopus while in Spain but I was hesitant—I didn’t want to go that far outside my comfort zone. But, I saw multiple people order it so I figured if the people of Madrid liked it, maybe I would too.
The skewered octopus was served with a fresh vegetable salsa and was actually good! It didn’t taste how I thought it would. To my surprise, I also really liked the gin and tonic. It tasted fresher than any I’d had before.
Maybe it was Madrid’s beautiful weather and the bar’s great atmosphere, but I was really happy I decided to go for things that I wouldn’t normally try at home. That’s what travel is all about!
Have you ever stepped outside your comfort zone and tried something new while traveling? Tell us about the experience in the comments below!