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[click to enlarge, but only if you’re not hungry]

Last night I had the pleasure of finally meeting the fabulous Marilyn Bellamy (aka Nag on the Lake) and her dashing husband Harold, and taking them out on a tapas tour. That is to say, they thought they were just booking a regular tapas tour back in September, but I had decided to sneakily surprise them with an extra special Gourmet Tapas Tour, which meant I took them wherever I darn well wanted to and hang the expense. And what a great time we had!

Meeting hitherto “virtual” friends in person for the first time is always a bit anxious-making for me. I’m always worried that they may not like me or be shocked at my BIG FAT appearance. But all fears were laid to rest when Marilyn threw her arms around me as soon as we saw each other, and the evening just got better from there. Conversation flowed as freely as the wine, and I felt so at home with these two guys, once again wishing that I knew more people like this in Sevilla.

And so, we visited three very special tapas bars, two traditional and one very modern and chic, with a stop-off in between the last two so Marilyn and Harold could try a glass of my beloved Botani, which they also loved. Nog met us at our last stop and helped us polish off the final tapas – at that point we were just ordering so as to try a bit of everything (we hadn’t had any meat dishes yet!) – as hunger had pretty much left us after the second place where we’d had some excellent fish. But really everything we had was excellent, starting with succulent jamón ibérico de bellota and crumbly manchego cheese with fat garlicky olives, followed by a couple of exquisite tapas. Then we had our “fish course” at a lively bar at the edge of the barrio Santa Cruz before heading back to the centre for some superb designer tapas. In between stops we wandered through the maze of old cobbled streets and I got to show off my beautiful Sevilla.

I am indebted to Harold who, in his wisdom, vetoed the suggestion that – in true Gourmet Tapas Tour style – we finish off with cocktails at swish new Lab4. Marilyn and I were ready to throw caution to the wind and Nog was all “I’m easy!”, but in the end Harold won (yay!) and we wandered over to The Mushrooms so Mr & Mrs Nag could get a taxi back to their hotel.

They’re here until Friday so we may still meet up for a drink and a tapita before they leave – at least I hope so. Can’t remember the last time I enjoyed an evening out so much.