The last time Sara & Steve were in Sevilla was five years ago, though I have met up with them in London twice since then. Much has changed since their last visit, including lots of new tapas bars for them to try out. Here they are after our fab lunch at Palo Santo… I’m really looking forward to spending time with them over the next week or so, possibly even taking a day trip to Jerez.
About a million years ago (okay, it was 1998) Alex was my flatmate for six months when I was living in Mateos Gago and had to take in lodgers to help pay the rent. Anyhoodle… imagine my surprise when Alex got in touch a few weeks ago and said he was coming back to Sevilla for a conference and that he’d love to meet up.
Since I am still battling that pesky cold thang – and also working – we planned to meet up later in the week. But he ended up surprising me while I was “on tour” last night. He had gone for tapas with some colleagues at Vineria San Telmo, and while they were enjoying their dinner on the terrace he asked one of the waiters, “So, do you know Shawn?” and he said “Yeah, she’s sitting inside”. Ha!
And so at one moment when I got up from the table to get something for my clients I turned and literally bumped into Alex. Wow. BIG HUGS all around. What a lovely surprise. And after the tour we went out for a couple of penúlitimas, talking well into the wee hours. It was so great catching up and sharing our memories that we’re planning to do it again tomorrow night.
The other day I got an email from Steph, an Australian woman who is travelling around Spain this month. She had just spent some time with my friend Gabriella @tenedor in San Sebastián and asked if I had any tours available for her to join while she was in Sevilla. Well, the only possibility was for her to join another couple on a Flamenco & Tapas tour on her last night in town (yesterday), which she happily did, but we also got together for lunch on Sunday – that’s Steph up there happily chowing down on some fried blood and onions – and I also gave her my handy tapas bar “short list” for her to use before the tour.
It was so much fun meeting her, and then last night going out with Diana & Peter, who were also lovely. I honestly feel so blessed that my work (including social media stuff) puts me in touch with so many amazing people.
Another meeting with a Twitter pal. This one was a bit unusual as I have known Francisco (the guy with the beard) online for over five years. We have almost met up a couple of times, but somehow it never worked out. This time he invited me to a new restaurant/bar run by his friend & chef Marcos (left) called La Grulla, and we finally got to meet in person. The unusual thing about this is that Francisco lives in Sevilla, so meeting up shouldn’t have taken so long. Anyhow, I also got to meet two other foodie friends of his, Eduardo and Miguel, and we spent a pleasant afternoon “talking shop” and comparing notes about various bars and restaurants in town, while chef Marcos kept bringing us wonderful dishes to try and keeping our glasses full. Good times!
I always love taking day trips with Victor @welovemalaga when I am visiting Málaga, and this time we chose to go to Archidona after I discovered that Victor had never been there. A rare treat for me to show him something new! As Peter @svqconcierge would be arriving in town Saturday morning we decided that would be a good day for all three of us to go, though I should have done my homework better as we missed the opening time for the Virgen de Gracia convent and castle. But we went up the mountain anyhow and were treated to some spectacular views.
We also had lunch at Arxiduna Restaurant, uniquely located inside caves in the main square (also unique for being the only octagonal square in Spain). I’ll be updating their page soon. I’d let them know that I was coming back and booked a table and, well, we were treated like royalty and given a special tasting menu. But more on that later.
On the way home Victor took a detour through the beautiful Montes de Málaga, a magnificent natural park and, as always, I learned so much more about this region and its history. Victor is not only a fount of knowledge but a gifted story teller. By the time we got back to Málaga we were zonked, so Peter went to crash at his hotel and I came “home” to shower and spent a lovely evening in Netflixing. The only thing missing was Morcilla…
Peter & Victor in Plaza de la Victoria, ArchidonaRestaurante Arxiduna
… I was enjoying Beer O’clock (and pulpo!) with these two lovelies, Anna & Jorge (aka @thekilomEATers) in Santiago de Compostela. I haven’t done nearly as much travelling this summer as I did last (Málaga, London, Madrid, Santiago), mostly because of THE MOVE, but tomorrow I am taking off for another Málaga Getaway. Looking forward to getting back to my “second home”.
Peter & Robert at La Azotea
Met another Twitter pal yesterday! This is Robert Wright @GaoCho, who has actually been living in Sevilla for a year, but I only became aware of him when he sent me a private message last December about something he’d read about me. Then the other day he also commiserated with my “copycat tour company” issues and it was only then that I realized that he lives here (duh). So I said we should meet up for a beer some time and, as I already had a meeting planned at The Office (aka La Azotea Santa Cruz) we decided to meet up there. Spent a lovely couple of hours over a couple of beers and LOTS of chat. Turns out we know quite a few of the same people as both Robert and his husband are tour guides (Robert also writes guide books as well as his Endless Mile project). It was great to meet such a fun and interesting person – hope we can catch up again before long.
The other day I was wrapped up in all the IKEA nonsense, feeling abused by corporate bullshit, and then I happened to see that – once again! – one of the new corporate tapas tour companies in town had copied another of my tours. So I mentioned on Twitter how disheartening this is, to not only have people copy things I have created, but they even use the same bars FFS, as if nobody will notice that the bars no longer have actual clients in them, just food tour groups. As if bars don’t have their own eco-systems. Grrrrr…
Then the next day I got a mention on Twitter linking to this photo taken almost exactly 6 years ago (Sept 2011), with a great comment from Tim being very supportive. And I remember this tour! I almost didn’t do it because I was still getting over that emergency op but at that point I also really wanted to get out of the house. So I arranged it that I would meet them with Peter at the first stop, just to say hola, and that Peter would take it from there, since I didn’t think I could manage a whole evening out. But I actually made it to the second stop (this photo was taken at Bodeguita Romero) and I remember not only having a great time before leaving Tim and his friends in Peter’s capable hands, but also enjoying my first glass of wine in over a month.
Anyhow, what a great memory to be reminded of, and curiously this was my second “blast from the past” from 2011 this month, since Ross & Annie are also back in town. All of which is reminding me to enjoy what I have and embrace all the GOOD. Because sometimes I forget.
Good times with Ross & Annie from Australia. They first went on a Sevilla Tapas Tour with me in November 2011, and are now back in Sevilla for an extended visit. Two weeks ago they did a We Love Tapas Tour with Delia (as a #tapas “refresher course”) and on Sunday we had lunch at La Sal. Really great catching up over tintos de verano and tuna Almadraba.
Yep, I was the common denominator among these guys… and I wasn’t even there! Loved getting this photo from Ania the other day. Far flung friends all meeting up in San Sebastián – with even a couple of them not knowing the others knew me until they got talking. All thanks to the internets…