I count the kilometers on each post as our bus approaches Almeria, Spain. I am a bit shaken up by almost losing my passport, which must have fallen from my pocket when I switched seats in Granada. The bus has WiFi, and I am content to nearly drain my battery listening to the likes of Chet Baker, Louis Armstrong, and Gil Evans before we pull into the port city. When the door opens, the night breeze is cool and calm and I hum “Let’s Get Lost” as I find my way to my hostel. In these parts, it is more or less still customary to get a free tapa with a drink, rather than buy both separately, so I have plans to experience authentic South-Spanish tapas before the town shuts down for the night. As far as I know, the last bar closes at midnight and it is now 10:30, so I tell myself I have to hurry to my hostel for check-in if I want any chance at tapas. I do just that, and practically toss all of my gear into the closet, still sweating from my quick walk that started off cool, but went all hot and humid when the breeze subsided and I got dinner on my mind.
When I arrive at bar “LoLaLo” which, roughly translated, means “ItItIt,” I am quick to order a medium beer and the first thing the waiter recommends, which ends up being a hot, cheesy, zucchini parmesan casserole. I pack in two more rounds of beer-and-tapas before the kitchen shuts down at midnight, and I finish paying for the three-drink, three-course, eight-Euro meal only a few minutes after midnight.
The tapas-per-drink system is particularly ideal if you eat as much as you drink, but at this restaurant I am able to choose from five sizes of drinks, and pick from any tapa on the menu, ensuring I can eat or drink as much as I want. If you have ever wished you could go to a restaurant and just order three drinks and three appetizers in succession, tapas is the best way for you to do that cheaply without hating yourself, as the portion sizes are reasonable, the tapas are delicious, and—in cheaper cities like Almeria—a whole night of drinks and tapas ends up being much cheaper than just a few drinks at midrange bar in the northeast. Curious as to how the pricing worked, I ordered three different sizes of beer for the three different rounds, ranging from 2.30 Euros to 3.90 Euros (about $2.60 to $4.40). The smallest size was a juice glass, while the largest was a pint, which alone might go for $4.40 in a bar in the US, especially with the American standard tip of 15%. There is no surprise why there are so many college-aged students around. If you are young, broke, and subsist on a diet of beer and chicken wings, southern Spain satisfies your every need.
Victor Bernabei is just another millenial travel blogger. But here's the twist: He isn't a millenial! His goal is to see as many countries as he can, and spread the message that the world is not as scary as the news wants you to believe, and that there is beauty in all people, places and things.