It’s Not About the Tapas– Polly Evans


Polly Evans took me to Spain for our next adventure in her book: It’s Not About the Tapas: A Spanish Adventure on Two Wheels. The memoir recounts Evans’ bicycling adventures through Spain. She recounts the many moody Spainards and animals she comes in contact with through her trek. She travels through quiet countrysides, little villages, as well as stops in major destinations like Barcelona, Sevilla, Toledo and Madrid. Evans weaves history and cultural notions into her travels so there is context of where she is. Although this is helpful, it’s also my biggest critique. I personally would have liked to hear more about her travels and perspective instead of detailed history and her complaints about being sore and wearing the same clothes.

Okay, that sounded harsh. It’s not that bad of a book. I just felt like there could have been a much better description of Spain. And, I would know, I’ve been there. This book didn’t bring out the wanderlust in me at all. Looking back through my own photos and listening to my brother’s incessant talk of his future Spain trip gets me more excited.

Before I do share some more about my trip of Spain, I do want to list out some fun facts Evans included in the book that I thought were awesome! (Please note that some of these fun facts are taken word for word from the book.)
– The FC Barcelona fútbol team was founded in 1899.
– The infamous Las Ramblas in Barcelona was actually a riverbed at one point.
– Spain was the first European country to really fall in love with chocolate. (This shook me as I figured it would be Switzerland or Belgium.)
– The acreage of pasture in Spain devoted to Iberian fighting bulls is equal to all of Spain’s national parks put together.
– Olive trees can live for 1000+ years.
– Pablo Picasso was stillborn. It wasn’t until his uncle puffed cigarette smoke into the baby’s nose that it started screaming and coughing.
Did any of you know these?! I think I’m most fascinated by that last one.

Also, I will give some love to the title of the final chapter which is “And a plain, black coffee to finish.” I think that should be the title of my autobiography.

♦♦♦ Spain, 2015.

If you’ve read my post on Italy, then you know I studied abroad in Europe in 2015. This program included 5 weeks in Sevilla! Being in one country for this long really allows you to soak in the culture and travel across the country. (For me, that meant visiting Cadíz and Barcelona.) I was there during Easter and Fería de Abril- a huge festival in Sevilla. I tried so many tapas and had good (and bad!) paella. I fell in love with the Cruzcampo Radler— which I would pay a lot to have now. Ate a ton of nachos at a place called The Good Burger. And that was just Sevilla. In Barcelona, I partied at beach clubs and dipped my feet into the world of fish pedicures. Cadíz was slower paced and included lots of walking, talking, and relaxing on the beach. Here was one of my favorite nights in Spain occurred. My best friend Shannon and I went out to a bar where I randomly started making great conversation with our bartender- in Spanish! Shannon said it was a sight to see. I guess when I let my inhibitions down (thank you, alcohol) the Spanish flows right through me. (BTW- Cadíz is an adorable beach town and I recommend visiting if you need some low-key time.) Also I drank a lot of beer in Spain. (Thank you 25 euro cent cans.) And if it wasn’t beer, it was vodka and sprite.

I’m not sure if any of my study abroad (or squad) friends read this blog but if you do, here’s a little shoutout. My time in Spain (and Europe in general) would have been nothing with out you. Love and miss you and our glory days, Shannon and Erin!!

♦♦♦On another note….

I can’t believe it’s been as long as it has since I’ve posted on here. Life really gets in the way. It’s been busy balancing work, travel and all the other events life has to offer.

But now we’re all amidst a pandemic, and I have all the time in the world to read and write. And let me tell you I have been reading!! (I’ve also been doing lots of puzzles, hanging with my family, and working. Very blessed to still be employed.) I’m hoping all this free time will allow me to bring content here regularly! I’d also like to share some travel tales from the past 8 months which included trips to Minneapolis, LA/Fresno/San Francisco, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Richmond, New York City and a very special two week trip to Italy with my mom this past February.

Wherever you are, I hope you and all your loved ones are safe and healthy. Please comment below with what you’ve been doing during the quarantine and if there is a specific country I should be flipping the pages through next.

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