The Tapas Promenade

Appears in

MoVida Rustica

By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2009

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Most Spanish people live in apartments. Apart from family and very close friends, entertaining is rare in the family home. Instead, the public spaces of the street and bars are where people meet and socialise. The Spanish are experts in walking. They have a great sense of style and understated flair as they move through the crowded streets. Indeed, the tapeo is a cultural phenomenon: There is a sense of exuberance, of something happening, of being part of an event, of just being. The secret is in existing completely in the moment. Walking is not just an activity to get somewhere, it is an art in itself. And in that public display can be very private and intimate moments: The caress of a young man’s hand on the small of his girlfriend’s back; a father cradling his newborn’s head; two women elegantly kissing each other’s cheek… and old married couples, walking sedately to the bar, holding each other’s hand as they have done for years.