Madrid, Spain - Tapas, Sangria & a Korean Guy

Every now and then, I thought about the people I met on my travels.

funny korean guy jumping

Some of them I might never meet again in my life, but left a permanent footprint in my heart.

There's one such guy, korean guy to be exact, on my trip to Madrid years ago.

barcelona to madrid

Leaving Barceona behind, with all its wonders and splendors, and after absorbing all the historical sights and knowledge, I was ready for some culture pumping.

my tapas

Oh yes, that means food - tapas, sangrias, jamon, etc; and lots of them (paella was too exp to be eaten alone, biggest problem with travelling solo).


slicing jamon

jamon slices

It was a day of gastronomy exploring at the market.

Not just any market. A food market. Yes, in Madrid.

market place

People stand around bar counters where they enjoyed a good meal of tapas and home-brewed sangrias over productive chats with their friends, family, strangers or lovers.

market and people

The whole experience was something I've never experienced before. Refreshing, fascinating and really hungry to look at.


You'd see mountains of varied tapas in neat displays inside the glass counters, like how you would find pastries in bakeries; you make your pick, pay, and squeeze a spot at the counter to enjoy the rest of your meal.

samon tartar and fish tapas

salmon and some fish tapas

squid tapas

pouring sangria

sangria and olives
my 2 euro glass of Sangria. ^^

This was where I met a stranger, another Asian, in a group of travelling Europeans and local Spanish; our eyes met, we smiled. An instant connection was made. We were the only two Asians in the market and it was pleasing to know, and feel, that you're somewhat not alone.

Both strangers. Both incapable of understanding Spanish. Both a little bit intimidated by the scene. Both alone.

So we shared a corner at the counter. And we ate.

And we became friends in under 15 minutes.

my drink and food

I forgot his name. It has been couple of years. But he was a funny guy. Not flirtatious, not fluent in English, just funny.

korean guy

He did things like running in front of my camera totally randomly while I attempted a night shot at a plaza.

funny korean guy jumping
I laughed, because he had this weird "interrupt jump" mid-air. The photo turned out better.

He would wear furry ladies hat and asked if he looked good. But would then shook his head with a face of disgust commenting the hat was hideous and didn't suit him.

funny korean guy
at a Christmas night market in Madrid.

He liked photography, so did I.

So we roamed the city throughout the evening taking photos at everything.

We took our friendship to a bar, where I sampled more sangrias.

quaint bar
quiet bar in a quiet lane

our drinks
beer for man & sangria for girl

Spain has a heavy Arabic influence in most of their architectures.; mainly due to the fact that it was been under the Islamic Empire (a.k.a. Islamic Umayyad dynasty) which lasted some 800 years.

As you can see in the design of this very Arabian-styled bar.

quaint spanish bar


We finally ended our Madrid trip together days later with two tickets to Flemenco dance performance.

flamenco dance tickets

flamenco dance in madrid

lady in black doing flamenco dance

Flamenco turned out to be much more serious than I had anticipated. It was intense, loud and precise. But it wasn't fun. I had a more enjoyable flemenco dance performed by some locals in another city than this.

The next day we parted our ways as I ventured further South of Spain.

We met once more in London closing to Christmas; he on his great European trip of a lifetime, I was exploring my uncharted zone in Europe; both decided to spend the new year in the Great Britain.

One email was exchanged after that last encounter.

And that was the last we ever heard from each other.

We went back to our countries, we resumed our mundane lives, him getting a new job, perhaps still with his long-term girlfriend. And that was that.

To the random funny korean guy I met in Madrid,

Thanks for leaving such an endearing footprint in my life. My memory of Spain will always consist of you.


2 kissed Nicole

  1. Awh.. Good to hear that. It's not easy to meet a friend when travelling alone and could have hang out together...

  2. hi nicole, how's ECERDC job interview? did u get it?