My first two weeks in Pamplona have been going extraordinarily well. I have been introduced to the Spanish culture, and I cannot say it has disappointed. If anyone is planning a trip to Pamplona in the near future, my first recommendation would be to order some pinchos, not tapas. While to the majority of Spain these little bite-and-a-half snacks are called tapas, in Pamplona they are uniquely referred to as pinchos, and they are a must to any prospective Pamplona tourist. I have helped myself to some of these incredible treats at least once a day when our group travels to various bars and cafes.
I must warn you though, my first experience with culture shock also involved pinchos. The first time I picked out a little sandwich, the waitress took it directly to the microwave to heat it up. I cannot say that I was prepared to have a great amount of my food microwaved in front of me in a restaurant, but I suppose, when in Spain! And that truly is a culture norm here. Where in the United States food is usually cooked to order, Spain does not seem to mind heating up there food when the time is right.
The best pinchos I have had so far were ordered in a bar perhaps not for the faint of heart. Hanging above the bartender were about thirty to forty pig’s legs hooked into the rafters. The bartender told us that those legs were smoked and then held up to dry for three years! And I must say, three year old ham, is well worth the wait. So remember, pinchos, not tapas. Of course, I will be heading to Galicia in two days, in which case tapas, not pinchos.