Once in a while someone writes an article for GoNOMAD that really hits a chord. That happened today when we posted Paul Shoul’s piece about Zaragoza Spain. The reason it resonated was a simple Spanish word that means lingering for a long time over dinner. That’s one of my favorite things in the world, and he opens his story with a tale that perfectly sums up the topic. I love this word and plan to share it the next time I visit my family in NJ and we sit after dinner and talk.
“The Burger King across the street definitely did not fit in. It was empty inside; the glowing neon sign was awkward and garish compared to the subtleties of the aged wooden facades on the other cafes around it.
The cafes were full of people at the end of the working day, talking loudly, laughing, eating tapas and drinking wine. I said to my friend Anna from the Spanish tourism office, who was born here, “I notice that there is nobody in there?”
“Where, in The Burger King?” she said, “Only children go in. Why would you? Fast food does not fit in with our culture, it leaves no room for la sobremesa.”
Yes the sobremesa is what’s important to people like Paul, and people like me.
“You eat, then you have a coffee, a little pastry you talk and suddenly four hours later you realize that you are all still at the table, so maybe another coffee… And on and on… That is la sobremesa.”
Life is all about these types of experiences. Like lingering over coffee at the cafe, or having one of those spirited discussions over refills of wine, then switching to water, and continuing the talk….yes sobremesa is what keeps life alive!