One of the places on my list to see whilst in Spain was Tarragona – so for just the 2nd time this trip we managed to actually tick something off of the, admittedly very short, list (the other being Carcassone).
From our campsite we had about an hours drive. We took the non-pay road. Well we fully intended to, but accidently ended up on a pay road for about 2 mins – we came off as soon as we realised – but it still cost us 2.13 Euros!! This was the C-32, and it happened as we believed that all toll roads began with the designation of ‘AP’. We now know we were wrong on this! The fact that it was a ‘peage’ road was shown by a small sign next to the road name with ‘peage’ running through the middle – if I could find an image for you I would, but let’s just say it wasn’t an ‘in your face’ kind of sign! Anyway lesson learnt we carried on along the C31 through Cubelles and beyond.
About 1/2 hours out we realised that whilst we had remembered to put our hi-viz jackets in the car (this time – we keep forgetting), we had left all the other documentation AND our passports and driving licences in the van – doh!! This caused the stress levels in the little car to rise somewhat, as the police in Spain have a habit of stopping cars, pretty regularly, at the entrance to roundabouts for spot-checks.
We’ve been stopped twice, once on the way to Tarragona…. Luckily though, as soon as they realised there was no steering wheel when I opened my window, they waved us on (this happened the first time as well) – phew 🙂
Once there we took a left by the ‘ampifeatre’, following the road towards the train station and the sea and found a car park immediately. We were right in the centre of things and ended up paying 10.75 Euros for about 6 hours – we were happy with that (even though we hate paying to park!!)
So our first stop was to see the ampifeatre. To be fair you get a really good impression of it without paying to actually go in, but it is worth wandering round and learning the history etc. We paid 7.40 Euros each which gave us tickets to visit 4 of the main sites in the city.
Tarragona is a city rich in Roman heritage, with 2 Roman forums, a circus and an old walled town to see amongst other attractions.
It was lunchtime already when we emerged from the ampifeatre, so we headed to the Ramblas Nova and stopped at the first bar we saw to eat. It was perfectly acceptable – Calv had a ham and cheese toastie with chips (ever the adventurer), while I plumped for some croquetas and mushrooms. I forgot to assume that ‘mushrooms’ meant garlic mushrooms!! Calv had to eat some himself as otherwise he wouldn’t have come near me for the rest of the day!!
From here we wandered up the Ramblas Nova, taking in some lovely old buildings and making it up as far as the statue commemorating the annual tradition of building ‘human towers’ for which Tarragona is famous.
Our next discovery was the old walled town, which has numerous sights to see, including 1 of the city’s forums, the circus (although I did have trouble really picturing where this was), the cathedral, the Praetorian tower (king’s tower) and the narrow streets.
We used our 2nd ticket visiting the Praetorian tower, from where you could look over most of the city. It linked the forum and the circus in the old roman city. It was also used in many different ways through the ages – including as a cramped prison during the Spanish civil war.
We continued walking around the old town, finding the cathedral and a narrow street lined with individually decorated bollards along it’s length.
Our 3rd, and as it happened final, ticket was used in the main forum which was situated a little way away from the old town. Hemmed in on all sides by ‘new’ buildings it seems very much out of place. We spotted a cat deep in an old Roman cistern – but nobody seemed overly bothered – we could only assume that it was able to get itself out all by itself!
Our final task was to find the car again (we’d forgotten to do a pin drop..!) Once found we headed home – on the pay road this time!
Next stop was Oliva but we just pretty much relaxed here! We now find ourselves north of Murcia in a small village called Banos de Fortuna (more Roman remains – it was an accident!!)
Campsite stayed at: Vilanova Park, Vilanova i la Geltru