Day 69: Tarragona and BarcelonaApril 25, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C
Strict timeline to stick to today as well, since we had to have our car back at the depot in Barcelona by 3pm. So we were up fairly early and heading out by around 9am. Ricard hadn't surfaced yet so we skipped breakfast, although it was included! He woke up just as we were leaving so we at least managed to say goodbye - what a fun stay.
Drove the 20 minutes south into the city of Tarragona where today's World Heritage site was located, a collection of Roman ruins and some other heritage stuff as well. We parked near the amphitheatre which is a large Roman building, dramatically located right on the waterfront. Tarraco (as it was known back then) was a major Roman town, the capital of Hispania and centre for worship of the emperor, and had all of the requisite buildings to befit that.
The most interesting part about the amphitheatre, though, was that after a bishop was martyred in the arena, a century or so later the Visigoths built a basilica right on the arena floor, which was later converted into a typical Christian church. It's very odd to see the large crucifix-shaped stone outline in the middle of the arena, but very cool at the same time.
As for the rest of the ruins, unfortunately they weren't super impressive. There was some stuff from the Circus Maximus, and it was really clear and interesting how the modern city had essentially been built directly over the top, but being our fourth or fifth Roman site in Spain by now we'd sadly seen better ones I think. Some of the walls still remained (though only as foundations for larger medieval walls), and a small corner of the Forum building which was later converted into a monastery, but otherwise there wasn't a huge amount to see. Amphitheatre definitely the highlight.
Back to the car and in a slight rush now, as it was 1pm and about 90 minutes to Barcelona where we needed to meet our host first before returning the car at 3pm. Everything went smoothly which was nice, though the apartment itself isn't great. Gloomy since the only windows look directly at other buildings, lots of maintenance needed (eg peeling paint, light bulbs not working), and the owner has a lot of their stuff cluttered around. But we'll manage.
Thankfully the car depot was only a few minutes drive away which I managed no problem, though I got a big surprise when the staff told me it was actually due back tomorrow!! I think we'd originally planned to arrive in Barcelona a day later, or maybe having the car available for a day trip or something. Regardless, we were in a pedestrian area and had nowhere to park, so I just left it at the depot. 6200 kilometres in 25 days is a pretty good effort for our little Mercedes, though I think all things considered I still prefer the Golf I had back in Sydney!
Relaxed in our apartment for a little while and caught up on internet since we'd been semi-without for a couple of days. Headed out in the evening to explore the area and found a lot of nice little restaurants and bars. As usual it seems like we're in a locals area, not a touristy area so the food is more genuine. And thankfully, a little more varied - outside of the big cities, cuisines that aren't Spanish or Italian are basically non-existent.
Went to a nice restaurant where we sat outside on a square and ate; I had a burger while Shandos had a prawn pappardelle. Few spots of rain around which is ominous, and the weather forecast for the next couple of days isn't looking good either!Read more