Tarragona, te amo…

In Catalonia they have an old saying (or so they should have), they saying goes that if you flirt with Barcelona, you will fall for Tarragona. Hidden from the hordes of sunburnt shoulders and arms that drunkenly grope at the beauty of Barcelona every summer, Tarragona is the perfect chaser to the dizzying cocktail that is that famous city of Homo Urbanus. Stop off at Tarragona for even just one hour when passing by on the train south and you will be tempted by its sun-kissed beauty to stay a little while, adventure off the train platform and meander on down the beach sands up to the headlands to look down on the brown skin speckled beach below. Ramble on up to the old amphitheatre where you’ll see the most perfect portrait of the Mediterranean you’ll ever see: ancient Roman ruins on dark blue waters under pale summer skies burning down on the grey green olive trees nurtured by the orange red earth that built the cities of Julius Caesar himself. Explore beyond this masterpiece landscape and you might stumble upon the old aqueduct, called the Pont del Diable by the locals – the Devil’s Bridge – made of two levels of arches to transport water to those Romans who – seated ‘round the amphitheatre cheering and jeering their gladiators as the old Spaniards sometimes cheer and jeer their matadors – were just as thirsty for wine and blood as they were for water seated under the searing hot sun above.

Walk a little way back to the port from the aqueduct and you’ll meet the new Emperors of Tarragona – really Princes of Persia – with their gigantic yachts from which and in which they give the world a great big Thumbs Down. Contemplate the six hundred million dollar price tag attached to the Greatest Yacht of Them All and consider the six hundred million bottles of cheap wine which could purchase six hundred billion priceless smiles all for the same price. Buy the first of your six hundred million reds in town and not worry about a glass as you admire the stunning views from the ‘Balcony of the Mediterranean’. Stroll down the Rambla Nova, the street where all the town’s old women come to gossip and old men to smoke cigars under the shadows of Taragona’s eternal human castle – that uniquely Catalan affirmation of human kind – rising up into the paling sky above. Once there, you will have done as the Tarragonans do, you will have lived and loved Tarragona.

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