Monday, April 21, 2014

Scenes from Tarragona

Well as you guys already know, the Professor and I recently returned from a month long vacation in Miami in March. So what was the first thing we felt like doing once we got back to Barcelona? Yup, taking another vacation. Last week was Semana Santa (Holy Week) in all of Spain and the Professor, being a Professor, had the week off as did the little one and I. We debated for weeks about where we should go and for how long (as you may remember, I'm wary of long vacations that mess with the little's sleep schedule) but we finally decided to visit the nearby Catalan town of Tarragona. This is a small city an hour's train ride south of Barcelona and we'd heard great things about the beaches, the warmer weather and the surprisingly well preserved Roman ruins. Being fans of all things Roman (ha!), we decided to check it out.

Here are some scenes from our trip:

We didn't know this before we visited but it seems Tarragona has the most Roman ruins of any city outside of Italy. There is the Roman Circus, the Roman walls, the amphitheater, a citadel and more but I think that this aqueduct, located a few minutes outside of the city center, was definitely the most impressive thing we saw there. The aqueduct is kind of in the middle of nowhere, in a large state park bordered by a lot of wild vegetation and rocky, gravelly roads. To be honest, we were too scared to let the little one out of his stroller because he could have easily tumbled down a steep hill but there were several families with older kids who had brought picnics with them and this would have been such an idyllic spot to linger and take in some history. Maybe next time. 

This is from the other side of the aqueduct and really just to give you an idea of the enormity of this thing. Impressive, no?

During our stay, we rented an apartment right in the middle of the old city that was literally across the street from this beautiful old cathedral, the Catedral de Santa Maria. Our apartment was so close we heard the church bells chime loudly every hour which made for a nice morning alarm clock.

The Cathedral was beautiful on the inside and out. I loved the stained glass windows and the lovely colors they added to the mostly clay color scheme.

A picture of me and the cheeky outside of the Cathedral. The Professor and I planned all of our excursions during the little one's nap times (which is roughly between noon and two pm) so that we could see as much as possible without a bored and cranky baby putting a damper on things. The only downside to that is that almost every picture we took of him or with him is while he's asleep or just having woken up which was the case here. 

Tarragona is the second largest city in Catalonia but it's still a pretty small town and it definitely feels like one as you walk about. It's so charming and quaint and I loved the brightly colored buildings and murals like this one above. One thing to note if you ever visit here, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for some pretty steep inclines. Your hamstrings will get a killer workout here. 

A shot of the charming little streets. This particular one is just outside the apartment where we stayed.

For my money, you can never have too many pictures of charming little streets. So there you are. 

This is the national dish of Catalonia and they serve it at every place in Barcelona as well. It's called fideua and it's very similar to paella but it's made with noodles instead of rice. Also unlike the traditional paella which is made with rabbit and chicken, fideua is normally made with fish and seafood. I really like this dish but I still find it weird that it's served with an aioli sauce. 

I think that the key to travelling with toddlers is to set an easy pace for the day with a lot of down time. When Roman woke up from his naps, we would take him to the local parks (the good thing about Spain is that you're never more than a few blocks from a playground) or just let him wander around plazas like this one so he could stretch his legs and explore in a relatively safe car-free environment.

The amphitheater was actually the first thing we saw driving from the train station to the Old City on our first day. It's quite breathtaking against the bright blue of the ocean. 

Lastly, another shot of me and my little Roman among the Roman ruins. Say that five times fast. 

So that was our mini-vacation in Tarragona. How about you guys? Been anywhere interesting lately?

P.S. Here's what we did last weekend (in Barcelona) in case you missed it. 

2 comments:

  1. I always thought paella was seafood based!!! Mind blown!

    I have a question about the picture that is below the one where you said that Roman had just woken up: what was that area? It's very interesting looking!

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  2. That's a Plaza in the city center. I'm not sure of the name.

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