During my post-Master-studies Catalan summer of 2012, I had plenty of time to visit the provincial cities of the autonomous community of Catalonia. So I took a map in my hands and started calculating the time needed to get a full taste of each city on 1 day trips from my base in Barcelona, and was relieved to find out it was totally feasible.
The first city on my list was Tarragona. Located only 100 km south of Barcelona, it takes no more than 1 hour to reach the city by train, which runs every half hour during the greater part of day.
For the first time in my life, I was visiting a city without any specific touristic plan. My only purpose was to wander around the streets, trying to capture as much images as I could, firstly with all of my senses and secondly with my photographic lens.
I was walking for an hour or so when I discovered an old Catalan aristocrat’s mansion which is now open to public as the Tarragona History Museum, the Casa Museu Castellarnau. Initially built in XV century, it has been remodelled a few times and for the last 63 years is state property. As you walk from one room to another you can feel the atmosphere of 5 centuries surround you, until you finally get to the large patio to take a break among palm trees.
Off I was again at the streets to reach the closest opening to the sea. Tarragona was a Roman colony during the ancient times, named Tarraco. I had read about the famous Amphitheater by the sea, so I could not miss the chance to stop by and imagine how could be a theatrical performance back then. Of course, on my way there I bumped into a couple of statues of Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers who the legend says are the founders of the city of Rome, suckling the she-wolf that raised them, according to the same legend.
I was definitely content from my trip up to then, as Tarragona is not famous of being one of the most beautiful cities. Nevertheless, I was lucky enough to discover on the very last moment the most interesting spot of my tour, the Monument als Castellers. It is a bronze 11-meter-high monument, which was built to pay tribute to the tradition of Castells, the human towers that the Catalans are famous of building in festivals. I took my time, walking around the monument while taking pictures from different angles. The vividness of the facial expressions of the people depicted on the sculpture is undoubtedly work of great talent and hard work!
Overall, it was a nice start for August 2012, but better places to visit were still to come a few days later. . .