Tarragona and Tortosa

Denis returned to Switzerland to work while Rob & Lorraine had a few more days with us in Spain.

Bruce had chosen some destinations but how we got there and what we saw on route was left to Rob. He did a great job of choosing interesting and varied places en route.

One of the difficulties about traveling in Spain is if you plan to tour for the day and make a lunch time break you will find everything, except restaurants, closed. Museums, churches and shops are likely to be shut up for siesta at the time you need a break from the road and a little culture. As Australians, we really haven’t worked out a solution to this conundrum, other to sit and eat.

We headed out of Barcelona, first stop just outside Tarragona where we found the Devil’s Bridge, a huge Aqueduct. Story is that the wind kept blowing the aqueduct over. The devil offered to help on condition that he would have the first soul that crossed it. The bridge was built and the village people sent a donkey across the bridge. All souls were saved!

Tarragona, as Hayden promised, is a lovely city that has gone to extremes to show off its beautiful Roman ruins. The old Anfiteatre Romà (Amphitheatre) looks over the sparkling Mediterranean and cats have taken up residence in the ancient forum.

From Tarragona we travelled to Tortosa. Located in the valley L’Ebre on the river of the same name, it was a key point in the Spanish Civil War and suffered tremendously.

We stayed in the Castillo de la Zuda, a beautiful Paradore set above the town.

It was here we noticed the flat roofed churches, which, we were assured is how they were originally built. We took a tour through the Cathedral of Tortosa Sancta Maria and the Augustinian ‘Canonica’ or old bishop’s palace. The church building was commenced in 1347 on grounds formerly occupied by the Visigothic see and probably a mosque. The palace was founded in the 12th century and houses an excellent display including 15th century tapestry of the Last Supper and various Episcopal Treasures. In the cloister there was a fantastic timeline connecting historical events of Spain, the Catholic Church, world leaders and industrialisation from Christ’s birth to today.

The other point of interest in Tortosa was a strange bar called Scrub with a lot of Australian posters decorating it.