Monday, December 08, 2008

In which after many days of irritation and hormones, we go to Tarragona

Saturday and Monday were holidays (Constitution Day and the Immaculate Conception), so we had today, Monday, off work and school. Most locals were disgruntled that Constitution day fell on a Saturday. Sometimes it will fall on a Wednesday or Tuesday and the Immaculate Conception on the Thursday or Friday, resulting in numerous days off work. Just a sorry ol' 3-day weekend this year, folks.

All week Oli brought up how he wanted to rent a car and drive up north to a Pyrenean village and ramble in the woods, which is what most people do to get away from the city at this colder time of year. in the summer, you go to coastal towns and beach it up.

For various reasons (money, lack of proper preparation, Oliver not having his driver's license here in Spain, me being very hormonal, etc) we kept going back and forth about this plan. In the end, we did a fair amount of research and have pinpointed a couple places we'd like to go (Olot, Llívia, Parc Nacional d'Aigüestortes)....in Feb, March or April, either with the VW if it's here, or in a rented car.

This weekend, we took a sensibly priced day-trip by train to Tarragona, and it was just what the doctor ordered.

As usual, we left our house running like maniacs, throwing stroller, coats, bookbag, shoes, Lily, into the elevator ten minutes before the train left the station next door. In the end we caught a train that left 30 minutes later, but still made it to Tarragone for noon.

The train station is on the sea, so we hiked up a big hill that took us to the top of the New Rambla, the main thoroughfare of Tarragona, which dead ends at a cliff overlooking the sea. Then we rambled down he rambla, quickly getting off it and wandering up little side streets, coming across tiny plazas where Lily rode a merry-go-round and we found a reasonable place for a tapas lunch. Luckily, it was 57 degrees F so we sat out on the terrace in the plaza. We were ignored by the waiter, normal treatment for guiris, but it was particularly annoying this time since Lily was getting tired and cranky. Eventually, after many waves indicating we needed service, I went inside carrying a crying Lily and guilted the waiter into coming to serve us....8 more minutes later, about 35 minutes after we had arrived.

At this point Americans and British might say, why didn't you just leave? Well, they probably would have done that to us anywhere; even in BCN you come across plenty of restaurants where if you look foreign you get ignored because the proprietors know they don't have to cater to you because there are enough local clients. We were in a proper Catalan city, thus the ignoring only increased. We already had drinks and the food looked good, so why bother changing to start the same process over?

Anyway, the food was good. After lunch we went searching for a warm sunny place to lay down and rest. Siesta fever had set in. We headed toward the Roman amphitheatre, which we thought would be perfect, but never made it since we had so much fun wandering and playing in the crumbly streets behind the cathedral. I cannot stress how quiet it was here, we decided due to a combination of people being out paseando as it was Sunday, resting during siesta, and being away in the countryside for the long weekend. The silence, coupled with the fresh air was enough to make the trip worth it. I kept taking deep breaths and feeling my nerves healing themselves. Ah.










Eventually we came upon the cathedral itself, at which point Lily attacked Oli, pinning him on the ground. As street vendors packed up boxes of junk into their cars, my husband and child rolled around their plaza in the sun.








Check out Oli's face and body in these close-ups. I have not laughed out loud, and so hard, in a long time. Wow. Wowy wowza.




From the cathedral, we went in search of a good place for coffee. Oli and I got caught up in discussion, Lily fell deep asleep in her stroller, and we were enjoying walking too much to stop, so it was a good hour or so before we ever got that coffee, which turned into an overpriced Irish coffee for Oli and a weak yucky tea for me at a cheezy place on the rambla.

Lily awoke cranky, but some walking along the rambla, past the Christmas tree and main fountain helped, as well as reassurance that we were indeed on our way to the train station, which we were.

We caught a cramped express train home, but Lily made it all fun by wandering between Oli and I, who were sitting in different parts of the car, asking Oli for permission to play with a noisy fold-down chair, receiving an answer of 'no' because many people were sleeping, walking to me to tell me why she wanted to play with it, that Daddy had said 'no,' and that she didn't understand why because he likes noise, then returning to start the process over. Everyone around us was amused to see a little blonde thing speaking ever so seriously in an English/Spanish mix to her mom, responding to mom's Spanish questions, and reporting back to Dad. Made it hard to read the interview with Clint Eastwood I was sooo in to (sarcasm) but easy to pass the hour ride.

From there, home, found bookshelf outside on curb, took it in and added it to Lily's room, dinnered, and bedded.

5 comments:

Maiasaura said...

Forgive me if I missed in the post, I admit I just skimmed your words (I was looking for the answer to this very question). Why are you hormonal? Is there are reason and are you willing to share it?

Thank you,
Your ridiculously baby-crazy friend

Oliver said...

Ha ha. No, not preggers. Quite the opposite, if you catch my flow. Just regular old monthly hormonalness and frustration with self for resultant behavior.

Angela said...

Um, that was Angela...not Oli.

Jay M. said...

Wow, Angela, these photos are beautiful. It sounds like such a great time. I'm always more than a little jealous when you guys go on small trips outside of Barcelona.

It's tough to find something as appealing on a small trip outside of Chicago.

Caleb said...

Looks beautiful. Kinda wish you had warned us about the waiter thing. Explains a little bit.

I recommend anyone visiting BCN take the opportunity to get out to one of the surrounding cities. It's fun and relatively cheap.