Roman Tarragona! and home safe (2005-05-01 - 3:32 p.m.)
Back home safe! Except I'm not quite sure where home is. I stopped at the internet cafe before I stopped at Murieston Crescent (sad, I know) and therefore am not sure when someone is moving into my room. Apparently Craig found someone to take the room, but they won't give him the bond till the end of the week, meaning I won't get mine back till then, meaning I can't exactly pay rent. Meaning I probably can't move. Hmmmm. Will have to sort this all out at some point (for example, I'm sorted as soon as the hotel gives me my wages for the month) but at the moment I can't even think. This can't possibly count as jet lag, since it was a 2 1/2 hour flight, but it kind of feels like it!
Also, it's raining in Edinburgh. Bah, why couldn't I stay in Spain??
Speaking of Spain, I have a million things to say on the subject. So much so that I started writing them down, so I wouldn't forget to dump them here. Possibly I take this blogging thing a little too seriously. However, everyone should be thankful I have it, because if I didn't I would be talking everyone's ear off all the time instead of typing things out quietly.
However, I think the extended Spain post will have to wait until I get some sleep (been in short supply lately) and figure out my housing situation. (The internet cafe guy gave me a very strange look when I walked in carrying a week's worth of luggage and looking like something the cat dragged in!)
However, I will mention Tarragona, because it was so very cool. We ended up there last night sort of by default. The girls had already scrapped plans to go to Zaragoza, since it would have been a five-hour train journey and was out of the question for me (who had to be in Barcelona Airport for an early afternoon flight). So Jen and I pored over the train book and realised the only possible town with easy rail links to Barcelona AND loads of Roman architecture was Tarragona. No one seemed opposed, so Jen very bravely got on the phone and booked us some accomodation in Spanish. I was impressed.
Most of Spain was at one point a Roman province, and Tarragona was the capital. It's amazing how much of that Roman legacy has endured. Half a block from our pension (we lived it up and booked a pension instead of a hostel - for roughly the same price) is the town's museum with attached massive Roman ruins. Sadly, I didn't have time to go in, but I was longing to.
However, just down the road and right beside the sea is something extremely cool - an almost-intact Roman amphitheatre! I was very excited, as I haven't actually been to Greece or Italy yet and non-castle ruins are in short supply in Scotland. So while Jen and Shannon dropped off Jen's luggage, I explored the amphitheatre. At the moment it mostly serves as a home to masses of the skinniest cats I've ever seen. (Also, the pigeons have made it into a dove-cote). It was huge, a semi-circle of seats plus what used to be a necropolis (still seems to have coffins in it, actually) and a basillica. So strange to think of all the gladiators that fought there - and very hard to get the image of Asterix out of my head! Anyway, I will have to read up on it a bit, because I'm wondering what the pit down the middle was for. Anyone know? Something to do with the animals they hunted there, maybe?
It also made me think about the uproar about violent video games. Interesting to think that way back then the entertainment was actual people fighting to the death. Bloodthirsty entertainment is obviously not a new thing. I think I'd rather have people playing video games than beating each other to death in a back alley instead... although there is the desensitization to violence issue. Don't know how that works firsthand, I'm afraid. The last video game I played was Tetris.
The city was also interesting because of the number of Roman ruins built right into contemporary buildings. We saw a shoe shop with the shoes displayed on an ancient wall, and were in a restaurant built into the ruins, and with an old well under a grate in the floor! Absolutely crazy.
Also in Tarragona we crashed the stag party of some guy from Barcelona dressed in a giant TNT suit with a fuse on his hat. Yep, quite the night. We had to leave the party when we got kicked out of the restaurant for being girls. They mostly spoke Catalan, a few spoke French, and one was really fluent in English. But hey, they were buying the beer, and it was a great time despite the language barrier! I wish I could post pics, because that dynamite suit was quite something.
ps. okay, just did a quick web search on gladiators. (And no, I haven't seen the movie). This is a pretty interesting site. My favorite bit is this ancient Roman graffiti: Celadus, suspirium puellarum ('Celadus makes the girls swoon').
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