Spain has long been on my holiday bucket list; I remember during my school years coming back after the 6 week summer break to friends telling their stories about their trip to Spain. I remember the wonder and excitement of hearing their stories of this foreign, mystical land.
In the very few final days of August we decided to book a last minute holiday to Port Aventura, Salou, Spain, for a short 4 day all-inclusive break from our work heavy schedule.
We stayed at El Paso a beautiful 4* family friendly hotel, with outdoor pools, several restaurants and bars and evening entertainment. Our first reaction to the room was… “ooo we can sleep in separate beds” as we locked eyes on the two big double beds made up side by side, and of course that was then followed up with “ooo wonder what the bathroom is like?” Yes these are our priorities when we enter a hotel room, suss out the bed situation and then check out the bathroom and finally have a peek at the view, which when you stepped out on the french balcony over the empty car park, to the left you could see all the way down to Salou, straight ahead was a beautiful horizon of hills and to the right looked out towards Reus.
First stop: Port Aventura Theme Park
For 2 people who do not like rides, we decided to book an all-inclusive holiday to…a…theme…park?!
Well, we booked it with the intention of doing the handful of rides we like and enjoy and spending the majority of our time watching the shows, however, unknowingly we booked our holiday out-of-season with a lot of the attractions closed for Halloween Prep and a stripped back show schedule. So we decided to walk into Salou and check out the beach instead.
I was not prepared for how British Salou was. Imagine taking a British town and plonking it on the Spanish Coast. British bars… everywhere… the menus, karaoke, the details/decor, it was like I had never even stepped off the plane. If I wanted to stick with British Company and eat all the foods I was familiar with then this would be perfect, but I am someone who prefers to “getaway” from that way of life, that “comfort zone of familiarity”. So we retreated away from the bustling streets of British Bars and Tourists, finding ourselves a nice chilled out spot on the beach where we watched the waves gently lapping onto the sand whilst sipping on refreshing alcoholic beverages; I opted for a Sex on the Beach and Jon went for a pint of the local lager, Estrella.
For our final day, which also happened to be the warmest day of our holiday, I managed to convince Jon to abandon his plans to chill out at the Waterpark and jump on a train to Tarragona, a short 15 minute train journey towards Barcelona from Port Aventura Station, a coastal port city home to many Ancient Roman Ruins.
It was a friend of ours who recommended we go and check it out, and it did not disappoint!
There were a few places we didn’t quite get around to seeing, but we did manage to find our way to the Balcon del Mediterraneo (Viewing Balcony across the Sea, Port, Beach and Amphitheatre), Amphitheatre, Torre de les Monges, Circ Roma (Chariot-Racing Track), Placa dels Sedassos (Street Art), Forti de Sant Jordi and Forti de la Reina.
Tarragona was everything and more that I had imagined Spain to be, the buildings were all old traditional Spanish buildings, enriched with Roman Heritage, the sea was Clear as glass, not a single British Themed Bar insight, I finally felt like I was on holiday away from the constant buzz and fast-paced rhythm of British City Life, here time slowed down.
There is so much to see in Tarragona, so much heritage and beauty that our short one day trip barely skimmed the surface. I would love to return one day and spend a day or two longer, to be able to tick off all the places we didn’t quite find our way to.
Have you visited Tarragona? Salou? Port Aventura?
Where else in Spain should we try and visit?