Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tarragona, Spain: Old Stones and Flowers

I feel so at home in southern Spain - the sense of history, the warmth, the narrow streets, the outdoor lifestyle, the flowers, the attention to detail. I hope that my photographs can at least partially share my passion for this wonderful part of the world.

The Mediterranean was the centre of civilization for many, many, many centuries. Tarragona was a political and trade centre during the Roman empire, and there are still traces of it today in the Roman walls and gates, the ampitheatre and other relics.

North Americans are infatuated with everything new and shiny - new housing estates, monster homes with four-car garages. The old streets of European cities are not always pretty, but the patina of age is rich in character and history.

As I walk the cobblestone streets, I take my place alongside past generations who walked there before me. Current political debates or personal heartbreak are absorbed in something larger than any one person or generation.

Outdoor Life
My father is always said that "man" should not live where bougainvillea does not grow, and the cold, harsh climate of Saskatchewan is alien to me in many ways. I rejoice in hazelnut ice cream at an outdoor patio, outdoor flower and vegetable displays, the irises and jasmine in bloom. The main street of downtown Tarragona leads to a seafront terrace and promenade - a wonderful spot for a stroll before dinner.

The outdoor lifestyle isn't always neat and tidy - there is laundry hanging from the balconies - but it is alive. People don't hide away inside their cave homes. The narrow streets make driving difficult, but they encourage people to walk, to stop to chat with their neighbours.

Old Stones
Despite their imperfections, these old walls far more attractive than vinyl siding.

The colours come to life under the Mediterranean sun - rich blue walls, vibrant red geraniums.

Attention to Detail
There were some wonderful gargoyles and stone carvings inside and outside the cathedral. Such talented craftsman and such attention to detail. Who would have guessed that heavenly dogs play the accordeon!

Sunshine and flowers. Irises are in bloom at the moment.

The cathedral cloister was a quiet, peaceful spot.

Click on the top photo to view the slideshow.
Tarragona One


Renee said...

Stunning photos. Looks like you are having an amazing time!

Stephanie V said...

The sun certainly helps make it all so attractive.

mireia said...

Great post Penny! I am glad you arrived safe and sound and that you are having a wonderful time in Spain.
I am looking forward to meeting you on Sunday, keep the Spring spirit up!

Jen said...

Looks like an amazing place! Love the flowers! Keep the pictures coming! :o)