I was awakened slightly after 5:30 by my neighbours packing up and slamming car doors. They pulled out about 6:00; I imagined their reaction when they found out that they would have to wait for the gate to be unlocked at 7:00.
I got up shortly after, had breakfast in the computer room so I could plug in and charge the computer. Then I took the bus and metro into Barcelona Sants where I had to figure out how to get the machine to sell me a ticket. A young fellow helped me. I wanted a return ticket, and quickly decided that returning at 17:29 would be fine. It would give me about two hours more than I estimated I needed, but I have never found that that is a bad idea. Now I had to find the platform. Tarragona was not listed anywhere, so I asked a fellow in a uniform and he pointed me in the right direction. On the platform I met the fellow who had helped me buy the tickets (Juan Carlos) so we sat down together and had an interesting conversation until he had to get off at the station before Tarragona.
There was a map by the train station in Tarragona, and it turned out (as I had suspected) that the Roman amphitheatre (2nd century AD) was quite close so I walked there first. There was an entry charge. I told the fellow that I was 65; he asked me if I was working so I had to pay the full amount. He also gave me a very useful map of the city. It is an impressive building, better preserved than the one in Autun.
There was an entry charge for the cathedral, but this time when I told the lady that I was 65 she let me in for half price. The cathedral has a Romanesque cloister (XIII century) which I didn’t know about. It has many capitals which are very interesting and in good condition. There are also many (perhaps the majority) which have been replaced.) Here are some examples (warning: some of the subjects are quite gruesome):
Something I did know was about the Romanesque portal. It is thought that it was originally in the west façade and was moved when the cathedral was rebuilt in the gothic style. It is thirteenth century which puts it after the west portal at Chartres, for example. It is contemporary with the tympanum of the church of Sant Pere de Santpedor. see 07-29 to 08-01 Manresa.
I entered the cathedral and found that there was scaffolding which did not make for good pictures. But the main altar is also Romanesque (XIII century) and is quite remarkable. I was now a bit behind schedule so I went to the tourist office and asked if it was possible to walk to the first century AD Roman aqueduct. I was told that it was and given a different map. It was a gravel road of the type we were accustomed to, so I felt quite at home.