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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

7th May, 2018

Another day dawned upon us, and this morning I was particularly excited as we were approaching the ‘Spanish Rome’ that is Tarragona. A port I had not visited previously. The harbour here is enormous, and the cruise pier happens to be right at the entrance of it, so it was quick & easy to be safely tied up alongside our berth.

Being at the harbour entrance meant that it was a bit of a trek to get into the town, but this was easily overcome by offering regular shuttle buses to carry those, who hadn’t booked other trips, into town. The weather started off a little overcast but quickly became sunny and warm. Having not visited before I decided to take a bicycle ride into the town and explore. Having negotiated the pier I was left in need of liquid refreshment upon closing in on the old town, but I happened across an ice cream shop first and so duly obliged.

Bicycle safely locked against a lamppost on the walls of the old city, freed from one of those horrible hard modern cycling seats, it was time to get lost in the cobbled streets of a Roman built city. Built some 218 years before Jesus appeared on the earth, so they say. The city boasts spectacular remains of an old amphitheatre, mostly intact, on the hillside overlooking the sea. The medieval quarter, still partly surrounded by the original city walls, houses the impressive cathedral. Work started upon it in 1171, although I’ve no idea when it was finally finished – I couldn’t find it written anywhere. There are narrow streets and alleyways - a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles.

After some half an hour of roaming around and passing dozens of bars & restaurants built into the original stonework, my stomach started to rumble. A suitable tapas restaurant with free table located, I sat down and enjoyed treats including prawns, croquettes and local ham. As usual I ordered far too much food, and so remained seated until I had finally managed to fit it all in – my mother would never have allowed me to waste food – before attempting to relocate my bicycle. I vaguely hoped that the tyres had been pumped up to sufficient pressure to carry a man about twice the weight as when he’d set out.

Back on the ship, tours all returned from various outings locally and further afield – one of the favourites being to the sacred mountain of Montserrat – and it was in the late afternoon sun that we set sail, at about gin o’ clock (well, not for the Captain of course). That evening we held our ‘newcomer’s cocktail party’ to welcome new Saganauts into our midst who had joined this cruise for their first Saga experience. After the usual feast that is a Saga supper, famous big band vocalist Jeff Hooper took to the stage to sing everyone into their digestion period…

Captain Kim Tanner

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