Lady Stardust Faro-Portugal to Barcelona - 2010
Paul Collister
Wed 18 Aug 2010 18:27

POS 41:06.456N 001:15.080E

Tuesday 17th August


The sea was calmer still when I took over at 4am.  I’d only woken up once when I heard Paul shouting up above and discovered that a police boat had come alongside to ask him questions about where we were going etc.  Apparently they do random checks like that to check boats aren’t transporting illegal immigrants etc. It really made Paul jump because they honked their horn at him and he’d been sleeping!  All I had to do for the first couple of hours was check we didn’t get to near an enormous crane that was setting up moorings and was protected by two other boats.  Lit up as it was it looked like a huge roller coaster in the water.  I read Haunted Liverpool wrapped up warm in the chilly night air and learnt that you are likely to encounter werewolves, vampires and cannibals in certain areas of the city as well as the more mundane ghosts.  There were also reports of people experiencing timeslips in Bold Street!  I didn’t know Liverpool would be such an exciting place to live when I moved there.  As it got lighter I had to dodge numerous fishing buoys and it got windier but apart from that a good dawn watch – shame I couldn’t see the sunrise due to cloud though.  When I woke at 11 30 Paul said there were storms on the horizon and we could actually see them but luckily we didn’t get them. 

It was about 3 when we approached Tarragona. It didn’t look very impressive - oil refineries and chemical plants dominated the view but the guide book did say the outskirts are ugly due to industrial estates and its being the second largest port in Catalunya. 

Near the marina the view improved – we could see lots of oldish-looking buildings clustered on the hill that Tarragona is built on.  It’s described as an ancient place with Medieval and Roman histories but before we could set off to explore we checked in and got the boat sorted and tidied which was hard work in the 35 degree heat and humidity, especially when we had to shut all the windows and hatches so Paul could spray water all over the boat so that I could check for any leaks – suffocatingly hot but no leaks at least.  It had cooled down by the time we went out to check our new surroundings, armed with a map and leaflets from marina staff.  You have to cross a busy railway line to get into town. 

The gates were down when we got there and after the first train went through it became clear another one was due but some people just ran across rather than wait because you can see fairly far both sides.  I was tempted to do the same because five minutes seem ages when you’re eager to get going. 

Tarragona has a distinct ‘run down’ feel to it. The park we came to was not as well kept as others we’ve seen in Spain and had drunks on one of the benches.  The high apartment buildings in the street leading to the centre were dark and shabby.  This is the lower part of town – apparently it’s nicer in the upper part but the centre itself was quite nice.  It’s modern with the usual big name shops and eateries, lined with palm trees and the main street (Rabella Nova) is extremely wide with cafes, bars and restaurants.  Too tired and hungry to walk far we chose a table outside a nice Italian-style restaurant and had dinner in the cool night air.