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So I’ve been hearing a lot about these calçots and my flatmate told me that Tarragona and the surrounds is where they come from.  They’re these spring onion looking things which the Spaniards roast and eat with some “special” sauce.  I decided to take a trip down south from Barcelona to not only see the city but also try them out.  Little did I know that they’re so popular that most of the restaurants that specialise in them are fully booked months ahead of time since January to March is the time that it’s in season.  So when I called the restaurants on that Friday to ask for a booking for the weekend, they must’ve thought I was crazy.

Nonetheless, I decided to take the train down anyway with some friends from school and what a great day it was for an outing.  We left Sants Estacio at 11h03 and an hour later as the train meandered along the coast we arrived at Tarragona station on a sunny 17 degree day.  Tarragona is a small town by the sea with old Roman ruins and buildings with one of the most beautiful murals and facades.  Everywhere we went we either saw an old Roman ruin, a big cathedral or a building with a mural.  In the plaza outside the town hall, people were sitting in the sun, sipping on wine (most probably cava that this region is famous for) and savouring the tapas.  I must say, the Spaniards really know how to enjoy life – eat, drink and be merry is definitely a part of the culture here.  Oh and sleeping too.

We didn’t find a place to eat calçots but we did find the best restaurant to have lunch at there.  Tucked away in a corner, just a stone’s throw from the farmer’s market was Ares Restaurant where the waiters made us feel like we were eating at home.  They even showed us how to make the famous pan con tomat – basically just a grilled ciabatta on which you would scrape a clove of garlic, tomato, drizzle some olive oil and topped with a sprinkle of sea salt.  Then for starters I had the crunchy brie salad – it was just perfect.  Mains were “mainly” seafood and I had a soup like dish with rice and mariscos and for dessert… mint ice-cream.  That all came down to only EUR18 each – oh and we also got wine and water for the table.  What a deal.

This is the Amphitheater by the beach.  Well, I guess it’s quite evident by the photo but just in case anyone got confused.

The amphitheater in Tarragona.

This is our waiter from Argentina showing us how to prepare the pan con tomat… The food was a-ma-zing.

And, the final product… with our glass of wine.

This is the farmers’ market from where you can throw a stone and you’ll get to Ares Restaurant in an alley just around the corner.

My favourite mural I’ve seen so far… the horse looked so life like!

This is the view of the plaza outside the town hall taken from inside the town hall.

These are the steps just outside the cathedral.

Another beautiful building facade.  I love that they have all these little pot plants and flowers.

A close up of the pot plants and flowers.

Here I only realised later that the window on the right is not actually a real window.

OK I know this is more buildings but I just loved that they had a zebra on it – a little piece of Africa in Spain.  Oh and the little black cat on the side that was scaling the wall was cute too.

Another square and tapas place.

A typical street in the Old City in Tarragona.

A pharmacy in the Old City.

Eat, drink and be merry!  THE END.