For our last night in Spain, I’d chosen to circle back towards Barcelona so we’d be nearby for our flight the next day. Tarragona is a quaint coastal town filled with Roman ruins about 45 minutes south of the Barcelona airport. It looked like a perfect quiet way to soak up some history and wind down before the long flight home.
Quiet, it was not. We happened to be there on the final night of Tarragona’s biggest festival of the year – Santa Tecla. Filled with parades, parties, dramas, human towers, fireworks, and celebrations of all kinds, Santa Tecla dates back to 1091 and runs for 10 days each September. The city was erupting with energy, the cobblestone streets full of parades and revelers drinking the festival’s signature chartreuse slushie cocktail. We managed to walk along the beach and then visit the Roman amphitheater, built in 2nd century AD, which hosted battles between gladiators for up to 14,000 spectators. We gave into the festivities, drinking chartreuse slushies and trying not to get hit by the spinning fireworks displays that came treacherously close on the parade route.