Lucía Gil and José Antonio Ibáñez (tourists): “Tarragona is a lifestyle”

Turistes aragonesos a l'hotel Imperial Tàrraco / ©Rafael L—ópez-MonnŽé

Some days encourage people for the rest of the year, like those spent by Lucía Gil and José Antonio Ibáñez in Tarragona. Up from their privileged watchtower, on the heights of the ‘Imperial Tarraco Hotel’, this couple from Zaragoza has decided to award themselves with relaxing awakenings over the Mediterranean Sea for their summer holidays. This is their fifth year in a row, and that’s the only way forward for them, because further than mere monuments, beaches or the hotel itself, Lucía and José Antonio are in tune with the real and city’s calming pulse during the summer heat wave. ‘Tarragona is a lifestyle. After my retirement, we’ll move here’, states Lucía, with a kind of summer clearness.

Some truths have no owner, and some people have no arguments. José Antonio y Lucía, on the other hand, do have some, and while spending an evening with them nearby the sea, one must agree with every word they say. The main and most categorical idea is the fact that a city with over 130,000 people moving around can become relaxing. And it’s not just a mere statement. You can tell by their faces and voices, upon which, once settled in, there’s an immediate de-stressing holiday effect. ‘On our first year here, we went to visit all the monuments, just in case we weren’t back’, says Lucía. They soon found out that the city was more, way more than that, and that the authentic rest has only to do with each one’s point of view. ‘There are loads of different lifestyles, and a different Tarragona to fit every need’, states José Antonio.

Whereas dozens of thousands of ‘Zaragozians’ return to other seacoast villages for the summer, José Antonio Ibáñez and Lucía Gil have gone for a destination where the great majority of their acquaintances are autochthonous, as are their experiences. They feel close to their homes –AVE’s journey is less than 1,30h– and their only secret to happiness is fulfilling their days with a simple routine: beach in the morning, walks in the evening. With no rush, no other duty than relaxing, with some mates at times, Tarragona turns to be their perfect partner. ‘We love the pause, having a drink, a bit of chatting, and moving around without being in a hurry, and one can really do all this in here in a very natural way’, says José Antonio.

This is how the couple relishes the terraces at ‘Plaça de la Font’, the narrow streets of the ‘Part Alta’, the long walks along the ‘Rambla Nova’, and of course, the vital pace of ‘El Serrallo’, a neighbourhood related to the best fishing cuisine and summer flavours. ‘We like grilled sardines. We don’t cook them at home, it just wouldn’t be the same’, explains José Antonio, who shivers just by thinking of going back to work –he’s in the rail business–. Something similar happens to Lucía, teacher for adult people, who decides to stare back at the sea, glittering now under the sun. ‘All this –pointing at the horizon– is the first thing I see when I wake up. I don’t know about house prices, but once I retire, I’ll buy a house and I’ll move here’, she insists, with the purest smile.

Text: Oriol Margalef (@OhMargalef)
Translated: Artur Santos (@artur_1983)
Photo: Rafael López Monné (@lopezmonne)