Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Córdoba, Spain

I have a confession. When I was bitten by the travel bug back in 2005, it bit me so hard that it left behind an urgency to the whole world now. I get travel anxiety: not from the stress of traveling, but from the idea that I just don't have time and can't afford to go everywhere. (Currently on the stress-causing bucket list are Amsterdam, Istanbul, Budapest, Croatia, and Berlin.) The travel bug in me is always saying 'why are you going back if you can go somewhere new?' Bad bad bad I know, that's not a good way to think, BUT when you're only living in Europe for 1 year you kinda gotta be efficient about it.

The reason this is important is because 2 weekends ago I had the chance to go with my aunt and uncle to Córdoba. Yes! Travel weekend! Except...I'd already been to Córdoba back in high school. (Only for 2 days and I didn't really remember it, but still. I'd been there. And the idea of wasting a travel weekend to see a place I'd already seen was not making me super happy.) For financial reasons however, I accepted the offer and off we were.

I am SO glad I did! The Córdoba in my memory was just bits and fragments of la Mezquita and somewhere down by river. After 2 days touring Córdoba with my aunt and uncle, I left with a new appreciation and a longing to go back.

I have pictures and funny stories to share, but first, rewind back to Wednesday night when I first met them in Algeciras:

It was amazing to see people from back home! My boyfriend had come over Christmas break, but that had been a whole 2 months ago, and I was definitely in need of some familiarity. I took them out to eat at 100 Montaditos (Wednesday nights everything is 1euro, can't beat that) and introduced them to all my friends. 
Who promptly asked me if they could adopt them as their aunt and uncle as well. 
I agreed.
They were a hit.

Thursday night, we once again had tapas. This time, I took them to El Lizarran. This place will never win any awards for its food, but it is consistently delicious, albeit nothing fancy. The reason I love this restaurant is that the waiters bring all the tapas out on serving plates, and walk around to each table, giving you a chance to look and pick&choose what you want to eat. It's especially nice for tapas newbies who aren't sure what the menú is saying. 
Oh, and the deserts.
So good.
I always save room for at least 2 or 3. 

Then Friday, we were off to Córdoba, after some lots of difficulties with the car rental situation. (Read difficulties as 'every car in Algeciras was already rented'.) We caught the train instead at 3pm and arrived in Córdoba at 6pm. The train ride from Algeciras to Córdoba is absolutely gorgeous. Algeciras might be the ugliest city in Spain, but as soon as you leave the city limits you are met with rolling green hills, little pueblos and houses dotting the hillside, miles and miles of olive groves, the occasional orange&lemon tree groves, and lots of horses. (I love horses.)

We spent Friday and Saturday exploring la Mezquita, the old Roman Bridge, the old town, and the main plaza. We found a cafe down the street from our hotel that offered full breakfasts with eggs, toast and chorizo! The little old Mexican man who worked there thought it was oh-so-funny when I ordered scrambled eggs, toast, coffee, and orange juice. (Because compared to Spaniards normal breakfast of half a slice of toast and a coffee, that was like eating an entire days worth of food.)
And on top of that I ordered churros con chocolate to share.
He made fun of how much I was eating (jokingly) but then was honestly shocked when I told him that I had gotten the churros to share with my aunt and uncle. My uncle thought it was funny. I was a little offended. But he was so cute and good humored about the whole thing that by the time we left, I felt like we were old friends! He gave me a huge smile and waved and said "Adió!" Aww :)

Exploring an old city like Córdoba was especially interesting when accompanied by 2 self-acclaimed history geeks. They would point out things like the weird face a gargoyle was making, or how it was surprising that that apostle was part of the statue and not a different one, yadda yadda yadda. I can't recall their exact conversations because I am not a history geek, and therefore couldn't follow most of their conversations even as they were happening....but although I might not remember anything I learned, it was still interesting.

Want to hear a history geek joke? Well, we were in la Mezquita, and my uncle spotted something strange hanging from one of the sky lights. My uncle said, "Honey, do you see that? Why do you think there's a tusk hanging from the ceiling?" (It was a large animal tusk, like an elephant.) To which my aunt replied, without missing a beat, "Maybe that's Tuscan architecture." If we had not been in a mosque, I might have laughed. But we were. So I limited my reaction to a quietly muttered "I have never seen 2 people more perfect for each other."
And it's true.
And that about sums up the weekend.

The main plaza, it's pink!
Exterior door to la Mezquita
Inside the courtyard.
This view will never get old.
Neither will this one!
The Muslim/Christian clash - the placement of a Christian church directly in the middle of a Muslim Mosque. The two styles don't really complement each other, do they?
Not sure what happened here, there was a little section of the mosque with different architecture, like on the right.
Finally got a shot with no one in it! Success (:
"Ceramics made by hand"
The view from the Old Roman Bridge.
Walking along the Old Roman Bridge.

A giant thank you to Chuck and Liz for taking me along with them for the weekend! I had a fantastic time with you guys, and it was definitely one of the more educative trips I've taken this year :) When I go to Florence, Tuscany over Semana Santa I'll be sure to look for more Tuscan architecture for you!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you had a good time in Córdoba! I lived there last year as an auxiliar and loved it, now I am up north in Logroño. Love the pics, takes me back :)