Trip Start Jun 13, 2008
Trip End Jul 04, 2008

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Andalusia,
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Essentially this was a travel day. I had to get from Sevilla to Vigo and I was going to stop in Córdoba along the way. I had really wanted to go to Grananda for Al-hambra, but didn't have time to do so because I spent a few extra days in Cataluña. It's always amazing to think that I went from Lleida->Sevilla->Córdoba->Madrid->Vigo all within about 48 hrs or so. If you look at a map of Spain, it's pretty much taking one of the longest cross-country journeys possible.

While the temperature was as bad as the day before, it was still more than I was used to. When I got to Córdoba, I found out that the Alcázar was closed as well as the sínagoga. Therefore, all I got to see was the cátedral. Being there felt very different from being in Sevilla. Being in Córdoba felt more like being in a desert. The colors were very Muslim as well as all the ornamentations in the stone buildings. It says a lot about Andalucía´s history of being occupied as well. In fact, the cátedral is one of the best examples of the intersection of Muslim and Catholic architecture. It started as a Cathedral with an ornate, tall, white ceiling, and then the Muslim arches appear with more geometric design. And now it´s just an artifact of what once was. The arches were amazing because of their depth into the building. It's what people come for. The problem was that I saw so many tour groups and they were all using flash when taking their pictures. It saddens me because it destroys the natural lighting that the arches already had. Luckily, my shutter speed was able to take the photos with little problem, but others might not have had that option. The worst was when I saw Asian tourists with DSLR cameras and still using flash. I tried taking one photo with flash and it just looked horrible. But I hate flash, so I'm biased.

With the hot weather, I went for a real good meal and had my first gazpacho and a good steak and even flan for dessert. Always ask for the menú del día. I wandered a bit around the city but too much was closed. I did get some interesting souvenirs at least. About late afternoon I boarded the AVE for Madrid. I had to try to get credit for my phone so I could call people in Vigo, but it wouldn't work. So I had to go from Atocha station (the bombed one), all the way to Chamartín. Along the way I had to ask to find an internet place to check mail in case someone from Vigo contacted me that way. I found out from Alberto that his mother already knew I was on the way. So at that point, I just took the metro to Chamartin, I did not want to miss the night train. So I got to the station and went to a phone booth and called my old host families and set up plans to meet up with them. It was a tricky area as both wanted me to stay with them, but I decided to stay with Alberto's mom as they knew about my arrival first. But I was going to give my first meal to Pedro's family as the parents were delaying their vacation just to have lunch with me.
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