Wonders of Cordoba

Trip Start Nov 03, 2011
Trip End Dec 10, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hostel alcazar

Flag of Spain  , Andalusia,
Tuesday, December 6, 2011

We had another lovely breakfast at Hotel Anacapri with yogurt, croissants, cheese & ham, juice and coffee.  We managed to pack up and be off by 10 am and took a taxi to the car rental place at the train station.  It seemed to take a long time to get the car stuff settled but it really wasn't that long and we were off in our Silver Clio Renault car.  The car rental saleswoman gave us some quick directions to get on the road to Cordoba and somehow they seemed to work.
The highway took us through grove after grove of olives.  It was quite thrilling to see them all.  There was some smog or cloud cover or something so some of the landscapes were imperfect but we tried to get some photos of the groves.  Our first stop was to verify that they were indeed olive trees and I actually saw olives on the trees.  This was a first for me.  The olives were black and soft - both of which surprised me.  I tried one and it was awful...that didn't surprise me.  Juliet immediately began to think Xmas and we stopped at an olive oil producer and she bought some olive oil and olives.  We had a bocadilla of some salami stuff and some cafe con leche without the leche.  It was fun though to try an authentic non-tourist spot.  Our waitress was a cutie with blonde, blonde hair.

We reached Cordoba around 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon.  Our first order of business was to find a parking spot somewhere near the old part of town.  We crossed a bridge, located a piece of the old wall and took a few cobblestone streets..all extremely heavily parked.  Juliet saw a parking spot, but I only saw one that I thought was much too small.  On our second pass, I took a turn in the opposite direction and we found a spot.  Juliet was anxious about it because the signs didn't give very clear indications of whether it was OK to park there.  At the car rental place, or somewhere else, we found out that today, tomorrow, and possibly yesterday were all fiesta days.  We didn't know how this would affect our sight-seeing but there were obviously a lot of people out for a Tuesday.

Now we were in search of a hotel and walked down a street and there was the Hotel Alcazar....we tried it and got a room for the night, plus breakfast tomorrow, and a parking spot somewhere for a bit extra.  We went out sightseeing and walking around the old town without a firm agenda.  After a bit, we found the Mezquita - the Cathedral and I persuaded Juliet to get tickets to go in.  It is another huge structure, like the Cathedral we didn't see in Granada.  This one has a lot of Moorish features.  I didn't read up on it while we were in it but I suspect it is a converted mosque.  I may revise this later.  It is open in the center but has tons of columns and red and white arches.  At one point Juliet said a part of it reminded her of a circus.   I loved the hanging lamps... of at least 2 different varieties.  There was also a section of artifacts and an exhibit of various costly religious articles.  There were some sepulchers and stone burial markers.  All in all, it was a very impressive structure.  Not as beautiful as Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque, but impressive nonetheless.

At this point Juliet was anxious about the rental car's parking spot so we decided to move it.  We went to the hotel.  Fernando was found to oversee the transfer and agreed to move it once we came back with it and parked it at the taxi stop.  Juliet and I retraced our way to the car and drove it to the taxi spot.  I waited for Juliet to go down the street to the hotel for Fernando while I waited in the car.  I waited and waited....after what seemed an interminable amount of time, I started to keep track of the time and was at 4 minutes, when I decided to go to sleep.  There was a knock on the window and some other man was now here and I had to drive while he gave me directions.  Finally I left it with him and the keys.  I went through narrow little alleys trying not to run over anyone and had had enough of driving and had no desire to drive it into some underground garage with inches to spare on sides and top.  I forgot to mention that the car beeped practically the entire way to the parking spot because the fellow did not put on his seat belt.  It beeped all through our wait for a red traffic light that I stopped for that the fellow had motioned me to go through.  I think he was happy to get rid of me.

I was starved by this point.  We put on our warmest clothes and set out for a quick meal because we had decided to get tickets for the luz and sonida show at the Alcazar.  We passed by a few restaurants and settled on a place that had a set menu of the day for 10 euros.  We had a hard time deciding what to have since we didn't know most of the items.  I ended up with a ratatouille with fried egg on top for primo course;  Juliet had chicken soup with a hard-boiled egg in it.  For secundo course, I had calamari & fries and Juliet had a long, thin batter-fried thing that seemed to have dark chicken meat inside a wrapping of lighter chicken.  We shared some of our secondos.  We each got a big glass of rioja wine and had flan for dessert.  Juliet tried to get coffee but it wasn't included = we had actually gotten the wine included in our meal.  We were stuffed again with all of this plus we were trying to eat fast so I could get my camera to take to the luz & sonida show.

We bought our tickets at 8:30 and got back from our room with my camera  by 9 pm.  The show started with a projection on the wall of the fort with pictures depicting the history of Cordoba.  After that we walked out into the garden....with music....and watched the fountains as they spouted water with various colors of lights.  They changed the height and direction of the water while the different colors cycled through the lights.  There were several different fountains with different music and light sequences.  We could sort of see the garden from the lights on the water.  There were huge cypresses trimmed into columns that reminded me of Stonehenge.  A statue group representing Isabella and Ferdinand and Columbus  was another stop on our trip through the garden.  Since all of this was in Spanish, I didn't really pay a lot of attention to it.  I enjoyed the water & the colors, but was disappointed that my battery ran out halfway through our walk.  We are supposed to do a regular tour through the Alcazar tomorrow so hopefully I will get to see the garden....it looked quite nice.  Juliet and I both felt compelled to touch the cypresses.  They were very alluring

The moon is out and a few days away from being full so it lends a bit more magic to the crenelations of the fort and the lights on the other buildings....they have a yellow-orange hue, especially when lit up at night.  I am glad we had a chance to come here.  The old section with its narrow cobblestone streets, the bustling tavernas, everything has a special charm.  It is also a very touristy place...given all the tourist shops with their tacky goods....I am a bit attracted to those flamenco dancer aprons though.  No, not really.

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