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Cordoba

15 Dec

Another amazing day. This time I decided to go on a walking tour of Cordoba. The guide was through viator.com and I highly recommend the tour company. The wonderful guide’s knowledge was incredible.

So we started exploring the Alcazar and then moved on to the many historical buildings amongst the old Jewish Quarter. Visigoths were the first to inhabit, where now stands the Palace and Cathedral, then Romans, Christians, Muslims (who built a mosque in 785) plus many others who came and went and destroyed most of the buildings. Some amazing history with Kings adding on bits to the Castle and Cathedral over 000’s of years. Alfonso the Wise even started a library as he wasn’t into fighting! The interior is a mixture of Gothic, Moorish, Christian dating back to the 1300’s.

The interesting thing is that with all of the wars and inquisitions that were held throughout the history of Cordoba (and it being an important port and considering the capital for some time), money ran out. So the architecture is a mixture of what was left lying about. It is really interesting to see.

  

I had a lovely visit. Quaint streets that you get lost in. Little tapas bars that excite you with their typical Andalusian menu’s. They have a thicker variety of gazpacho topped with cured ham. It was delicious! When I was leaving people were starting to line up for the Cordoba v Barcelona football game that was on that night!

Gazpacho Cordoba style from Bodega Taverna Rafael

The sad thing was that they were giving an eucalyptus tree a trim: only to find out that they were chopping it down. It’s branches had dropped and hurt some people. The funny thing was that there was no protest, no sadness. I mean the tree was over 200 years old, so for me it was a BIG deal. But hey, for the Spanish, they were walking around on 2000 plus year old heritage site. What’s a 200 year old tree in their big scheme of things? My picture doesn’t show how large the base of the tree was. I did feel sorry for the ol’ girl. She looked so serene there and she has watched over the port for so long.

The 'young' 200+ aged eucalypt

The ‘young’ 200+ aged eucalyptus tree made me a tad homesick

Granada’s hidden secrets

15 Dec

My day trip to Granada took around 3 hours to drive. And on our tour I met three lovely Muslim sisters from Washington State who were on University vacation. They made my day fun as they were cat lovers and there were a few, very fat and furry strays that smooched us along our expedition. I hope to see you again one day girls! That is the humans, not the cats!

The Alhambra was a fortress for the Nasrid dynasty which lived there from the 13th century. It was impressive and while there’s not much left of King Mohammed I’s buildings (1237), his wall stands firm bordering the vast layout, but there is still a lot of wonderful 13 & 1400’s Islamic art and architecture.  Recent renovations and restoration have taken place,  especially The Court of the Lions which was built in the 14th century by Sultan Mohamed V. The waterfall now works and the court is truly beautiful.

Restored Fountain of the Lions, Alhambra, Granada

My final finds of the day were discovering that when you ordered a drink in Granada, its tradition to get a small plate of tapas! Cool hey? My first bar was a bit dodgy and I thought the waitress was being nice to me. But upon finding a much more salubrious tapas bar on my way back to the bus, where they had a much better choice of vino, and a chef that spoke English, I met a lovely retired Professor of Philosophy, Luis. We shared a conversation in broken Spanish, English and French, which was a lovely conclusion to my Granada visit.

Shared a chat in a cool tapas bar in Granada

Retired Philosophy Professor Luis Villegas Forero and I shared a chat in a cool tapas bar in Granada. Many Muslims live in Granada due to their history of Mohammad I dating back to the 1200’s.

Overall a superb day, but I am even more keen to visit the Sevilla Alcazar as I hear it’s even better than Granada.

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