October 10, 2015
After missing our bus and having to rearrange our journey, Stacie and I woke up on the cold, hard, dirt-covered floor of the train station in Cordoba. Feeling groggy and gross, we freshened up in the bathroom, nibbled on some breakfast, and charged Stacie’s nearly dead phone in the Enterprise office (containing a worker named Fernando who wanted to meet up for drinks later (which never happened by the way)) It took us a few moments to get ourselves oriented and figure out how to get a hard-copy of our tickets (just in case they also didn’t accept an electronic version).
At long last, we found the correct bus to take us into the city (carrying our backpacks on our back which became quite heavy as the day progressed) where the first things we saw was the old Roman bridge and the Tower of La Calahorra. We walked across the bridge – past musicians and beggars asking for money – and at the other side, marveled at the ducks swimming in the water. (Well, Stacie did anyway. Maybe they don’t have ducks in Texas?)
I loved Cordoba and its many flowers, quaint little restaurants, brightly-painted doors, and Moorish influence. Someday, I will have to return in May for the Battle of the Flower parade. I looked up some pictures and it looks so beautiful that I imagine real life must be even better. We walked down the Callejon de las Flores (street of the flowers) and even though there weren’t nearly as many flowers in bloom as there are in the spring time, it was still lovely. Apparently this street is the most photographed street in the city. With whitewashed houses, and blue pots full of flowers, I can see why. Since arriving in Spain, I’ve realized that I really, really love flowers. One time my grandma told me the story of how she made her dad stop driving so that she could jump out and pick some flowers she saw on the side of the road. Maybe I inherited my love of flowers from her. They’re just so bright and colourful – they make me happy.
I also really love the Moorish designs. We wandered down cute little streets and my eyes were spinning in every direction trying to see everything. Orange trees grew in abundance (they looked more like limes at this point), flowers bloomed everywhere, and the sand-colored buildings shone brilliantly against the blueness of the sky. There was just something about the city that felt carefree, happy, and wonderful. It felt like summer, I think.
A trip to Cordoba would not be complete without visiting The Mezquita (once the second-largest Mosque in the Islamic world) that is a blend of Moorish and Christian architecture. Entering it felt like entering another world. It dates back to the 10th century and is recognized for its striped arches of red and white that reminded me of candy-canes. As much as I like to see impressive architectural buildings such as this Mosque, it makes me a little sad that they have become more of a tourist attraction instead of what they were actually built for. I feel like more people pass through the walls taking pictures than they actually do to pray. Just like I’m pretty sure more people go the New York Public library to see it, than they actually do to study or read. It makes me wonder what the founders would think about it if they saw what has become of their creation.
Just outside the Mosque, there was a man painting a picture of the Roman bridge and Stacie and I both bought artwork from him. He and his wife were a very cheery couple! Then we bought tortilla for dinner and continued walking to the Alcazar (but we didn’t go inside) and down more narrow floral-themed streets. While we were waiting for the bus to take us back to the station so that we could catch the train to Seville (it took forever to come), we spoke to an older lady who was travelling from India by herself. I’m not sure exactly how old she was, but despite the fact that her ipad was stolen, she wasn’t able to find a hostel so she was going to spend the night at the train station, and her suitcase was broken, she was so incredibly positive and happy. After having grumbled a bit about missing our bus, it was a nice reminder that life is better wearing a smile and that you’re never too old to go on an adventure.
Cordoba was an absolute joy and I’m so thankful I got to experience it despite the struggle it took to get there!