Ok we’re having an argument. It’s nothing serious and whilst I can agree with Lesley that Valencia was a fantastic city, full to bursting with vibrancy and lots of things to do and see. For me Cordoba, as they say. ‘had me with hello’.
The route from the highway via the tree lined boulevards suggested the city was well planned and inviting. It’s biggest draw is of course the unique Mosque / Cathedral. But it also has beautiful gardens and lots of green spaces, multiple Roman sites, great eateries and above all a city with very relaxed family atmosphere…
We’re splashing out a bit by staying at an aire close to the centre. It’s €17.95 per night but we can walk to Mezquita-Cathedral and the other main attractions. With a very tight entrance, Charlie’s backend played skittles with one of the posts as we turned into the site but as it didn’t do any damage to the van, it had obviously been knocked down before.
After settling Charlie in for the night (up the top step of the ramps on the downhill side) we headed out to find somewhere for dinner. Lesley’s research had suggested the Mercado Victoria – described as a culinary market where you can have a round-the-world food trip. in almost 30 stalls, there was a huge choice of Argentinian meats, Japanese sushi, Mexican, Chinese, fish & oysters options, cheeses, pizza, wine bar, beers and loads more.
Walking back afterwards through the old Jewish area of town which has an attractive maze of white walls, flower pots, tapas and flamenco bars although perhaps too many touristy shops. This area is meant to have some good eateries but felt like it was trying too hard and was tired of the effort. So we were pleased we ate where we did.
ABC alert – Although strictly speaking it’s A B M/C or if you’re a fan of Einstein and you think it was Excellent perhaps it can be expressed as E = mc2.
The Mezquita (Mez-quit-a) is a huge Muslim-Mosque turned Catholic-Cathedral, that along with Granada’s Alhambra is one of the most important Moorish monuments.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of this place, its religious significance and its position in European history or the influence the Moors 450 year reign had on Spanish culture. I thought these dates help put it in perspective:
In 532 the Basilica of Hagia Sophia was built in Constantinople
786 The Moors started to construct the original Mosque on this site
1236 Ferdnando III conquers Cordoba
1372 Saw the completion of the Tower of Pisa
1882 Work begins on the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
The geometric designs in Islamic art are often built on combinations of repeated squares and circles, which may be overlapped and interlaced as can arabesques (with which they are often combined), to form intricate and complex patternsWikipedia
On the other hand the gaudy figurative designs of the superimposed Catholic elements, demonstrate starkly the hypocritical, over-the-top bling-ness worship of the Catholic faith. – No offence meant to any Catholics, lapsed or still full of guilt reading this!
The Spanish king of the time allowed the cathedral to be built in such a unique place, but he did so sight-unseen and was a tad miffed when he saw the end result: a very odd mis-mash of cultures and styles. The end result of history is now a monumental a walled-in mosque with a cathedral parachuted slap bang in the middle of it.
After we’d finished taking dozens of photos, we headed out and around to find some lunch. Not before taking some shots of the Roman bridge.
I wanted a shot of the Roman bridge with the Mezquita in the background. Ideally with no one else on the bridge! Ok we had to share it, but you can’t have too many pictures of my beautiful wife.
We don’t seem to be getting any better at looking for food at the right time of day. After all that gawping it was 12:30 and we were hungry. However, the restaurant we had in mind in the La Ribera district didn’t start serving until 1:30 and was fully booked. After meandering around most of Cordoba looking for a new lunchtime utopia, we eventually ended up at La Taberna Del Rio in La Ribera, just 30 metres from our 1st choice.
All the pre-lunch wandering had taken us past many of the tourist sites and though the busy squares and streets thronged with expectant diners. Now with satisfied stomaches and tired legs we decided it was time for us to head back to our mobile hotel for a siesta.
So…, Valencia NO Cordoba, Cordoba NO Valencia. Ok, let’s see if we can find somewhere even better….