Hard to beat Toledo (or Rome or Venice) just before it.


I don’t have much to say about our few days (3 nights) in Córdoba. Three years ago, my first visit, I had a lot to say about the Mesquita, the Roman bridge and the Arab tower. This time I looked at each from afar but didn’t visit them again. The Mesquita is impressive, even from the outside with the Arab arches and decoration. 

And even the garden within the outer walls impresses.

Instead, I walked the old and new parts of the town, refound the nice bread shop, Roman ruins and, visited the archaeological museum and the Alcatraz for the first time.

The square next to the modern market is impressive, large, open and lots of places for coffee.

A market is now housed in a section of this large area.

And the odd nymph hiding behind a palm.

Or dog on a Sunday outing.

If hungry, many places have snails. The puzzle is the name of one purveyor: snails rescued!

To get anywhere you walk among your 50,000 other tourists as they also look for somewhere to eat and the best routes through the maze of streets near the Mesquita. The streets in that area are narrow, lined with shops selling tourist ‘stuff’, some good, and restaurants. Hmm, nothing compelling in any of them.  

The Córdoba archaeological museum though is excellent, the quality and quantity of exhibits are impressive. Also, most signs are in english as well as Spanish. Imagine the range of words this adds to my Spanish vocabulary: words such as settlement, disrepair, etc, ones I might never need again!

A grinding stone in the museum, from the chalcolithic period in Córdoba (2,500 to 1,700 years BCE), reminded me of the one we found in 2014 in the middle of the Simpson Desert in Australia, thought to have been in use there as recently as 100 years ago. 

 What factors constrained aspects of cultural and material developments over the same 40,000 or so year period in Australia while people in and around Córdoba moved through the developments distinguishing the European paleolithic, neolithic and chalcolithic stages, the Bronze Age and the Middle Ages? The climate? Easy access of seasonal food? Conversely, limited amounts and variety of foods in many places? Poor soil in many coastal areas? Lack of competition from other groups, from invaders such as certainly came through Spain periodically from other parts of Europe and Africa? It puzzles me. Moving on…..

How sculptors during the Roman period could make toga folds look so natural is beyond me. 

And how humans first noticed and exploited the hardness of metals, making axes thousands of years ago, axes that exist today, is always impressive.

The alcazar, or fort, was my other new place to visit this trip. 

The Catholic Royals spent time there when in Córdoba and it’s there where they supposedly planned the retaking of Granada from the Moores as well as funding Christopher Columbus for his trip to the Americas. 

Maybe. Other places, including Medina del Campo, make the same claim. Guess there are no corresponding sites for the planning of the pogroms and inquisition from the same period!

The plaque celebrating Queen Isabella had both a naked woman and small female hand indentations. Her body? Her hands? Hmmmm.

Today the compelling reasons for visiting the alcazar are its gardens and Roman mosaics from the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. 

And, so you’ll recognise the gates of Hades, before you are shut out, they are the main decoration on a marble casket.

Broad beans help fill out many colourful garden beds. And they grow well and look good! 

And then there are the fountains, big, small, into big or small pools or through stone lined channels. Some large and noisy, others quiet and discrete.

 I want a water garden! A large yard with water channels and a series of different fountains and water falls. 

With communion season in full swing lots of little girls are dressed as powder puffs, in white wedding-type gear.  Boys are in quasi-military style gear from sailor suits to something like Franco must have worn! 

The alcazar and other picturesque spots are favoured backdrops for their pictures. One little girl turned the professional photographer’s camera back on him instead.

And then it was time to leave our upstairs apartment overlooking the Mesquita

Down through our courtyard. 

Out through the economy door at the entrance of our place. Or was it the rabbit hole with Alice wearing the same shirt.

Back up the lovely long garden walk to the train station.

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