Day 29, Tuesday 10 May 2016 – Seville to Cordoba

May 10 - Seville to Cordoba

More rain again this morning from the looks of the sky, and the weather forecast appears to agree. Russ surprised the dickens out of me today by choosing a plate of fruit for breakfast, and finishing with some yoghurt. He said he was getting sick of scrambled eggs. For me, it was the same as yesterday – cereal with hot milk.

We collected our gear in plenty of time and headed for the pick-up point, only to see the coach arrive just as we walked there. It was supposed to have been there by 8:00am so they could load the bags. We haven’t got the scoop on that one so I am not sure exactly what transpired. However, from observation I can say it was a mad scramble for the bell hops to load the baggage, and the occupants were well seated before they were finished.

It was decided that as the rain was holding off, and the square was opened (unlike yesterday due to the rain) we would detour to see the Spanish Square. Kath and I decided to spare our backs and legs the exercise and stayed on board with Fausto (call me George) as he drove the coach around the area before we returned to pick everyone else up. From the photos that Russ took it looked lovely, but almost as soon as the coach left them behind it started to rain, so neither Kath nor I am sorry we stayed.

We headed out of Seville in peak hour traffic and, as it was raining, we had plenty of donkey drivers to keep us company and to keep George on his toes, so to speak.

While we travelled Tania explained about some of the things we would see with the local guide, Hama by name (if I got that right), and we soon arrived at Cordoba. Australian always seem to put the emphasis on the wrong syllables of these words. We say Cord-o-ba, and the Spanish pronounce it Cor-do-ba.

Today we are visiting another ABC – but with a difference. This one is called the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, and I have taken the liberty of using the description as supplied by the website below (as I am never, in a million years, going to be able to remember all Hama told us.

Excerpt from the website http://www.mezquitadecordoba.org

“The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is the most important monument of all the Western Islamic world, and one of the most amazing in the world. The evolution of the “Omeya” style in Spain is resumed in the history of the Mosque of Cordoba, as well as other styles such as the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque of the Christian architecture.

It seems as if the place that the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba occupies nowadays was dedicated, from ancient times, to the cult of different divinities. In this same place, and during the Visigoth occupation, another building was constructed, the “San Vicente” Basilic. On top of this basilic and after paying half of the site, the primitive Mosque was constructed. This basilic, of rectangular shape, was shared for a period of time between Moslems and Christians. After the Muslim enlargement, the Basilic became property of Abderraman I, who destroyed it to construct the first “Mosque Alhama” or main Mosque of the city. Nowadays, some of the constructive elements of the Visigoth building are integrated in the first part of Abderraman I.

The Great Mosque has two different areas: the courtyard or “arcade sahn“, where the “alminar” (minaret) is constructed (beneath the Renaissance tower) by Abd al-Rahman III, and the “haram” or praying hall. The interior space consists of a forest of columns and red and white arches giving a strong chromatic effect. The site is divided into 5 different areas, corresponding each one of them to the different expansions that have occurred on it. “

It was an interesting experience.

After the tour of the mosque we took a walk among the old Jewish Quarter of the city before being left to our own devices for lunch and some shopping. Needless to say, just as it was almost time to hike back to the pick-up point, the heavens opened. I am talking about thunder, lightning and a torrential downpour. On the up side of things, I got to take a photo of the gargoyles doing their job as water spouts, which was very impressive.

Thoroughly drenched as some were it didn’t take us too much time to journey from the city centre to our hotel, The Ayr Cordoba, which was a monastery in former times. It is located in the upper region of the city and surrounded by well-tended lawns and gardens.

Once everyone had made it off the coach and been given their room keys the group scattered to get dry and warm before we are due to meet again at 7:30pm downstairs for our buffet tea.

Russ did his meditation while I downloaded photos, uploaded photos, named photos, and uploaded the past few days of the blog while we have good wi fi access. I also spent time catching up to the present with the blog so that Russ can upload with the day maps before we go to bed.

We were a very noisy bunch at dinner, and we sat with Linda and Larry, Kath and Rex, and Kristy and young Russ – the latter still trying valiantly to come to terms with a rotten cold as they have a few more days in Barcelona after the tour ends. They are travelling by fast train from Madrid to Barcelona before continuing back to Australia.

Dinner was a selection of salads, soups, and vegetables followed by fish, pork or chicken (or all of the above) and finishing with a selection of cakes for dessert along with a few custard Maries and Rice creams for variety.

Tomorrow the wake-up call is for 6:30am, bags out at 7:00am and we head off to Madrid – a very long days’ travel with lunch at Toledo – at 8:00am. The trip is almost over and both Russ and I are looking forward to visits to chiropractor, acupuncturist and hairdresser in that order (although the pink is much appreciated and travelling well).