"Off to Cordoba for the day" Córdoba by unaS
Córdoba Travel Guide: 896 reviews and 2,066 photos
Had to wake up "mine hosts" to leave the hostal at 8am! A chilly, chilly morning. Had been told that either the train or the bus would be good for a day trip to Cordoba from Sevilla, so decided to use both :) To go there by bus and return by train.
Arrived at the bus station at 8.15. Next bus at 10! Travel to the train station? Would take at least 1/2 an hour and then who knows when the next train would be anyway? Not worth it.
A coffee bar and a restaurant next door. The restaurant permitted smoking so went in for a nice Spanish breakfast of coffee and tostado con tomate y acieta de (toast with tomato and oil).
Caught the bus in plenty of time. Assigned seats - had No. 4 - the driver had a hang nail that drove him crazy most of the trip. He kept biting it.
A stop in Carmona, then back onto the highway. Rolling agricultural land, some sheep, once horses, pleasant and undemanding scenery. Lots of big heavy "train-trucks" . The driver kept a steady 100 km/h. Nice smooth ride. Stop again in Ecijana - now I understand why this trip is 2h10min and the late afternoon return trip is only 1h45min. Ecijana had a regular bus station, not just a stop on the road.
I was very lucky. It was overcast and threatening most of the day, so no hot, hot, sun. Didn't begin pouring until just after I got on the train home :)
Went to the tourist office first and got a goodish map and a list of the places that they recommend one visit in Cordoba. Took the bus into town and went first to visit the Jewish sites. What a fantastic place to get lost in! Finally found Casa de Sefarad almost by accident. The synagogue is just around the corner from there. Walked down a couple of streets and around a corner and discovered the statue of Maimonides in a small plaza.
Long day in Cordoba, visited a few sites but mostly found walking around the town, following and switching from one or another of the very narrow twisty streets a revelation.
Back in Sevilla, Concepcion, the walking tour guide, had explained that the Jews of each city were restricted to a certain geographic area and also forbidden to build houses more than 2 stories high, so they had a serious problem with natural expansion. The only solution as children grew, married and had children of their own was to add a room to the parental home - but where? Not up - forbidden, neighbours on both sides meant they couldn't expand sideways, so they built outwards, taking up a portion of the street. As time went by only the most narrow path was left for passage and these twisted around corners of houses. It must be seen personally and walked to comprehend the actuality...
Headed off to visit the Mezquite, or the Cathedral as it is today. A pretty long walk, but I probably didn't take the most direct path. King Carlos V was unimpressed with the Cathedral in the 1500's. He is quoted as having said that "they had put something ordinary into something unique". The Mezquite is unique. I was deeply impressed by the size and beauty of the Ayasophia (Hagia Sofia) in Istanbul - this mosque is even more awesome. Be sure to pick up one of the free pamphlets at the door, which explain a part of what you see there.
After a couple of hours there had a coffee and something to eat, then went strolling the streets again. I was in a wonderland of narrow streets, in a winding medieval town. Just couldn't get enough of it.
Came across an archeological museum too. It is new, small and contains mostly Roman artifacts, some interesting. The best piece imo is the carved stela found in Ategua from the Late Bronze age. Walking to and from this museum is worth while in itself. It takes you to another part of the city with some surprising and very pleasing sudden open plazas, stairs from the 19th C and even a bit of greenery with water fountains.
15 November 2009
Found an interesting article on Cordoba on the BBC online:
- Pros:A wonderful city to walk. Get lost in a medieval town.
- Cons:Tourist traps galore.
- In a nutshell:A lovely long day in an interesting city.
The bus is a very convenient and easy way to travel from Seville to Cordoba. It leaves from the Prado de San Sebastion... more travel advice
Just across the street and around the corner, close to the Casa Sefarad is the unexpected discovery of a synagogue... more travel advice
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