about 2.5 hours from Granada
16/01/2012 20 °C
What an amazing weekend!!!
The entire weekend's plans were to leave Granada in the morning and drive to the town/city? of Cordoba to see some great landmarks, and then stop by another town (don't know the name of it) to visit these ancient Roman ruins. Then go to Sevilla by before dinnertime and spend the weekend there! So with that little background, here's the Cordoba parte:
Well let me first start off by saying that if I had more than maybe 2 negative bones in my body, I would have been a sour person during a good part of the day during Cordoba. Background: thursday I took a siesta (nap) and set my alarm to go off before dinner (the pm). Since Julia blew out her alarm clock the first night in Spain, we've been relying on mine to wake us up, which has always worked out fine. We both remember to set the alarm the night before and we always wake up as we should in the morning. However, when I set the alarm for the next morning, it turns out that I set it for PM and not AM. You can imagine the initial panic when one of the sisters woke us up 30 minutes before we were supposed to be at the meeting location to get on the bus!! Which means we had 15 minutes to make sure everything was packed, to do our makeup, get dressed, etc. and then 15 minutes to actually get there (aka sprint walk with our little carry-on sized luggages banging around behind us like the cans attached to a "Just Married" car)! Well, considering I have many pictures currently uploading onto my blog, I'm happy to say that we made it! And with 2 minutes to spare before we had to actually be there! Usually an unintentional late morning before work/school can ruin a few good hours of your morning, but this mad dash made the trip just more of an interesting experience. Everything is an adventure!
So we drive a few hours (aka we pass out while the driver takes us there) and then finally get to Cordoba! It's a beautiful day - sunny, low 20s (*C), a great day to be in Spain We got off right at this famous bridge that just went under a lot of restoration. It's above a river called "El Puente Romano"
This river is actually very significant to Cordoba, as it was the reason Cordoba was built where it was. The Romans new that this point was the highest point of the Guadalquivir, and Cordoba became a huge city for trading through that river, especially with Spanish olive oil, wine and wheat, from there back to Ancient Rome. Fun little fact!
From there we walked through the town just a bit
and then headed to La Mezquita-catedral (built in the 9th and 10th cent). It was once a mosque (mezquita translates to "great mosque") and was one of the largest in all of Islam when it had finished being built and added onto. Though it was once a mosque, it is now a Cathedral because of the reconquoring by the Christians. More fun facts.. that I am able to recall so well because a guest speaker taught us about Cordoba and Sevilla for an hour that thursday in class! Anyway, it's very clear that it hasn't always been a Cathedral, because although one of the additions are very ornately decorated in Gothic decor, when you first enter it really feels like you're in Morocco or India. Not even sure if I compared it correctly; looks like I'll have to do more traveling to figure it out!!
you can see that as we go through, it clearly becomes a lot more Catholic. It's interesting, (and this I remember on my own!) it took so long to do this addition because they kept running out of money. And everytime they got enough money to keep adding on (think 50 years or so), the styles of design had changed. So there are parts that are more Gothic, that are more Medieval, and other parts that were inspired by Michelangelo with his frescos, etc. So obviously being in such a massive and ornately decorated building was very wonderfully overwhelming. It's true that we've seen a lot of cathedrals and you'd think it would all start blending after a while, but for the most part they really do stand out differently in my mind. They all have similar ceilings and stained glass and sometimes the same shapes of the doorways/etc., but they all have such distinct parts about them that makes it easy for each to still stand out in my mind.
After the cathedral, we explored a little bit through the city of Cordoba more. It's so nice - the streets are clean, the buildings are clean and painted in bright colors, just the whole place has such a positive and nice feel to it. And then once I thought I was already in heaven, then came the patios!!! Patios are these little areas in between houses that are almost like mini gardens. It's just a small little square, and on the outside of the houses, the inhabitants hang flowers. It's almost like those invisible shelves where you don't know how they got to be on the wall by themselves, but with FLOWERS!!! of course I thought of my mom, and tried to channel my sights/smells to her. I guess this will have to do for now!! Check it out:
this was just behind some side street we ventured through.. seriously, don't make me leave!
and look, even more that we found!
and here's a really tiny mosque! The balls at the top of the dome represent the 5 pillars of Islam and then the symbol at the top. Pretty cool!
And then we hopped on the bus soon after (well, after lunch and some souvenir shopping) and headed to the Roman ruins!
These things are about 2,000 years old so it's absolutely crazy to see different spots of the community where their daily activities took place. For example, here is where they took their showers after working out (I guess guys have been pumping iron since the dawn of man! I don't mind! )
And a few more sights... I forget what the rest were used for but she did also show us a big ashtray shaped thing that was actually the oven used in their bakery! I forget exactly what the bakery was called, but it sounded a lot like Panera, which helped me make perfect sense of why Panera is called what it is!! Then we headed to the amphitheater to see where the Gladiators fought. Now this made me think of my dad because I thought of that movie that's always on tv, where they were doing some Roman gladiator thing. Ben Hur?
^That's the program director/my Spanish208 professor/the nicest woman ever!! We all love her a lot. I'm so glad someone like her (the mother part especially) is guiding us around and is responsible for our adventures and safety. The mexican part in her (she immigrated earlier in her life) I think really contributes to her adventurous side. So with that said, what could be better than going to a foreign Spanish-speaking country with a Mexican mom??
So after we ran around and climbed on the roped-off rocks (oops) for a little while, like the children that we still can be, we finished our drive to Sevilla. And that's where my next blog will begin!