Return to España Day 11-Cordoba

After the craziness with my camera breaking and our awful hotel room that plagued our first day and a half in Seville my husband and I needed a low key and drama free day. Thankfully, that is exactly what the eleventh day of our trip gave us.

We had booked a day tour of Cordoba. The tour company had our old hotel information so our pick up spot was a good twenty minute walk from our new hotel. That way okay; we didn’t mind an extra walk if it meant staying at our new, nicer hotel.

After showering, we headed to our meeting place for our tour. It was interesting walking to our meeting place as all the locals headed for work and school. It gave me a taste of what it would be like to live there and be on my way to work with everybody else. I thought the kids in their private school uniforms were really cute. When we got to our meeting spot we were a little nervous.

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After all the bad luck we had in our first day and a half in Seville we feared something might go wrong and we would miss our tour. Our nervousness only grew when our tour bus was five and ten minutes late picking us up. Thankfully, it was just a little late and when it arrived we climbed into the tour bus for our day trip.

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It took us a while to get out of Seville.

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Since the city is so compact it took us about a half hour to get out of the city center but once we reached the out skirts we made good time. I took in a little bit of the Spanish country side but eventually I was just too tired to keep my eyes open so I went to sleep.

The ride from Seville to Cordoba takes about an hour and a half. My nap lasted a little less than an hour, which was the perfect amount. The nap allowed me (and my husband who also slept) to get a little more rest and it made the trip to Cordoba go quicker.

When we arrived in Cordoba our bus got divided into two different groups. One group was for Spanish speaking visitors, the second was for English and French speaking visitors. My husband and I almost go separated because when the tour director asked who spoke Spanish he raised his hand and got assigned to that group. To make sure we stayed together he had them switch him to the English and French speaking group. I’m glad he did. It would have sucked to have been separated and I certainly wasn’t going on the Spanish speaking tour. While my Spanish has improved greatly I still have a long way to go.

Our first stop on our day tour of Cordoba was their Castle or as they say in Spanish Alcázar.

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The Alcázar was similar to the one we had seen the day before in Seville but a little bit smaller. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t incredibly impressive, it was. Before entering the actual Alcázar our tour took us around the gardens.

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My husband and I were very happy that we were in the English and French group because our tour guide would give us the information in English before repeating the information for the French speaking tourists. This allowed us to get all of the historical information from her but then take a minute or two to take pictures before moving onto our next location. It was the perfect set up. We got all of the information of being on a guided tour but with enough down time to take a few things in.

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The gardens were, of course, very beautiful.

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What is so interesting about Southern Spain is seeing the different layers of history. I love seeing the Roman Ruins that were replaced by the Muslim Ruins that were replaced by the Catholic Monarch Ruins.

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All of these things are displayed at the Alcázar and it is truly fascinating. There was one room in the Alcázar that I found especially intriguing. On the surface the room would seem like nothing special but it’s the history of the room that makes it so interesting. The room was used for trials during the Spanish Inquisition.

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That in itself would be worth noting but what I loved is that on the weekend people can get married in that room. Since Spain has had marriage equality for a number of years that means that two gay men or two lesbians can get married in room where the trials for the Spanish Inquisition were held.

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What a great way to balance out history.

After touring the Alcázar our tour guide took us around Cordoba.

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We saw so many interesting things.

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One thing of note was an old synagogue.

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After the Catholic monarchs took over that part of Spain in the 1400s the Jewish population was persecuted. The Jews that didn’t flee Spain were forced to wear yellow and live in Ghettos (it is sad how much history repeats itself) and walls were put to hide the fact that a synagogue had once been there. It is only in the last fifty years that the building has been recognized as a synagogue once again.

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Thankfully, today the Jewish population of Cordoba can hold religious services in this building now.

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It was a warm day and beautiful day in Cordoba.

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It made me very thankful that we were visiting in the spring because our tour guide told us just how hot it gets in Cordoba in the summer and fall (110s +). As we enjoyed our day we made our way to the last big attraction of our tour.

The final destination of our guided tour was the Mezquita of Cordoba.

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Or rather it is a Catholic Church that used to be a Mezquita. Just like with the Alcázar all of the different layers of history were on display. The oldest part of the building was a fantastic Mezquita or Mosque.

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This is the part that I was more excited to see. This part had grown and grown under the Moors.

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Then the newer part is the addition that the Catholic Church tacked on at the end. I’ve been in many amazing Catholic Churches in Europe but never one like this.

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You can literally see the line where the Moors left and the Catholic Monarchs arrived.

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I liked the new catholic parts.

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However, the older Islamic parts were much more impressive because they are unique.

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They are not like the catholic stuff and they aren’t even like the Islamic stuff we saw the day before in Seville. They are completely their own thing.

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After our tour was over we had one hour to eat lunch, by souvenirs and do a little more sightseeing. My husband and I were on the same page. We wanted to eat a very quick lunch so that we could focus on buying souvenirs and seeing a the Roman Bridge.

When I travel internationally I try to avoid American chains but when you are pressed for time you gotta do what you gotta do. So we ate lunch at Subway. Then we found the nearest little shop and shopped for souvenirs. We both got several things. After that there was just enough time to squeeze in the Roman Bridge.

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As I’ve mentioned previously, one of the reasons we visited Southern Spain was because the fifth season of “Game of Thrones” filmed there. My husband and I love the show and thought it would be fun to see the locations in real life before they appear on the show. The Roman Bridge in Cordoba was used as the Long Bridge of Volantis on “Game of Thrones” (I also blog about that show every week. Check out my blog on the episode that featured the Roman Bridge: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/game-of-thrones-season-5-episode-3/).  The bridge was very impressive.

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We got lots of pictures with it.

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Because of our time limitations we were only able to walk about halfway across before needing to head back to our tour bus.

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The ride back to Seville was nice. Since I was awake I could enjoy the view of the Spanish country side.

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When we got back into Seville I told my husband that I wanted to take a longer walk back to our hotel. I wanted to take a walk along the Guadalquivir River for three reasons. One, when we were in Paris back in 2012 we never had time to take a leisurely walk along the Seine and it was one my big regrets about that trip. Two, our first day and a half in Seville had been so crazy I thought taking a nice walk along the river would help us appreciate the city more. And three, the next day we had a day tour that would get us back to Seville really late and on our last day it was supposed to rain. That meant that it was our last and only chance to take a walk along the river. Thankfully, my husband and agreed.

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The walk along the river was everything I wanted it to be.

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I felt like I was finally getting to enjoy Seville the way I wanted to.

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When we got back to our hotel we rested for a little bit. We then went out to dinner. We returned to the same hole in the wall restaurant we had gone to the night before.

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It was again impressed us with its food.

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When we got back to the hotel we showered because the next morning we wouldn’t have time. We had another day tour booked and this one was going to require us to leave our hotel by 5:30 am.

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