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downundergal Cordoba - A travel report by Kerrie
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Cordoba,  Spain - flag Spain
6123 readers

downundergal's travel reports

Captivating Cordoba

  15 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4
Having the opportunity of experiencing first hand the passion of the Flamenco and seeing the magnificent Mezquita, Cordoba will always be Spain’s romantic city in my memories.

View of the bridge.
View of the bridge.
Cordoba’s crowning glory the Mezquita really has to be seen to be believed. It really is simply stunning and photographs really don’t do it the justice it deserves.

The atmospheric labyrinth of streets and squares in the old quarter of the Juderia is a great place to wander. Some of the streets are so narrow you can stand with your arms outstretched and touch both sides.

Spanned by the Roman bridge the River Guadalquivir that bisects Cordoba also adds to the cities appeal. The tower was closed for renovation when we visited but the bridge still made a lovely photo opportunity.

Favourite spots:
Experiencing the raw emotion of Flamenco firmly entrenches Cordoba in my mind as the city of romance. My preconceived ideas of the Flamenco were so misguided it was a real surprise to experience in its authentic form. One thing that I never realized was how big a part the male dancers and singers play in the overall sensuality. Much of the music was made up of a solo male singer with the most powerful and soulful voice singing heartfelt laments that tugged at your heartstrings including strong stories about “los toros” the famous bulls of Spain.

We saw the show “Tablao Flamenco Cardenal”. We booked the day before and were lucky enough to have front row seats. The cost of 19 euros included a drink. Shows started at 22.30 every day except for Sundays.

What's really great:
The beautiful Mezquita
The beautiful Mezquita
The sight everyone comes to see is the beautiful Mezquita. Row upon row of marble pillars polished at hand height to a shiny black gloss over the eons from the endless hands running over them. The geometric white and rust red double arches crowning the black pillars are just magnificent. Even the Cathedral in the middle does not ruin the whole effect.
It is a well known story that when Carlos V finally agreed to a Renaissance era Cathedral to be built within the Mosque that when he first saw it he was to exclaim “You have built what you or others might have built anywhere, but you have destroyed something unique in the world."
Make sure you also seek out the Sala del Mihrab, a prayer room with much marble and covered with beautiful mosaics. Originally it was direct worshippers towards Mecca and to amplify the Inman. Having confused my times and visiting when there was a sermon in progress in the Cathedral built in the centre I can only say that the service heightened the atmosphere.

Continued from above

Speaking of our first visit I thought that you had to enter between the hours of 8.30am and 10am Monday through to Sunday but the true story was that it was free to enter during these times thus saving on the 8 euro entry fee.

You do not receive a leaflet so take your guide book if you wish to have the information on the Mosque at hand. There are also no groups allowed and noise is to be kept to a minimum. If you sit for the service you are required to stay seated until it is finished.

Supposedly there are no lights on at these times but we were there after 10am when the paying customers arrived and there was absolutely no difference and with the sounds of those heavenly voices lifting the roof it would have still been spectacular even if it was pitch black!

The other bonus was that you also enter through the central traditional double entry of the Patio de los Naranjas rather than from the corner entry at one end of the Patio.

Our hotel and the wall of the Mezquita.
Our hotel and the wall of the Mezquita.
Our trip panned out so that we spent a Friday and Saturday night here. Being the weekend we knew that accommodation becomes scarce so I started to look a couple of days before but had trouble finding anywhere.

We eventually found the Hotel Mamoinides whose front entrance faced onto the wall of the north west corner of the Mezquita. A fantastic location and very comfortable, clean rooms with all the mod cons but at twice our normal budget. The cost was 99 euros per night without breakfast plus an extra 11.87 per day for parking.

We had no idea exactly where we were heading when we arrived looking for the hotel as we hadn’t any map. We realized we driving straight to the Mosque so thinking we were going the wrong way as we were so close to it we asked a policeman for directions assuming we were lost. Imagine our surprise when we were literally staying on the Mezquita’s outer wall!

Continued below

One of the patios at Hotel Maestre.
One of the patios at Hotel Maestre.
Accommodation cont'd
For our last night we moved to the Hotel Maestre. A beautiful traditional Spanish house with the rooms off traditional fern and flower filled courtyards it was great value for money, homely and still well located taking just 5 minutes to walk to the Mezquita. At a cost of of 49 euros with parking available at 8 euros and a 5 euro breakfast buffet which I had to have because I had a craving for yoghurt and fresh fruit. The Reception staff were also really exceptionally helpful.

One of the small
One of the small "streets".
Plaza del Potro is a lovely old square that was mentioned in Don Quixote and is ringed by restaurants and is a lovely spot that is perfect to while away an evening in the summer.

Outer wall of the Mezquita.
Outer wall of the Mezquita.
For a great breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a coffee try La, La, La. A smart, humming little café with a light and airy skylight in the middle and good service with the meals coming out quickly. They offered a really range good range of dishes with everything from a full cooked breakfast, Spanish omelette, pizzas, salads and so on. They also had fabulous coffee which in Spain is really saying something as coffee is an art form here.

One of the best meals that we had in Spain was at the Meson “La Moreneta”. They offered set menus from 8.60. Some choices included a delicious Paella Mixta, Gazpacho (traditional tomato soup served cold), or a mixed salad. These menus also included a dessert such as a great crème caramel, bread and a glass of wine. The food and service was a step up from your normal touristy fare.

Other recommendations:
What's around the corner? 
I love this photo.
What's around the corner? I love this photo.
If you need to burn your photos to disc don’t opt for the very expensive Kodak shop facing onto the wall of the Mesquita at 6 euro per card – make the effort to search out CH@T IS as they charge 4 euros for 2 cards burnt to one disc.

If you manage to make an appointment try Hammam a traditional Arab bath. A bath only costs 20 euros and a bath and a massage is 27 euros. I would have been a taker but was unable to get an appointment.

Walking is the only way to soak up the atmosphere of Cordoba and as all the sights are centrally located you won’t need to drive anywhere unless venturing further a field

Published on Tuesday November 21th, 2006

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Thu, Dec 07 2006 - 11:26 AM rating by davidx

I think you know this is my favourite Spanish city. You still manage to find extras to inform me. For those who have not been there yet, I found it a trace sad that you don't mention some of the other great sights.

Wed, Nov 22 2006 - 10:26 AM rating by mistybleu

Kerrie, a great informative report. It was lovely to hear your take on Flamenco dancing; in my only experience it started with excitement, then intensity, but by the end it was clock watching. Maybe I just missed something special; oh well I'm sure it deserves another trip to Spain.

Wed, Nov 22 2006 - 09:36 AM rating by dantrenner

Well done! I enjoyed your report and the pictures are great!

Wed, Nov 22 2006 - 05:50 AM rating by marianne

Excellent mixture of personal impression and useful facts. The 'what's around the corner' photo reminded me of Greece.

Tue, Nov 21 2006 - 10:09 PM rating by eirekay

Kerrie, this is such a romantic report. What a great description of the streets! Truly a delight to read!

Tue, Nov 21 2006 - 09:44 PM rating by ravinderkumarsi

nice report,lots of information you have added here with personal touch

Tue, Nov 21 2006 - 06:17 PM rating by rangutan

I love romantic destinations and this is one too!

Tue, Nov 21 2006 - 09:11 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Este es otro de tus reports fantasticos sobre Spain. Gracias por visitar mi pais y escribir sobre el.

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