We woke up on our last day in Barcelona to find a storm raging in full force. I took some time to sit and watch the lightning break over the city, lighting everything up, before chucking the last bits in the backpacks and checking out of the hotel. Although we’d planned to get the metro to the train station, the rain was so heavy that we couldn’t even make a mad dash for the metro station just metres away. Instead, we opted for a taxi, and even though it had pulled right up the entrance of the hotel, we still got drenched running to it!
Bearing in mind the rain was an absolute downpour, you’d think the taxi driver would drop us somewhere near the entrance to the train station, maybe even in the taxi rank, right? Wrong! Instead, he stopped at the side of a road near the train station and we had to leg it into the station. Still slightly regretting not bringing a coat!
As our first long distance train journey in Spain, we expected it to be like those we’d experienced in the rest of the Europe. Instead, we had airport style security to get to our platform, including having our bag scanned and tickets checked at a gate, which I was very impressed with. After settling in to our seats and getting comfy, we enjoyed a few of the snacks we’d picked up in the station as it was only just getting to breakfast time, and settled in for our nearly 5 hour journey to Cordoba. 5 hours sounds like a long time to spend on a train, but sitting on a train watching the different scenery whiz past is one of my favourite things to do, and the time absolutely flew by! Plus, the train staff came round and gave us headphones so we could watch the film on the TVs, we don’t even get that on flights!
As the train travelled through the Spanish countryside, the sun was shining. As we pulled into Cordoba, however, the clouds began rolling in. Why was this weather following us?! As usual, to save a few Euros we started to walk to the hotel before hearing a rumble of thunder and heading back to grab a cab. Still regretting not bringing coats! A quick drive later and we were at the hotel, thankful we’d made the choice to get a cab as it had already started raining. The dreary, wet weather and the early start meant a nap was definitely on the cards, before heading out to explore this wet Spanish city we’d never really heard of, in jumpers…jumpers!
As we stepped out of the hotel and saw the puddles, my rain-hating self already felt negative. I would have happily written today off and spent the afternoon relaxing after our epic day of exploring yesterday. But no, we weren’t here for long and had to make the most of our time, and as soon as we hit the first street from ours I heard music. And singing. And sounds of…a party! Funny how quickly I get over the sadness from the weather when I hear something fun, I hurried off to find out what was going on, and found loads of people in a pub garden dancing. Not for the first time, I wished I was Spanish and could join in!
As it turns out, we’d hit another public holiday, which explained why there were so many people out the night before when we were in Barcelona. It also meant that a lot of shops were closed, but that there weren’t many people wandering around the city – I guess everyone else was avoiding the weather as Cordoba is a predominantly day-tripper city. Instead of heading for the sights of the city, which were on the plan for tomorrow, we instead just wandered around the city, getting lost in charming, narrow, white-walled back streets. This is one of my absolute favourite things to do in a new city, and the fact there weren’t, well, any other tourists, made it so much better for. Plus, the blue skies had made an appearance – bonus!
Eventually the tiredness of the day caught up again, and we decided to grab a bite to eat for dinner before turning in for an earlyish night. I’d spied that our hotel room had an epic bathtub, and my boyfriend was keen to watch the football. Wandering back in what we thought was the direction of our hotel, we passed numerous restaurants that my fussy self deemed not to be suitable and ended up in Plaza de las Tendillas.
There are many restaurants in the streets branching off the square, and we usually try to avoid eating in the main tourist areas because more often than not the food is average and the prices high, but we were tired, hungry and getting a bit fed up of saying no to everywhere. We finally settled on Gran Bar, grabbed a table and enjoyed one of the best meals of the trip. The staff didn’t speak English so I finally got to practice my dodgy Spanish, the vibe was amazing and the food delicious. We opted for paella and patatas bravas, because one lot of carbs just wouldn’t be enough, enjoyed the complimentary breadsticks that unbeknownst to us would kickstart a breadstick obsession for the rest of the trip, and watched the world go by.
As the football kickoff time got closer, it soon became evident to me that football really is a universal language. Many people were asking for it to be put on the TV, and as I was happy to sit and watch the waiters carving Serrano ham in the restaurant, we stayed to watch the first half in the bar. This is probably the first time in years that I’ve not hated having to sit through a football match, and although the vibe in the bar was amazing, we took the short walk back to the hotel at half time so that I could take a long, warming soak in the epic bathtub at the hotel while my boyfriend enjoyed the second half of the football.
Although we hadn’t done much, today had been very tiring and I was happy to have an early night to prepare for an epic day of exploring tomorrow!
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