After a quick look around Cordoba yesterday, we were ready for a full day exploring this Spanish gem. With just one day to see as much as possible, we were up and out early, grabbing a croissant and coffee en route to La Mezquita. Before planning my trip, I’d never heard of Cordoba, and it was only mentioned to me by a colleague who said it was probably my kind of place. What an understatement!
Wandering the whitewashed streets to La Mezquita, we tried to grab a couple of tickets for the tower, hoping to score some amazing panoramic views of the city. Unfortunately it was all sold out for the morning, so we decided to just try again later, opting to go straight in for a tour of La Mezquita instead. After buying the tickets, we were informed there were no English audio guides left, and instead settled for a basic pamphlet near the entrance. While it was better than nothing, it didn’t give the level of information I would have loved to have from the audio guide. It was also quite confusing trying to navigate the impressive building due mainly to the additions over the years, but it was definitely a good experience, if just a tiny bit confusing and freezing cold.
After wandering around La Mezquita, I was in desperate need of warming up. We took a moment to sit in the sun among the orange trees in the courtyard, before deciding it was time to cross the Roman bridge built in the first century and get to exploring a bit more of Cordoba.
Unsure of what was this side of the river, we found that the further we walked the less it felt like a tourist hotspot and more like a walk in a local Spanish town. This is something I absolutely love and will always try to find, and after walking for a short while it was time to grab a bite for lunch in the sun. Ordering a caña and cheesy chips from the waiter who spoke no English, I was so deeply happy. It really is the simple things in life.
Making our way back to the centre of Cordoba, next up on our hit list was the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, a medieval palace complete with turrets and stunning gardens. If we had longer in Cordoba, I would have spent much more time in the peaceful gardens, but sadly we had just a couple of hours to while away here before trying again for tickets to La Mezquita tower, find it was sold out and move on to do a spot of shopping.
Racking up the steps, my attempts to follow a combination of the map and street signs were funny if nothing else, and we were soon lost. Determined not to pull out Google maps, we continued walking, stumbling upon the old Moorish baths. After a quick look around the small ‘museum’ and seeing the ruins, we carried on the search for the shopping area.
Lost again, we decided to follow the signs for the synagogue and found ourselves inside what looked to be the old city walls. Of course, the synagogue was closed, but we found the cutest insta-worthy courtyard tucked away in the maze of narrow streets. Taking the obligatory photos of all the pretty features, we soon made our way back and eventually stumbled upon the shopping district. It felt like two completely different cities compared to the quiet and serene narrow lanes we had just been walking around. But, we were on the hunt for El Corte Ingles because I really wanted to buy a book in Spanish, and that was my best guess to find books.
An experience in itself, El Corte Ingles is a huge department store that appears to stock, well, everything. Already noticing that I had caught the sun in the day, our first stop was for after sun. Then it was on to check out the numerous floors, where I even spotted Spanish flamenco dresses, a supermarket and…books! I picked up a couple of my favourite books but in Spanish instead of English, and even managed to find an empanada in the supermarket. It’s like a sixth sense I have, which is helpful because I seem to be on a constant search for empanadas, and this was the first I’d had since I’d made it to Spain!
Although I was already happy, I was now super happy to have my books and empanada, and it was time to find a place for dinner. As we’d gone quite heavy on the tapas and paella since we’d arrived in Spain, and we still had a few more days in the country, we were looking for something less typically Spanish so we didn’t overdo it and end up not wanting the delicious food! Wandering through the same square we’d eaten at yesterday, we spotted a burger place down one of the streets branching off, and appeared to have found the best burger place…ever! The Good Burger – TGB – was one of my favourite dinners and we decided it was still kind of sampling the local cuisine because you can’t get this in England…
After dinner it was back to the hotel to have another epic bath, before packing our bags ready to move on tomorrow to our next stop – Seville. Excited much?!