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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Córdoba and the Soul

Hola everyone!!

So today we've spent a whole day in Córdoba! As we leave tomorrow morning for Sevilla, we wanted to make the most of our time here, so we've done quite a bit of exploring and taken shit loads of photos.

It's a shame we can't take a photograph of this fucking 35 degree heat though, because that really is the essence of Córdoba! The air is like syrup when you walk through it.

I am writing this from the beautiful rooftop of our hostel, watching the sun set over the city. This is what you call atmosphere.

We're certainly gonna miss this place.

But now I get to re-live today's events by talking about them with you!! Yay! Let's do this!!

We got up at 8.30am. I actually managed to get 5 hours sleep or something like that, which is better than usual, so that was good!

As I said yesterday, our hostel is also a restaurant, and they do breakfast in the mornings! It was the perfect thing for us because it was a buffet-style breakfast where we only had to pay 4 euros each and we could eat as much as we wanted.

So we absolutely STUFFED ourselves.

Sam told me afterwards he had 8 pieces of toast, three small bowls of cornflakes, a little cake thing and 3 piece of fruit.

Not like we're taking advantage or anything.

I had a bit less than Sam but I was more than satisfied, so today we actually had all the energy we needed to go out and explore. We managed to get by before, but today I guess we were a bit less like zombies than normal.

So we packed our shoulder bag with a FUCKTON of water, our cameras and a map, and off we went.

The first main place we wanted to visit was the Mezquita Catedral, the main tourist attraction in the city. So we headed out in that general direction, but we decided that we would explore a little, heading down random streets nearby, seeing what caught our eyes and looking in some small shops.

Here are a few notable things that we found:
Beautiful buildings in a nearby street:

A horse and carriage!!

The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, a small palace with gardens (we didn't go inside... *sad face*)

A monument and a fountain:

El Puente Romano (The Roman bridge), which we crossed later on:

Some more beautiful buildings:

We also found a random building with loads of Andalucian pottery and ORANGE TREES!!!! FUCKING ORANGE TREES! Amazing.

And we took this picture outside the cathedral!

So we then decided to head inside. We went to get our tickest, but we looked at a sign and it said students get in for 9 euros each (for adults it was 18 euros). We didn't have our student ID with us, so I ran back to the hostel to get it.

However, when we went to pay for our ticket, I said "Somos estudiantes" (We are students) and showed him our cards, but he said that it didn't matter, and we got the tickets for 8 euros each. What the fuck?

So anyway, we headed inside.

This place is astounding. We've been to a few churches/places of worship so far on the trip and there is always this sense of awe that you feel whenever you witness the stunning decorative features there are. But this place was on a whole different level. The detail... it is mind blowing, and you kind of feel a sense of detachment. What human could produce this? Especially without the technology we have today. And when you think that people's faith is what has inspired them to produce such artistry, it makes you believe that these people must have had some kind of otherworldly experience, because how can you have such belief if it is based on doubt? How can you devote so much of your life to a cause, unless you are completely convinced?

As an agnostic, I don't know what to believe - I don't rule anything out. I go through phases of trying to force myself to think that there may be no life after death; that there is nothing apart from what we know from science. And this is why seeing such perfection in work honestly makes me a little emotional, because when I think that religion may not hold any truth, I think about what these artists have been through and the chunk of their life that they have devoted to their work, and realise that it may have been for nothing.

But is it for nothing, when people like me look at these masterpieces and see themselves? Perhaps it is time and effort devoted to the human spirit, rather than something otherworldly. I have always thought that art is food for the soul, and perhaps experiencing so many different perspectives on life through art, and through things such as this trip, we develop as people and learn about ourselves. And when we die, this is what we take with us: our truth.

Wow, I just made a big philosophical statement.

Fucking hell, that's scary shit. I'll just get on and show you the pictures we took:

Apparently this is the only Catholic cathedral in the world which is also a mosque. As you can see, Islamic patterns are used very often here, showing the influence of this religion on Córdoba.

We definitely got our money's worth coming here. This place is THE SHIT.

After this, we decided that we'd walk down the Puente Romano and through a park which we saw on the map.

The bridge was nice:

But, to be honest, the park was PRETTY SHIT.

It was almost completely dried grass. Why the fuck would you put a park in an area where it's so fucking hot and dry that nothing can even grow!

There was some interesting grafitti though.

We then headed over the bridge you can see in the photo, but we were very very very very hot. I don't think we had much water left and we were both getting on-and-off headaches. So we found the perfect cure.... ICE-CREAM!!

We stopped off in a little café on the other side of the bridge and had a Magnum each, as well as drinks. We wanted to go to the archeological museum, so we set off tentatively, keeping in the shade and taking it slowly.

Here are some pictures we took on the way:

God this place is beautiful.

Before going into the museum, we had a little rest in the square in which it was located. It too had orange trees and one fell to the ground while we were there!

The museum was located on the site of an old Roman theatre, and so everything was resting on top of the excavation of this theatre.

We both really enjoyed the museum - it told us a lot about Cordoba's history and some of the artefacts were amazing... unbroken glass jars from the 1st century, old coins, sculptures and much more. Here are some of them:

And these are steps from the original Roman theatre.

After our visit to the museum, we had another little rest in the square (we're not lazy, it's the heat!!! I swear!!!!!!!) and took a couple of photos:

We decided that we would head back to the hostel and have some food, but we took a longer route so that we could see more interesting things. Córdoba is full of surprises - you can turn a corner or walk up a small alleyway and find something incredible.

Here's what we found:


Before getting back to the hostel, we found a supermarket, which (you should know by now) is VERY GOOD NEWS. We stocked up on fruit, yoghurt and bread - we can be healthy sometimes - and went back to the hostel to eat it. It was yummy :)

The heat was still unbearable at this point (7pm - what the fuck?), and as I am writing this blog now it is still 26 degrees. So we chose to go and see one more thing before calling it a day, and this was the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristanos which we encountered earlier. Most things are open until 8 so I assumed it would still be open.

My wording kind of gave it away there in that last paragraph... it was closed. Well sort of. The last visit was at 7pm and it properly closed at 7.30pm, and it was 7.20pm at the time.

So that was a bit shit.

But on the plus side, it meant that we didn't have to walk around much any more... our feet were hurting quite a lot; it felt like we were standing on Lego bricks.

So we headed back to the hostel. Although we'd eaten, we hadn't had any meat, so we ordered our first round of tapas since being in Spain - carne con tomate (meat with tomato) - in the hostel restaurant. This is what it was called on the menu which was pretty vague (it could have been lizard meat for all we knew), but in the end it was pork and chorizo, so this was fine.

So that brings you up to date. I am now in the hostel restaurant/lobby area - I had to find somewhere to plug in my netbook. There is a man watering the plants in here... and it's 1.14am. I think he also sets up all the breakfast stuff for the morning. He keeps muttering under his breath and grunting, and I'm the only person in here apart from him... so not awkward at all.

I have just one more thing to do before bed - get my stuff together and re-pack my rucksack for Sevilla tomorrow. Our train is at 8.53am, and we are going to wake up at 7am, which shouldn't be too bad. I started the blog a little earlier tonight, so I might actually get 5 hours sleep!!!!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

I'm sure the owners here will be happy to know that we're not having breakfast here tomorrow (we would have eaten EVERYTHING) because the train journey to Sevilla takes less than an hour I think, so we can get something to eat there, and also breakfast starts here at 8am, so we would be pushing our luck in terms of time.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Córdoba has been lovely, but now it's time to experience something new. I really think we're nailing it in terms of how long to spend in each place. In Madrid, San Sebastian and now Córdoba, we really feel satisfied with what we've done and the impressions that we have built up about each place.

So I suppose I better get to bed now! It feels strange that I'm going to bed this early; I nearly always underestimate how long it will take to do the blog.

So the next post will be from Sevilla! I'm sure it will be full of surprises because we don't really know what to expect. Keep reading the blog and experience it with us - FEED YOUR SOUL.

That is all. Buenos noches!!

Jack - 31/05/12 - 01:36 in Córdoba, 00:36 in the UK

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