Rachel’s Wanderings in Spain – 2 Cordoba – Meanderings and Ramblings
After a blip or two with some much needed rain (for the olive trees, not me,) spring seems to be here and pretty settled. The olive trees are in bud and will be in full flower at the end of May. That’s when many allergy suffers can be seen wearing masks and the dust is yellow, which just shows you how much pollen is in the air then.
Averaging a very pleasant 25c day time temperature it’s hard to imagine an extra 10+ degrees, usually by the end of June. Now is the perfect time for day trips my favourite city to visit, except my local Jaen, is Cordoba. Often referred to as ‘the frying pan’ of Spain it is much hotter there on the plains than in our mountainous area. It is not the place to visit in July and August when they can get 45c and more.
The ideal time to visit Cordoba is April/May and autumn. If flowers and parties are your thing then May it should be. Beginning on May 1st (which is Labour Day fiesta) and the May Crosses celebrating the start of spring, closely followed by the Flower Festival. Which due to its huge draw is always very busy and getting more so every year. There is also a flower competition in various towns around the province, which I’m planning on dragging hubby to this weekend, shhh, he doesn’t know yet!
Hotel from Home
Our last trip to Cordoba was to stay at the fabulous Hotel Las Casas de la Juderia, a wonderfully quirky hotel. Five ancient houses joined together via patios and passages form this great hotel which is just two minutes walk from the Mezquita. This hotel had been on my list for a while and I wasn’t disappointed in the least, or maybe a little – we were only there one night.
An absolute must visit. If you can go there first thing or last thing avoiding the bus loads of tourists. To walk into the enormous Mezquita/cathedral when it’s silent and empty is an awe-inspiring experience.
Chill Time – Coffee (or Beer) Stop
The more I visit Cordoba the more I like it. Charm and history, excellent food, nooks and crannies give it a well-worn slipper feel. The slightly run down Plaza de la Corredera is one of my favourite spots for people watching which goes hand in hand with beer time. An enormous plaza in the style of old Castille with arched porticoes and the only one in Andalusia. It’s a place to sit and contemplate, now that bull runs don’t happen here, what must have gone on in this huge square and the lives of those who inhabit the flats there now.
Hammam Al Andalus Baths – Total Relax
In the city which once was the centre of Moorish art and learning surely a visit to the Arab Baths or the Hammam Al Andalus is a necessity. I found it so! Book for a session in the evening to after a day of pounding the pavements and sightseeing it is just perfect. Wallow in the warm bath, alternate between the cold and hot, not quite so relaxing, suffer in the sauna or mellow with a massage. I recommend it all. Low lights, sultry music and relax. I’m a big fan. I’ve sampled the Hammam Al Andalus in Malaga and Granada too, just need to go to the one in Madrid to complete the circuit.
The city has four Unesco listings, more than any other in Spain.
The Historical Quarter which is around the Mezquita and includes the Jewish Quarter and Roman Bridge, a great place to wander.
The Mezquita/Cathedral an absolute must visit. If you can go there first thing or last thing avoiding the bus loads of tourists. To walk into the enormous sanctuary when it’s silent and empty is an awe-inspiring experience.
The Medina Azahara, ruined Moorish city now an archaeological site 7km outside the city (there are buses from the centre) and a museum, a real eye opener into this once palatial city.
Flower Festival is also a listing as it’s ‘deemed particularly notable’ and except several war years has been going since 1918.
Quintessentially Spanish Tortilla is on most menus but in Cordoba right next to the Mezquita in a typical tiny bar with huge Tortillas – Bar Santos. Made with 5kg of potatoes and 30 eggs they weigh it at around 4 kilos. It’s not a dining experience but for a quick bite with a local Fino it’s a must, if you can’t get inside, and that’s very likely, you can perch on the Mezquita wall opposite.
Photo – Bar Santos Tortilla
If you’re making plans to go to Cordoba or anywhere in Andalusia, give me a shout and I’ll try and join you for a fino and tapas or two.
See you in two weeks!