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3-Visiting Córdoba, Spain

3-Visiting Córdoba, Spain

I visited Córdoba by the end of November 2022 to attend an event from work. While most of the time I was busy at the event, I made the most of my time in Córdoba as I usually do when I travel, admiring the new places for me and knowing about the local culture and history. I arrived to Córdoba after a hectic transfer from Madrid airport to the train station and then buying the tickets at a busy station. I travelled on the AVE, which is Spain's high speed type of trains, the ticket was not cheap, especially because I didn't book beforehand. The train journey from Madrid to Córdoba took a couple of hours and it was very comfortable. I couldn't buy food at Madrid's train station, so I went to the train's food carriage to buy a sandwich and a small bottle of red wine, as you do in Spain of course! It had been many hours since I had food so I really enjoyed the sandwich and the red wine. There were not many people on board and the regulations were still to wear face mask on board of transport. It was very interesting for me to see the changing scenery from the window, I had been to Spain before but not on that part of the country and not in a train. An employee at Madrid's train station told me that there was going to be a country holiday around the days of my return to Madrid and that I should have to plan well. I arrived to Córdoba's train station and I started to plan how to go to Hotel Hesperia, a very nice hotel close to the Guadalquivir river. Córdoba is a city in the region of Andalucía, in the south of Spain. It was conquered by the Muslims in 711 and it was reconquered by Christians many centuries later. This is the reason why Córdoba is very rich in terms of history and culture, with that combination of Muslim and Christian architecture and traditions. It is also worth to note that Córdoba was an important city during the time of the Roman Empire, and there are still signs of this, like the Roman Bridge across the Guadalquivir river. The famous Roman philosopher Séneca the Younger was born in Córdoba.

I decided to walk to the hotel instead of taking a taxi because it didn't seem too far on Google Maps. I was carrying a big suitcase and a backpack. I walked through narrow streets and there was a lot of people in the streets who seemed to be a combination of locals and tourists. As I do when I travel, I kept vigilant of any suspicious people but because I arrived around 2pm, the areas in which I walked felt safe to walk. During that walk to the hotel I was able to admire Córdoba's Mosque-Cathedral at the distance and then walking next to it on my way to the Roman Bridge.

The sky's colours during sunset while I walked on the Roman Bridge where very impressive, a combination of blue, orange and black, so I stayed there for some minutes enjoying just being there. Also on the bridge there was people walking by, street musicians and people taking photos at the beautiful sunset. The temperature felt colder from I was expecting on a city in the south of Spain. Later that day and in the following days I crossed the bridge at night, admiring the view with different lights.

I really enjoyed my stay at Hotel Hesperia, where there was a good and varied selection of local food. From my room I was able to see the river and the Mosque-Cathedral at the distance. Córdoba is that kind of European city where you can find art, culture and history at almost every step you take. In terms of food, I had dinner a couple of nights at restaurants trying the local cuisine. Around the time I visited Cordoba the Football World Cup 2022 was on and Spain was playing against Japan, so the atmosphere was initially good but because Spain lost there were no celebrations. I speak Spanish, so it was very interesting to me to hear the local accent and to speak with the local people, who in general were friendly.

On the day before my departure from Córdoba I took a tour to visit the Mosque-Cathedral, which at this point I had only seen from the outside. The tour started was a combination of guided tour with a local historian and an audio tour using a device provided to listen commentary about the different stops inside the Mosque-Cathedral. I'm not going to talk about history in depth here because that is not the purpose of this blog but I will mention things that I think are interesting and relevant. As I mentioned previously in the text, Córdoba has a lot of Muslim and Christian influence in the city, in particular in the Mosque-Cathedral, which originally was a Catholic temple and during Muslim rule it was converted to a Mosque. There were many modifications done during the time Córdoba was ruled by the Muslims and one of the things that I find very interesting is that the Muslims respected the original architecture and build over that one, making it even a more rich building in terms of architecture and historic value. Probably one of the most famous features of the Mosque-Cathedral is the arcs inside the building.

The Mosque-Cathedral is very big and spacious on the inside. To me it is amazing that such an important building has kept beautiful features from both the Muslim and Christian heritages. Intricate pieces of architecture can be seen in every direction inside and outside the building. In some parts the Mosque-Cathedral has clear Muslim influences and in others has clear Christian influences. Again I think I admire that Córdoba's people were tolerant enough to keep both types of architecture instead of destroying it, as it has been the case in other places. If you are visiting Córdoba and have limited time, I recommend to visit the Mosque-Cathedral, just make sure to plan well because the opening times could change depending on when you visit.

After the visit to the Mosque-Cathedral I went back to the hotel to take some rest. For dinner I went to a place that was organised by the people from the event I attended. When I arrived, drinks (wine and beer) and tapas where served while people were talking and networking. Dinner included a flamenco music and dance show, which was specially interesting for the attendants of the event who had never seen one of these shows. I have seen flamenco shows in the past but I keep enjoying them every time I see them. This time it was not the exception. Both the musicians and the dancer created a very nice and even more Spanish atmosphere to our dinner. In terms of food, the dishes were very tasty. As I was travelling early in the morning back to Madrid, I left dinner relatively early for Spain at midnight.

My last day in Córdoba was a bit hectic because when I arrived at the train station I found that were was a lot of people travelling from Córdoba to other parts of Spain, many to Madrid. I didn't buy a return ticket because I originally wanted to travel back to Madrid by bus. The train tickets were more expensive than usual but I was fortunate to buy one for the next available train. I had to run to be on board the train just in time for its departure. I really recommend visiting Córdoba if you are visiting Spain, either if you are in the south of Spain or in another big city like Madrid, where you could find fast AVE trains. I think a minimum stay to see many things could be of 2 or 3 days if you have limited time, otherwise a week would be sufficient to visit Córdoba and its surroundings. I visited Córdoba during Autumn and the weather was cool most of the day with sunshine. If you don't like hot weather I would not recommend to visit Córdoba during Summer time, where temperatures can go beyond 40 degrees Celsius.