Tag Archives: cathedrals

Honeymoon Special – Part 4: Córdoba

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Leaving Seville by bus, we made our way through Andalucía to Córdoba. The bus ride was really nice as we got to see lots of sunflower fields. Sadly, most of the sunflowers looked like they were dead or something. I’d say they’d been harvested, but I have no idea how they would harvest the seeds (I’m thinking it would be easier to cut the flowers down and then have the seeds removed mechanically in some machine, but the flowers were still there so I don’t really know what was going on). The bus ride wasn’t all that long, 2-3 hours maybe so we were in Córdoba by early afternoon.

The first thing we had to do was find a place to stay. We settled on the local youth hostel because a) they had availability and b) they were cheap. The main sight in the city is the Mezquita, a mosque containing a seemingly infinite number of arches in which a cathedral was inserted into the middle (which most people seem to think was a crime against aesthetics). We decided not to go there on the first day because we didn’t want to rush things. So instead we took a bus out to Medina Azahara, a Moopish palace that had become ancient ruins.

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One nice thing was that the place was pretty empty. Maybe 15 tourists in the entire palace.

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That evening we ate some Paella and watched the World Cup 3rd place game between Germany and Portugal. The restaurant where we ate the Paella had a sign saying they were showing the game, but there were “technical difficulties” and the game didn’t show. The paella wasn’t all that great either. While we were eating it, we got into a conversation with a Canadian girl who was traveling by herself. She told us about how she was robbed in Barcelona, and that we should be careful when we go there. After finishing the paella we went in search of any place that had the game on TV and eventually found ourselves watching the second half in a tiny bar that had its own Germans.

There was also a big guitar festival going on in the city, lots of famous guitarists, but we didn’t feel like going to it.

The next day our plan was to tackle the Mezquita. But before going there we decided to check out the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (In Andalucía it seemed like every city we went to had a Mezquita and and Alcázar). It was nothing special, although the gardens were pretty nice. But it was really, really hot: 45° so we didn’t spend that much time in the gardens. For lunch that day we decided on Burger King because they had Superman toys in their kid’s menus and I wanted a Superman toy. I ended up getting a blue wrist-band.

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One thing about Córdoba was the amount of beggars. There were tons of them. Women carrying their babies around, asking for change.

After lunch we made our way to the Mezquita, and spent a few hours inside. It was nice and cool in the building, very peaceful as well.

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I actually didn’t mind the cathedral in the middle. It had a really impressive pipe organ inside. Besides, it was kind of like getting two attractions for the price of one.

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Leaving the cathedral part, we just sat for a while under the arches. It was a good rest in a very peaceful place.

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That night we saw the World Cup final match between France and Italy at our hostel. There were a whole bunch of French kids (maybe last year of high school/first year of university) on a field trip and they managed to get access to a TV with the game. It was fun to watch, although being amongst that many French people made me want France to lose (Were I anywhere else I’d be rooting against the Italians). It was fun seeing their expressions when France lost on penalty kicks.

The next day we bought our tickets for the Alhambra (you are strongly recommended to buy your tickets at least a day in advance), had some ice cream (the ice cream in Spain was great), and made our way to Granada.

Honeymoon Special – Part 3: Seville

From London to Seville we again flew RyanAir. If all you want to do is get from A to B then airlines like RyanAir are great. I wish we had airlines like that in Canada, although the distances involved would probably mean that the flights wouldn’t be as cheap as they are in Europe. What was really great though was leaving a city where the weather was cool and gray and arriving in when where even at night it was approaching 30°. It was also nice to look down on the fields of sunflowers from above.

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Sadly this time there was no good luck at passport control as pretty much everyone had to go in the non-EU passport line. But besides the line there were no issues. Traveling with Tomoko makes airports much easier. Taking a bus into town, we then walked around for a while until we found a hotel to stay at. Then we walked around some more before going for dinner and eating that staple of Spanish cuisine – the pizza.

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There was one coffee shop that had some amazing looking ice cream, but we didn’t get any because we were pretty full.

The next day we started off at Seville’s Catedral, one of the biggest cathedrals in the world (top 3 for sure).

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Inside was the grave of Christopher Columbus. I’m pretty sure that he’s in the box being held up by these statues. It was pretty cool to see (and I didn’t have to worry about stepping on any graves, a worry I have whenever I visit a cemetery).

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The cathedral is partially made up of the mosque that was previously there. One part that remains is the minaret, which was converted into a bell tower (they now call it the Giralda). We climbed to the top of the Giralda and could see pretty much the entire city. We could also look down at the courtyard of the cathedral which was another holdover from the mosque.

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I guess due to the high ambient temperature and an apparent lack of chlorination, the water in the fountains was very, very green. But this didn’t stop tourists from washing themselves in it (a common sight throughout the trip which we both found pretty disgusting).

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After this we went to the Alcázar, a palace built by the Moops.

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It seemed like this area was set up for a viewing of some important person like the Pope or Evita. So I waited among the seats hoping someone would come. And to my luck someone did.

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It was Tomoko.

In the evening we went to see a flamenco dance. It was good. Tomoko absolutely loved it, she was totally raving about it afterwards. I think that may have been the highlight of the trip for her.

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Like most hot places, Seville is really nice in the evening. So we walked around a bit more, returning to the Catedral area.

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Next up: Córdoba

Honeymoon Special – Part 2: London

Previously: Glasgow

Because I have been to London a few times there wasn’t much in the city that I wanted to see. Instead the main thing I wanted to do was go to Stonehenge. Sadly, because of the unpredictability of British weather we ended up going to the Tate Modern instead.

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One nice thing about the museums and galleries in London is that almost all of them are free. I guess they make up for it at the gift shop.

We got hungry and noticed people eating from bento boxes. Following the trail we came to a sushi bar and decided to give it a shot. Like most food in London it was way expensive and crap. After that we went to a cathedral, maybe St. Paul’s.

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After a bit we walked by the Old Bailey (a courthouse, it was blown up in V for Vendetta)

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On our way back home I saw this sign on the underground.

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I wish the head of the TTC would write an apology for unnecessary delays. Maybe he’d just leave the sign up all the time.

Next up: Seville