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.
One nice thing was that the place was pretty empty. Maybe 15 tourists in the entire palace.
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.
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.
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.
Leaving the cathedral part, we just sat for a while under the arches. It was a good rest in a very peaceful place.
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.