There is a place in the middle of nowhere, but where everyone can gather. Ready to bustle anytime of the day or night. Where you can linger over a cafe’ con leche and listen to the native language reverberating through the crowd. Every street and square in this city will tell you a different story. This is ours!
We took the AVE high speed train from Madrid and arrived in Córdoba late afternoon. Dropped our bags in our hotel room and ventured out to catch the late afternoon sun. We looked to the GPS on our phone for help navigating the ancient city. Directing us to turn right then left wait straight we were wrong then back on track. The alleys and streets all seemed to be connected and leading us where they wanted us to end up. We eventually put the phone away. We were curious at every turn made in the streets. Both of us participating in pointing out the dazzling architecture and hidden gems along the way. This was how we ended up in Plaza de la Corredera our first day. We ordered ice cold beers and shrugged off jet-lag by letting the sun warm our skin. Not leaving until the sun finally began to dip behind the buildings.
Córdoba is part of the region known as Andalusia in Spain. Once ruled by The Moors, which shows up in the architecture. The very reason I was drawn to the city of Córdoba was to see the Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral.
Deeply rich in history, the Mosque-Cathedral and the surrounding structure was quite breathtaking. You can see the influence of Moorish, Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic. The best time to visit the Mosque-Cathedral is between 8:30-9:30 am. The entry is free at this time and you can wander around before the tour groups arrive. Stand still and look up and down. Take notice of the detailed carvings in the spacious interior. One cannot help but stare at the rows and rows of stunning columns. I was completely in awe.
Next get in line and purchase tickets to walk up The Bell Tower. Views of the Jewish quarter, the Mosque and the city await you. There is history in every step you take upwards towards those enormous bells.
No longer worrying about becoming lost we made our way to the Jewish Quarter. Meandering down the middle of the narrow streets. Taking pictures and looking into shops. The white washed buildings nestled between the winding streets made a fascinating journey back in time.
We became immersed in the beauty and forgot we were sometimes in the middle of a road. Beware as cars can and do drive down these tiny streets.
Now onto the food! All the cafe’s in Córdoba offered an array of beautiful pastries to look at and consume. However, I began to notice what the men in business suits and the women with briefcases were ordering for breakfast and it was a simple and beautiful meal. The “tosta” (grilled bread) with a rich red tomato spread served in a small ramekin. After you place your order and the crunchy bread arrives, a bottle of olive oil will be placed at your table along with a salt shaker. Drizzle the olive oil once over the bread and then again a second time. Spread the tomato puree and shake the sea salt generously over the bread. Perfection!
Lunch was all about the “Eggplant” fried and served with honey and sesame seeds. We wandered into Taberna El Poema simply because it was only a 5 minute walk from where we happened to be that day. Our waiter was working on his English and I on my Spanish. We helped each other out and both learned a few things.
Eggplant quickly fried and drizzled with honey and sesame seeds! It tasted like a fried dough from the fair. Light and delicate.
Dinner in Spain. Why do the Spanish have to eat so late. I know the siesta is supposed to help you out but 11pm for dinner – that’s rough. We opted for a restaurant offering Tapas with the mind set we could comfortably eat a little earlier. Garum 2.1 Bistronomic tapas offered inventive dishes with vegetarian options. I guessed we missed the mark on our timing though (actual photo 🙂
Córdoba wasn’t just a day trip from Madrid or Seville for us. It was our base for 3 full and exciting days. We immersed ourselves into the culture and the people. We found local restaurants. Drank wine everyday with lunch. Lingered over coffee in the square every afternoon. Managed a day trip to Seville and a half day in Madrid.