We left Toledo this morning on the 9:30 train, which took us back to Madrid where we caught a train to Cordoba. It was fairly cloudy leaving Toledo, and the closer we got to Cordoba, the worse the weather was looking!
The Cordoba train station was small and easy to navigate, we quickly found a taxi. It was a fast 10 minute ride to the Hotel Don Paulo, our home for the next three days. The Don Paula is located on a tiny plaza in the center of old Cordoba, in the midst of a very confusing maze of narrow, twisting old streets. I'm sure we'll spend much of our time here lost--I think we are seriously directionally impaired!
A nice young man named Enrique checked us in, gave us a map of the area, and showed us to our room. The Don Paula is a small, quaint family owned hotel, our room is very small but it has all we need. There's even a tiny balcony overlooking the street. The most important thing--the bed is soft!!! In both Segovia and Toledo our beds have been hard as rocks--so this will be a welcome relief for our old bones. Another plus is the blazing fast wi-fi, always a good thing for us.
We did a little unpacking and hit the streets about 2:30 looking for some lunch--we'd only had a tiny bite of breakfast and we were really hungry. Enrique suggested a nice restaurant with a rooftop patio that had a pretty view of the river and Roman Bridge. We walked out of the hotel, the streets were empty for a couple of blocks, then--bam! We hit the main tourist drag in old town--and it was crazy busy.
We wade our way through the crowd, just briefly looking in the many shops and restaurants. Lots of the same old tourist stuff--fridge magnets and t-shirts! The restaurants didn't look too inviting, so we continued on our way towards the one Enrique had recommended. A couple of blocks later we came the "La Mezquita", the main attraction in Cordoba. Oh, my--I think we are in for a treat just by looking at the exterior--it's beautiful! We're saving it for tomorrow, though.
Soon we came the Rio Guadalquivir and the pretty Roman Bridge. The Romans built the bridge about 14 AD, however none of the present day bridge is original. It was first rebuilt during Moorish times, and then again in the 1200's, early 1900's, with a final reconstruction in 2006. It's now a pedestrian only bridge.
We continued on along the river to La Montillana restaurant. There was plenty of outside seating, but the weather was looking a little threatening so we opted to dine inside. Good choice, because very soon after we sat down it started to pour and the wind was blowing like crazy!
The menu was interesting--consisting mostly of tapas to share. That was fine with us, more variety!
We started with a glass of their vino tinto--which was quite good, as usual.
We decided we had room for a dessert to share. We ordered the Crema Dulce de Quese de Zuheros. a locally made sweet cream cheese served with date milk and topped with sesame crackers. OMG--seriously good! The date milk was interesting, I could definitely taste a hint of date flavor. The sesame crackers were the best part--very lightly sweetened with a subtle anise and sesame flavor. We ate every last bite!
This is Puerta del Puente (built in 1572) , an entrance way to the old walled city:
We walked up to the second level and had a good look at both towers:
David climbed this one, I stayed down below to take it easy on my stupid knee, darn it!
Looking out one of the many windows--there is still lots of excavation work going on:
We walked further along the hall way, and found a (newly remodeled) meeting room with the most AMAZING mosaics. These mosaics were discovered in 1959 during excavation at a nearby plaza. The were painstakingly excavated, reassembled and are now displayed in the Alcazar.
Wow! The gardens were extraordinary, and we enjoyed every square inch--what a beautiful place. By now it was raining hard, and we decided it was time to make our way back to The Don Paula. After a few wrong turns, we finally found our way "home". We're all snuggled in, listening to the rain and thunder outside our window. Dinner tonight? Just a snack of some cheese we bought in Toledo--nothing exciting.
What a wonderful first day in Cordoba!
Tomorrow: A visit to La Mezquita……and who knows what else!