Sunday, April 20, 2014


Hello from soggy Cordoba, Spain.

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.

Grilled zucchini with hazelnuts and honey crusted cheese, yummy:

Croquettas,  delicious deep fried potatoes and cheese--not at all greasy:

Calamari!  Some of the best we've ever had--lightly battered, very crispy, not greasy and FRESH!  

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!

We relaxed for quite awhile--hoping the the rain and wind would stop--but no such luck.   We got out our trusty travel umbrellas, and off we went!

We walked back along the river to the bridge, walked across to the Calahorra Tower on the other side


Halfway across the bridge is a shrine and statue of St. Raphael (1651)

This is Puerta del Puente (built in 1572) , an entrance way to the old walled city:

We went thru the Puerta and back to the old city, turned left and wandered thru the streets.  We came to this beautiful building, The Alcazar del Reyes Christianos--The Palace of Christian Monarchs.

The castle was built in 1328, and was built in the gardens of the Arab Fortress.  King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela lived here between 1482 and 1490, and Christopher Columbus visited them here several times to try to convince them to fund his expeditions.  Since the Spanish Inquisition it has been used as a Holy Office and a military and civic prison.  The city of Cordoba took it over and restored it in 1951.

A few views of the Alcazar:

We decided today was a perfect day to se The Alcazar, so we paid our 8E entry fee, and walked thru this lovely doorway:

This old carved stone crest was in the entry:

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!

My sweetie--peeking out a window.  It was raining hard--can you tell?

That's David 2nd from the right:

Gothic style vault in the first guard tower:

Looking out one of the many windows--there is still lots of excavation work going on:

There are several ancient Roman columns scattered about:

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.

Uranus's son, Gaea, the water god. 3rd C A.D.

This one was titled Actor Tragico, 3rd century AD

Mosaic Geometrico, 3rd Century AD

Polifemo y Galatea, 2nd C A.D.


This was my favorite, titled Medusa, 2nd C A.D.

Close up of Medusa:

We both liked this table, we'd take it home with us if we could!

Roman sarcophagus 3rd C A.D., excavated in Cordoba in 1958

We really enjoyed the palace/castle tour, and as we were leaving we noticed the gardens--we had no idea there were also gardens.  Oh my--they are incredible!  There are several fountains and pools, statues of Catholic Kings and Christopher Columbus, and beautifully landscaped flower beds.  There are several lemon trees in bloom and the fragrance was delicious.

A few scenes from the beautiful gardens:

Fragment of a Roman statue:

Queen Isabela and Kind Ferdinand with Christopher Columbus:

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela talking to Christopher Columbus!

View along a path in the garden:

There are several statues of Catholic kings:

Wonderful topiary urn, one of a series of 5:

One last look over the pool toward 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!


  1. Beautiful gardens and mosaics - love the topiary urns! Happy Eastet!

  2. Great pics, beautiful. Mosaics and gardens were awesome. Tapas look so good. I could really eat most things there except squid and calamarie and octopus.....