This past puente (longer) weekend my friend Jessica and I took a trip to Cordoba, a very Spanish Andaluz town, 5 hours by bus from Almeria. Almeria has one bus a day, so we decided to go to Granada (2+hrs) and then take another bus to Cordoba (3hrs). The original plan was to catch a ride with another auxiliar from Granada to Cordoba so we took the same bus as her to Granada. An hour before we arrived to Granada her boyfriend’s car broke down. Change of plans. I started laughing, not because his car broke down, but because this is the adventure of traveling. You never know how things are going to happen. No problem, will catch the bus to Cordoba (thankfully it happened before we were all en route together as that would have made for a longer adventure by the side of the road).
We arrived at 7pm and our couch surfer, Rodrigo, was waiting for us at the bus station. He welcomed us to his lovely flat, we put our bags in “our own rooms” and we started drinking “erasmus punch” (his own creation) with two other Couchsurfers he was also hosting. Nice. We went out on the town and enjoyed a drink in the big Plaza and then continued on to a cozy and popular spot called 100 Montaditos. They have 100 Montaditos (small sandwiches), snacks and salads. The first night I wasn’t hungry enough for a salad so we returned Sunday night,only to wait in line and find they are out of salads. Ah Espana Classica. No tuve suerte (I wasn’t lucky).
The social science teacher I work with told me, you have to try Rabo de toro (tail of the bull) so I made sure I did. We ended up finding a nice restaurant that had a Menu del Dia for 9.50 with both Cordobese foods I wanted to try: Salmorejo y Rabo de Toro. It was small inside and they said, 5 minutes for a table so we waited. No one had left so they brought us downstairs to a deserted seating area but we opted to wait. We ended up waiting 30 minutes but it was fine. (I got to slice Jamon Iberico while waiting, see photo!)
Cordoba has a rich history and was the capital of the Roman province of Hispania Ulterior Baetica during Julius Caesar rule*. You can see Roman pillars and ruins in the middle of the city.
Cordoba is also renowned for El Mezquita- a mosque that was converted to a Catholic church.The architecture is incredible and I had to remind myself that this was a mosque that held 5,000 people and before the floors were marble it was sand and limestone.
The building was started in 600 and was a Visigothic church until Spain was conquered by Abd ar-Rahman I who converted and expanded it into a mosque. In 1236, Córdoba was captured by King Ferdinand III of Castile in the Reconquista, and the mosque was turned back into a Christian church. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral.* (wikipedia)
I fell in love with the beauty of this Spanish town because it’s not like Almeria or Roquetas. The moment we walked out of the bus station, I felt a good energy from the city. Though, after spending some time in Cordoba, I began to appreciate a few things in my new home town. I don’t know about you but I find when I travel and then return home I often have a greater appreciation for where I live and this time was no exception, (though instead of comparing to my California home I was comparing to my Roquetas home) 2 things I really appreciate about Almeria province:
- tapas son gratis, they are complimentary with any alcoholic drink or Mosto (unfermented wine, taste like grape juice), in Cordoba few places are free because you usually pay for the tapa and your drink. (like most places in the world, you pay separately for your food or appetizer)
- the weather is moderate here, not too cold at night and not too hot during the day (I was bundled up and still cold), Cordoba is known to be one of the hottest areas in Spain in the summer!
*thank you Wikipedia