Driving down from Madrid the landscape that lead us to Cordoba seemed synonymous with many other European countrysides, lush green pastures, wind farms, grazing cows, etc. but once we entered Cordoba, we realize that this is not Europe as we knew it. Cordoba is a city of two worlds, even without much historical knowledge, we immediately felt the presence of two very different cultures once coexisting in Cordoba.
For me the space that best captured this dichotomy was the Mezquita. Its magic was that it forced me to imagine beyond what I saw. The juxtaposition of two very different religions and their corresponding aesthetics begged to tell a story of creativity, struggle, tolerance and at times maybe even understanding(?). We ended up attending an early morning mass, the absence of tourists and the strong presence of what once might have been, solitude. As the prayers and incense rose throughout the cathedral peaks I imagined what it would've felt like to have heard the call to prayer echoing throughout the same arches.
The Cordoba beyond the Mezquita walls is a cobweb of tiny narrow roads, that surprisingly can fit a modern car (gasp!). We explored the seemingly random streets without much direction and as I'm sure a great deal of you have while traveling, purposely lost our way (only stopping for some ice cream, of course).
Our Airbnb was a last minute booking and thus, I wasn't a fan of the location, nor the interior of the home, but I did find a slew of other great little gems that seemed to always have a beautifully tended courtyard of ceramic pots and flowers. Since we weren't able to actually have a courtyard of our own we visited the Palacio de Viana, where they house the Patio Museum. I know it sounds a bit dull and pale, especially compared to all the other beauties of this city, but it's well worth a few hours to relax and to pretend you live in Cordoba.
Last, we had some amazing first time dishes in Cordoba, for instance the salmorejo is a thicker denser version of the gazpacho, a specialty of Cordoba. We were lucky enough to find hole in the wall tapas eateries that served it, of course we'd like to trick ourselves into thinking that's where the locals go to hang out, but who knows(shrug). A few of our favorites were La Bicicleta, a hipster joint for late night drinks. Bodega San Basilio is another great little spot where the old men serve up the thickest salmorejo you can find, so thick it's served on a plate, not a bowl. However, one of the best things we did in Cordoba did not involve food, but a bath. The Hammam arab bathhouse, is not an actual historical bathhouse, but none the less it felt "authentic" and we loved every minute of our marble slab bubble massages. One tip would be to visit the Cordoba location, but skip the Granada Hamman, it's not as peaceful nor quiet.
Well, this is how our trip through Andalucia began, hope you can check back to read more about our trip to Spain. Would love to hear about your trip to Cordoba or Spain, leave a comment.