Cordoba at it’s best

Letter 95

In Cordoba, the month ‘May’ doesn’t exist. They have January, February, March, April and Cordoba. The city completely comes alive in May and I was very lucky to be there during the month of Cordoba.

For the last week of May, the Feria takes over Cordoba, bringing people from all over Spain and the world. There’s something to do for all ages and the whole event was wonderful to be a part of. My favourite part were the marquettes full of people eating, drinking and dancing flamenco to traditional and modern music. I could watch them dancing for hours, it’s so stunning! I found it fascinating that everybody knew exactly what to do, from toddlers to teenagers to adults. It seemed the whole of Cordoba descended on the Feria. There were amusement rides, live bands, food stalls and markets. It’s literally buzzing at all hours of the day. I met some great people at my hostel and we joined in the fun one evening, I loved it.

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Flamenco dancing at the Feria

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Back to the beginning though. I actually had no idea that the Feria was on, so luckily I booked my accommodation a few weeks back. I arrived late, good food at the supermarket, had a little stroll along the river and then got an early night. That walk was enough for me to know I’d love the city.

I only had 2 days in Cordoba so I wanted to get a good start on it on my first. By far the biggest attraction of Cordoba is the Mezquita, or Cathedral. This mosque come cathedral is famous all over the world and being inside such an incredible structure was spellbinding. It honestly might be my favourite building I’ve ever been inside. Every day it’s free between 8:30 and 9:30, otherwise it’s €10. I went early on both of my days in Cordoba to spend as much time enjoying it as possible. The photos don’t do it justice.

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Whilst walking around the Mezquita, look carefully at the arches and you’ll see 4 stages of age in the mosque. The oldest are built using true white and red stones whereas the newest are fakes. They are only painted to give the same effect,

After the Mezquita I took a walk around what I later found out to be the Jewish Quater. My aim was to find some of Cordoba’s famous patios. That’s another reason May is renamed simply to Cordoba. During the first week of May there is the festival of Patios where people within the city open up their patios to be judged, and one is crowned winner for being the most beautiful. They work extremely hard tending their patios all year and I managed to get a glimpse of a couple that were left open.

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I took a free walking tour that my hostel suggested and it was really great. I always find they are great to get your bearings in a new place and learn some of the history so you can understand what you’re seeing. This tour was particularly informative, the guide was lovely and I got to see pretty much all of the important parts of Cordoba, as the city is small enough to walk around in a few hours. The main places we visited were Plaza de las Tendillas, Plaza de la Corredera, Plaza del Potro, Mezquita and the Jewish Quater. I found the things she said about the Mezquita the most interesting, and one of the reasons I returned the next day for a closer look at what she spoke about. I also met a couple of guys on the tour and we went for lunch in Plaza de la Corredera which was great! For a main square it tends to be very quiet.

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I then went on a long walk which tired me out to the point of dozing off on park benches around the city. I began by crossing the river to get a look at the Feria in daytime from a distance. It really is a spectacle, and the whole area is nice to walk around. Following the river I once again reached the Mezquita – you’ll always somehow end up here. Continuing around the riverside I eventually ended up at some lovely parks that head north. By this point I was knackered. I circled back to Plaza de las Tendillas and made my way back to the hostel through the winding streets of Cordoba. I ended the day with great people, the feria and wonderful views of a sparkling Cordoba.

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I only had until about 3pm on my second day in Cordoba, but I made the most of it. I visited the Mezquita again and walked up the tower, went to a museum about the baths, wandered around the beautiful gardens of the Alcazar and went to an art gallery about Julio Romero. It was all chilled and very interesting. I also got great student discount on everything!

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Cordoba had me from the second I set foot off the bus. It’s a city of culture, history and ancient beauty and I only wish I could’ve spent longer exploring the many streets that connect to form the maze of old town. I definitely recommend visiting, and please, go in the month of Cordoba.


From Lou

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