Consuegra and Cordoba

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April 21st 2017
Published: April 25th 2017
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We left Cordoba in the morning and headed south towards Cordoba in Andalusia. Along the way we planned to stop at Consuegra to check out the famous Milinos de Viento (windmills). We only took one wrong turn on our way out of Toledo (which resulted in a 16km long u-turn). After about an hour we turned a corner and saw the windmills perched on top of the hill next to the castle; this style of windmill was made famous in the novel Don Quixote (which is set in this part of Spain).

We drove through the little town at the bottom of the hill and made our way up to the car park beside the windmills. When I stepped out of the car I was almost blown over by the incredibly strong wind! I clung to Scott as we made our way to one of the windmills.

I sheltered behind a windmill while Scott went to take some photos (and almost got blown over!). Eventually he gestured for me to make my way around to the doorway of the windmill; I did so while clinging to the side of the windmill...

We made our way to one of the other windmills where I went upstairs and checked out the millstone and engineering behind the mill. The top section of the windmill has little windows around it which the mill operator would use to detect the wind direction and then rotate the blades to face the wind.

We gradually made our way back towards the car (without being blown over!) before heading back down the hill past the castle. We stopped in the town to pick up some baguettes and cheese for lunch before continuing towards Cordoba.

The Cartheginian town of Cordoba was conquered by the Romans in 206 BC. It fell to the Moors in 711 AD. By the 10th century it was one of the most prosperous cities in the world with over a million inhabitants. The city began to decline from around 1002 AD. By the time it was reconquered by the Christians in 1236 it was a much smaller city. It continued to decline until the population reached about 20,000 by the 18th century. It has increased in size to about 300,000 people more recently, with a large portion of their economy coming from tourism.

After driving through the very narrow streets of the Old Quarter (once again wondering whether our car would fit) we pulled over about 200m from our hotel. I then ferried the bags to our hotel and left them in our room before heading back to the car.

From there we drove to the train station to return our hire car. We eventually found the (very poorly signed) drop off point, returned the keys and then set out towards the hotel on foot to complete check in.

After checking in and getting some recommendations from the hotel staff we set out to explore the Old Quarter. We wandered around the streets taking photos and admiring the architecture until it was time for dinner. Most of the buildings in Cordoba are whitewashed so looked very different to Toledo and the other cities we had visited so far.

For dinner we opted for a fancier restaurant with a lovely rooftop and view over the bell tower of the mezquita (mosque). I ordered salmorejo (a thick tomatoe and bread based soup) and fried eggplant with cane sugar syrup whereas Scott selected a pork dish with potatoes. The dishes were delicious, but we were still a bit hungry so ordered some dessert as well. Dessert was an apple tart and an olive oil sponge cake with chocolate fondant and mandarin ice cream.

The following morning we headed to the Mezquita at 8:20am in time for the free session from 8:30 to 9:30. Unfortunately it wasn't free for some reason that day so we ended up having to buy tickets anyway.

The Mezquita was converted to a church when the Christians recaptured Cordoba, but rather than demolishing the building and starting again they just added Catholic elements into the mosque. The result was a little strange; the Catholic elements didn't quite fit in but the original structure was gorgeous. The forest of columns was definitely the highlight.

After the Mezquita we headed off in search of empanadas for breakfast. The empanadas were delicious, however I wasn't quite full so we decided to have churros for breakfast-dessert. We ordered a full serve with hot chocolate; when it arrived we thought there would be no way we'd finish it...but we did! They were delicious.

After breakfast we wandered around the Old Quarter a little more before heading back to the hotel to check out. After checking out we made our way across the Roman Bridge to take a few photos across the river.

We then headed to the Alcazar de los Reyes Christianos (Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs). The Alcazar was originally a Moorish Palace, however it was in a state of disrepair after the Christians reconquered Cordoba. It was refurbished around the 1300's.

Over time the Alcazar has had many uses, including a jail and the Seat of the Holy Office (the Spanish Inquisition). It is also thought that the voyage to the Indies was planned (or partially planned) at the Alcazar.

After entering the Alcazar we headed into the buildings to explore the royal palace. The view over the gardens from the rooftop were awesome. After exploring the buildings we headed out into the gardens which were definitely the highlight. They were absolutely gorgeous, particularly as it's spring and the garden is full of flowers.

From the Alcazar we wandered around the streets a bit more before grabbing a seat in the park to people watch. After sitting in the park for a while it was time to head back to the hotel to grab our bags and set off for the train station ready for our 5:25 pm train to Sevilla.

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