Spain - Cordoba-Procession'd and Patio'd out!!

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May 5th 2014
Published: May 5th 2014
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The 1st of May was going to be a cleaning and packing day but we were woken up by the loud bangs of the rockets at about 8.00am.........a signal that ‘something would be going on today’!! Walked down to the roundabout where there was an assortment of vehicles and trucks amassing, with a lot of horns blowing, green flag waving and crowds of people all wearing emerald green. Saw our Spanish neighbours who explained it was a romera and they were all going out to the ‘campo’ and coming back at about 12.30pm. Well it was about 1.00pm they actually arrived back in the town and about 100 vehicles zig-zagged the main roads on the town, causing mahem, despite the police trying to control the traffic! It was absolute chaos, trucks and cars waving green flags, claxon horns blowing and throwing rosemary onto the road where it was crushed by other vehicles to create a wonderful aroma. People were hanging out of car windows, riding with tail gates open – health and safety out of the window!! By 14.00pm it was all over and the town reverted back to quiet siesta time...................................until 22.00hrs!!! Bangs of rockets once again, so we duly trotted up towards the green church to see a truck spreading rosemary all over the roads and the obligatory bands and rifle throwers. A short church service and then a trono with Christ on a cross was brought out of the church and another procession down the road over the rosemary creating that wonderful aroma again! I don’t know what time it goes onto....we went home early, at 23.30pm!!!

2nd May 2014 We didn’t need an alarm clock to wake us as the rockets were going off again at about 7.45 and what with the church bells at 8.00am and the bands marching around the town shortly afterwards...... any more sleep was impossible!

Left about 10.30am, uneventful drive up the A357 to Campillos, then cut through to Osuna and Ecija before the motorway A2 into Cordoba where we arrived about 14.30pm. It was about 36C so we waited until 17.00pm before getting the No 10 bus from outside the campsite, (1.20 Euros, 7 minutes) into the city centre. We strolled around the centre of the old town, that was very buzzy with lots of tourists and then walked by the river back to the La Mezquita and Alcazar, before watching the flamenco dancing and singing in one of the squares and then catching the bus back to the campsite (Camping El Brilliante)

3rd May 2014 We have been to Cordoba twice before, but only fleetingly, so this time we were determined to ‘do’ it properly! It was unfortunate that Philipe and Mercedes (our Spanish friends that we had met in El Rocio!) were away visiting their grandchildren so weren’t able to show us around their hometown, but armed with a map and plenty of frozen water we set off early to explore – before it got too hot!

An amazing place!! There are so many hidden squares and churches, all tucked away in the old cobbled streets its hard to know where to start!! There are flowers everywhere and the squares are decorated with flower crosses for the Three Crosses Festival and with the narrow streets, almost passageways and it’s a delight just to wander around and discover all the hidden gems! And there are a lot of them! There are many impressive churches, Palaces, buildings and Roman Temples along with the old town walls, the tiny streets of the Jewish Quarter, the impressive huge squares as well as the tiny Plazas and all within walking distance of each other! We also got 5 euro tickets for a peek at seven patio courtyards in the old district of San Basilio and were completely amazed by the sheer number of pots and flowers adorning the walls, and balconies. A small preview of what we hope to see on Monday!! By about 14.00hrs it was too hot to do much more so back to the campsite for a siesta before going back in again 17.00hrs.

We went back to Palacio de Viano to visit the 12 courtyards there (5 euros) passing the fantastic wall of bougainvillea on the steps at Cuesta del Bailo and the Plaza Santa Marina to get photos of the church in the sunlight! We got caught up with a Procession again, at the Church of San Fransisco, where they were going through a narrow arch, so we had no option but to watch!! The ‘Trono’ was carried by about 25 men, all tucked away underneath a curtain, so all you could see was the Trono and the shuffling feet!! After eating we went to a Flamenco show where there was a guitarist, singer and a male dancer!! All very dramatic!!

4th May 2014 You cannot visit Cordoba without visiting La Mezquita! (8 euros) Its massive and it feels completely unique with (I heard a guide say to his party) 856 columns with Moorish arches on top! Some parts of it date back to the 3rd Century and it has been expanded many times by various Muslims and Christians , the Islamic features co-existing, changed and merged to reflect the Catholic Cathedral that it now is. It really is a truly amazing place to visit and should be on everyone’s ‘Places I must Visit’ list!

We then queued to go into the Alcazar (4.50 euros) and climbed the tower to get the views of the city! Its a little bit too renovated for my liking but they did have some old ruins as well............... (Chris and I have a long running battle about renovations! He likes to see a place renovated so that you can see what it was like whilst I prefer to see the original buildings just made safe and they are what they are!! Otherwise you could be taking photos of 1970’s building repairs!!!) Anyway, the gardens made up for it all as there was plenty of water fountains and flower beds as well as the formal trees and then the informal flower beds of snap dragons and poppies with the shade provided by the orange trees! Very pleasant!

We had a Menu del Dia (12.50 euros) in a lovely little courtyard restaurant before deciding to walk across the Roman Bridge to get views of the Mezquita from the other side of the river! Unfortunately, on the way, we got caught up in another Procession, with the obligatory ‘Trono’ and sombre bands! (In this heat I just can’t imagine what it must be like carrying a huge throne around the streets!) We then succumbed to the heat and had a relaxing evening in the campsite!

5th May 2014 We were up early.....ish and got the bus into Cordoba for 10.00am.....bit silly really as the Patios didn’t open until 11.00am!! However we had a coffee and worked out a rough walking route and visited our first Patio bang on 11.00am! Thirty one patios later (!!!) we were ready to get the bus back to the campsite for a late lunch!

Most of the houses/flats have a central courtyard accessed by a large wooden front door that is normally shut, but every year, for the first two weeks of May, some people open their doors for you to admire their splendid courtyards and sit around proudly whilst you peer into their lives!! The patios are totally beautiful with flowers hanging down from balconies, pots with trailing geraniums, flowering cactus, water fountains, original wells, orange and lemon trees, colour and greenery everywhere! The photos just cannot possibly do them justice! Its lovely outdoor living with a huge roof blind that gets pulled across to shut out the sun and all the rooms are off of the central patio. The stairs to the bedrooms, or more flats, are usually accessed from the Patio and leads up to a balcony that runs around the four sides, which also has pots with trailing colourful flowers!!

Went back into town about 18.30 and wandered around the Zona Juderia (old Jewish Quarter) to try and find some more Patios, but because a lot of them were Municpal buildings they were all shut for the evening! However we managed to find another sixteen Patios so for one day we didn’t do too bad!! Had a lovely evening meal at an open courtyard in Cespedes –very atmospheric with plants and lights and an open sky with the moon!! We were going to try and find a couple more patios to see what they looked like when they were lit up, but we were completely patio’d out and shattered, so back to campsite for 22.15. (More photos below then go to Page 2 and scroll down for even more!!)

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