The Mezquita was the main draw for the trip to Cordoba and it alone would have made the trip worth it! It is currently a Catholic church but was also used as a Mosque. It was a perfect fit for the grant as it is dripping with geometric patterns and shapes. It also is a fascinating combination of the Muslim and Catholic spirituality, architecture and design. When Cordoba was again under Catholic rule, the mosque was not destroyed due to its astounding beauty. Instead a church was built into the center with small chapels lining the lateral walls. I loved the contrasts within the Mezquita – the shadows of the mosque and the light of the church, the elaborate paintings and statues of the church and the intricate patterns of the mosque. Before entering the grand doors of the Mezquita we wandered in the courtyard with fountains, trees and cobblestone walkways. I’ll let the photos tell more of a story than I have time for now. I was awestruck, so lovely, so peaceful, such contrasts.
Early afternoon was upon us, so we stopped at La Bodega Mezquita for lunch. This restaurant was recommended by Rick Steves and oh boy, it was so delicious! We were welcomed by a bartender, an older gentleman with caring eyes that I kindly referred to as mi abuelo. We bellied up to the bar giving us the chance to chat with him often. It was a welcomed opportunity to practice my Spanish and learn a few new phrases. He told us about his favorite places to visit in Cordoba and we based our evening paseo on his advice. I think I should repeat that the food was A-MAZ-ING! We came back here for tapas that evening and lunch the next day.
A few other highlights from the day, we walked through the white walled La Juderia enjoying the winding streets and elaborate doors. We visited the Synagogue, the only left from the rich Jewish past. The others were destroyed during the Spanish Inquisition. We also visited the Museum of the Spanish Inquisition, which was a big mistake for my sensitive stomach. Chloe tried to dissuade me, but I was overcome with a spirit of exploration. She was right. We paid our 3 euros and I lasted less than 5 minutes. I was quick to exit with a stomach turning and fears of the impending nightmares. There were no photos allowed, which is a relief since I’m hoping the images in my mind will fade with time. I had no idea how cruel it was and I’m don’t think I could have imagined many of the things they did to people…I’ll leave it at that.
We were now into late afternoon leaving us with a brief siesta. Our evening paseo began back at the Plaza Tendillas, children playing in the fountains, teenagers holding hands and riding skateboards and others eating and chatting outside cafes. Lovely! We continued to the Plaza de la Corredera, which reminded me of a simpler version of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. The square is enclosed by apartments and full of café tables waiting for the evening crowd to arrive. We stumbled upon Parque Oride finding a bench to watch the world go by. People of all ages were enjoying the evening breeze. I was impressed by the biodiversity and layout of the park. I talked Chloe’s ear off about the importance of green space in urban areas and my thoughts of a second career in urban development.
What a wonderful day!