Tuesday, November 13, 2012


We arrived in Córdoba right on schedule and wandered along the river until we found an information booth that could direct us the rest of the way to the hotel.  We made ourselves at home in our cozy little apartment style room, and then set off to explore the city.  Highlights in Córdoba include la Mesquita, el Alcazar, the Roman bridge, and the Royal Stables.  That night, we returned to the latter for an equestrian show.  As an avid rider myself, I loved it!  We were all impressed by the beauty, discipline, and agility of these Andalusian horses, also known as PRE’s, or Pura Raza Española.  It was especially neat for Amanda and me, since back at UCF we are fortunate enough to help out with Maluso, the Andalusian stallion who plays the role of Pegasus at Knights’ football games.  So the horses in Córdoba looked very familiar!  After the show, we had an adventurous Spanish dinner that will be described in greater detail in another post, and then we called it a night, but not before a trip out onto the Roman bridge to look back at the city lights. 

The following morning, we got up early in order to make it to the Mesquita before nine, when entrance is free.  It rained all night and it had not stopped, but when we arrived with our umbrellas and wet shoes, we were greeted by a neat sight that only happens in such weather: small waterfalls cascaded from the roof of the massive structure, only making it more impressive.  Inside the building is a peculiar mix of Arab architecture and Catholic influence, since churches were built inside of the mosque after the Moors were driven from Spain at the end of the 15th century.  The cathedral inside features a gigantic pipe organ that fills the expansive building with music that seems to come from everywhere at once.

After la Mesquita, we explored the streets in the rain, periodically taking refuge inside the many tourist shops. We all found souvenirs.  Next we went to the Alcazar, and the rain stopped long enough that we could wander around the beautiful gardens filled with fountains and orange trees.  After ice cream and one last trip out onto the bridge, we made our way back to the hotel and then took a bus to the train station.  We rode back on the high-speed AVE train, which is definitely my new favorite way to travel.  Fast, as comfortable as a tour bus, and with fewer hassles than an airplane, it made for a relaxed, quick trip back to Madrid.

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