Thursday, 19 July 2018

Is it a Mosque? Or is it a Cathedral?

Having made my dream come true by visiting Alhambra Palaces (part one and two), having been to Albaicin for a wonderful walk through the narrow streets, having bought tea for all our family right off the Cathedral (it was delicious!), we were ready to go. We spent our last evening in Granada (doing shopping on the way back to the campsite), packed our belongings in the morning and we were ready to go. Go up north. Cause we were on our way back home. Slowly. No rush. Taking it all in.

Actually, after the first or second night on that roadtrip, Paulinka said that she wanted to go back home. So we kept telling her that we were going home. All the way through, we were on our way home. We never went twice through the same town, so it was kinda true. And was enough for her back then. Now she can't wait for our upcoming roadtrip.

Back to the topic though ;)

On our way up north, we decided to make a stop. It was around noon, perfect time for a break. And for lunch as well. But sightseeing first.

We stopped in Cordoba, as we wanted badly to see La Mezquita. The history of the building and its architecture drew our attention.

The building itself is a great example of Moorish architecture (with which we pleased our eyes the previous day in Alhambra). Which means that it's beautiful. 

What used to be a mosque, with time and historic changes got transformed into a catholic cathedral. That's why it is currently called the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba or Great Mosque of Cordoba or the Mezquita, its official name being the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption.

But first things first. The place is magical. First we walked along a long wall. It was hot and sunny (duh, midday in southern Spain in the middle of the summer). Although the wall wasn't a long one (it wasn't too interesting or too pretty either), we were exhausted. By the way, finding a free parking spot wasn't easy. Second round and we found one. So it wasn't as hard as in Sintra, after all, but still.

Anyway, we finally got to the entrance gate to a yard. Finally, some shade, as there were trees there. And some arcades, if I remember correctly. Or at least some roofed areas. There's a tower with a viewpoint on top that you can climb, surely a good one, but it got closed a few minutes before we got there. That's called sjesta.

We bought our entrance tickets and were ready for a unique experience.

When you enter the Mezquita, you are welcomed with hundreds of columns. Tens of them in every row. Connected with each other by red-and-white striped arches. Among them, every now and then, you can see the colourful reflections from the marvellous stained-glass windows.

You walk through all this beauty and suddenly you get transported to a whole new world. And that's because in the middle of this fine example of Moorish architecture, of this mosque, you come across the white walls, dark wooden benches and a richly ornamented catholic altar. A classic example of what catholic buildings look like. All as it usually is in old churches. And then again, right around the corner, you're back to columns and arches. Freaky. Unique. Amazing. Stunning.

Having taken in as much of this beauty as we could, we were ready for lunch. We went down one of the narrow streets, walked a little away from the Mezquita. We walked into a restaurants. It looked amazing. We were neither inside nor outside. It looked like a roofed garden. Although we had some language issues (neither of us speaks Spanish), we managed to order some truly delicious food. One of the best fish we had throughout the whole roadtrip. At the end, we were treated with a glass of local liquor for better digestion. Such a little perk, but always welcome. The staff were very friendly, very open, the place looked lovely, the food was delicious. We were sad to leave. And I can't recall the name of the place...

We wandered through the narrow streets for a little longer nd then headed back to the car. We still had some way to go.

We spent the night right off Merida (no, not the red-haired Disney princess is emerald dress, but a town in Extremadura, Spain. There weren't too many guests there, which was a plus. The place looked a little deserted, but maybe it's because of its location that seems to be in the middle of nowhere. The place was shadowed, had a pool and a free spot. All we needed for a relaxing evening.

That was it for our adventures in Andalusia. The region has a lot more to offer. We got just a glimpse of it. A small taste. One day, we'd surely come back to see and experience much more of it.

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