What a difference a few hundred kilometers makes. Were it not for the language, you’d swear Andalusia was a country all its own.
Our journey though Moorish Spain took us first to Granada, then to Cordoba.
Our various guidebooks had recommended “getting lost” in Granada’s Albaicin. We did. Many times. It was hard not to, what with the narrow, cobble-stone streets, circa Medieval Moorish Spain. Thankfully, we managed to find our way to the to the spectacular Alhambra.
Were I Washington Irving, I suppose I’d have no trouble recounting the immeasurable splendour of this historic site. Alas, I’m not. So, you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say the Alhambra was utterly, overwhelmingly, out-of-this-world remarkable. (N.B. The below photo does not begin to do justice to it.)
Of course, with the World Cup in full force, we would have been remiss had we not taken in the match between Spain and Paraguay. Spain were, of course, victorious… again!
We bid farewell to Granada after two very enjoyable days, and took comfort in the knowledge we wouldn’t yet have to bid farewell to Spain: we were off to Cordoba.
And here we thought they took the siesta seriously in Granada. Weren’t we in for a surprise! Cordoba was militant about its afternoon nap. No word of a lie, there was a moment when we were convinced we were the only two people left alive in the town.
That’s not the say our time in Cordoba was uneventful. On the contrary, we visited, what was to me, one of the most outstanding sites during our travels: the Great Mosque of Cordoba, the Mezquita.
It’s iconic red-and-white arches and darkly-lit interiors made for a very mystical experience. Or would have, were it not for the all-too-bright Roman Catholic cathedral inserted smack-dab into the middle of the building. (N.B. Again, the accompanying photos don’t really do justice to the place. Apologies.)
In fairness, the juxtaposition of the two very distinct spaces, was impressive — albeit jarring.
The rest of our time in Cordoba was spent wandering the (empty) streets of the old city. We also stumbled upon one of the three remaining synagogues to survive the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, and attempted to visit the Alcazar. I say “attempted” not because we couldn’t find the old fortress, but because it was closed for the afternoon. As it was every afternoon. Siesta, duh.
As we set out for Algeciras, and the ferry terminal that would take us across the Strait of Gibraltar, to Morocco and the next leg of our journey, we delighted in all that Spain offered us, so freely and so generously.
It’s not often I can say with absolute certainty I will return to a particular country. I can say that about Spain. Hands down. Without question.