Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Monday (Cordoba)...

Got a (somewhat) early start to beat the heat and the crowds...although we really haven't seen mobs of tourists...just the occasional glut when a bus tour releases its cattle. The herds of Asian or European moo-moos meander through every now and then, trampelling everything in their path, moving erratically and stopping randomly. (We've seen solo American travelers, but no groups yet.)

The Mezquita is an enormous 8th century Islamic mosque constructed on the ruins of a destroyed 5th century church with a 16th century cathedral poking up through the center. The mosque is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The signature features of the old mosque are the rows and rows of marble columns (850 according to the guidebook...no we didn't count) interconnected by red and white double-arches. No matter what direction you turn, the columns lead your eyes onward to infinity. The ceilings are wooden, with patterns that vary depending on the age of the section...the mosque was expanded twice. Around the perimeter are dozens and dozens of naves, each containing an altar or a sculpture or a painting...and usually a mixture of all three. Several of the naves still contain Islamic features, including the mosques original focal point...the Mihrab...which directed worshipers' eyes to Mecca. In the center of all of this darkly-lit symmetry sits a towering, bright Christian cathedral, begun in the early 16th century. Ornate decoration draw attention upward.

A quick snack and then we crossed the Roman Bridge to the tiny tower-housed museum at the end...the Museum of Al-Andalus Life. This interpretative museum told stories of Islam in Spain, including large-scale replicas of the Mezquita and the Alhambra's Palacios Nazaries in Granada.

Despite a cooling breeze, the hot afternoon sun moved us to another cool dip in the pool. We dined outdoors (again)...this time in a cozy restaurant beneath the city-wall gates. Yummy flan for desert. We ended the day with late drinks at Soul. Dire Straits...old and new(er). The Clash' London Calling. Elvis. Quite the mix.

Each day seems to top the last. Not an easy feat!

1 comment:

Matthias said...

Enjoying the blog. There's got to be a way to effortlessly upload pictures at the same time, no? I can't wait to put visuals to your travels.

Sounds like a very nice trip...