Wednesday, October 13, 2010

To Cordoba – 8 October 2010

After a mediocre breakfast in the local cafe we walked across the city centre to Casa de Pilatos, supposedly built to the same dimensions as Pilate's House in Jerusalem. It has since been enlarged, modified, changed, upgraded and “modernised” at various times in its history but still retains, in a small chapel named after it, a marble pillar supposedly the same dimensions as the one to which Christ was tied when he was flogged. The truth is no doubt lost in the mists of time but the building is well worth visiting as it has the best collection of tile work in Spain adorning the walls and is a true visual feast.

By the time we had returned to our part of town, the Cathedral was open for paying guests. They have a strange arrangement, you can visit during the morning when the service is on and wander around at will but all the side chapels are dark and if you are caught taking photos you are severely chastised by the security guards.

However, in the afternoon, if you pay €8 each, the lights are on everywhere and you can photograph to your heart's content. You can also climb the tower, which we did, for a great view over Seville. The tower has no stairs except for the last flight and is ascended using a ramp installed so that horses could be ridden to the top (Why?), quite a contrast to some of the narrow stairs we have ascended climbing other towers.

After a wander around the Arenal area by the Bull Ring we left Seville to head for Cordoba only to discover that the cigarette lighter in the rental car was not working and thus our sat-nav would not charge. Knowing that we would need it long after the battery had run flat we reluctantly headed back to the rental car depot by the airport to get it fixed. They took the easy option and simply swapped cars but the process still wasted useful sunlight hours.

Once on the road to Cordoba we detoured through several small villages on a route in a travel book but none of them held any appeal until we reached Almodovar del Rio where the Castle set on the hill has the “most romantic silhouette in Spain”. It certainly is quite magical but, as with many things, was a product of an early 20C major restoration. Sneaking in as the last visitors for the day we had a rapid tour around the walls and headed off for Cordoba.

Unfortunately, because of the car trouble delays the sun set as we wandered through Cordoba from the car park. The hostel we had read about in the guide book had one room left, a suite, so we took it, and it was a rather special treat.

Both Cordoba and Seville claim to be the “home” of Flamenco but the shows at Cordoba are only half the price of Seville so we chose Cordoba to enjoy a fabulous show which, fortunately, began at 2230 allowing us plenty of time to fit it in to the evening which had got off to such a late start.

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