Allow me this meandering post.
When you go to a place just because someone you love told you you’d love it too and you don’t do any research before, there’s already this sort of aura lent to the visit.
When you make it the first trip you take with your baby, there’s a certain thrill and adventure to boarding the train and riding it through the countryside.
Maybe it was just the lighting in the pictures.
Maybe it was arriving during siesta so the streets were soft and empty compared to the hot asphalt and cars on the mile long walk over from the station.
Maybe it was because this was a trip for Cody’s birthday.
This attachment that formed between us and Córdoba is best expressed through dusky gold light, warm stone benches, and the green trees of yellow courtyards. You’ll know you’re there too with the tastes of cool red wine on your lips and salty jamón on your fingers, balancing a baby in your lap who’s all eyes and meditation.
Our hotel was on the edge of this old town oasis, known as the Jewish Quarter, and placed us easily in the heart of winding streets, bars, cafes, and shops. I think this place, this little maze of the Juderia, is less of a point A to point B sort of destination. I think the charm of this area is best found on foot without a destination in mind.
Because, without need or provocation, you’ll already be filling out your sleepy holiday just by walking from one cobble-stoned street to the next, piles of pottery and plaited silver spilling out of store fronts as you pass. Taking your cues from potted flowers trailing leafy vines down this alley way and letting delicate oil paintings beckon to slip down that one next would be bring just as much a sense of accomplishment as following a map from one landmark to the next.
Because, no matter how aimlessly you try to wander, suddenly you’ll come across it, the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, commanding all the pull of a magnet in its unavoidable way.
Find it first near closing time and you’ll be able to stroll through the emptying courtyard without the pressure of other gazes to break the spell. In the morning you can walk there again and see it transformed into a place of liveliness, active with milling bodies and pointing hands. At dusk, it’s an ornate tomb holding 700 years worth of secrets and prayers. By daylight, it’s a a refuge made up of coolness and dim light and methodically placed domes. It becomes an enclosure that promises learning and revelation where you follow the plot lines of clever kings under behemoth columns and zig-zagging tiles.
Back in the daylight, as the old conquests fade and the feeling of modernity begins to firm around you like the waking-ness after a deep sleep, the courtyard will empty you into any number of new streets to follow. This is when to find all the alcoves one could hope for to have little coffees and lackadaisical conversations in. Then, have no doubt, patio restaurants will invite you in the evening to enjoy Flamenco shows and beading glasses of white wine, so refreshing after the hours spent meandering across the searing patches of sun blossoming up through the shadows of the walls and streets.
The way to end your spell bound trip best, I think, is like we did, with a stroll across the Roman bridge, listening to accordion hymns with your baby in the morning sunlight and counting the change in your pocket to make sure you can leave an appropriate enough tip.
For us, I think Córdoba will always be made up of dreamy summer streets where the heat sinks into old stones lined with cool shade, where we first whisked our baby away for a sleepy three day trip to a town ensconced by tiled roofs and sunlit glow and artful shadows playing across curving paths.
|Mode||To and from||Overnights||Accommodation|
|Train||Puerto de Sta María to Córdoba||Córdoba||NH Collection Amistad Cordoba|
|Transportation||Useful phrases on this trip
|Walking||Good morning, I have a reservation under the name__||Buenos días, tengo una reserva a nombre de___|
|A beer, please||Una cervesa, por favor|