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Cordoba- with Pau!

The big thing about Cordoba is the Mesquita: another one of these Mosque-stolen-church-stolen-mosque things that dominate the south of Spain.

So let’s start with that!

We only stayed in Cordoba for two full days, but were lucky enough to co-ordinate the visit with one of our close work friends, Pau.

She agreed to put off seeing the Mesquita until we got there, so we all met up in the late morning on our first day to check out the glory of this crazy building with its mongrel heritage.

 

The building is quite massive, in a way which almost felt to me like some sort of super-beautiful aircraft carrier….

.. and it’s such a lovely and weird mix of Muslim and Christian, although to my possibly-biased view-point, the Islamic stuff is much more spectacular.

 

 

.. For those of you who are more into statues and babies, here is Saint Antonio, the bringer of boyfriends and husbands…

… which possibly explains Pau’s pose, but can’t really justify whatever Andy thinks he’s doing.

There was also a lot more of the Christian iconography, but I didn’t take photos, partly because many of them were creepy, and mostly because the ones that weren’t creepy were pretty boring in the standard Catholic way.

 

 

While we were in Morocco, we were discussing the fact that non-Muslims cannot enter (almost) any of the Mosques. Our historian friend thought this was a great shame, and I can see his point- we missed out on seeing what is arguably the oldest university in the entire world, because it also happens to be a Mosque- and such exclusion of some people from viewing what could now be considered part of the history not only of one group of people, but of the world, is sad and kind of polarising.

But I also have to respect this stance, especially where the Mosques are still active.

Whenever churches are sold as an attraction in order to make money, selling little trinkets and postcards, I always think of that scene where Jesus goes all old-school and throws the money changers out of the temple, but these small sales are necessary in order to maintain these massive and ancient buildings.

But should people even be in a house of worship if they’re not invested in that religion? I like the idea of sharing culture and sharing history- I think it’s the only way forward to a more understanding world. But I also can see that turning such a place into a tourist draw clearly detracts away from its original purpose: enter 1000s of people who, instead of contemplating the Glory of God, are amazed by the architecture or hooked by the history of the place. Enter people who don’t know, and (unwillingly) break the rules to show respect in such a place.

Anyway, back to this Mosque/Church, in which we suddenly turn a corner, and come face-to-face with what seems to be a fairly ordinary sized Cathedral, which just happens to have been stripped of it’s four outer walls and plonked in the middle of a giant Mosque.

It’s kind of strange.

 

(By the way, on the ‘respect’ front, I think that taking photos was ok, given that the band was currently playing theme songs from Indiana Jones and others to a group of giggling children).

 

Back outside again, the sun was shining and Andy desperately wanted to climb a tower (which my family had already zipped up in the morning when A and I were still in the appartment).

 

Alas, our stomachs were calling, so we headed instead for a little indoor food market (Thanks Pau), to eat our fill of tapas-y things.

 

 

 

 

We split up after lunch, and Andy and I spent the afternoon hanging with Pau, before going for a walk around the river once she had headed home.

Earlier in the day we had crisp skies, bright blues against golden leaves, and it all looked very pretty.

 

.. But I think it was even lovelier in the late afternoon.

 

Waterwheel in front of little Islands!

 

 

I was convinced that we should go down into the swampy area and hop from island to island, but unlike myself (pictured below), Mr W is no Explor-a-saur. Instead, Mr W is a Funsponge, who is overly concerned about ‘getting his feet wet’.

Mr W exerted his Male Dominance, and it was un-unanimously decided by the group that we should instead cross the river by going over the bridge.

 

Pleased with his decision and his toasty warm toes:

 

 

 

We wandered around for a bit, and then, as night fell, I became increasingly obsessed with the concept of capturing photographs of (presumably migrating?) birds flying overhead.

 

… and of taking photographs of Andy’s sillhouette.

 

Pretty  Handsome eh?

Our second day in Cordoba, Christmas eve, was not much for a long description, so I’ll just jump through the highlights.

1) I found a pretty door. It matched my skirt.

 

2) We went to a food court to buy food for Christmas. Andy, as usual, managed to chat up an old lady, who first asked him if he was German. She then asked him how to say calamari in German, and we were like ‘it’s pretty much Kalmar too’, and she translated back to the shopkeeper, who was like ‘duh’. Later on, we met her again, this time singing rather rambunctiously with another shopkeeper.

 

3) We went past some Roman Ruins. I didn’t really get it.

 

4) We found this amazingly dapperly dressed kid.

 

5) Andy decided to buy a blanket, and the buying made him hungry, so we ate food.

6) We went back to the tower. It was closed.

 

7) And then, my dear friends, we spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in the sun, reading our books.

Bliss.

 

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