Well, last time I blogged I made a mention of the weather being a sunny 19 degrees. The rain in Spain doesn’t stay mainly on the plain, and it snows in Spain without prejudice as well.
After Sevilla, we continued our Moorish adventure to Cordoba, an hour away by the high-speed AVE train. Cordoba is a small city which was once the favourite city of the Moorish ruler, and hence he decided Cordoba was the place where he was to build the Mesquita, the most elaborate and beautiful mosque in the western world.
It also helped, or didn’t help depending on who you talk to, that once the Catholics took over they ripped out the middle and built a magnificent cathedral. But it’s largely known to most for its thousands of red and white striped arches of which I took a few dozen photos in the hope that one will look vaguely artistic.
Of course, due to those three kings, the Mesquita shut its doors on the day we arrived, as did the vast majority of the town. We were left to walk its streets in the pouring rain, but the place really is lovely, we could easily see that. The Roman bridge was also a highlight, as were the dozens of little houses adorned with blue and white pottery all over their facades. As we missed Sevilla’s alcazar we made sure we got in to Cordoba’s, which didn’t disappoint. A definite lowlight was its paella. No more paella for us, we got the message.
We did get to the Mesquita the next day, before heading down the road to Granada. Along the way we saw towns flooded and a number of farmers wading through waist-deep water to get to their crops. Granada however, whilst still rainy, seemed to have spared the worst.
We stayed at one of those perfect little hostels in an apartment building, run by a little Spanish guy called Victor who pointed out to us all the places to go, things to see and most importantly, food to eat. With the help of his recommendations, I was treated to flaming chorizo in brandy, gazpacho, Spanish lasagne and the best of Granada’s free tapas. Yep, no paying for tapas in Granada, just buy a beer and a plate of the house speciality will be plonked in front of you.
Granada is of course home to the Alhumbra, up there with the list of wonders of the world. Whilst Sevilla, Cordoba and the rest of Spain had fallen to the Catholics, the Arabs held on to Granada until 1492, which turned out to be a pretty good year for Spain. The Alhumbra is perched on a hill looking over the city, and we spent a good half-day exploring its palaces, gardens and castles. It really is a must-do and I totally recommend coming in the winter, where the hordes of tourists are at a bit more of a bearable level.
The snow came that afternoon, when we were busy exploring the old Arab disctrict on the town’s other hill. Here, it wasn’t just the children who were amazed by what was falling from the sky. Yep, there we were in southern Spain and it was snowing. I seem to be a bit of a snow magnet, after my experiences in Shanghai.
Luckily it didn’t follow us to Malaga, down on the coast, where the temperature was a respectable 14 degrees. Here the Spanish continued to be amazed, this time at the sight of a bright-white Dutchman walking around in a tshirt.