Cordoba was majestic. It feels very old European. Even though I looove Granada and Sevilla, if I were to pick one city to live in so far it’d be Cordoba. While Granada has amazing history, it’s also very modern, which don’t get me wrong that’s part of it’s charm, the juxaposition of it all, but everything in Cordoba oozes old time Spain. Did I say it’s majestic already? Back in the day this place was a big deal and you can feel that in it’s streets. The vibe is cool, and confident. A king of the southern family of Spanish cities.
We stayed in the area where all the buildings are white and old and beautiful and the streets are windy and narrow. We arrived at night so we threw our stuff down and started wandering. Following our ears towards music around the corner we stumbled into this restaurant and found a killer flamenco band. Everyone was enjoying their food and wine, tables and chairs crammed together, the more the merrier. I’m kicking myself now for not getting a picture of the scene. (The ONE time I try to control myself!) The guitar singer was decked in a collared shirt half un-bottoned exposing a tan chest and a blazer casually thrown over, hair left long, circa 1999… SWOON. Singing “Soy gitano” (I am Gypsy) into the mic. Which, just my luck, is probably the only flamenco song I half-know the words to, and it always seems to be a crowd pleaser. In the spirit of enjoying life as Spain knows so well, the entire restaurant was up out of their chairs, wine in hand, bouncing and clapping to the rhythm. It wasn’t just a performance, it was an exchange of energy! Even when the band finished their set the crowd started chanting “Uno mas! Uno mas!” And so they did! THREE more times!!
Below, a view from the roof of our hostel at night. Don’t worry Dad, by roof I mean patio 🙂
While flamenco may be more closely associated with Granada because of the Albyzin area, we experienced some pretty legit shows in Cordoba. One night while exploring the streets (I’m telling you this doesn’t get old) a girl comes up to us and tells us about this flamenco show featured in a small venue around the corner. So we went! There were no more than 15 people viewing the show, and 2, 3 people max performing. The emotion in the singer and dancer’s faces was an incredible mix of pain and passion. It pulls you in.
Something I noticed here for the first time was how the men dress in Spain, and this performance is a perfect example. Men here take pride in their clothes and put effort into looking nice. The singer was wearing nice shoes, dark pants, dark sweater and a black POLKA DOT scarf, and it looked DAMN GOOD! You’d never see a man in a polka dot scarf in the states. I mean, not usually at least, and especially not southern California. But this guy rocked it. Hats off to you Spain! Keep doin’ your thing!
One of the bars we went to one night, La Bicicleta. They had tons of fresh fruits and vegetables to make your drinks! We wound up talking to this old dude whooo maybe ran the place?? Who knows, our Spanish wasn’t that great at this point, heck, it’s still not great! But he was enormously friendly and gave us a tour of all the old parts of the bar. We later ran into another friend we made the night before at the discoteca and despite it being well into the night, we wound up going back there for a second go round!
Taberna Corredera: ultimate hangover cure. If you think tostada con jamon doesn’t sound that great, then you haven’t been here. Before I never even liked it that much. I think I saw someone order it and went, “that’s what I’m getting!” The orange juice was perfection and the jamon wasn’t the thinly sliced kind, it was like bacon bits but bigger and better and in jamon form! If you wake up feeling like your head is about to explode hit up this spot.
The next day we visited the Mezquita (of course, why else would you go to Cordoba!!? Oh right, the men.) The Mezquita is this mind-blowing church, which sounds way too common of a word to this describe this awe-inspiring structure. You walk in and instantly you have to pick your jaw up off the floor. It. Is. Amazing. With ceilings high as heaven, intricate, angelic details weaving above that could keep your brains and eyes busy for decades if you had the time to spare. This grand cathedral’s architecture and shrines are almost as god-like and awe-inspiring as the deity it serves. I could’ve spent hours sitting in a pew and taking it all in. To say the Mezquita is beautiful is like saying Beyonce is nice looking. If you’re ever in Spain and would rather something different than the typical Barca or Madrid cosmopolitan scene, this is a city you can’t miss.
Later we walked around for awhile exploring this area below the bridge that is similar to what would might come to mind when thinking of the lost boy’s playground. Very “Robinhoody,” to steal a word from my roommate.
Next to the walk that follows the river’s edge there’s this enormous abandoned waterwheel attached to an old concrete building- if you could call it that, that’s half falling apart covered in overgrown vines.
Below lies sprawling wetlands, that trickle throughout the river. And so we went, unsure if we’d been sucked into a time warp, hopping from mini island to mini island in the middle of the river. Trudging through grounds shaded by bright yellow limbs of ancient trees hanging over the crunchy ground.
Eventually realizing we were still in year 2014, we had to leave to catch our ride. But I’d go back any day.