On our way to the Alpaca farm, we made a detour to Córdoba, in and of itself a must see in Andalusia and about three hours from Rota. Córdoba had been a capital city under the Romans and Moors, birthing great thinkers of all faiths who made their mark on the world.
Most notably, Córdoba is home to the Mezquita, a former Moorish mosque turned cathedral, famous for red and yellow arches that make the space seem to spread forever beyond you. James Mitchner describes it far more eloquently in his book, Iberia.
At some point, large cathedrals start to run together in your mind. Other than to stop and pray, I don’t often feel the need to tour a cathedral just to tour the cathedral. The Mezquita, however, is surely a one-of-a-kind, and one that will last in my memory, if not of my smallest compatriots. I suppose that’s why one keep entering landmarks. You never know what surprise you might find. And at least, there is always a chance for prayer.
After touring the Mezquita, we grabbed ice cream and beer and tortillas de patatas (a potato omelet of sorts) from Bar Santos, which we enjoyed on the steps of the Mezquita. I have to say, while impressive in size, the bar’s famous tortilla did not come close in flavor to my local, Rota favorite. We finished our snack just in time for a rain storm to pass overhead, leading us to hurry through the narrow white-washed streets of the old Jewish quarter. We still managed to sneak peaks into the courtyards, or patios, that Córdoba is known for – all decked out with tiles and hanging flower pots and fountains.
Fortunately, we had also stopped in Córdoba back in December, traveling with my family from Madrid to Rota. On that trip, all was dark and closed. But the town still hummed with college life and the darkened white-washed streets seemed more mystical and enchanting.
In our two short detours, I feel as if I was able to see all of the main attractions of Córdoba. However, given the time, I could spend a lovely weekend wandering the streets and enjoying long meals at any of the inviting restaurants. You can easily see why it has been such a special town for so long.