just the beginning...
05.10.2005 19 °C
If the weekend starts on Friday mornings, then my weekend was off to a horrible start…. This Friday there was no excursion for us, instead they filled the morning with another of my favourite activities: exams. On top of having to take an exam, they (being the ever-so-thoughtful UCO staff) decided to have just MY class arrive a half an hour earlier than the rest of the students, (I know, I was excited too). Two hours later it was over, and I was free to enjoy the rest of the day, and weekend.
After class, I decided to play tourist in Córdoba…you sometimes forget to do all the tourist stuff in your own town cause you either forget its there, or just assume it will always be there and you could technically go whenever so it gets put off. Since, I cant exactly say that either of those are true for me, I didn’t really have any reason not too enjoy the rest of the morning visiting the Sinagoga (synagogue) and Alcázar (castle and gardens). Lucky for me, lots of sights in Córdoba are free to the public on Fridays, which also meant battling the hoards of tourists that visit Córdoba. Although to us here, Córdoba seems pretty remote and far away from the rest of Europe, that distance doesn’t seem to divert the masses that arrive every weekend.
SYNAGOGA: The synagogue is the old synagogue in the Judería that is not in use anymore, if fact there is no active synagogue in Córdoba at all. It is one rectangular room with some ornate designs carved into the walls and around the few windows near the ceiling that provide the only light in the room. Its disappointingly not much to look at, and although there was a significant Jewish population in Cordoba over 1000 years ago, their culture and religion has been pushed aside for the richer and more grandiose Christian and Islamic influences.
ALCÁZAR: was actually the 3rd site on my list, but the museum about the history of bullfights was closed for `obras´ (renovations) and I found my way out of the labyrinth of streets, and popped out just north of the river and west of the Mezquita at Alcázar. The Alcázar de los Reyes Cátolicos, is the castle Isabel and Ferdinand built for themselves in Córdoba (although they never lived there together). The castle itself is only slightly imposing with two towers, which you can walk up, around and between. The more impressive part of the castle is found in the chapel where there are huge mosaics (not part of the original castle) that have been placed there and cover almost the entire wall of the Chapel. The sheer mass of a huge mosaic of black,white, and red tiles is pretty impressive. Still, the best part of the day was yet to come. I headed out to the courtyard and gardens and was greeted first by the large marble baths surrounded by flowers and flowing water (the Arabic influence) before walking past a roman column (remnants from some of the first developers of the area) into the gardens of los Reyes. Essentially a miniature version of the gardens at the Palace of Versaille, the ponds, flowers, trees, statues, and paths extend out from the terrace behind the castle. Mom, you would have loved this! It was so nice to see so many flowers in Cordoba, which are few and far between during the hot summer months. After taking a few pictures, establishing myself yet again as a tourist, I reluctantly left the gardens to browse the crowded streets before heading back for lunch.
FRIDAY NIGHT: This was the first night I would have considered myself to have acted like a true Spaniard. And by that I mean staying out until 6am. We headed to the Botellón en Jardín Victoria, the long narrow park running up the middle of the main drag in the Jardín district (where I live). Its here that I got to hang out with my American friends, but also meet more Spaniards and speak in Spanish....slowly but surely i WILL get better!!! (Si se puede, Si se puede: I think I can, I think I can!). After that, the discoteca was calling our name, so Cody and Chris and I, headed to Cortuva, one of the clubs in Córdoba. We danced the night away and before I knew it, the numbers were dwindling, exhaustion set it, and I was ready to go home!
SATURDAY: wasnt much of a day actually due to the fact that I slept all of the morning and a good chunk of the afternoon away before lounging around for the rest of the day....a complete lack of productivity: I love weekends!
SUNDAY: Sunday was great, and Ill tell you all about it....in the next entry!