Daytrip to Cordoba, Spain
At first I was planning to stay two days and spend the full two days in Seville until I saw photos of The Mezquita, the red and white striped horseshoe arches attracted me as I never seen any mosque/cathedral in that style. After research, I found how easy it was to do a day trip to Cordoba from Seville; it's only 45 min train ride away! This made my mind thinking and debating and we made our decision to add 2 more days to Seville in order to make a day trip to Cordoba :) I have been waiting for train ticket to be available for purchase in Spain rail Renfe website: https://venta.renfe.com/vol/index.do Advanced purchase save 70% of the original price, discounted ticket usually available for purchase 62 days in advanced. However, I learned that during the summer season, Renfe re-adjust their schedule and ticket prices so sometimes it might not be available for sale exactly 62 days ahead so be patient and check everyday, the savings will worth it!
Cordoba here we come! We took the taxi from our hotel to the train station since it's fast and inexpensive less than 10 euros! I booked the 8:50 am train from Seville and arrived Cordoba at 9:34 am. When we arrived Cordoba, we went to the tourist office located inside the train station to get a map of Cordoba. The walk from the train station to the entrance gate was around 15 minutes.
The entrance gate:
It was quiet since it was still early in the morning. When I first walked into the gate, I saw flower pots hanging on the walls of white houses, it was very unique. I told myself we can come back later, we have to get to The Mezquita first to avoid the tour groups! We walked another 5 minutes, the narrow roads all have street names labeled so it wasn't hard to find our way to The Mezquita. We reached The Mezquita...well that time I didn't know it was The Mezquita from the outside.
We walked inside and there was a courtyard and we stay a lot of people already lined up. I told hubby to line up first while I go purchase the ticket. Ticket purchase was fast and by the time I came back with the tickets, we got in at almost no time! Here's a photo of the courtyard:
We walked in and it was dark inside but we could clearly see the red and white striped horseshoe arches! There were so many of those arches, at one angle they looked like infinite. The pattern reminded me of candy canes haha! The Mezquita is very big inside, just one floor, almost like a huge room! Before we got there, I was worried about how to take a photo without people coming into the frame of my photo. It wasn't too hard especially we got there early and it was a huge place so you might be able to find a corner without too much people blocking the way. That was what we did, we tried to walk to a section where less people and we found some!
Here's hubby taking a photo of the arches:
I tried to take at every angle that I can to get a different look of The Mesquita.
As we walked toward the center of The Mezquita, it got brighter and brighter; the center is the brightest part of the mosque/cathedral. We stepped into the middle section and it was totally a different atmosphere! The architecture turned immediately from an Islamic-style mosque into a cathedral! I have read about it and saw photos of it but it completely blew off my mind! I was like "wow"! It was a beautiful cathedral with a huge dome in the middle and lavishly decorated ceiling! This is one of the most beautiful cathedral interior I have seen so far. I was very impressed by the details and designs. You have to see it yourself to feel it; it was indescribable!
We usually don't sit down to spend some time to look closely in a cathedral except when the cathedral's architecture amazes us The Mezquita is one of them!
We walked out and back to the Islamic style mosque. Two different architecture styles and both are beautiful.
Another cathedral style dome in a room that is connected to The Mesquita:
Lamp hanging down to lit up the interior of The Mezquita:
More photos of the horseshoe arches:
There are so many interesting things to see inside The Mezquita like this window frame:
The arches are going endlessly....
So lucky that no one walked by!
Another beautiful ceiling:
We spent at least two hours in The Mezquita! By the time we walked out, we were overdue for lunch. Another photo of the outside of The Mequita with the bell tower. On that street, many souvenir shops and some restaurants including Burger King LOL!
Those blue pots and red/pink colored flowers with green leaves truly add color to the white washed walls.
The old town of Cordoba, most of the cute houses are white sometimes with yellow windowsill.
Here's the entrance to a restaurant with a roll of flower pots! Another interesting thing about the old town is that some restaurants are tucked inside so you have to either walk into a narrow road to enter or sometimes walk inside a souvenir store to enter the restaurant! You'll see menus out on the main road and pointing to the entrance of the restaurant.
We picked to have lunch in a restaurant called Taberna El No. 10.
We ate inside for AC and there was some construction out so we don't want to have dirt in our food.
The waiter here speak very good English and they do have English menu. Inside the restaurant, there are some wine cask in the middle. A glass of wine is definitely cheaper than a can of soda!!! Too bad for us that we don't drink!
We ordered grilled squid, the sauce was yummy and the squid cooked just right. The fried shrimps were good too!
I ordered the pork cheek stew with sauce, pork was yummy! Remember again, Spain's pork quality is way better than beef! The bill came to 29 euros, a little bit expensive but at least the food was good.
After lunch, we walked to the near-by Alcazar. Cordoba's Alcazar is a lot more smaller than Seville's, actually there's not much to see in the interior of the fortress. However, we were able to climb up the tower to have great views of Cordoba.
Here's a photo of a statue at the entrance of the Alcazar:
Roman ruins left inside:
The tower we were able to climb up to through very narrow stairs. The climb wasn't too bad since the tower wasn't too tall but the stairs were very narrow that it barely fit two people. So if there are people coming down at the same time, it will be difficult!
The Royal Stable we saw from the top of the tower:
The beautiful view of Cordoba, with The Mezquita on the left, part of the Alcazar on the middle, and the Roman Bridge on the right.
After the tower, we came back down to its main attraction which is the gardens! Water sprinkled from both side while flowers and trees on each side, very beautiful!
The view of the fortress from its garden, doesn't this look like in a storybook?
Although it wasn't the time of peak blooms, there were still many colorful flowers in the gardens:
The gardens in Seville's Alcazar is huge, very green and lush while the gardens in Cordoba's Alcazar has a good view and a romantic palace feel. Both are different and unique on its own way.
After the Alcazar, we walked along the riverbank to the Roman Bridge and saw an abandoned windmill:
The Roman Bridge:
It was very sunny out so be sure to constantly apply sunscreen! The view from the bridge:
After the bridge, we walked back to The Mezquita and saw the beautiful outside wall:
It was around 4pm and since our train to get back to Seville is at 8:30, we have plenty of time to explore Cordoba. We looked at the map and follow it to other sights through the city. The tourism map was excellent with some photos of the main sights and some history of each. We walked pass the shopping area, it was quiet and some shops were closed. Here we saw a big foot painted on a mirror LOL!
We walked to the Roman ruins, it was a good walk from the old town:
Plaza de las Tendillas, the shopping area:
We took breaks in between to get hydrated then continued our walk to Plaza del Cristo de los Faroles.
Hubby liked the patterns on the ground so he wanted to take a special photo:
We walked around the city and then decided to walk back to the old town hoping to find a restaurant open for early dinner....there's none!!! All the restaurants re-open at 8 for dinner haha we forgot we are in Spain! Alright, we decided to visit souvenir shops for souvenir shopping! We walked past a narrow way and saw this building...it reminded us of Greece!
We checked out a few restaurants and their kitchens were all closed...but at least their entrance are very beautiful that I enjoyed taking photos of them!
Cute aprons for water bottle? Haha!
Narrow twisted roads....need good driving skill?
Pretty entrance of a hotel:
We walked in many souvenir shops and found this one to be the most reasonably priced and varieties of souvenirs! This shop is located on the way back out to the city wall:
More beautiful places we walked by:
On our walk back to the train station, we saw a sign "Hotel Boston" (we are from Boston area) LOLLL!
We have no clue what this building is but it's very nice and also pinkish colored!!!
We arrived the train station around 7 pm. There's a cafe inside the train station so we bought something to drink. Hubby ordered an ice latte and it was good!!!
We got back to Seville at 9:15 pm and without much thinking, we decided to take a taxi right to Albarama Restaurant to dine there again since the food is so good and we were so tired by now to even think or walk. The only bad part is the taxi ride! The taxi driver ripped us off! The taxi ride from our hotel to the train station was less than 10 euros, so I was expecting the ride to the restaurant would be around the same. I was looking at the meter closely and it was very odd that there were two prices, one that changes by mile and one that is fixed. I was about to pay the driver 10 euros and the taxi driver pressed a button and it totaled like 13 euros. Fine 3 euros more than I expected so I paid the driver 2x 10 euro bills. He gave me back 2 euros change! I tried to tell him I paid him 20 euros! He barely speaks any English and act like he gave me the right change! Oh gosh and cars behind were beeping so blahh I was too tired to argue so I walked out! I totally felt that he ripped us off by purpose!
Oh well..time for some great food! We walked into Albarama and we didn't have to wait for a table. We were looking at the menu and thinking which dishes we haven't tried yet? We ordered 5 tapas and the waiter suggested we have the 5 first then if not enough we could order more later.
Here are what we ordered! Shrimp salad....yummy and filling!
A fish salad..forgot what fish it was but it was decent:
Fried calamari with squid ink sauce rice, good!
Mushroom with pork and sauce and grilled pork. Both were excellent! Our conclusion about Albarama: you can randomly pick any dishes and they won't be bad, they can only be good or excellent!
After dinner, we walked back to our hotel, our last night view of Seville!
The Cathedral at night:
A beautiful lit building:
Lastly, our hotel: Hotel Alfonso XIII
Good night Seville, we really enjoyed our 4 days stay here..it was relaxed and great food!