Friday, February 19, 2016

Andalusia 1 -- Cordoba

Whew!  We returned yesterday evening from a six day whirlwind tour of Andalusia!  It was fun, but grueling.  It is really quite stressful to land in a completely unknown city, try to find parking, try not to get stuck in a parking lot, try not to get stuck in a narrow narrow street (we had many bouts of applause as we made particularly hairy turns), try to find our lodgings, try to plan and find the best things to do with our limited time, try to find food to feed all of the monsters without spending too much or being too much of a spectacle, and mostly, try to stay happy and cheerful whilst doing all of the above.  But we did it!  And it was worth it.  We took so so many pictures so I'll do one post per day.

We left last Saturday morning around 7 a.m. -- we actually left at that time which was amazing -- and drove to Cordoba.  It was a little less than five hours away so I took the first shift.  The problem was that it was rainy and very windy and the road is windy (those were two different uses of "windy") and steep so about two hours in I pulled over so that Matthew could drive.  I tried to stay the course, but my hands were shaking and sweating, hah!  It wasn't much better being a passenger, especially when we hit a patch of fog in which we literally could not see five feet ahead of us!  The boys liked being in a cloud, but I was very happy to descend into the clearer valley.  Plus, it was sad to be missing out on the extraordinary scenery!  We have decided that we kind of missed the boat by not living in Andalusia.  It is so gorgeous!  The hills are covered with olive trees, divided intermittently with other fields growing lovely things so there is no end to the shades of green and brown!  And the way the hills are arranged looks like something I drew as a child with hill after hill after hill going back infinitely.  And the skies!  One can definitely understand why it has been fought over for thousands of years.  

We arrived in the city right around lunch time so we made some chorizo sandwiches in the car park to gain energy for a long afternoon of sightseeing.  Our first stop was the Castle!  We walked through the lovely historic district to get there.

The gardens, as usual, were a big hit!  There were orange trees everywhere, so of course the boys (including Charles) had to start throwing them in all of the fountains!  It was every child's dream to have an entire garden full of little orange balls!

This was Archie's expression the whole time -- pure delight expressed with his whole body!

"I wonder  if I put this orange here, where it will come out?"

Um, boys, that is not a bench...

Archie-splaining things to dad.

And eventually, the inevitable happened and Phin fell right into that pool!  I was too busy getting him out quickly so I didn't get a picture of him in there, regrets.

Because he was all wet we decided to see if we could check into our hotel, get our things and have him change.  Our hotel was in a quaint little neighborhood right in the center of town.

After that we walked through the historic Jewish neighborhood.  Most of the old houses are built around a courtyard and I was lucky enough to find a few doors open so I could peek inside.

This is the oldest synagogue in Spain -- there was beautiful Hebrew writing all over the walls.

More pools, more oranges!  Fine, just don't get wet again!

It was drizzling all day and pretty chilly, but we had a wonderful first day in Cordoba!  And we even found a reasonably priced dinner to boot.  Archie was looking over my shoulder as I sorted through photos and said, "Aren't you thankful I helped you have all of those good pictures?"  Yes, what would we do without that cute mug!
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