Monthly Archives: September 2013

A day in Cordoba

When we planned to go to Andalusia, I knew I desperately wanted to go to Cordoba, seat of Moorish power with its history and unrivalled architecture. It also evidently has the best Spanish omelette in the region, next to the Mezquita with a massive queue of locals.

Roman bridge in Cordoba landscape

Mills of the Guadalquivir

We spent a lot of time around the river, exploring the old mills. I was fascinated by the bridge seemingly newly refurbished, but built on Roman foundations.

Walking to the Mezquita, Cordoba

Ancient water wheel on the Guadalquivir, Cordoba

Wandering around this tiny, ancient town there are surprises everywhere. We saw remains of the large walls and massive gates, but like the other Andalusian towns, once you get off the tourist trail there is an amazing array of urban decay and tiny streets. The smallest street I’ve ever seen nearly caught a small SUV out, but with horrible squeaking of tires against the walls they managed to free themselves. Unfortunately, I didn’t get many photos off the beaten trail. I got the I’m tired, my camera is heavy, I want my own bed travelling cranky syndrome that day.

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Climbing the Giralda

After the cool, dark interior of the cathedral, climbing the spiralling ramp up to the top of the Giralda, you feel a bit like Simba in The Lion King, blinking afresh at each window, waiting for your eyes to adjust to the bright Andalusian sky. An alternative to rehashing a classic children’s movie, there is a feat of travel to accomplish by attempting to dig out your sunglasses without dropping your camera down the side of the largest cathedral in Europe.

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When climbing up the tower, there are periodic interruptions to what would otherwise be a rather tedious climb. They have some small exhibitions on the history of the tower as part of a Moorish mosque, see the orange grove below, a typical feature of (former) Mosques in this region. There are also displays on how the bells at the top were lifted to their place, archaeological evidence, etc.

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On the way to the top, there are also windows from which you can view over the top of the cathedral getting spectacular views of the architectural construction of the building. And you can make friends with the permanent residents of the cathedral.

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As cool as climbing the tower is, the views from the top are what you really came here for.

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It is nice to be back on the ground though!

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Ferrara Balloon Festival

Every year, in Autumn Europe’s hot air balloons descend upon Ferrara, in northern Italy. The 2013 festival has just started and as much as I would like to be there, I’m not. However, here are some of my photos from the 2008 festival.

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