Sunday, April 08, 2007

Andalucía III: Córdoba

On Thursday, we took a train from Seville to Córdoba to see the Mezquita. It was another cold, rainy day when we arrived—winter has come late to Andalucía; and, not wanting to haul our luggage through the city, we took a step in a new, sketchy direction: we left our things in a locker at the train station. It was all very spy-movie-esque. Too bad the only things we left there were clothes, a few books, and makeup items.

The Mezquita was amazing—the red-and-white arches, the forest of columns. It was enormous (the third largest mosque in the world), and very peaceful. Strangely, the Mezquita is Christian; in the sixteenth century the Christians built a church inside the Mezquita, an aesthetic travesty that even they wound up regretting. But there were chairs set up in the main space as well, perhaps for a Holy Week service. It seems like an ideal space for reflection or meditation of any kind.

Thrilled with the Mezquita, we were disappointed with Córdoba—not least because it was cold and rainy and shut up for Holy Week. The streets were deserted; shops were closed. Hungry at the unheard-of time of noon, we found even the restaurants closed. We wound up eating in a place called Oh La La, rain dripping from the ceiling. Though we’d planned to spend all day in Córdoba, we decided at that point that it might be a better idea to just continue on.

We retrieved our spy documents from the train-station locker and walked across the street to the bus station, where the scornful ticket attendant informed us that since we’d ordered the bus tickets online, there was nothing she could do to help us change the time; we’d have to call someone else. Andrew made the call, and successfully changed the ticket time. When we once again approached the ticket counter, Andrew explained what we’d done, assuring the guy that our record locator number was the same. The guy gave Andrew a look that can only be interpreted as “What you are telling me is impossible.” Frowning, exuding doubt, he somehow managed to find our tickets. Ah, Spain.

Three hours later, we were in Granada.

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