It takes almost 2 hours of solid motorway driving along quiet near desolate highways to head northerly from the Costa del Sol into the deeper areas of Andalusia. The roads meander, hopscotching a path through the Sierra Nevada mountains heading towards the city of Cordoba.
Cordoba is like most well sought tourist destinations, a city of contrasts. Founded over two millennia ago, it has had a chequered past. Boasting one of the most magnificent mosques in mainland Europe, whose beauty is only contrasted by the large abundance of Christian Churches and of course its Cathedral. The more you venture into he city, the more contrasts emerge. The tour guides often refer to ‘the facade’. Whether this is a mis-translation or like a Hollywood movie set ‘its all show on the outside’ – I was never really sure. One thing I am certain of, when I slammed a door nothing shook! The ‘Crossroads’ test was passed.
The Romans built ornate, functional bridges, whilst more modern times brought us St Bartholomew’s Infirmary. Not quite on a par with the famous St Bart’s of Ye Olde London Town, for the Cordoban St Bart’s was a renaissance ‘clap clinic’. Revelling in ‘Juan’s‘ history is the Spanish way.
Cordoba offers visitors several unique experiences. An abundance of free walking tours, and two open top bus tours (a minibus for the harder to navigate streets & a full double decker). One to has to admire the genius of past inhabitants, Romans, Muslims & Christians for building, maintaining and expanding the network of bridges across the Rio Guadalquivir.
Intertwined with all the history is a bustling modern Spanish city. Cafe life promotes a cornucopia of cuisine all tailored not for the tourist but the indignious inhabitants.
Though colder than the coast in December, Cordoba requires a visit of more than one day as all as well as sturdy pair of walking shoes. It is a city which I will return to if only to get a check up! What was good enough for Chris Columbus is good enough for this weary traveller.