On Friday we took a day trip to Córdoba. This was the first trip to a city I had been to before and it was the first trip in which I had to give a tour. I researched the Templo Romano and the patios de Córdoba and learned so many thing I didn’t know before; this a plus about the tours that we research ourselves and give to the rest of the group. After reaching our destination via the AVE (Alta Velocidad Española)– aka the high speed train- we set out to find maps of the city because I, for one, had no idea where we were going. I was also left wondering how in the world I, the most directionally challenged person on the planet, was supposed to navigate a city I hardly knew. Everything turned out fine and after a few sort-of-wrong-turns, we made it to the city’s center and I got to educate my peers about the Templo Romano, Roman ruins built in the 1st century that were discovered during the expansion of the city hall in the 1950s.
Our main attraction was the Mezquita de Córdoba, which was originally a mosque and then was taken over as a Catholic cathedral. It’s supposed to be one of the most accomplished pieces of Muslim architecture and the inside certainly backs that up! It’s gorgeous with this lighting that makes you feel like you’re going back in time. The latest news about the the Mezquita is that Muslims have been lobbying the Catholic Church to let them pray there again, to no avail. This building absolutely took my breath away. First off, it’s gigantic. Like MASSIVE. Second, it has so many layers to it. The coolest thing about this mosque-turned-cathedral is that you walk from the very typical Muslim-looking areas, which is very simple architecture but walls that are full of designs and Muslim writing, usually “there is only one God and Mohammad is his prophet” (see Mom and Dad, I DO go to school here as well as travel). Then, all of a sudden, you are in this clearly Catholic area with ceilings that go up to the sky, filled with white and gold carvings and depictions of Bible verses. The transition from one section to the other is seamless. Photos don’t do it justice! I found myself sitting in the pews staring up at the ceiling in absolute awe.
After our visit here, we were free to eat. Sam, Shelby, and brought bocadillos our host mothers made us so after walking around for a bit in the rain, we settled for the steps of the mosque/cathedral to have our lunch and do a bit of people-watching. We then met up with the rest of our gang, we headed to the Jewish quarter- the Judería– which is now known mostly for its specialty leather and silver shops. Then I showed the group some examples of typical patios(extravagant courtyards) and explained about the patio festivals and competitions that happen in the city every May. We walked around a bit more and got to see a big chunk of this beautiful city which, even in the rain, is filled with some incredible architecture and sites.