By this point in my life, I’m used to getting trains in another country. On this trip alone I’d already taken more trains than I could count, and the journey from Seville to Cordoba was just another train. I’d put my bag in the luggage rack near my chair, settled in with my laptop to get some stuff done on the journey and popped my headphones in. The journey should take about 45 minutes, and after a while I looked up as we pulled into a small train station and saw a sign saying Cordoba. In a moment of absolute panic, I threw my laptop in my bag, grapped my backpack from the luggage rail and ran to the train door before it closed and I missed my stop.
Thankfully, I had a moment of ‘eh?’ before leaving the train as this wasn’t actually Cordoba train station. The sign I’d seen was just showing which direction Cordoba was, and the station was in fact a small local one that would not have been fun to be stranded at waiting for another train to come along. I couldn’t stop laughing, and as the adrenaline wore off I waited a few minutes before heading back to my seat, in the hope that no-one had noticed my crazy dash.
Eventually arriving at Cordoba station, one I had visited before and actually recognised, I departed in a normal, calm fashion. A short walk in the boiling heat took me to the gorgeous, central hotel I’d managed to nab last minute at a really reasonable price. Still reeling from the hostel in Jerez, walking to my room and passing a chais lounge in the hallway, it felt a bit like a polar opposite. My room was a little dated, but I was totally forgiving once I saw the luxurious shower and private terrace, and to be honest I was just happy to have somewhere clean, comfortable and private.
Not wanting to hang out in the room all day, I set out for Plaza de las Tendillas. I’d been here before when I visited Cordoba previously, and had the most delicious paella. Hoping to find the same, I quickly realised paella was a 2-person dish so instead went for a wander around the shops, grabbed a coffee and then decided to just get a take out and chill out in the room. Even though it had been a quiet day, I was shattered and opted for an early night.
Next morning, I was refreshed and ready to explore! After a small disagreement with a spider, I was out of the room and roaming the cobble stoned streets of Cordoba. Even though the city is known as the hottest in Europe, the way the city has been built means it’s easy to wander around and keep in the shade or enjoy a breeze. Heading back to Plaza de las Tendillas with the intention of starting the day with a coffee, I instead somehow found myself with a plate of patatas bravas. Oops.
Finding a direction I’d not explored before, I decided to just walk. I had no pressure in Cordoba; I’d seen the main sights here on my previous visit the year before, but had wanted to come back and see the city on my own this time. Narrow streets led to more narrow streets and after passing neighbourhood churches and local homes, I found myself back on the main shopping street. I carried on, winding my way towards the impressive La Mezquita to have a look around the courtyard there.
The heat was building by this point, and it didn’t seem like a great idea to climb the tower, so made a plan to come back in the morning to climb the tower and visit the church. Opting for plan B, I walked around the detailed exterior wall to the famous Roman bridge. The views from the other side of La Mezquita are stunning, but the walk across the bridge and back was difficult in the heat. After snapping a few photos, I headed back to the hotel to cool down, venturing out later to grab some dinner.
I’m not usually one for early starts, but it seemed essential in Cordoba so I could do as much sightseeing before the heat was too much. Straight to the ticket office to grab a ticket for the tower and….all sold out until 1pm. There was no way I could cope with climbing the tower in the midday heat, so made a mental note to try again tomorrow morning before I left. Instead, I bought my ticket for La Mezquita and enjoyed a tour. It is surprisingly cool inside, and at some points I was even cold, which is crazy when it was so hot outside.
One area I didn’t get to visit much on my previous visit was the old Jewish quarter of the city. It’s within the old city walls, and has a different feel to the rest of the city. The streets are really narrow between the white buildings, and it feels like a bit of a maze. After stopping in one of the smallest synagogues I’ve ever visited, it was on to find the instagram-famous courtyards. I’d been before, but had just passed through and thought ‘oh that’s pretty’. This time, there were groups of people waiting to take their photos with the bright blue pots that line the walls.
Stopping in at the hotel briefly to cool down, the afternoon was reserved for a visit to a mausoleum I’d read about online. A bit morbid, but I thought it’d be really interesting to visit. Turns out, it just looks like a building with no windows in a pit in the gardens. If I hadn’t known it was a mausoleum, I’d have thought it was of no importance and just walked straight past.
As the sun began to dip in the sky, I wandered through the city back to the Roman bridge to try and get some photos in the golden hour where the gorgeous stone buildings glowed. I soon called it a day and after grabbing some dinner made my way back to the hotel. Not quite ready to go to sleep, I ventured to the roof terrace and got some photos of the church lit up, and attempted to do a bit of stargazing.
Another early morning followed with the intention of getting a ticket to climb the tower. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready and packed, I knew I wouldn’t get an early enough climbing slot so just called it quits. Instead, I had a lazy couple of hours before heading to the train station. I had intended to get a taxi as the heat was already in the high 30s, but because a lot of the old town is pedestrianised it would have taken the same amount of time to walk. Donning my bag, I tried to ignore how hot I was and made it to the station half an hour early. Essentially half an hour of bonus air-conditioning!
Cordoba had been hot but great, and it was time to head to Madrid, again!