Where have all the tourists gone?..

Most of them have gone home it seems. True the weather wasn’t as sunny or hot as it had been but it seems the hordes that were here over the weekend have disappeared. It was to our advantage however. We’d intended to return to the Mezquita and found the patio in front relatively deserted, save for the ever present tour groups following fans, umbrellas or whatever comes to hand it seems. The Mezquita is better in the daylight, which plays around the arches and creates beautiful effects. We concentrated on the original mosque, as the later Christian ‘improvements’ still seem to conflict with the simplicity of the original Muslim design.

Walking on the Alcazar, we relished not having to dodge crying kids and frustrated parents, slow moving chains of people with earpieces trying to keep up with their guide and the odd wedding guest.

The Alcazar is mostly about it’s gardens, which are beautiful. Full of water features and formal beds of roses, well tended trees and shrubs and on this occasion two groups of reasonably well behaved schoolchildren. The house interior, though housing Roman artefacts and mosaics isn’t quite as charming.

We ended up in La Juderia again. Not without being verbally accosted by the horse drawn carriage drivers eager for a mug. They’re very persistent and call after you in many languages even when you are fifty metres down the street. Restaurante Almudina looked promising. We were the only guests for quite a while, though the arrival of an Italian tour group livened things up eventually, as they tramped upstairs for a meal, leaving their two female guides sat at a downstairs table, chatting animatedly using hand gestures or so it seemed to me. Our meal was good without being remarkable and we wandered back, under gloomy clouds, threatening rain.

We didn’t venture out until quite late this evening, there had been one heavy shower and it was looking like more when we could no longer dampen our stomachs protestations for more food. The main street down as far as the Mezquita was very sparsely populated, some of the bars and restaurants were closed and we chose Bodegas Mezquita not just because it was open but because it looked friendly. We ordered our new favourite of berenjenas and a couple of desserts. Somewhat akin to a fast food restaurant our aubergine chips arrived very quickly but it was ages before the desserts came. We had to remind them too!! By the time we came out, thunder and lightning was rolling around and we dodged under shop awnings till we got back to the apartment. Who said it didn’t rain here??

 

Not chips but deep fried aubergines drizzled in honey…

Even without a knapsack on our back we went wandering again today. We have spent some time in and around the more ‘touristy’ parts of Cordoba, enough to put us off returning to be truthful. However, this morning we discovered more to persuade us that maybe, just maybe, we were being hasty…

We headed for the Alcazar, which we knew closed on Mondays but we thought the exterior was worth a look at least. It was and we’ll try to go again tomorrow. Further on we saw the stables of the Caballerizas, which put on evening horse shows. Sadly, neither of us being interested in things equine, we decided to pass on the opportunity.

We now reached an area of Cordoba called San Basilio. It’s streets are more uniform than much of the old city and when May comes around the patios will be open and resplendent with flowers. That’s May the month by the way, I don’t think Theresa has Cordoba on her list of cities to visit just yet…Stopping just by one of the old gates in the city walls we found a watering hole, with orange juice for Susie and an espresso for me. It was nearing lunch time, and we found Juan Pena, a tapas bar highlighted on our map. A very authentic place, with old tools on the wall and old blokes standing at the bar. Sadly their tapas were very average but it got extra brownie points for atmosphere and very clean loos…

The eagle eyed among you will notice their Google (other search engines are available) translated menu included RAF Tomato. Either this is the next generation of Red Arrow display jets or a secret bomber base in Lincolnshire…

Somehow we ended up back in the Jewish quarter and it’s warren of narrow, meandering streets. By this time we were again running out of steam and before you ask, neither of us had tried an RAF Tomato. The way back to the apartment seems longer with each passing day, either we are aging quickly or my map reading skills are deteriorating rapidly. It’s probably both…

We had a table booked for 8:30 at La Fuente a mere five minute OAP stagger from the front door. It has, rightly so, a reputation for it’s Berenjenas, deep fried aubergine chips, drizzled in balsamic vinegar and honey. They were as delicious as they sound. The other courses were excellent too but the aubergines were outstanding.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings and that the Alcazar charms us into returning..

Wandering round casas…..

Which is all we did today. It’s our last full day in Seville and it’s been hotter than previously. Our intention was to try to get in to the Alcazar but neither of us felt like standing in a line and risking heatstroke so plan B was worked out…

There is a Seville walking route which takes you round five Casas Palacio . We’d seen two yesterday and whilst we couldn’t fit in all of the other three we were determined to visit two of them.

Walking north we headed for Las Duenas, in which gardens feature strongly. It’s truly beautiful, if a little museum like…

After seeing Las Duenas, we stopped off it the Japanese restaurant we found yesterday for a light sushi lunch and walked south, past our apartment to Casa de Salinas. We found the gate locked but could see a digital timer counting down the 14 minutes to the next guided tour. The beep went off and sure enough someone did turn up. I was disappointed she didn’t go and take something out of the oven but instead took our money and gave us a personal tour of the house. Salinas is still occupied by the owners and their family. In fact there was going to be a family wedding there this coming weekend.

More compact than the others and without a garden the tour didn’t last long. It was however fascinating.

Wilting a little we came back to the apartment and got ready to meet two friends of Susies, Paulo and Dominic. They’d flown into Seville that afternoon for a weekend break and we were to meet them for dinner at their hotel. We passed a lovely evening together and they were good enough to walk part of the way back to our apartment with us, just so they could get lost too…

Off we go to Cordoba tomorrow, catching the coach at 12:30…..I hope the next place is a bit quieter…