Last hours in Sevilla, Visiting Cordoba, Ending in Almagro

For breakfast on our last day in Sevilla, we had breakfast at a pastry store next to hotel. I had a chocolate orange cake and an apple thingy; Aneel had chocolate pretzel. We then went to the palace (Alcazar) in Sevilla that had been closed by the time we were done with the cathedral the night before. It was designed and decorated in the Mujédar style, which is a mixture of Moorish and Christian design (basically Christians appropriating what they want but throwing in the Christian things they liked (or to emphasize Christianity). This was interesting for me. On one hand, it was a little disappointing because it was really not anything ANYTHING as spectacular as the Alhambra. On the other hand, it was fascinating having seen the Alhambra to be able to pinpoint differences and developments.

Even if the palace itself was a little meh, the gardens were fantastic. Just… wow.  If I did Sevilla again, I would spend less time in the palace and way more time in gardens. I would spend hours wandering, sitting and reading, getting lost. I did get lost in the giant maze hedges that Aneel could annoyingly see over but I couldn’t. We needed to get on our way so we left and stopped by the nun cookie store. These were apparently common with cloistered nuns. They sit at an El Torno and you order in front, they sit behind where you can’t see them, and spin the torno around to get your money and deliver your food. This was an El Torno in name only. The cookies were made by nuns but the store now just had a normal desk with non-nuns. We got wedding cookies and buttery cookies. I passed on going back to the Fascinator store (because I’m a good person that sacrifices for the good of the money), and we got the car from the car elevator and escaped Sevilla with very little road hassle.

We stopped off at Cordoba, hich I really look forward to going to again in the future. We had lunch at Café Mazall; this has been my favorite lunch of all time in Spain so far (and except at all). I had the best tangerine fish ever… it was so good I had pescetarian anxiety eating it because it’s texture was so meaty, juicy, tender, full.  Mmmm meat (which I still miss. I’m a terrible vegetarian. Meat, I miss your tasty awesomeness (Sorry, Mom)). We also had amazingly good baba ganoush and tasty stuffed dates with ginger ice cream for dessert.

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From lunch, we went to the Mezquita—the cathedral in Cordoba. It was my favorite cathedral thus far, a fascinating and awesome mix of Moorish and Christian design—integrated to some extent. Cordoba had a history for a long time of actually having been better integrated than many other cities. The Mezquita does have this strange add on cathedral in the very middle which is so gaudy compared to the larger mosque.

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It was startling standing in the cathedral in one world, with the mosque in another world. I really loved the double arch and column design of the whole thing and the Moorish altar.

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We tried to go to the synagogue to make all the main religions from there happen, but it was closed.

We left Cordoba—too early but we had a schedule and it was raining again—and drove through La Mancha. Seriously pretty. Lovely hills and lush green expanses. We drove to Alamagro, a small town. On the drive there, a cop car followed for a few miles. We weren’t sure what the speed limit was (I cruised at 70 kpm until the cop was clearly pissed I was going too slow and sped up to 80 only to find out it was actually 90, but we didn’t get stopped so total success). In Almagro, we stayed at a very excellent casa rural in the room named “La  Almohadilla” (aka The footpad, pillow or pincushion, and the tampon… yes.. I stayed in a room with a word that in Spanish slang means the tampon).

Even though it was raining and freezing cold, we walked over to the Parador (historical places turned into hotels and restaurants through government initiatives). This was a small town… I’m not sure how many other restaurants we could find, but this was a good choice. It was closed at first so we had a beer at the hotel bar. I was so freaking exhausted by this point. But we shared a selection of local appetizers, cheese, eggplant (neat little green thing), peppers, hot things that all had meat, ratatouille (pisto). So… of note, when trying to avoid meat, pisto (ratatouille) and chickpeas with spinach tend to be the go to meals. I had their chickpeas with spinach for my main dish. It was much better than tapas variety I had had before. Crispy chickpeas, not too much spinach, nice spice. Yum. I also tried Aneel’s migas which was great! Eggs over breadcrumbs. We were way too full for dessert, but we’d had enough wine that we ended up talking about grumpy cat. She’s at sxsw atm, see here.

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Since we had no grumpy cat with us in Spain, we made our own grumpy cat at dinner by trying very hard to do impressions. Yes… Aneel did grumpy cat impersonations. I couldn’t stop giggling long enough to actually make a decent grumpy cat impression. See?

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We stumbled back to the hotel and called it a night. Excellent day through the Spanish countryside.

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