Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our Impromptu Spanish Christmas Vacation – Day Two in Madrid and Cordoba

After a good night’s sleep, we woke up, got breakfast at the hotel and headed for the Reina Sofia, the museum with the Picasos and Dalis, and of course, the famous Guernica.

We had a bit of an adventure after checking out of our dear Hotel Opera, and my brother ended up going back there to pick up the camera bag I had inadvertently left behind. That would have been horrible, had it not been exactly where I left it!

But we were still able to see some great pieces of art that morning…

Madrid (12)Madrid (11)  Madrid (13)   

Once my brother had come back from the hotel, we had seen what we needed to see, and so it was off to the train station. That is such a wonderful place to people-watch, which we were able to do, waiting for our train. Instead of eating at the fast food place, we decided to eat at another Rick Steves’ suggestion, the cafe at the station.

Madrid (16)  Madrid (20)

The best thing about travelling via train is seeing the countryside go by. After every hill, the view was more even more beautiful than before. There was also a movie onboard, and we saw How to train your dragon, surprisingly in English with Spanish subtitles. It’s a cute movie!

In Cordoba, we hailed a taxi and drove to the hotel. The streets are sooo tiny and close together! Sometime drivers have to close their mirrors in to get through the alleys. I didn’t believe that until we actually saw it happen with one of the big trucks.

The Hotel Abracasis was a great hotel but I think we were the only ones there! It was so quiet. We had two rooms and we were able to spread out a bit more than at the Hotel Opera in Paris, where we only had one room.

Since it was almost 5, we headed for the Mezquita. We got to see the courtyard with its orange trees standing guard, but thought better of going inside, as it was near closing time. We wanted to explore more than for just a half hour!

Cordoba (22)

We wandered around the city instead. The Mezquita lies near a great Roman bridge and arch across the big river. There was another museum there but again, close to closing time, said we'd have to come back tomorrow.

Cordoba (31)

Roman bridge

Cordoba (6) - Copy

The museum was in the guard house at the end of the bridge.

We thought we had enough time to get in another site - Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos.

10. Thurs, Dec 30, 2010 - Tanger, Morroco (580)      

This was a palace and fortress built by Moors and Christian in various times.

Cordoba (41)

In later years of Christian rule, it was also used as a location for the Inquistion:

Cordoba (51)

But regardless of what happened here, the architecture is simply amazing.

They even had baths in the basement.

Cordoba (56) 

Star-shaped holes in the ceiling let in light.

Cordoba (61)

We watched sun set over the ramparts.

Cordoba (38) - Copy

After all that walking and stair climbing and picture taking, it was definitely time for some tapas. We followed Rick Steve’s advice and headed for his favorite tapas bar in the city.

 3. Thurs, Dec 23, 2010 - Madrid and Cordoba  (18) 

Turns out they don't serve dinner until 8:30 pm - and it was only 7 pm. So naturally, the four of us shared two pitchers of wonderful sangria while waiting - yum!

3. Thurs, Dec 23, 2010 - Madrid and Cordoba  (17)

The one classic point from the evening - I got locked in the bathroom. Seriously. In Spain (and maybe in other places in Europe), they have many areas with lights that are either motion-detected or possibly turn themselves off when not in use. They have switches so you can illuminate the area if you need to, but it definitely saves electricity.

Well, two glasses of sangria made my thinking a bit harder when I went to the bathroom upstairs of the bar. And when the light timed out and turned off, I f.r.e.a.k.e.d out. I jumped up and down, thinking that I would trigger the motion sensor. But that wasn’t working. I jiggled the handle and my mind raced, trying to figure out how to get out.

I finally pulled up my pants and turned around – to see a glowing light on the wall. Which just so happened to be the light switch.

Yeah, the family thought that one was hysterical. And I can’t believe I just wrote about it.

Cordoba was an interesting city… and we didn’t even see the main site of the city! That was for tomorrow morning.

See the other days’ photos here.


  1. I just love that you locked yourself in the bathroom, haha!

    What a fun trip!

  2. Hee hee - those Spanish lights are tricky!

    Love the photos! Looks lovely!