Eighth Day of Tours

Our day started a little later in Cordoba (9 am). Our hotel was the worst we’d stayed in to date. The Cordoba Center was dirty and left a lot to be desired. However, the roof area was nice and a great spot for pictures. Only problem was you couldn’t really see the old town from the roof.

Cordoba is known for three of the world’s great thinkers, Maimonides, Averroes and Aben Hazam. Like other cities in Spain, the three religions–Christians, Muslims and Jews– lived in peace for years before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled the Muslims and Jews. The town with its white washed walls and narrow corridors of the old town was exactly like what the postcards promise. In this town we started to see the orange trees lining the streets and patios which created a beautiful contrast. Our local guide explained these trees bear sour oranges and are there for their fragrance in the spring and their color throughout the summer.

The main site to visit is the old Moorish Mosque which is now a Cathedral. The impressive Mosque contained several hundred columns and double arches. The views were amazing!

If you can stand the heat, I would also walk the pedestrian bridge found behind the cathedral. Its been there several hundred years and shares some impressive views of the city.

Other than the old town, I found this city to be sleepy and not very pretty. If you go to Cordoba, one day should be more than enough and I recommend a hotel in the historic area so it is easy to visit the many shops and restaurants.

That afternoon we headed to Sevilla (Seville). Our hotel in Sevilla took the number one spot on the worst hotel list. Although it was a Melia-brand hotel (Melia Hotel Lebreros) like the hotel we stayed at in Bilbao, they were night and day. This hotel was not just tired, it looked like the furnishings had been picked up from Goodwill! The carpeting and wallpapers were dingy. Wallpaper was ever ripped and above arm’s reach contained dust balls! The bathroom was the best feature and its amenities didn’t compare to the one in Bilbao. Like Bilbao, the only place to access free wifi was the lobby so you saw at least 50 people sitting around the lobby between 11 pm and 1 am. trying to speak with family and accessing the internet. This overuse of the lobby have aged the seating tremendously. Places where arms would go on the orange bucket chairs were between a shade of gray, brown and black. Gross.

Having arrived early on Monday, we headed out for a walk. Across the street is a giant Corte Ingles. To the right of the hotel was a ‘Lefties’ and down the street from there was a mall containing a McDonalds. Just prior to the mall was a Dunkin Coffee (Dunkin Donuts in the states). For the shoppers this is great, but department and chain stores aren’t for me, especially when I would like to purchase pieces original to the country and not stuff I can buy at home.

At 6:30 we met the group to head out for a Flamenco. El Patio Sevillano was a quaint place located near the old bull fighting ring. The first dance was a little boring. The dancers didn’t seem have any passion. In fact they seemed to be counting their paces. The first male dancer was energetic, but like many of the performers just didn’t look Spanish. All seemed Hispanic or Latin (your preference), almost none of them looked to be from Spain. To me that was very distracting since I expected a quality Spanish experience. Overall the performance was good, but not great. I’m not sure I would do it again.

That evening we had dinner with the group at the El Fogon de Lena. It was yet another Tapa experience, but this dinner was excellent.

Tell me what you think!