Cordoba, Grenada and Gypsy Night
22.06.2007 24 °C
June 19, 2007
Today is a little cloudy which is good as the temperature will be again in the 70’s, perfect for walking.
Today we are going to Cordoba to see an 8th century Arab Mosque and a 12TH century Roman Catholic Cathedral with in the same building. Let me explain.
In Cordoba in the 8th century the Arabs built a Mosque under the first Caliph of Cordoba. The Mosque was expanded in the 9th century and again in the 10Th century to cover a full 5.5 acres under roof. The Mosque, facing east toward Mecca was the largest Mosque in all of Europe.
In the 12th century the area was invaded by the Catholics who under the King Ferdinand III converted the Mosque into a Catholic Cathedral. This is the only Catholic Church built by Arabs and is contained entirely within the walls of a Mosque.
The building is only 400 sq meters smaller then the Vatican, the largest church in the world. Holding the ceiling is 835 columns, formerly over 1000 columns held the roof but 200 or so were removed to build the church.
The facility is absolutely incredible, light, airy and beautiful in decorations. It simply must be seen to really experience it.
We also went into the Jewish quarter very near the Mosque. We visited a 9th century synagogue. It too was converted by the King into a Catholic Church. Some once again we have a Catholic Church built entirely by Jews. The building was very simple and small as there were over 100 small Jewish temples during the 9th century. Today there are not enough practicing Jews in Cordoba to hold a simple minion (10 men) so there are no active synagogue in operation.
Our local guide was very informative and helpful as we walked the old city of Cordoba. Our last stop we found our first Gelato store. Three Gelatos were quickly served up and we headed back to the bus for our trip to Grenada and Gypsy night.
I was amazed at the size of the city of Grenada. It has a population of 350,000 and a University so there is shops and bars and people everywhere. Cathy and I walked around the city looking at the small shops and such as Chris took a nap.
Dinner in Grenada was at a local Restaurant in the center of the new city. This is a major metropolitan city with high end shopping and night life. The restaurant was a very nice local shop. As we walked in we were handed a glass of Sangria before we went to our table. We dined on local fare tonight which consisted of chicken in olive oil, snap peas in a sweet tomato sauce and French fries!
Each table had a bottle of wine and mineral water for a group of four. Cathy sat with another table only because we arrived last in the group and the tables all set out for four so two families were split up. It was OK as Chris and I sat with two younger people and Cathy say with their mom.
Chris opened our bottle and poured each of us a glass. I tasted the wine and it was a little like vinegar! Chris also felt it was a little bitter but we kept drinking. Soon I asked at the next table to see if their wine was also bitter. It was not. Our bottle turned. Quickly a new bottle was brought out and the rest of the meal went very well.
Tonight we enjoyed Gypsy night. After dinner those of us who paid for the optional entertainment went into a small bus for a ride up into the mountains. Here we left the city for the hills where we stopped at a hill top location where the Gypsies lived.
We entered into a cave like room literally made to look like a cave. It was white walls and ceiling with lights and kitchen ornaments hanging from the walls and ceiling made of brass and copper. The room was about 25 feet long and 8 feet wide. We sat on red painted wooden chairs along both sides of the room providing a dancing floor of 5 feet by 18 feet. Talk about close to the action.
The Gypsies were dressed in reds, whites, black and other bright colors. One singer, one Spanish guitar 4 beautiful women and two handsome men assembled to provide the entertainment.
They performed a series of traditional Gypsy Flamenco dances. They were so close to us that literally the breeze from their swirling dresses and flashing hands cold be felt as the music and dancing provided a pounding beat that made you move your feet back for fear of being stepped on.
Flamenco dance is rapid feet movement with highly stylized hand and facial movement. The feet provide tapping akin to River Dance steps with “music” coming from the feet to accompany the harmony and beat provided by the guitar. The entertainment was amazing.
We departed at 11:30 to return to the hotel. We still had to pack and get ready for a 6:30 wake up call in the morning. It was after 12:30 before we were ready for bed. When do we start the resting part of the vacation!