|It's about 5:00 pm and I'm sitting in the open area of the pension where the Internet is the strongest. It's been a full 24 hrs. since we arrived and I have a totally different impression of Cordoba. I have to admit with the strong Muslim feel, it was scary and I was not prepared for that emotion. Cordoba is a town for walking and after the tour last night with Fernado ( by the way a tour with a bonfide tour guide would cost 95+€) plus exploring on our own today this town is fabulous- we feel safe and enjoying it and it's carefree life. It's so nice to be away from the busy city of Madrid with crowds of people and the Metro, a refreshing change. Did I mention El Portillo is in the Jewish Quarters? Narrow streets (provide much appreciated shade. The sun is strong until 7:00ish), thick white- washed walls, colorful doors and windows, ornate grilles- a real neighborhood- not touristy at all. We start our day thinking we are going to 8:30 Mass at the Mezquita - wrong because of Corpus Christie the mass started at 8:00. People were already lining up along the parade route- another parade. We find a spot and wait a few minutes for the parade to begin. Although Toledo is the grandest celebration, Cordoba's festivities did not disappoint! We could not get into the church and lingered in the Patio taking in the massive mosque. We then walk across the Roman Bridge to Museum of Al-Andalus. It's a well done, small museum orienting us, through headsets, about the Muslim culture. It was here we learned that in the 13th Century, King Alfonso X thought the Muslims, Jews and Christians could all live together in harmony, respecting the different religions. This lasted until The Pope had him dethroned! It's interesting how preserved this medieval town is. We have lunch and order our new found favorite soup,salmorejo, Cordoba's version of gazpacho, and our other favorite dish, Russian salad. We now know every cafe prepares it differently and today's salad was equivalent to potato salad.
1) we both bought fans and are fanning ourselves - just like every man, woman and child.
2) we were interviewed by the media, story AND picture to be in tomorrow's local paper. Cordoba is 1 of 6 towns competing for the Cultural Award of the year. We saw 2/6 (Segovia) towns vying for the title. Tuesday we will find out who wins.