We spent more time this morning driving past hills full of olive
trees on the way to Cordoba. After settling in at the hotel, a few
of us went out in search of a grocery store. If you buy jam and
cheese every few days, then all you have to buy at lunch is bread
and a drink. It keeps the lunch budget to about $1 a day rather
than $5. We walked through the main plaza during siesta time and
found it filled with people of all ages, as well as fountains, carousels,
plants, and benches (on which we picnicked).
In the afternoon, we had the most wonderful tour guide who took
us around the city via bus to catch a glimpse of the monuments.
We came around the corner, and the tour guide started to point out
a Roman monument on the left side of the bus. I was toward the back
and couldn't see it yet, so I was rather distractedly watching three
Gypsy women walking down the sidewalk on the right. The entire bus
was looking the other direction when one of the women just took
off her shirt. She was standing in the middle of a busy street in
a large city naked from the waist up! I was the only one who saw
this most humorous addendum to the tour.
We ended the tour at La Mezquita, the only mosque still standing
in Spain. It was converted into a cathedral by the first Christian
conquerors, so Ferdinand and Isabella decided
to leave it standing. It is truly a bizarre mix of Moorish and European
styles. The Romanesque and horseshoe arches cover the whole of the
interior, and there are 1800 columns on the inside. At one point,
prior to the Catholicizing of it, one could see from one end of
the building to the other. Such was the openness of Islamic design.
The cathedral itself is