Córdoba & Granada

May 2011 - trip led by Carol Mantle

You walk out of the hotel and ..... wow!

Report by Glyn Walters

Unless otherwise stated,
photos are by Frank Lee

Sunday, the sun shone and from 07.50 the party began to gather and settle themselves on the luxury coach for the prompt 08.30 departure. Tour escorts Carol Mantle and Ann Cattle were demonstrating the Brian Hanrahan routine of "counting them out and counting them in".   The party of 50 enjoyed an excellent passage to Córdoba. Stopping at just the right frequency to ensure everyone was comfortable. It was interesting to see the changing scenery of the salt flats south of Alicante and then drifting into the hills and then the snow capped Mountains of Sierra Nevada in the distance.

The countryside as far as you could see was nothing but neat rows of olive trees, 1000s upon 1000s of them. Numerous olive processing plants were located along the route. We arrived at Córdoba just around 4.00pm and had a flat walk over the Roman Bridge to the hotel.   Roman Bridge
Roman bridge photo downloaded from internet
  The hotel

Córdoba Mezquita (mosque)   The Mainonides was superbly located in a central position opposite the Mezquita [mosque].

After settling in and taking a short stroll around the centre we then met for a 7pm drink in the hotel ready for Dinner at 8pm.
  some of the group

Monday morning the sun was still shining and after breakfast we were taken on a guided tour of the Jewish quarter which was a maze of narrow streets as they were formed over 1200 years ago. During the walk we went past the best examples of Court Yard floral displays and ending up at the Mezquita. It is one of the most beautiful examples of a mosque in Spain and is said to be one of the biggest in the world.

                    Córdoba Mezquita
                    Mezquita photo downloaded from internet
  narrow streets

In the centre of the mosque is a fine example of a thirteenth century cathedral. Our guide Luis, otherwise known as "WELL, WELL, WELL" had a range of descriptive adjectives to describe the building which would have inspired an English language student.

When the guide departed the group we were left to meander around the narrow streets and marvel at the exquisite Courtyard floral displays.

The number of visitors to this 2 week annual event meant that the only real way to see the exhibits was in small groups. A large pack of 50+ would never have been possible.

The evening meal was arranged at our hotel with some of the group adventuring out to find their own favourite cuisine.
  court yard floral display    

Tuesday morning was again bright and sunny and ideal to re-discover the Jewish quarter together with a medieval synagogue, Alcazar Gardens, Tower of Calahorra with its museums and Arabic baths. Our memorable experience happened just 15 minutes before our departure at 2.30 prompt. Having completed a leisurely lunch I realised I had lost my wallet. Mentally retracing our morning journey we found the wallet at the Arabic baths we visited some 50 minutes earlier.

The coach left on time for Granada the route ensuring we were always in view of the snow covered peaks. The fellow travellers totally unaware of the earlier wallet scare. On Arrival at Granada we circumnavigated the city and arrived at the hotel, Los Alixares, which was superbly located opposite the Alhambra palace.   Alhambra
Alhambra photo downloaded from internet
Alhambra photo downloaded from internet

Old town photo downloaded from internet
  With free time before Dinner some of the group took the 10 minute shuttle bus to the old town to explore the city centre with its narrow streets and charm. The evening buffet dinner we were joined in the restaurant by overseas visitors from around the globe. Other group members went to the flamenco show and the chance to see the Alhambra lit up at night from a distance, which by all accounts was a great evening.

Wednesday morning, again were gifted with wonderful clear skies. After breakfast we gathered at the Alhambra palace grounds entrance and given admission tickets .Unaware of the specific time slots for admission to the palace we were admitted and enjoyed the wonders of architecture which had withstood weather and social unrest over the centuries. Such beauty crated so many years' ago. The water features being a marvel for the time.   Alhambra
Alhambra photo downloaded from internet
Alhambra photo downloaded from internet

Those who had previously visited the palace walked into Granada town to explore. We recommended the use of the shuttle bus to avoid the uphill walk for the return trip. Midday and we set off for the return to Moraira, again having timely stops en-route, with arrival back at Moraira for 6.30pm   When we arrived home there were phone calls to enquire as to whether we had been affected by the earthquake epicentre Lorca near Murcia. To our amazement we had travelled through the effected area between the times of the two tremors.   We offer our thanks to Carol for arranging such an enjoyable visit and to Anne for her support. It is a daunting task to volunteer to arrange such a visit and it is important for us all to remember that all U3A events are volunteer led.

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