Monday, January 27, 2014


     My friend Rachel and I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Córdoba, Spain. This was a special trip for me because it was my first time paying for an entire trip while abroad. I paid for food, my hostel, entries to landmarks and everything else. For some people this might be like "well it's about time you child with a silver spoon", but I was very proud of myself for the entire weekend. Córdoba made for a pleasant trip. There was nothing out of this world about it besides the Mezquita, but it was nice to get out of Sevilla for the weekend for something other than frisbee.
     Rachel and I took the bus out of Sevilla on Friday evening. It was already dark by the time we got checked in at our hostel so we went out for an early dinner in order to get to bed early. You see, the Mezquita is free from 8:30 - 10am, so we decided we would get up bright and early to take advantage of the discount. We had dinner at a place called Delorean Bar de Tapas. If Delorean rings any bells, well, it should. The place was decorated with posters of Back to the Future and had a very fun and quirky feel to it. Here's a wonderful thing about most Southern cities with the exception of Sevilla: you get a free tapa with every drink you buy. This means that dinner is ridiculously cheap and that I was able to get happily tipsy and full after three drinks. 
     The next day we were up bright and early to get to the Mezquita. It was freezing cold but worth every shiver. There were less people there (it gets packed during the afternoon) and it was free. Sometimes I get a little snobby about traveling and say things like, "nothing surprises me anymore. Every city has churches, basilicas, winding streets and some kind of ruins". I will say, the Mezquita surprised me. It looked like it didn't belong in this world or this time. It looked like it came from somewhere else. I love when things do that. The Mezquita ignited my imagination. You can find information about the Mezquita here
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     After the Mezquita we took a quick coffee break to get out of the cold. Also, it was only 10am. Most things weren't open yet, it's Spain. After coffee we began the Juidism leg of our trip. Fun fact, the synagogue in Córdoba is one of three in Spain. The other two are in Toledo. Rachel and I are planning on going there to finish the trifecta. First we went to the Jewish museum. I was really impressed when the docent explained that recently there has been a push to educate people about the Jewish history of Spain. I appreciated it. Most of the time I find Jewish museums laughable in Spain. They only bring to light the lack of religious education that occurs in Spain. However, I enjoyed how in depth the museum went into the Inquisition. It is a part of Jewish history I don't know as much about as I should. I also enjoyed the room dedicated to important Jewish woman in Cordoban history. After that we headed to the Synagogue. After the Mezquita, it was a huge disappointment. It was kind of a hole in the wall. However, it's a synagogue! So....yay!
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     By the time we had finished with the museum and the synagogue, the sun was out and it was starting to warm up. Rachel and I headed over to the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. The Alcázar was beautiful. Complete with a ginormous castle and gardens for miles. The weather was beautiful, so Rachel and I wandered around until lunch time. You can learn more about the Alcázar here.
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     After the Alcázar we headed to a restaurant called Casa Mazal. It serves a Spanish take on Sephardic food. It was a little pricey, but so worth it. The food was delicious. There was even home made Challah bread! We enjoyed a long lunch and then wandered around the city a little bit. We stopped by the Roman Bridge and then did a little shopping around the more modern part of Córdoba. After a nap we headed out to dinner. It was a horrible hole in the wall thanks to the bad advice from the free map of Córdoba we received from our hostel. We ate as quickly as possible and headed to bed early again in order to have time to eat breakfast before our bus.
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     Before catching our bus, we headed over to a small café called La Tortuga (tortuga means turtle). We treated ourselves to some toast, tea and a slice of cake. The place was adorably decorated and the food was exactly what we needed. A nice step up from our dinner the night before.
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And there you have Córdoba. Maddie Mandel's first ever fully paid trip. Look at me being a grown up.

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