SUE JACKSON Therapist/Writer/Photographer/Activist

Last year, as the unofficial blogger/photographer to the anti-East-West Link campaign, our battles were my blog's entire focus. But by Christmas, with the electoral win for people power and the dumping of the dud Tunnel, I was suddenly at a loss. What to write about now? Not sure yet. But there will be ongoing musings and images from this Australian life. So please leave a message. (No need to sign into an account. Simply comment as ‘anonymous’; then leave your name within the comment itself.)

Friday, September 01, 2017

Picturing Cadiz and Cordoba (Southern Spain)

The sublime Mezquita, Cordoba

When my friend Linda asked me in Spanish class for some 'tips' about Cadiz and Cordoba, which she will be visiting in October, I was pleased. Peter and I had spent a few great weeks there in March, but life overtook us on our return home and I never did get around to posting about it. So, belatedly, here goes:

The unexpected twists and turns of Cadiz's old town alleyways make it an intriguing part of town to stay in, or at least to visit regularly.
View from our apartment in La Casa del Populo in the heart of the old town

Cadiz Cathedral from our roof top at dawn

Perched on the edge of the Atlantic, Cadiz Cathedral is stunning. But I'd have to say more from the outside than the interior, which left me feeling decidedly queasy! The audio guide, which is useful as the cathedral is huge, is particularly pious and saccharine. It includes the information that the cathedral's indecently huge, solid silver tabernacle was donated in the sixteenth century by a local merchant 'who made his fortune in Mexico'. (Wonder how much Aztec blood/deaths it represents?). Also on display is a gruesome relic of an early martyr whose claim to fame is her 'intact' body. She has a wax mask on her face and a 'hand' extended - which you certainly wouldn't want to shake!

A great place to view the ancient historical port of Cadiz is from the deck of one of the public (cheap) catamarans. We took one to visit nearby El Puerto de Santa Maria, which took about 40 minutes. We were on a mission to visit the famous bodega - Gutierrez Colosia. The little town is full of bodega's which specialize in 'real' sherries, which we were told have nothing at all in common with our Australian brew! 

Mar Palop, our tour guide at Gutierrez Sherry Distillery

Peter, enjoying to the full our post-tour sherry tasting
Cadiz is famous for its watch towers. The aerial view (below) I took from the roof of Torre Tavira, which houses one of the world's 40 or so (official) camera obscuras. The camera was huge and provided an astonishing 360 degree view of the city, where you could even see the washing flapping on rooftops and people moving along the alleyways. Don't miss it!

Watch towers of Cadiz dot skyline - used for centuries to trace boat traffic

Roman theatre Cadiz

The remains of this Roman theatre were visible from the end of our street. We particularly loved its access tunnel. It was cool and quiet and once in it, if you squint, you can almost see the ancient theatre groupies pushing past in their togas to secure the best seats in the house.

On to Cordoba. The locals love their flamenco and so did we.

Restaurante Patio de la Juderia's free flamenco show

The Patio de la Juderia's food was mediocre, but who cares? as the show was brilliant. The group really seemed to enjoy each other's company and the singer was stunning - full of passion and pathos.

My morning yoga provided a contrast, especially as the classes are held in perhaps the world's most picturesque studio - the ancient city wall. As well as being a workout for the body, classes provided a workout for the language skills as they are all in Spanish.

Tophealth Salud y deporte (phone: 650 51 18 59)

In Calle Judios 112 is the wonderful Museo de Papel: Casa Andalus. This tiny museum, in the original twelfth century Arab house, celebrates the wonders of Islamic paper making. 

Ancient paper making tools

The atmosphere of the house, its Arabic decorations, the use of water and secluded areas to capture breezes was enchanting. I could have stayed on and on. If you visit, don't miss the cellar!

Beautiful decorations.

And before the Arabs were the Romans:

Mosaic on alley walkway

Jewel in Cordoba's crown - the tourist attracting, over-restored Roman bridge. At its best at night

On the Roman bridge - Tony, Marian, Peter and Sue - wishing Linda and Rodney a wonderful time in Cordoba and Cadiz