| FEBRUARY 2015 |
Greetings Gentle Reader,
For the second post on Córdoba I am thrilled to present our first interview here on Suitcase Lioness! Today’s guest is Guadalupe P. – a teacher I work closely with in our bilingual school. She’s a brilliant educator, a former archeologist of Córdoba, a kick-ass amateur photographer, and a hilarious expert on all things Córdobian. Lucky for us, she agreed to let me ask her questions about her hometown.
Therefore, instead of my normal churlishly charming words, we have a Q&A that lets us dig a little deeper into the layers of Córdoba.
Q: What would you like foreigners to know about Córdoba?
A: I would like them to really know the city, not just the typical tourist sites. You need more than three days there to explore and enjoy taking your time.
Q: What is the most important monument or building in Córdoba?
A: This one’s easy: the mosque, which we call the Mezquita. It’s regarded as one of one of the best-preserved and most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture. The building was used as an Islamic Mosque, then as a Catholic Cathedral, but its origins come from Visigoth times. I used to play in the patio of the Mezquita as a little girl and there’s no building better to escape the extremely hot 40-degree summers (120-degree Fahrenheit.) There are still excavations going on, and as an archeologist I was allowed to excavate near the Mezquita with the neighborhood fleas. They weren’t very friendly, but they kept me company.
Directly underneath the Mezquita is a 10th century street, and huge aljibes, or cisterns, where rainwater was kept for the surrounding areas to use. Conduits are still being found today, and most of them still work.
The best time to go to the Mezquita is after lunch, which in Spain is after 2 o’clock in the afternoon. There will be less people and you’ll spend less time waiting in the line to enter.
Q: Do you have a favorite memory from growing up there?
A: Growing up in Córdoba was special and many things come to my mind. I loved having parties, or meeting with friends, and inviting them for a drink, or a bite to eat in the patio of our house. I loved learning about the history of the city from my parents. I think foreigners would find that we lived on one floor of our house during the summer and the other floor during the winter interesting. The temperatures there are extreme in the summer.
Q: When is the best time to go to Córdoba?
A: The best time to go would be May. The temperature is perfect, and all the festivals we have are in May (a different one every weekend during the entire month.) One of the most famous festivals is El Festival de Los Patios where many families who live in the historic city center invite visitors into their personal patios to see the flowers blooming, gardens, and fountains. It’s really beautiful. Everyone’s welcome.
If you wanted to visit in May it would be important to research what you wanted to see (there’s so much) and make sure to check if reservations are necessary as there will be many tourists there. Remember; don’t go during the summer because it’s too hot.
Q: Are there any important festivals that tourists like me should attend?
A: I think Semana Santa, or Holy Week, in March or April is important for tourists to see. Semana Santa is a weeklong religious event that’s celebrated all across Spain, but in Córdoba it’s really interesting. We have many processions led by different brotherhoods, which are like charity groups. They often walk the streets barefoot as penance.
Q: Are there typical words or phrases from Córdoba that you’d like to share?
A: The most authentical word that’s exclusively from Córdoba is “pego“, which means “tontería” or “nonsense.” Only people from Córdoba understand and use it. My mother says, “limpio y espercochao” often, which would be,“prim and proper” in English. Common food words are “flamenquín, rabo de toro, and salmorejo, which are all foods you must try if you come to Córdoba. And don’t forget to try fried eggplant with honey.
Below are more photos by Amy of our time in Córdoba.
A door to the Mezquita.
The synagogue in the Jewish Quarter. With the crankiest American in town. Hungry.
The Capilla Mudéjar de San Bartolomé. Amy was freaking out.
Cordobian patios in winter.
Casa Andalusí. A hidden gem definitely worth visiting!
Once again, Amy was freaking out…as evidenced by the next hundred or so photos.
The beginning of Amy’s thousands of photos of the truly impressive Mezquita.
Detail on the door of the Mezquita.
Fat cherubs in the Museo de Bellas Artes de Córdoba.
Entrance to El Patio de Maria. Where we had our last lovely lunch in Córdoba. Plus they had a large, orange cat!
Thank you, Guadalupe, for taking the time for this interview. It allows us to get to know someone from Spain and learn more about one of Spain’s cities. We all appreciate you so much.
I am so thankful that Amy and I have had the opportunity to live and travel around Spain. We’ve truly enjoyed every minute.
Thanks for traveling with us,
K & A
Spanish Phrase of the Day: We love Córdoba more than 1 million green Skittles | A nosotras nos encanta Córdoba más que un millón de Skittles verdes.
Song of the Day: Roxanne | The Police