Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Córdoba y Sevilla

This past weekend I went to Córdoba y Sevilla in Andalucía with my AYA program. Saturday morning we took the AVE from Madrid to Córdoba, where we saw the Mezquita, a great Mosque dating back to the 12th centuries. However, during the 16th century, during the Reconquista, a cathedral was built in the heart of the reconsecrated mosque, part of which was destroyed. Now the Mezquita is a beautiful "mezcla" of Muslim and Christian architecture. After a few hours in Córdoba, we caught the Andalucía Express Train to Sevilla.

When we arrived in Sevilla, we checked into our hostel, Hostal Picasso, which was beautiful inside! Then Patricia gave us a brief tour because Sevilla was where she spent a year studying abroad! We saw the Alfonso XIII Hotel, the University, Plaza de España, the Torre de Oro, the Plaza de Toros, and even the street that she walked down everyday and where she lived. Sevilla is gorgeous! We did some souvenier shopping, then went tapa-hopping for dinner.

On Sunday we began with the Real Alcázar, the royal palace in Sevilla. It was absolutely beautiful, modeled after the Ahlambra in Granada, and full of beautiful Arabic architecture and charm. The gardens were my favorite part, though! Full of terraces, fountains, and pavillions...I could have spent all day in the gardens! But it was kind of rainy and cold, so afterwards we went to a little cafe for some Cola-Cao (hot cocoa)! By time we were finished with our drinks it was done raining so we headed to the Tourist office to get some maps, then we went to the Turno to get some cookies from the Convent! We ate lunch at a really neat Italian restaurant, then went to the Sevilla Cathedral and La Giralda. Sevilla's Cathedral stands on the site of a great mosque built in the late 12th century. La Giralda, its bell tower, and the patio de los Naranjos (Oranges) are the only legacy left of the Moorish structure. However, the Cathedral is the third largest in Europe, behind St. Peter's in Rome and another in Milan. We saw the supposed tomb of Christopher Columbus and climbed La Giralda. Something interesting is that the tower has ramps instead of steps because the horses used to have to climb it! But the view from the top was impressive! After the catedral, we had a few hours to finish up our souvenier shopping and then we had to catch our train back to Madrid. On the train, they showed the movie Vicky Christina Barcelona, which I really liked! It was so neat to see all of the sights I visited when I was in Barcelona! :) It was a great end to a wonderful weekend!

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