It is our second day in Córdoba and it was time to explore some old and new haunts.
Our first stop was one that we were keen to revisit was one of our favorite bars in Córdoba, Bodega Guzmán.
After ordering and sitting down Rafael, the owner, greeted us as we sipped on our pre-tapas fino.
There was no other option than to go for the Boquerones en vinagre – Anchovies in vinegar that we had when we ate here with Isa in September. Read about that visit here.
This time we also enjoyed the Pimientos Asados con Atún – Roast red peppers with Tuna another perfect accompaniment to the house fino.
So now that we have been fed and fino’d it was time to take in some of the history and culture of Córdoba. There is so much to see and do in this fascinating city, this is just very brief highlights.
The Roman Bridge
Another favourite walk of ours is across the Roman Bridge that spans the Guadalquivir River and some of you will recognise it as it features in season 5 of Game of Thrones.
There are great views down the river and it is excellent for bird watching too with an abundance of egrets, ducks, shags and cormorants. And of course at the other side of the bridge there is always a refreshing glass of fino.
Mesquita de Córdoba – The Bell tower
We have visited and walked round the Mesquita a number of times but due to inclement weather on the last occasion have never made it up into the Bell Tower. It is 93 meters high and from the top it offers superb views of Córdoba.
Plaza de la Corredera
This is a historical town square that dates back to the 17th century. The old town hall and jail can be found on one side and is a perfct place to catch some winter sunshine and enjoy a glass or 2 of fino.
The Roman Temple
A 5 minute walk away from the Plaza de la Corredera next to the new Town Hall, is the Roman Temple, the only one left in Córdoba. This dates back to the late 1st century AD.
It was then time to take a break from walking and absorbing the culture and history.
Enrique Garrido, Director General of the Consejo Regulador of Montilla-Moriles had a surprise for us that evening, “meet me in the Plaza de las Tendillas” at 6pm.
A short 5 minute walk away and we ushered though a nondescript door in a side street.
We were attending a tasting with the Sommeliers Association of Córdoba and theuique venue was home to Joaquín Morales of Pepe Cepa Catering Gourmet. We first met him when we attended the Technical Specialist course in Montilla.
The Consejo Regulador of Montilla-Moriles was instrumental in helping set up Sommeliers Association of Córdoba back in 2008.
We were in for a real treat, Bodegas Pujanza from Laguardia (Álava) in DO Rioja were presenting 6 of their wines with food pairings.
It was a very interesting evening and it was great to catch up with Enrique again.
Still with a keen interest in the historic city we continued to explore more of it’s gems the following morning.
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos – (Palace of the Christian Kings)
This was short walk from our hotel in the historic centre close to the Mesquita de Córdoba.
It comprises of a complex of buildings and stunning gardens. Formerly a fortress and a palace it was declared a national monument in the 1950s.
We enjoyed strolling though the 55,000m2 of gardens, that were previously an orchard, now lined with statues of kings on pedestals with cascading narrow ponds.
On our way to Montilla we made the short detour to the Medina Azahara on the recommendation of Isa.
The Madīnat az-Zahrā, meaning “the shining city” in Arabic, are the ruins of a huge, fortified Arab Muslim medieval palace-city built by Abd-ar-Rahman III in the 10th century. It is just to the west of Córdoba.
Following a video presentation you take a short bus ride into the foot hills of the Sierra Morena.
There you get to explore what remains today, 10% of what originally was built, a city which only existed for 80 years and at the time was the de facto capital of Muslim Spain.
This site is now on the short list to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The result is due to announced this month.
A truly amazing visit and one we will definitely hope to experience again with Isa as our tour guide.
Córdoba is such a wonderful place to visit and we can recommend visiting in January when the temperatures are lower and the attractions are less busy.
For more information please visit the official tourist website for Córdoba here.