We kissed goodbye to Madrid today after a lovely few days in the Spanish capital. It was time to travel closer to the traditional tourist areas in the south. If we could find a way of getting there, we were heading to Córdoba.
That's not to say we hadn't made plans; indeed we had. We knew what train we were going to catch, when we were going to catch it and where from. We also thought we knew what we were going to pay for it, until we popped to the station the night before to confirm the details and purchase the tickets. I say "confirm the details" because we'd earlier learned on this holiday that what the (very primitive) transport websites indicate the timetables to be doesn't always match up with reality. In this case there were indeed trains to Córdoba leaving at the times we expected, but the prices were over three times what we originally expected to pay. Ouch.
Yesterday evening was spent trawling some more primitive websites to see whether we could locate a bus to Córdoba instead. We found reason to suspect so but can you really trust a website that is so primitive that it can't even handle Spanish's accented characters?
We got up much earlier than planned this morning so that we could head to the bus station to see whether there was scope for getting a bus but leaving time to catch the original 12:00 train if not. Fifteen stops on the Metro later, we were trying to find that bus station, which was off our map. The only things to note about this adventure were that the curse of Clare's suitcases struck again as one of her wheels broke, and queues of taxi drivers were occupying the roads and blasting their horns non-stop to protest against an app that people use to call a cab. Irritate people immensely; that'll put them on your side.
Our luck was in, we got tickets on the bus for a quarter of what we would have had to pay for the train, and five and a half hours later (or two paperbacks read if you use the Clare scale) we were pulling a broken suitcase through Córdoba en route to our apartment, which merits more of a mention.
For a start, it has been built around ruins. I'm not sure what was originally here because the signs use the sort of impenetrable arty language that even natives don't understand, but there was a mention of the "traditional cemetery style". From above it looks relatively small.
But from the bottom you get a sense of scale. This was a solid building at some point.
There happens to be a mosaic next to it ...
... and a wall-mounted one in the foyer.
And to cap it off there are some remains of columns on display too.
And as for the apartment itself ... well, it's easily the nicest one we've ever been in and is even better equipped than our house is. We had no idea what we were getting, with spare bedrooms, several bathrooms, separate dining and living rooms and a large kitchen.
Tomorrow we'll be spending the day exploring Córdoba. But before we get around to doing that, I think I'll pull some of my beers out of the fridge and go join Clare on our exlusive upstairs terrace