Our last night on the road. Mixed feelings in the air. Sad because our adventure was coming to an end, but tremendously excited because we would finally visit the Mosque of Cordoba. It was a warm
summer autumn night as we sat in the solarium of our hostel. The beautiful sun setting above the rooftops of the city. It was really peaceful up there. This trip had been so far as wonderful or even better than we had imagined. We had history, views, adventure, fun, sun, amazing food…what else could anyone wish for? Anyway, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the trip wasn’t even over yet!
After a refreshing night, we made our way out into the city searching for something to eat. Bakeries (Panadería/Bollería) are everywhere in Spain so it wasn’t hard to find a place to grab something and get on our way. Where to? Well, of course, to the Mosque of Cordoba!
This historic building, also known as Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption (yes, yes, you read that right), is not your typical religious building. Centuries of ins and outs between Catholics and Muslims in the area have seen this temple change several times from mosque to cathedral and back.
Originally built as the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent Lérins by the Visigoths. After the Islamic conquest, the building was divided between the Muslims and Christians. That until Abd al-Rahman I came into the picture with his desire to build the most magnificent of temples. For that purpose, he ended up buying the Catholic half. Thousands of workers and a couple centuries later, in 987 A.D. the Great Mosque of Cordoba would undergo its last and final refurbishment ordered by Almanzor.
In 1236, when Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, the Mosque of Córdoba was converted into a Catholic church. The next few centuries saw many changes being made to the building, including the construction of the Renaissance cathedral nave in the center during Charles the V of Castile and Aragon.
It’s been a controversial building for centuries and will continue to be so for many more. Either way, a unique piece of art worth visiting.
For more information or to pre-book your tickets you can visit their website. The tickets can also be purchased directly at the ticket offices during opening times, and cost 8€ per person (children from 10 to 14: 4 € and under 10 go in for free).
After being wowed by the magnificence of the Cathedral-Mosque of Cordoba, you should stroll around the famous Court of Oranges. Where chirping birds, the fresh smell of citrus and the splashing of the fountains will transport you to a wonderful place.
And outside the right-hand-side gate (with the Mosque of Cordoba on your back), you’ll find the beloved Taberna Bar Santos (c/ Magistral Gonzalez Francés 3). Why is this place so special…well, you’ll know when you try a “ración de tortilla” (or two, if you love tortilla de patatas as much as I do!) with a refreshing “tinto de verano“. You’ll thank me! You can eat there (if you’re lucky to go when there’s a free space) or order to take away and sit in the Court of Oranges. Either way, you can fill your belly with noms for about 10€/person.
And what best to end the last day of our trip than with a hammam-at-midnight session? Yeah, I thought you’d agree with me. Absolutely nothing! So we booked ourselves a slot at Hammam Al-Andalus. We chose a deal they had for a two-hour session with a 15 min. massage at 10 pm for 25€ each (they have student deals so bring your student card), and went to walk around the city until spa time came. At around 9 pm we went to pick our swimsuits, flip flops and towels, and headed down the street to our appointment. Did I mention it is literally down the street from Hostal Osio?
Anyway, we arrived about 30 minutes before our appointment as requested. If you speak Spanish you’ll be picked up by your “guide” who’ll explain how everything works. If not, you’ll get the instructions on a card for you to read while you wait in a warm cozy tea room, where you can drink a cup of mint tea. Once everything is ready you’ll be given a wristband so the masseuses know who to pick for a massage, and then escorted to the changing rooms, you get ready, take a quick shower and hop in!
It is built in a traditional hammam-style. That means dim lights, cold room as you enter, warm pool and massage room with places to seat and tea in the middle. As you walk towards the end of the room, you’ll find the hot water baths and a small sauna. During the two hours you can do whichever cycle you want, and when it’s your turn to get a massage you’ll be called out by one of the staff members, they ask you which from the 4 massages you want and be ready for maximum relaxation.
It was just perfect. Photos are not allowed so I can’t show you how it looks inside, but you can head to their site and check their galley.
You can find them in Calle Corregidor Luis de la Cerda, 51 (Cordoba) and they also have hammams in Madrid, Granada and Málaga. Booking can be done through their website or by calling +34 957 484 746. However, If you book on the phone you’ll have to give them your credit card details, so if you’re in the city I’d recommend you stop by in person.
Such a wonderful adventure couldn’t end any better than this. But wait, ours did! Let’s just jump ahead a few sleepy-hours ahead to our drive back to Madrid. You can pick the fast way back, or follow our steps to Consuegra in Castilla-La Mancha. Where? Yes, yes, I know you’ve probably never heard of this place. Have you ever heard of a grandiose literary hero called Don Quijote? And what about his loyal friend Sancho on his donkey? Well, Consuegra is one of the places that inspired Cervantes’ hideous giants (windmills). 12 in a row, atop a hill…a breathtaking sight! But don’t be fooled, the place doesn’t have much more than that so if you’d like to make it a lunch stop, make it a BYOF kinda day!