Last night we dined at Alfonso XIII, which is located next to the old cigar factory of Carmen fame. An impressive sight to behold... Sevillian tiles with elaborate decoration on the walls, arches that remind you of the Arab influence in the Spanish architecture of the South of Spain. Sheer luxury... the seats were comfortable, the service impeccable. Just one thing... the food was disappointing and overpriced. LOL
Ah well, can't win 'em all...
Despite this hiccup, it was a memorable last day in Seville, as we got to walk around the old part of the city after dark. It never ceases to amaze me how much nightlife Spain has. I felt it more in Seville than in Madrid. The Sevillians are proud of their city, and enjoy it to the fullest. As a non-Spanish speaker, even an outsider such as I can feel the love they have for their home. They are passionate about their history and fervent in celebrating all kinds of festivals within it.
One thing that has been constant since we got to Spain is our use of taxis. Now, before you freak out, imagining the cost of these trips, let me say that they are much cheaper than taxis in Melbourne. A trip across the city, equivalent to the length of a trip from say, Melbourne University, to the Victorian Arts Centre, costs about 5-Euro. Last I checked, the Aussie dollar was equivalent to about 75-Euro cents. It's still a lot cheaper than taking a taxi in Melbourne.
Besides, with my leg giving me issues after a long day, I am extremely grateful to have some pain relief by taking a taxi. I have never been a fan of public transport in Melbourne - I'm certainly not going to start being a fan of it in a city I know very little about.
The good part about taking taxis are the taxi drivers. They are the most colourful characters you'll meet, and know the cities they work in, inside and out. They always provide you with the scoop on the best places to eat, visit, avoid, and they can enlighten you on the cultural habits of the locals that the average tourist may not be aware of.
We've even had taxi drivers that will happily recite the work of a famous poet, just because we happened to pass a monument dedicated to a writer of historical note. We've had singers, wine connoisseurs, complainers of the country (who have lived elsewhere in Europe and seem to be unhappy with their current living arrangements), jokers, and desperate singles trying to pick up one of their passengers (not me, my mother... LOL).
Today, in Cordoba, we had a lovely taxi driver who was pleased to give us a tour of Cordoba, with explanations of its history and all. Sure, it took longer to get back to our hotel, but since we're only in Cordoba for two whole days, we won't be able to see everything there is to see, and were glad to at least be driven past the sights we won't be able to enjoy before we leave for Málaga.
We got to Cordoba from Seville at 9am this morning. We stopped at a tourist information booth at the train station to get a map so we could find our way around. Before we knew it, we had signed up to see a show of Andalusian horses at the former royal stables in the heart of Cordoba. Such beautiful horses, and so smart, following all the instructions delivered by their trainers en cue. I filmed parts of the show - perhaps I will add them to my YouTube account when I return to Australia.
This is my second time in Cordoba, and I am still greatly impressed and overwhelmed by the age of the buildings and monuments here. Part of the city still preserves a wall, constructed by the Romans when they were here. Of course, there's the mezquita (mosque) that Cordoba is renowned for... I'm sure everyone has seen its red and white arches at some point or another. This building dates back to the 720AD, from memory. I will find out for sure tomorrow, when I visit it for the second time in my life.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Cordoba is one of the places in Spain that I would happily reside in if I ever got the chance to. There's something very relaxing about this city, it seems to have a very easy-going way of life.
Well, tomorrow is another day, and a big one too, I suspect. So much to see and do here, and so little time. Not to worry, I'll keep you posted - internet access is free in our hotel. Yay!
Hasta luego, mis amigos!