On the way to Cordoba (Sp) we stopped at a little village for lunch called Cabra. After lunch Legoboy and I went for a short walk and discovered a crystal clear stream that was rushing out of the side of a mountain. The water was full of fish and the water was gushing out everywhere. We also encountered Olive plantations (groves?) as far as you could see in all directions.
We were able to camp right in Cordoba so we were able to spend the afternoon we arrived wandering the streets. Our first stop was the Mezquita or Cordoba Cathedral. A church was originally built here in the 6th century. Subsequently this church was demolished and a mosque was built on the site. The mosque was expanded over the next few centuries before King Ferdinand III recaptured Cordoba in 1236. Then in the 1500’s a chapel was built in the middle and chapels were added around the outside walls. So the building is a little mixed up and looks very Arabic as you enter with a very traditional Catholic church in the middle.
We wandered through the Jewish quarter as well as past more churches and the Alcazar we got a little lost but eventually found our way back to Max.
The next day SWTTM and Legoboy went to a huge playground around the corner from where we were staying – it was a very popular place with a line up at opening time (1 euro entry fee).
The girls and I went for a walk to check out the Roman bridge and enjoyed a nice wander along the river. We then went in search of a barra (we would call it a baguette). After a short while we realised that it was Sunday so most shops are closed but we eventually discovered a little bakery.
We arrived in Granada (Sp) and found our way to the top of the mountain overlooking the city. We found the signs to the carpark for the Alhambra and got a park. We could not see any signs for the Alhambra so as we saw quite a few people walking from the carpark up the hill we headed that way. Not sure why but that day there was a lot of people going to the cemetery – the Alhambra was in the opposite direction.
We had read that there can be huge line ups to get into the Alhambra and that you have to stick strictly to the tour time you are allotted for the tour of the palace. We didn’t have to wait too long and were able to get in the afternoon we arrived.
The Alhambra is a Palace fort. Construction was started in the 1230’s by the Nasrid dynasty and was taken over by the Spanish in the late 1400’s. There are distinct areas from the no nonsense military areas to the highly detailed palace. There are also communal baths and there is now a church where the original mosque stood.
Outside of the walls is the Generalife Palace. This was a short walk from the main fort and is where the kings etc headed when they wanted to get away from it all.
It was a very interesting place to visit and it is hard to imagine building a place like this so long ago. It is also hard to comprehend the fighting that must have taken place here over the centuries.
We continued our travels through the south of France to a city called Carcassonne. We had been told about Carcassonne while we were staying at Aigues-Mortes in a if you think this fort is cool you should see Carcassonne kind of way.
On the way to the castle we went through an old part of the city which was pretty narrow, but Jack was guiding us so we knew we should be OK. The problem started when the narrow street we were driving down was having some road work done so was closed – we had to make a turn and this street was really narrow. I may have said this before, but Max is a little like a cat and if the mirrors fit the rest of him will also. The street had cars parked down one side with a small footpath opposite. When my Max’s mirrors were almost brushing against the cars I had no choice but to put two wheels up onto the footpath and drive along like this until we could get back onto the road we were supposed to be on – a little stressful at the time wondering if we would get to a point where we would need to reverse out of here, but funny in hindsight.
Carcassonne was everything we had been told. It is a real fairytale castle with towers, turrets and walls and you kind of wait expecting Rapunzel to let down her hair, or maybe a princess to be trapped in one of the towers.
Like kids in a candy store
Like Aigues-Mortes, Carcassonne has a village inside that still has people living in it. It also has heaps of shops and resaurants. You always have to keep a look out to scooters and cars as they make their way through the narrow streets where you are walking.
There is also a church in here and we were fascinated with the detailed sculptures all around the outside.
We spent a number of hours walking through the village and then a few more walking around the outside between the two walls of the castle. The sun was beginning to set as we walked around so it was very pretty and enhanced the whole fairytale castle thing.
We camped just down the road from the castle and next morning moved just down the road and had breakfast overlooking it.