Mezquita

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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The Alhambra

P1040177We 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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That’s not big enough – build me a bigger one.

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Ludwig (I don’t remember his full name so we will call him Duke Ludwig) had a hunting lodge built in the country. He liked it so much he had another built across the road.

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The second one across the road.

Eventually he decided to move to the first hunting lodge and rename the town Ludwigsburg and move there permanently. Now that this was going to be his home he needed to make it bigger. The new wing which was added created the square in the middle, when you stand at one end of the “new” (1733) wing you can look through all of the open doors to the other end – 150 metres away.
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Then years later Frederich who became the first king of Germany decided to renovate. We did a tour of this palace – Ludwigsburg Palace – and covered 73 rooms and walked about 1.5 km. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos inside the palace. In total there are 470 rooms including 2 churches and a theatre so the buildings are impressive, the gardens are also huge. There are also hidden doorways and corridors everywhere so that the servants (estimated at 1000) could move around without being seen. There was also a lapidary here – for those of you ignorant enough not to know (like us) what a lapidary is, it is a collection of statues which have been replaced with copies to preserve the originals.

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We spent a full day here which the girls especially enjoyed and then dropped into a local park for Legoboy  (and the girls also) to enjoy a German playground.

Schwetzingen

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We stopped for a couple of nights in a town called Schwetzingen. The next day we went for a walk around the town and to the local palace and market place.

It was valentine’s day while we were here so of course, ever the romantic I purchased my lovely wife some Tulips which seemed very European (its still romantic even if you only spend 2 euros isn’t it?).

We also purchased some ski pants for 6 Euros for the kids from Lidl (pretty much the same as Aldi).

We had to sample some more good European treats and figured what could be more German than a Berliner.

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Legoboy seemed to enjoy it.

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Look closely – it may mess with your head.

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Bookworm found a kindred spirit.

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