Nigel tried to send us around the block yet again in a futile attempt to find our Airbnb in Cordoba, Spain, among the maze of ancient alleyways. When I refused to follow his direction to go the wrong way down a one-way lane he laughed and told me to “chuck a U-y here bro’ and let’s go get a steak n cheese pie”. Nigel could be a dick.
I gave up on Nigel and parked in a space for parish clergy about half a km from where I thought we’d be staying and left Laressa looking after the gear. Lola was patiently waiting for me at the apartment though we were now running half an hour late.
With the keys to the flat in hand it was now just the job of finding a carpark for our rental. Saturday afternoon in hot historic Cordoba seemed to be full of other drivers doing the same. I drove into a space around the corner from the flat with the intention of us just dumping our packs aware we were being watched by a frowning smoker outside a taberna. As we opened the boot he stopped us and advised us to park outside our address in the No Parking zone. “You probably won’t get a ticket,” he said before vanishing.
The flat on the third floor had a fantastic view looking over the rooftops of the old town from its balcony. Horny homing pigeons were our neighbours across the alley. The seven church towers within sight competed in bell tolling four times an hour. I worried incessantly about the car being towed.
Our Saturday night was limited to buying falafels at a nearby kebab shop in an effort to find a vegetarian meal and then by chance catching Real Madrid’s win against Liverpool back at the flat. Raucous cheers rang out across the old town with each goal.
On Sunday we walked 20 minutes to the Mezquita-Catedral . We skipped the queue at the ticket office to buy them from the machines just five metres away. The cathedral was once a mosque. The archways and open spaces give a hint of its origins while Catholic icons decorate the side walls, ceiling and centre.
In one chapel, ‘Jesus on the cross’ was lying on some seats with the crown of thorns just sitting on a pew. He looked forlornly at passersby. After an hour or so in the church we left and wandered into the old Jewish Quarter. The rest of the afternoon was spent listening to a guitarist at an outdoors cafe with the sweetest pepper tapas you’d ever want.
Tip: if in Spain and a busker walks over with their guitar held out horizontally to gather coins, don’t drop them in the hole, just place them gently on the body of the guitar. Tip to buskers: gather coins on the back of your guitar so no ignorant tourist whose just spent an hour reliving Catholic traditions doesn’t drop them in the hole like a Sunday collection basket.
We left Cordoba for Seville on Monday morning. The car hadn’t been towed – but I reckon the neighbourhood watchdogs were just biding their time.