Saturday, February 28, 2009

cor do b(l)a(h)

Yesterday was our IES day trip to Cordoba, a city a little north of Sevilla about a three hour bus ride away from Granada. The fools at predicted mid seventies and sun, what we got was low sixties/high fifties and nubes (clouds) which I'm sure sounds nice if you're in the middle of a snow heap in pennsylvania, but is lame if you're in the middle of Spain without your scarf and with your sun glasses. Cordoba's a decent sized city, no where near as enchanting or quirky as Granada but not everyone gets to live the good life I guess haha. National Geographic actually named it the most important city in the world ... for the year 1000. We basically did a marathon day of sight seeing, and since I'm not in any of the art history courses I got to have my tours with Javier (guy in charge of the IES program, who we all love dearly) who gave us a remixed tour with a little bit of history and a little big of art-facts (and yes, it was in spanish of course no worries!). Run down of the day:

Stop one: mezquita. This huge mosque-turned-Cathedral-turned-tourist-sight is a gorgeous replica of Damascus. The inside was a beautiful combination of the dark and expansive Islamic architectural styles with huge white and red candycane-esque striped arches and stone floors. Mosques are typically long long long and wide wide wide but more intimate and dark, while the cathedrals all have huge towers and magestic looking windows that let in light to make God's presence and majesty known. It was really cool to see the mezquita (spanish for mosque ...) after being in my Islamic Civilizations class for a few weeks because I can put all these facts I'm learning to use, it was exciting actually! So anyways, the mosque had been converted into a Cathedral by the Chrisitans so the initial structure and whatnot was still mosque-y but then you have in the middle this enormous tower and open area with the typical giant organ, marble sculptures, gold, colors, and pews that make a Cathedral complete. It was cool to see the clashing/attempts to merge the two religions in one building. I have about five pictures of it because I didn't charge my camera ... but I'll steal some of Lydia's and put them up! It really was gorgeous. The Cathedral tour was nice, but we were all still groggy from waking up at 6am and then being on a bus for three hours. Plus a tour group of older Spanish men and women was following us everywhere, and they were very Spanish and thus very pushy and impacient about seeing all the different parts of the mezquita. It was hilarious because it was like I was swimming in a sea of Spaniards who were all around five feet tall, good times good times.

Stop Two: Juderia. We paseo-ed around the Jewish area and saw a tiny little sinagoga (synnagouge) ... comically tiny compared to the enormous mosque we had just seen. We walked around the Jewish area and had a tour of a museum of Jewish history (la Casa de la Memoria de Sefarad - three whole rooms! haha Jews are apparently a rarity even in Cordoba). It was sad because it made me realize how I am now numb to Spanish scenary. Cordoba looked just like Sevilla, which I know isn't true but that's how it felt, I'm starting to take all the beauty for granted, scary scary scary!

Stop Three: Taller de Musica Sefardi. Right before lunch the people at the Jewish museum put on a music show for us so we could hear some of their traditional music. It was beautiful, I really enjoyed it (minus my embarassingly loud growling stomach and annoying goose bumps on my arms). The musician explained how improvisation worked with each instrument, and played a violin not by placing it between his chin and shoulder, but by resting it vertically on his knee cap and using the bow like a cello-bow. So cool. I'll hunt down pictures.

Stop Four: Lunch. Lunch was pretty uneventful, ate our picnics from Trini, explored Cordoba on an unsuccessful search for a heladeria (ice cream) with some of the girls. Got lost. Figured out where we were and navigated our way back. Got on the bus and drove off to see some ruins.

Stop Five: Visita de Madinat-al-Zahra. This was cool. The Madinat-al-Zahra used to be where Cordoba's prime minister lived and where the palace and royal city were located way way way back in the day since they didn't fit in the actual city. It was about a half hour drive outside of the main city, so it would've been a pretty decent walk, but I'm sure it was worth it. We got to wander around what was left and the restored parts of where the houses, baths, stables, palace, and streets were, I've never seen anything like it before. Apparently in the '60s most of it was barried under dirt and it is one of the most important archeological sites in all of Europe according to Javier. It was really cool to wander around and imagine what it would have been like bustling with old school Cordobians. After about two hours there we headed on the long long bus ride home.

We got back to Granada around 9:00 and I hustled home to shower since Dio, Joya and I planned to meet up with a friend from Haverford (Ariel, for any Haverfordians reading this) who's studying in Madrid and came down for the weekend. We did the usual tapas-pub-bar-disco. This time Jose took us to Realjo, a Spanish bar a few blocks from my house near Calle Principe where we got one euro sangrias and 3.5 euro mixed drinks while jamming to Spanish music ... and music from Grease (weirdest thing ever, they played a megamix including summer loving, greased lightning, and you're the one that I want ... it was the last thing I would expect to hear over here haha). Afterwards we hiked all the way up to the Albaicin to the disco Camborio for an Erasmus (the European equivilant of IES) party. Camborio was a refreshing change from Granada 10 and had two floors, a porch that overlooks the Alhambra (apparently if you stay long enough you can watch the sun rise and it's gorgeous) and ... hip-hop. The second floor where we stayed all night blasted tunes from Jump Around by House of Pain, Ride with Me by Nelly, and the classic Granadean staples we hear at every club. We got there around three, stayed til close to six, and I came home and crashed since I had been up for close to 24 hours.

Tonight's open mic night and then I guess we'll just see where the wind takes us!
Time to go shower and get moving, hasta luegoo!!!
(The Morocco trip is in a little over two weeks, SO EXCITED!)

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