Crossing the Roman bridge across the Gualalquivir River, our travel group approached
the next stop on our itinerary, the bustling town of Córdoba, which some estimate was one of the most populated cities in the world during the 10th century under Islamic rule, as well as one of the most intellectual.
We drew nearer to the Great Mosque, the cultural highlight of the town, which today might be more correctly referred to as the Cathedral.
You see a mosque was built on this site, starting about 784, with a beautiful prayer hall of double columns made of jasper, onyx, marble, and granite.
The interiors are stunning
with lavish carvings of marble, stucco and elaborate mosaics.
However, when Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand of Castle in 1236, he consecrated the mosque as the city's Christian cathedral, and instead of building a new structure,
a Gothic chapel was erected in the middle of the mosque, leaving a very interesting juxtaposition of styles.
Leaving the Great Mosque, we wandered the cobbled and whitewashed streets of the town,
and peeked into secret patios which had been ornamented with flowers for the Festival de Los Patios.
We found this lovely patio for lunch,
and promptly settled in for a relaxing meal.
Our final day we explored the "jewel" of our trip, the picturesque town of Ronda
with its bullfighting ring, the Plaza de Toros, the oldest bullring in Spain which hosted its first fight in 1785.
We took time to tour the Church of the Virgin Mary with gorgeous interiors,
as well as took time to smell the flowers of the beautiful spring day that graced us. Such a difference from the grey, chilly London weather we had left behind.
The beauty of the town is in its dramatic views of the Ronda mountains,
and the canyon views sitting at its feet.
The Puente Nuevo, at a height of 390' which is the height of a 30 story building, was finished in 1793.
It straddles a deep gorge
and offers breathtaking views on each side. Not for the faint of heart, to be sure.
We spent our final hours of this trip in this idyllic spot, having lunch overlooking the vista
and celebrating the new memories we had created on our latest trip.
What do London gals eat and shop for in the south of Spain? Makes for a fun blog--coming up next. Stay tuned!