Saturday, March 22, 2014

Córdoba and Almodóvar del Río with Ben!

     I found my brother Ben at my apartment in Madrid when I got home from work. He decided to come visit me on his way to China, where he will be studying Chinese at a Middlebury program in Kunming until June. (He has a blog about it and it is very good.) Anyway, he arrived on around January 13th and, from what I knew by talking with him over Skype, he was planning on staying for two weeks. So when I walked in and he said he had booked a flight from Madrid to China for February 11th I was (pleasantly) surprised. We had a month to hang out, eat good food and travel. First up, Córdoba.

Ben Shane and Ben Maimonides in Córdoba (Medieval Jewish Spanish philosopher and rabbinic scholar)
      I don't know if you're aware, but by the time Ben arrived in Spain I had been looking to buy a good flamenco guitar for quite some time. A flamenco friend of mine has a guitar made by a guy from Córdoba, so Ben and I decided to go down there and try out a couple guitars that were at a good price. The guitars weren't as good as I had hoped, and I wasn't about to settle. But that was just an excuse for going down there in the first place anyway. The weather wasn't great, a bit rainy, but it didn't keep us from walking around.

Outside the Mezquita

Juuuust enough room. Typical street in Córdoba
     My plan was to go to Córdoba for the day and then take a bus to a nearby pueblo, walk into the country and sleep. Things didn't quite go as planned. After the day in Córdoba we took a bus to Almodóvar del Río, a town 25 minutes away. But we arrived when it was already dark. And raining. There was a castle though. 

Castle in Almodóvar del Río. Bad picture, but it was dark and raining so...
View from the castle
     We walked around the town and the outskirts for quite some time. We went up to the castle, checked it out and ate cold, tasty lentils out of tupperware while taking shelter under the castle walls. We walked back down to the town, around, went to a bar, and then decided the ground was sufficiently muddy. Where could we sleep? There was only one option, and that was to bivouac. We ascended to the castle again, in the rain, and the main portal seemed cozy enough. We couldn't pitch a tent, I only have a summer sleeping bag and it was January and raining. So we huddled under the portal, rain somehow still getting us wet, and 'slept.'

A wall in the synagogue of Córdoba
     Up before dawn and the roosters, we hiked down the hill, got some hot drinks, and caught the bus back to Córdoba. There, we walked around some more in the rain and saw what remains (not very much) of the old synagogue (remember when Ferdinand and Isabella kicked the Jews and Muslims out of Spain in 1492?). After a while we decided to take the bus back to Madrid, having triumphed in not buying a guitar and bivouacking in the cold outside of a castle from the 8th century. Overall, a success. Stay tuned for more cold camping adventures with Jake and Ben!

1 comment:

  1. OK, Jake, that's it! I'm telling your mom. How could you and Ben even think about going somewhere without having sleeping accomodations pre-arranged? How!? You're lucky you didn't both die of pneumonia.