October 28, 2011
Caught the morning train up to Cordoba, mainly to visit the historic cathedral/mosque. I’ll spare you an extensive history lesson, mostly because I’m unable to teach it – but, basically, the site originally had a Christian church on it. During the Moorish era, the Muslim leader bought the piece of land and built a huge mosque that could hold as many as 40,000 worshippers. Once the Christians ran the Muslims back out of Spain, the powers that be plopped an ornate cathedral right down in the middle of the austerely beautiful mosque. So it goes. On one hand you could say, at least they didn’t tear it down. On the other hand, the Christians sort of turned the mosque into their entryway.
The brochure, written by the current Christian landlords, was kind of defensive in tone, emphasizing the bit that the Christians were there first and referring to the “Muslim interruption.” But I did like this “reflection” that they included at the end: “The visit to the Cathedral of Cordoba may awake the demand and the quest for a greater Beauty that will not wither with time. Because beauty, as truth and righteousness, are an antidote for pessimism, and an invitation to take pleasure in life, a shaking of the soul that provokes the longing for god.”
Truth, beauty, shaking of the soul. All good. As for the longing for god, to each his own. As for Cordoba, I’m glad we made the trip for the cathedral/mosque but didn’t like the city as much as our other stops. Felt pretty good with making it a day trip, heading back to Seville about 3:30.
It was a full day as we had an evening of further soul shaking at a flamenco show. Stirring and fun and very impressive—guitar, dance, singing, and all seeming to meld into one. It was recommended to us from our Toledo friends Jack and Lynn, who I bumped into while running yesterday afternoon. We got together with them last evening for dessert… and, who knows, we’ll probably cross paths again in Granada.
Bought our bus tickets for the 9:30 to Granada tomorrow morning. Will be fun to get a look at bus travel in Spain. Seville has been a wonderful stop along the way and we’re glad we’ve had as much time here as we’ve had.