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Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 12:57:08

Spain 2016: 3. Cordoba to Malaga, Granada

Sunday, May 15, 2016

We were up at 4:45 AM to have breakfast in the apartment, walk to the metro, and find the right part of the Barcelona Sants railway station to catch the train back to Madrid. As we approached Madrid we watched the temperature gradually drop back to 15 degrees as we got away from the balmy Mediterranean climate of Barcelona. We had about an hour before the high speed train to Cordoba departed. This train had very comfortable seats and more leg room than the last one, lacking only plug ins for charging batteries. I enjoyed a couple of beers while watching the scenery flash past.

In Cordoba we taxied to the very nice Eurostar Maimonides Hotel, which is located in the massive old walled city and right across the street from the huge Mazquita Cathedral. From the hotel narrow streets slope down to the River Guadalquivir, where a large, ancient Roman bridge connects a castle-like guard tower with the town. The hotel is named after Mushah Ben Maimun, a Jewish philosopher and doctor who wrote 10 books on medicine. He was born in Cordoba in 1135, was denounced by the Muslims and fled to Cairo where he died in 1204 at 69 years of age. Much of the old city is still called "La Juderia", or Jewish area.

After a walk on the warm sunny day and lunch at a not great restaurant recommended by the hotel staff we took a horse drawn carriage ride through the streets of the old town. Many streets are too narrow even for a horse and buggy. The architecture hides behind a high front wall on the street, but has an open area inside called a patio. The annual patio competition has just been held, and tours of the most beautiful patios are available at certain hours.

The place was alive with people, massive crowds as this is tourist high season. Restaurants and sidewalk cafes were all doing a roaring business, and musicians roamed the streets singing and dancing. It is a very lively area. We put off a visit to the cathedral until tomorrow, as the lines for tickets to enter appeared to be about 2 hours long.

After dinner at a taverna with far better food and drinks, we walked to a flamenco dancing show that the hotel had reserved for us. It started with a talented young fellow playing Spanish guitar, then a couple of male singers doing Arabic type songs followed by a female flamenco dancer, however the star of the show was a male dancer who had the fastest feet I have ever seen. It was very worth while. It was midnight when the show ended and the city was shutting down, so we had trouble finding somewhere to buy water, but eventually succeeded.

Monday, May 16, 2016

After a noisy night, caused partly by having the window open because the air conditioning blew only hot air, we got off to a late start. After breakfast at the hotel we went directly across to the cathedral to find that already the lines were hundreds of people long, so gave that up. I caught up on emails and writing while the ladies went shopping before we taxied to the train station to catch the 1:30 PM train to Malaga.

Malaga is a lovely, clean city. A taxi took us to the end of a street where a pedestrian only district begins. The streets are lined with shops, restaurants and bars. We walked about a block and a half to the Unisierra Apartments where Maria, the administrator, was waiting for us. We are on the 4th floor, serviced by a 2 person elevator. The apartment is huge, and the kitchen is equipped with all major appliances. It is the best bargain of the trip to date. The big living room has two sofas, one which makes into a bed, a large bedroom with 2 beds and loads of closet space.

Once settled we walked across the narrow street to eat at a sidewalk cafe. There is also a bar beside the restaurant, both in front of our door. Once fed we walked to a giant Ferris wheel, built along the lines of the wheel in London, where enclosed seats took people up for a spectacular view of the city.

The wheel is located in the docks area, so we walked along the waterfront under a covering that provides shade for the entire route. When we stopped for a beer and snacks Marilynn spotted a glass bottomed tour boat, so we climbed aboard for sightseeing trip. We could see fog coming in, so were forewarned we wouldn't see much - and we didn't. We soon were enveloped in dense fog, and the guide was of no use in providing information so I went below and slept for awhile. There were only about 12 passengers on the boat including us. They did include beer and wine in the trip, but both Marilynn & Stephanie lit into the owner of the boat company in front of the useless guide when we got off.

Once back on land we took a taxi to a supermarket to stock the apartment with breakfast supplies. Dinner was at an excellent sidewalk cafe a short distance away where street musicians continually strolled by playing various instruments.

Malaga was founded some 2,800 years ago by the Phoenicians as a trade centre. It was under Roman rule for 600 years, then for the 350 years after the 4th century it was under the Visigoth's fundamentalist Christian rule. The Islamic Moors ruled from 711 until 1492 when the Christian monarchy, Fernando and Elizabeth, defeated the last of the Moors.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

After breakfast in the apartment we were picked up by Maike Ange, the owner of Malaga Speciales, and Luis our driver, in a 9 passenger Mercedes van, for a trip to Granada. The trip was quick on good express highway. We passed the town of Santa Fe, where for 10 years the Spanish king and queen stayed with their army fighting the last Moorish king for Granada. It was here that the contract was signed with Christopher Columbus to finance his trip to the Americas. The Sierra Nevada mountains were in front of us at this point, up to 11,000 feet high and covered with snow, where skiing is available for 6 months of the year.

In our travels in Spain we have seen a lot of olive trees, and today was no exception. According to Maike there are about 300 varieties of olive trees in Spain, of which around 30 are in common use. Spain provides about 45% of the world's olive oil, and Andalusia provides 80% of Spanish production. We have had some delicious samples, as free tapas are served with each beer, and olives are often the first one.

After a walk through old city of Granada and a stop for lunch in one of the squares we rode a tiny local bus that navigates the narrow streets, back to our van. By stopping to rests my knees periodically I managed to navigate the long walk and steps of the Alhambra, where three of the original palaces still exist, and restoration work is continuing. Here one can see first hand the skill, design and engineering knowledge of the Moors in these beautiful ancient buildings. We had been to visit many years ago, but even with the tour groups it was no less impressive.

Our return to Malaga was on the good four lane coastal highway, just inland from the Mediterranean sea. Luis was able to demonstrate his driving skill on the winding road.

At out request Maike and Luis dropped us off at the famous Pimpi Restaurant, where we saw the Roman Theatre and ruins of the castle across the street. Some dishes were good, but generally we felt the food and service were sub-standard and over priced. Maike told us the next day that the restaurant is not only popular with tourists, but a great favourite of local residents, however it is necessary to know what to order.

We walked home through the twisting narrow streets without getting lost. We passed a fashion show in one of the plazas with a huge crowd of spectators and the area was full of shops. Marilynn & Stephanie were keen on the show and the shopping, so I showed them how to get to our apartment and continued back on my own. When I arrived at the door it turned out I didn't have my keys, so it was back to where I last saw the ladies. Fortunately, they were in a shop near the place we parted. so after they came to the apartment to let me in they went back to carry on shopping while I settled in to do a bit of writing.