April 25, 2015: Luciana Turns Four in Córdoba

Today is our baby girl’s fourth birthday!  Every parent says this but it is just so hard to believe that four years have passed and our little baby is so old.  And who would have guessed that she would turn four while living in Spain?

We all slept in this morning, a lot.  We got up at ten.  The apartment is so comfortable and gorgeous with the morning light.  It is wonderful.  We still love it.

Once we got everyone up, Liesl was by far the last one to get up and the only one that we had to work to get up – Luciana was already dressed and ready to head out the door by the time that we were attempting to shake Liesl aware, our first order of business was heading towards the Cathedral of Córdoba, the Mezquita.  The Mezquita is by far the most famous structure in the city, the key tourist attraction and very amazing by any standard.

On our way to attempt to find it we started by going through the giant wooden doors near our apartment thinking that we could explore that way but found that that was a dead end – but oh so interesting!  Then we explored some back streets and ended up in a medium-sized plaza just after noon and felt that lunch while the getting was good was a wise plan.  Liesl ordered a cheese pizza, Luciana ordered fried calamari (of course) and Dominica and I got cheese bites and cream of vegetable soup.  It was good.

From lunch we headed on to the Mezquita which was totally amazing and well worth the trip.  The groves inside were really cool on their own and the outside of the building was staggering in size and so clearly very ancient.  The structure was originally a basilica, built in the 500s, during the Roman Empire.  So confusingly, it is so old that it started out as Christian (being Christian before Islam even existed) but then became most famous as the leading mosque of Western Islam for hundreds of years until the reconquista when it was turned into a cathedral and was made Christian again.  The structure is built on real Roman columns but most of the design is Arabic with the bulk of the structure having been built up during the Islamic period.  And then lots of newer Christian motifs added on top of that.  It was great and the kids had fun too, although we did not stay long.

Dominica needed to get back to the apartment after seeing the Mezquita but we got a little lost and ended up by the Roman Bridge over the Guadalquivir River before going back.  The bridge is really awesome having been built in the first century B.C. – so it predates Christianity!! – and used continuously since that time.  Well over two thousand years crossing the same river.  Unbelievable.  The bridge has been extensively maintained and much of it is newer but the bridge itself and some of the arches are completely original, still!  The Via Augusta used to run over the bridge, connecting Rome to Cádiz, two of the oldest cities of the classical world.  And it is full of people walking across it today.

We went back to the apartment, which took a little bit as navigating the city is a bit challenging and unlike most of our city stays, I did not have a chance to go out and scout the city ahead of time last night to get a lay of the streets and area so we are at a disadvantage compared to our normal pattern.

After a short time at the apartment, everyone was ready to go out again and this time we went, more or less, directly down to the Roman Bridge which we walked across this time.  It was very cool.  Luciana fell asleep before we got there as she was in the stroller.  She missed everything this afternoon.  Sadly there was a really nice playground at the far side of the Roman Bridge but Liesl was grounded from playgrounds so knew not to even ask about it.  It was very sad, though, because we could tell that she had seen it and it looked like a lot of fun.

Liesl really enjoyed getting to see the old Moorish water wheel and mill that was near the bridge.  She found that very interesting.

We did a little walking around and then got some ice cream while Luciana was sleeping as Ciana had gotten in trouble about asking for ice cream too much and was grounded from that today.  It worked well to do it while she slept so that she would not be overly upset.  She had no idea that we an ice cream trip.

While Liesl and I ate our ice cream and watched Luciana in the stroller while we sat on the steps of the Mezquita, Dominica went shopping for some Flamenco barbie doll dresses for the girls that she had seen at a little shop nearby.

Our next mission was to walk to the northeast a ways and find a plaza that Dominica was really interested in seeing, the Plaza Corredera.  The walk was about fifteen minutes and complicated by the fact that Apple Maps gave us directions to go places that you could not go.  So we had to backtrack a bit.

The plaza was pretty interesting.  Very large and neatly done.  Tons of restaurants there, but it was late afternoon and everything was closed for food and it was only coffee and wine.  So we got coffee and just relaxed for a while.  We stayed there until seven thirty and then started to head back to look for one of the places that we had found during the day that had Flamenco dinner shows.  Of course no scheduled show is really all that authentic but with our limited time and lack of knowledge there is really no way for us, especially with the kids, to find “real” Flamenco.  But we really wanted them to see Flamenco in Spain and this seemed like a great opportunity to do so.

We ended up having issues finding the place that we wanted to go and instead of getting there early or even having time to go back to the apartment and hang out for a while before going to the show we ended up racing just to make it to the show!  It took over an hour to find the place and we were very hot and exhausted when we got there.

We did not have a reservation so got stuck on the second floor away from the view of the show, which was tough.  But at least we made it before the show started.  I took the girls down and sat on the steps so that they could watch the Flamenco show, which they enjoyed a lot.  The food turned out to be excellent and we stayed long enough to see the nine and the ten o’clock shows.  The girls loved it and we were very glad that we had done it.

It was eleven when we got everyone back to the apartment.  Dominica went straight to bed.  The girls were hold up in their bedroom still watching YouTube when I went to bed after two in the morning!  I went out, right around midnight, and walked for two hours exploring the city.  This was my only chance to really walk the city and get to see it.

I walked north and found the more modern part of the city.  I walked the big pedestrian shopping areas which were packed with people out walking.  This might be the most lively late night city that I have ever found.  The number of people out and about late at night was really surprising.

I walked all over and then across the park and over past the university.  I explored the park and then back to the apartment.  I did four miles on my own tonight.

While out walking as a family, we did seven and a half miles today (so eleven and a half miles total for me today.)  Luciana did much of that in the stroller.  But Liesl walked the entire seven and a half miles with no complaining and no issues!  She is such a trooper.