Córdoba—Madrid day 1

Saturday 20 July 2013

On our final morning in Córdoba, we breakfasted for the last time on our terrace under the cathedral bell with views of the Mezquita and distant hills. We then walked around the old city one last time before the heat of the day set in. Susie took dozens of photographs, and we bought some decorative tiles with individual letters on them that spelt out the word ‘Wundercliffe’. An angry hobo by the river muttered curses at us as we walked by, but they fell on our enchanted ears like blessings.

At length the blazing heat began to chase us onto the shady sides of the streets, so we returned to the apartment for the last time. We collected our baggage and caught a taxi to the train station for the last leg of our journey back to Madrid.

Our apartment in Madrid was located in a large block of apartments in the Malasaña district. The living room was crammed with bookshelves that told a vivid story about the owner’s intellectual history and her obsessions. Rented apartments have proven to be a much more interesting option for accommodation than hotels or hostels. Like the apartment back in Paris, this one projected a strong sense of the owner’s identity and personality.

Susan headed out to a funky vintage strip to check out the clothes shops and I went shopping for food. We agreed to meet up at a local tapas joint called Bodegas del Maño. By the end of the day we had both walked up an appetite so we ordered raciones of bacalau, anchovies and albondigas (meatballs), and washed them down with beer and white wine (Txacoli). The bacalau was the best we had tasted to date on our journey. We later learned that this particular bar served smoked bacalau, and we loved it so much that we returned several times during our stay.

After dinner we walked around the Malasaña district. Susan took me to a plaza that she had crossed earlier in the day. There were children everywhere and all the tables and chairs in the outdoor cafes and bars were completely full. Since there was simply nowhere to sit down, we kept on walking until at length our weary legs carried us back in the direction of the apartment.

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