Posted by: Leap of Faith | October 5, 2010

ABCs Re-Defined

I never realized that blogging about our Iberian adventure was more difficult than going on the actual tour itself.  Somehow, the thought of undergoing those grueling walking tours and long bus rides appear easier to do than the post-tour documentation process itself! Despite this, I am determined to finish what I’ve started and the thought of knowing that I am just a few cities away from the finish line makes me want to blog even more.  I promise this will soon be over. But for now, we proceed to our next destinations – the Spanish cities of Cordoba and Toledo.

According to our trusty European guidebook – the DK Eyewitness Travel – Cordoba is “Northern Andalusia’s star attraction” with its Mezquita (third largest mosque-cathedral in the world) as its main attraction.

The picturesque view of the Mezquita and this Roman bridge as seen from across the Rio Guadalquivir.

This impressive, yet intimidating, brass door knocker leads to this…

… an elaborate entrance to the Mosque-Cathedral, which undoubtedly reflects a very strong Islamic  architectural influence.  It is worth mentioning that Cordoba used to be the western capital of the Islamic empire in the 10th century.

Upon entering, one will immediately notice the shady Corte dela Naranja (Orange Courtyard) and long corridors, which display some of the original wooden material from the Cathedral’s ceiling.

Of course, there will be no excuse if you miss this towering beauty, which stands over the lovely courtyard!

The mosque-cathedral’s main attraction, however, are these hundred or so double arches and columns, which make this place, not only one of the largest, but probably one of the most unique places of worship in the world.

This fully decorated wall is another great example of how Islamic and Christian architecture infuse nicely to create a very unique church.

Even the souvenir ceramic plates sold in the surrounding shops have a distinct Moorish touch all over them.  I wanted to bring home a few of these ornaments but later backed out when I realized the added weight they would undoubtedly place on our already “borderline” allowable baggage allocation weight. 😦

The Islamic influences, however, became less evident as we moved further north to the old Spanish capital of Toledo.

This picturesque view of the whole city, taken on top of a nearby hill, clearly explains why this whole area was elevated into a World Heritage site in 1987.

Several impressive views of the Toledo Cathedral, with only my wife – the designated photographer that time – missing in the requisite group shot. 

Our local tour guide made a funny comment that their Cathedral is definitely worthy of praise and should not be classified under “ABC” (or “Another Bloody Church) – hahaha!  😆 I guess I have to agree with him since the Toledo Cathedral truly stands out especially after seeing its massive facade, belltower and beautiful interiors.  

What is worth mentioning too is that there were a few antique church relics from the Philippines (i.e. a beautiful mahogany crucifix with an ivory image of the crucified Christ) displayed in their in-house museum.

Thank goodness many of the places we visited had streetside cafes which sold cold beverages and snacks to passersby.  Rehydrating oneself is really a must for these long and tiring walking tours!

This building is a nice example of the many old but well-maintained structures that can be seen all over the city.

As we were walking through the many streets and alleys of Toledo, I noticed this nice bush, which immediately reminded me so much of soft, fluffy feathers.  Too bad I could not touch them since I was afraid it would trigger my allergic rhinitis and that would be a real tour spolier wouldn’t it?

As we prepared to move on to our final destination for this leg of our trip – Madrid, we just could not resist taking one more photograph of this very scenic city.

One thing’s for sure, though – the magnificent cathedrals of Cordoba and Toledo will definitely not fall under the “ABC category” in our books! 😀



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lorelee Sy, Keith Sy. Keith Sy said: ABCs Re-Defined: […]

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