Cordoba Photo Diary

(1) Historic centre and Jewish quarter

Cordoba photo diary - Bold Bliss

Cordoba litte alley - Bold Bliss

Cordoba patio restaurant - Bold Bliss

Cordoba flowers in spring - Bold Bliss

Patios full of flowers in Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

Purple tree in spring, Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

Calleja de las Flores, Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

(2) Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos

Alcazar of Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

Gardens at Alcazar, Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

Manicured buxus at gardens of Alcazar, Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

Poppies at Alcazar of Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

Colourful gardens at Alcazar, Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

Gardens at Alcazar, Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

Statues at Alcazar, Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

Fountains at Alcazar, Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

(3) Roman Bridge

Roman Bridge, Cordoba, Spain - Bold Bliss

(4) El Choto Restaurant

Restaurant El Choto, Cordoba - Bold Bliss

Spanish tapas at El Choto, Cordoba - Bold Bliss

Today I’m taking you on a short visual tour of Cordoba, a precious gem strung on the silver thread of the Guadalquivir. A city of all seasons, but certainly worth visiting in spring (as we did), when temperatures are more pleasant and flowers are blooming abundantly. Halfway through May, the city holds its Festival de Los Patios, a contest in which participants open their courtyards, ablaze with varicoloured flower pots, to the public. Despite the undeniable postcard quality of these patios, I would personally recommend to avoid the festival, which attracts hordes of tourists and inflates hotel prices. In any case, try to book a hotel inside the city centre as entering it by car is quite a hassle and free parking spaces are hard to come by.

The unrivalled highlight of Cordoba is, of course, its Mezquita. Since in its shadow the other wonders almost shrink to nothingness, I decided to save it for a dedicated blog post. Today I’ll focus on my other Cordovan discoveries.

(1) Historic centre and Jewish quarter

If you like to get lost in the flow of tourists, please visit the historic centre and the Jewish quarter between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Otherwise choose the early morning or twilight hours to amble down the winding, whitewashed alleyways. Then you can poke your nose into the pretty flower filled patios without being disturbed. If you are blessed with a vivid phantasy, you may even catch a glimpse of the spirits of Averroes and Maimonides, world famous Cordovan philosophers, who must have met in these streets before the Jew Maimonides was chased away by religious intolerance. If you are lucky, you might hear from an open window a voice recite one of the many poems written about Cordoba by well-known or obscure poets. And do not forget, in a quiet moment, to pass by the Calleja de las Flores, reportedly the most photographed alley in Cordoba. Admire its blue pottery, red flowers and beautiful view of the Mesquita framed by the whitewashed walls of the calleja.

(2) Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos

Another distinctive spot on the city map is the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos. Although its gardens are not the equivalent of its counterparts in Granada and Sevilla, they invite the visitor for a relaxing walk. Their layered design, neatly trimmed shrubs and lovely pools and fountains are a perfect setting for some peaceful daydreaming. On leaving the garden, do cast a glance at the Roman mosaics at the inside of the palace.

(3) Roman Bridge

From the top of the Alcazar you have an excellent view of the Puente Romano, another much older remnant of Cordoba’s history. Its solid massiveness bears testimony to the architectural skills and efforts of Spain’s Roman era. Even if that doesn’t entice you, maybe the fact that the bridge apparently featured in some Game of Thrones episodes, does?

(4) El Choto Restaurant (Website, TripAdvisor)

We lunched and dined at several places in the city during our stay but our very favourite restaurant was El Choto. We arrived there purely by accident when we were fairly lost and starving. We had such a great time being spoilt with lovely tapas in their cute little patio shaded by a tree. The tapas were more sophisticated than the tapas you usually eat in Spain, but definitely not more expensive. My suggestion? Try the champignons with scampi, the toast with goat’s cheese and the shrimp croquettes. Mouth-watering delicious.



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  1. The late Adolfo Bioy Casares July 10, 2015

    Dear BoldBliss,

    I discussed your blog with my lifelong (and deathlong) friend Jorge Luis Borges. He told me that he was peculiarly charmed by your Cordoba post. It reminded him of a story he once wrote about the famous scholar Averroës, who lived there nine centuries ago and introduced the medieval revival of Aristotelian philosophy in Europe. Borges told me about his desperate attempt to evoke Averroës’s twelfth century Cordoba in words. He even read a fragment to me:

    ‘In the depths of the siesta, loving turtledoves purred throatily, one to another; from some invisible courtyard came the murmur of a fountain; something in the flesh of Averroës, whose ancestors had come from the deserts of Arabia, was grateful for the steadfast presence of the water. Below lay the gardens of flowers and of foodstuffs; below that ran the bustling Guadalquivir; beyond the river spread the beloved city of Cordoba, as bright as Baghdad or Cairo, like a complex and delicate instrument; and, encircling Cordoba (this, Averroës could feel too), extending to the very frontier, stretched the land of Spain, where there were not a great many things, yet where each thing seemed to exist materially and eternally.’ (Averroës’s Search, 1947)

    I considered it a very suggestive description but in Borges’s opinion it was a failure and he drew the conclusion that it was impossible ‘to imagine Averroës yet with no more material than a few snatches from Renan, Lane, and Asin Palacios.’ Then, after a minute of pondering silence, he corrected that conclusion with a hypothesis: perhaps, in combination with what he almost tautologically called ‘Boldbliss’s luminescent photography’, his words would have been far more successful in recalling the spirit of Averroës’s Cordoba.

    Well, how do you like that?

    The late Adolfo Bioy Casares, Argentinian writer (1914-1999)

    • The late Averroës July 11, 2015

      Dear señor Bioy Casares

      Borges is right. Words are but poor instruments to resuscitate times and people gone by forever. But in combination with these magnificent photographs the words of Borges did arouse my sleeping memories of the Cordoba I had the privilege to live in. As a matter of fact, at this very moment I am overwhelmed by a sense or resurrection.

      The late Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rušd, better known as Averroës, philosopher etc. (1126-1198)

    • The late Jorge Luis Borges. July 12, 2015

      Dear BoldBliss,

      Do you know that at the end of my life I was, as I once put it, ‘surrounded by the persistent, luminous, fine mist’ of blindness? But since I passed away and afterlife restored my eyesight on a spiritual level, the reading of forms and colours, for instance in your breathtaking photos, is sheer epiphany to me. Thank you so much for that. I keep following your blog.

      There is one more thing I want you to know. Together with my dearest friend Bioy Casares I greatly enjoy the comments on your posts. Some of them I hardly understand but they help me to catch up with the latest evolution of the English language. But then there are the longer letters written by so many historical, literary and even fictional souls. What a grand parade! Ibn Zamrak, Garcia Lorca, Cervantes, King Enrique IV, Popeye the Sailor Man and Olive Oyl, Queen Isabel I and Columbus. Most of them bien étonnés de se trouver ensemble in the wake of your blog. And now, in the company of my goodt friend Bioy Casares and of the honourable Averroës, I myself have the privilege of popping up in your blog. It is, believe me, the boldest of all blisses I ever dared to expect.

      The late Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian writer (1899-1986)

    • The late Estela Canto July 13, 2015

      Dear Jorge,

      Your adoration of the BoldBliss photos is exaggerated. It reminds me of your short story ‘The Aleph’. Your narrator defined an Aleph as ‘the only place on earth where all places are seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending.’ Your elaborate description of the phenomenon was a fine piece of literature, Georgie, but now is the time for a bolder concept: ‘the Zeta’. Or do you prefer the name ‘Omega’ for the chronological extension of the Aleph to ‘all places at all times past, present and future’? By means of that Zeta (or Omega) it would be a piece of cake to catch Averroës in the act of annotating Aristotle in his twelfth century mansion in Cordoba.

      Anyway, with the happy marriage of your words and BoldBliss photography you are on the right track.

      By the way, Georgie, do you remember that you dedicated ‘The Aleph’ to me? Perhaps you could dedicate ‘The Zeta’ or ‘The Omega’ to whoever is behind that BoldBliss blog.

      The late Estela Canto, Argentinian writer and translator (1919-1994)

    • The late Jorge Luis Borges July 14, 2015

      Estela dear,

      Please don’t be jealous of ‘whoever is behind that BoldBliss blog.’ You, and nobody else, are and will forever be my Beatrice. And do not think that I ever have blamed you for turning down, many years ago, my marriage proposal. It was an experience that made me a wiser and a sadder man. Though not so wise nor sad that I do not dream sometimes of occasionally having tea for two with you.

      Your late but everloving Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian writer (1899-1986)

    • The late Adolfo Bioy Casares July 15, 2015

      Beloved friends Estela and Jorge,

      Your exchange of polite compliments, gentle digs and sharp-tongued sarcasm reminds me of the many verbal tournaments we used to hold in illo tempore. But it also brings back to my mind an old photo, dated 1945, less sharp than the BoldBliss photos, and without colours, but to me (and undoubtedly also to both of you) rather moving. In my lifetime I never showed it to anybody, but today it is caught like a dead fly, for everybody to be seen, in internet’s world wide web:

      A closer look at the photo reveals that you were holding hands as if in hesitation whether to get married or to go and drink tea together. This may be a misinterpretation, but it is a fact that on the back of my copy I wrote the title of a poem by Robert Frost: ‘The road not taken.’ And do not deny that you liked that poem very much, Jorge. One winter evening you even recited it to Estela and me. I’ll never forget the sad, somewhat monotonous tremolo of your voice. The last stanza filled your eyes with tears. I’ m sure, Jorge, that you still know it by heart, but for Estela, who may have forgotten it, I write it down here:

      I shall be telling this with a sigh
      Somewhere ages and ages hence:
      Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
      I took the one less traveled by.
      And that has made all the difference.

      Touching photo, touching poem. Trying to returning to the bifurcation in the wood would be pathetic. But it is never too late for tea for two. So, sit down for it, dear Estela and Jorge, taste your favorite blend, recite Frost’s poem together, have a last look at the 1945 photo and then turn to the present and view the BoldBliss photos. You will see that they will not jeopardize your friendship anymore.

      The late Adolfo Bioy Casares, Argentinian writer (1914-1999)

  2. Dawn July 9, 2015

    Beautiful photos!! I was wondering what camera and lens do you use to take pictures? Thanks!! Love your blog too xx

    • Bold Bliss July 9, 2015

      Glad you like my photos :) I use a Canon 6D and the lenses I use are a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 (a versatile zoom lens), a Canon 50mm f/1.4 and a Canon 85mm f/1.8 (prime lenses). Most of the photos in this post are taken with the Tamron lens. Hope that helps and good luck with your photography! Xx

  3. We just discovered your blog from your comment on With Love From Kat. Your images are so well done!

    Our studio will definitely be tuning in to new posts from you! … and planning a trip to Cordoba …

    • Bold Bliss July 5, 2015

      Thanks! Love your website too :)

  4. Cristina June 25, 2015

    Stunning photos! I’m ashamed to say that I’m Spanish but I’ve never been to Cordoba. I’ve always wanted to visit the mosque and the beautiful patios full of flowers but I haven’t come round to it yet…

    • Bold Bliss July 5, 2015

      Well, there’s always a first time! Hope you manage to visit it soon :)

  5. Anselm Kraus June 25, 2015

    My God! What an uncanny meeting: three people forever petrified and condemned to look into each other’s eyes without even being able to blink or look away for one moment or scratch their neck when a bee or a butterfly land on it. Terrifying! Who the hell are these poor, unhappy, wretched creatures in the Alcazar garden?

    Anselm Kraus

    • The late Isabel I of Castile, la Catolica June 25, 2015

      Señor Kraus,

      I beseech you: in my presence do not mention the name of the Evil One any more, nor of his Mansion.

      As to the statue you comment on, to some extent you are right: we are poor, unhappy, wretched creatures, but only in that we are exiles from the dear, sweet life that you are still enjoying. On the other hand we are no more wretched than the many billions of bygone actors on the stage of human history. And let me tell you that the meeting between my beloved spouse Ferdinand II of Aragon, myself and Christopher Columbus was not uncanny at all. On the contrary, it was a happy one and of historical importance. So important indeed that at that time I already expressed the wish to have it perpetuated in stone. (Alas, not in the flesh, which is too vulnerable to the Grim Reaper’s scythe!)

      O, how I would love to scratch my neck again as I used to in my days! But in the meantime a stone memorial is better than nothing. And let bees and butterflies and even mosquitoes rest on it at pleasure

      The late Isabel I of Castile, la Catolica (1451-1504)

    • The late Christopher Columbus July 9, 2015

      Dear Mr. Kraus,

      Sorry for my late reaction – I’ve just come back from an important expedition to remote and yet undiscovered areas of Death’s dominion (where I had no internet at my disposition). Now, let me tell you this: I fully agree with Queen Isabel. The meeting you call uncanny was not uncanny at all. On the contrary, it was a merry meeting with plenty of food and wine and music. And except for the restriction made by the Queen we were no ‘poor, unhappy, wretched creatures’ but rich, happy and fortunate ones.

      The late Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)

      P.S. I do not think a stone statue feels the need to scratch its neck. Being a bodiless spirit I myself do not. In the meantime feel free to do so yourself whenever the sting of an insect or the worse ordeal of an unbearable itch urges you to.

  6. Courtney June 25, 2015

    the architecture is stunning! beautiful

    XO Color Me Courtney

  7. Asta Svensdotter June 25, 2015

    Mouth-watering report. Can’t wait any longer for your item about the Mezquita.

    Asta Svensdotter

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