Friday, June 27, 2014

Córdoba, Spain

June 10-14, while the Madrid Temple was closed, we traveled through three of the most famous cities of southern Spain, the area known as Andalucía, or Andalusia as it's spelled in English.  The cities of Córdoba, Sevilla (or Seville), and Granada.  To make this palatable to those of you brave enough to follow our blog, I'm going to break this trip into 3 smaller pieces, or bites if you will.
First up: Córdoba.  During the middle ages when the Moors ruled most of Spain, especially Andalucía, Córdoba was the capital of an Islamic Caliphate, and the most powerful ruler of the Iberian peninsula. It was built on the ruins of an old Roman town so you get an idea how old the place is.  It has been estimated that in the 10th century Córdoba was the most populous city in the world and was also a center for education under its Islamic rulers. The Muslim rulers opened many libraries on top of the many medical schools and universities which existed at the time. Such universities contributed towards developments in mathematics and astronomy.  During these centuries Córdoba had become the intellectual center of Europe and was also noted for its predominantly Muslim society that was tolerant toward its Christian and Jewish minorities.  Today it is a moderately-sized modern city with a population of about 330,000.


Our traveling companions, Glenn and Karen Chapple, on the high speed train (200 mph) from Madrid to Córdoba

The main door (in the corner behind the tree) to our hotel, then up 2 very narrow flights of steps to our room. It was an adventure just finding this place including a wild bus ride.

Our rooms overlooked this plaza (on the 2nd floor in the corner behind Vivienne).  It was fun, but not comfortable.

Making our way through the cobblestone streets to the cathedral/mosque.  Viv is playing chicken with the car

Main entrance into the cathedral/mosque courtyard, The Gate of Forgiveness

Inside the cathedral/mosque courtyard, or Plaza de los Oranjas (court of the oranges). It was here the Muslims would wash their feet and hands before entering the mosque to pray

Inside the mosque.  It is overwhelming.  Huge.  Awe inspiring.  This picture is only a part of it. Started in 784 A.D. completed in 987 A.D.

The Mihrab.  Here the Imam stood to read from the Koran, facing the door with its chamber of amplification. Great acoustic.
There is a large Roman Catholic Cathedral INSIDE of the mosque.

Overview of the mosque with the cathedral built in the middle, including the court of the oranges

Across the plaza from the mosque/cathedral is the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, or Court of the Christian Kings

Inside the Alcázar going down to the baths and gardens

Baths of the Alcázar. Filled with the scent of exotic herbs.

Gardens of the Alcázar

Gardens of the Alcázar

Gardens of the Alcázar

Gardens of the Alcázar

Resting in the Gardens of the Alcázar.  It's a BIG garden

Statues of Isabella, Ferdinand and Columbus inside the Gardens of the Alcázar.  Columbus met with them here in their court while negotiating funding for his first voyage.

Gardens of the Alcázar

Waterwheel and mill in front of the ancient Roman bridge on the river Guadalquivir

On the Roman bridge crossing the river Guadalquivir

Vivienne and the Chapples walked to the other side where there was a fort, now a museum.  I gave out and stayed behind.

A delicious dinner at the La Siesta.

Walking the streets of the Jewish quarter, and hotel named to Seneca the great Roman senator, who was born in the city.

The shops.  Vivienne's favorite part of the trip.  She's had enough of cathedrals (not me though)

They really do manage in these ancient narrow streets, but it's not easy.  Everyone has to clear the road and he pulls in his mirrors, and goes very slow.  I never saw an accident, but it's a miracle.

The ancient Jewish sinagoga.  Unfortunately it was closed for renovation. Built in 1305

Córdoba was wonderful! Romantic! We recommend seeing it

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

April Fun

We had such a great time with our family that came to visit us in April.  You can see some wonderful pictures on their blog site

Here are some random photos:

Our entry way looking out to the landing--rewiring some electrical stuff. It took a month but now we have modern automatic lighting in the halls and entry of the apartment building.  We like it.

More wiring (I don't know why I thought this noteworthy). Lots of dust.

Elders Cloward, McCallister, Mullins, and Eskelsen and Hermanas Manner and Cabrera and Bubba.  Our District.

Now here's some warriors! At the Alcazar in Segovia.

Vivienne, Isaac, ?, Elder Riggs, Javier, Helen, Dave, Eli, Heather and Drew in Segovia, at Restaurant Plaza Mayor

Good looking knights. In Segovia waiting in the tourist center for the thunderous downpour of rain to stop.

In the tourist center waiting for rain to stop.  The boys found fun everywhere.

The boys playing Spain's favorite sport, soccer, in park by our apartment.

Everywhere we went we had to eat! Heather blogged that this was her favorite meal.  A restaurant across the plaza from the Opera House in Madrid.  It was good, especially the sausage and baked potatoes.

The bubble maker at Palacio Real with the boys.

the picture of the headless man and Isaac would have been more impressive with a different background.

Eli with headless man. He then "got" to put a euro in the money can next to the cane.

Sleeping on the couch.

Sleeping on the floor.

Train station in Toledo.

At the zoo. It's a huge zoo and really nice animals displays.  We also toured the Faunia, a nature park close to our apartment that was even more amazing, but our camera ran out of battery power that day.  So sad, too bad.

Feeding the bears was permissible; thankfully there was a big ditch between them and us.  This guy caught most of the morsels of food right out of the air.  Well-trained bear.

Koala. Cute fuzzy little animals. 

Feeding the Flamencos.  Viv got the eating out of her hand better than the rest of us.  We learned that flamencos are basically an ornery species with a very well-established pecking order, so to speak. The big guy basically rules.

Pandas. They eat.  A lot.  All the time.

Nana's first selfie, waiting for the dolphin show at the zoo.

Part 2

The dolphins did amazing things, that really impressed the boys.  Not many pictures, but if you've ever seen a dolphin show, you have an idea of the amazing feats they performed.  There were a bunch of them, maybe 7.

Parade watchers.

Parade photographer

The icon paraded in the street.

On the metro on the way to the airport.