Red Shoes and Ruins

The best things in life are free, so they say.  On the whole I´m inclined to agree.  Love, friendship, laughter…oh, and blog awards.  They are all marvellous aren´t they?  Linda from Savoring Every Bite very kindly passed The (Red) Educational Shoe award onto me.

I can fully understand why she was awarded it in the first place, do pop on over to learn so much about Italian family, culture, food and generally about making every little moment in life into a special memory. When Linda passed the award on, she mentioned some of the “travels” she had been on via my blog, so today we´re going travelling. To just outside the beautiful City of Cordoba to be precise.  But before you pack your toothbrush I want to do the time honoured thing and pass this award on to a new blogging find.

JPWaldron has a fantastic blog which he calls “A free guide to foraging for all”.  See, I told you the best things in life are free.  If you live in the country, or aspire to or even just dream about it, I promise you´ll love what you find over there. And you´ll certainly learn a lot.  I´m sure he won´t mind being sent a red high heeled shoe…I think it´s a metaphorical shoe after all!

So, Cordoba.  I have a very soft spot for this beautiful city as Big Man and I had our first “date” there way back in September 2005.  Can you date when you´re a grown up? I like to think so.  Anyway, we go back there as often as we can and spent a fantastic weekend there at the end of January to celebrate my birthday.  I´ll show you some photos of this amazing city another day.

Today we´re heading about 10km out of town to an amazing archaeological site, The Medina Azahara or Madinat al-Zahra.  We´ve visited before, some 5 years ago and since our first visit an amazing vistor´s centre has been built and much more of this amazing abandoned city uncovered and restored.  Unbelievably, it´s free to go in, if you are ever lucky enough to be in the area, make it a priority.  It´s an incredible experience that you´ll always remember.

The city is considered to be one of the most important mediaeval archaeological sites in Spain. It covers 112 hectares and was the political and administrative capital of Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain) for a large part of the 10th Century.

There is something very special about this place, it never feels crowded and it´s easy to imagine the Caliph and his city doing business, receiving guests from around the world, and the thousands of servants keeping the city running.

There were several mosques, one of which can be seen clearly.

Stunning archways, this one they believe was the Prime Minister´s house.

Beautiful gardens…you can almost hear the trickle of water which flowed around the city.

So, do linger a while and soak up the peaceful atmosphere, and before you leave, take a final look back over the site and the city of Cordoba in the distance.

Hasta luego, come back soon…


55 thoughts on “Red Shoes and Ruins

  1. What a wonderful place! Al Andalus was such an inspiring place all those centuries ago and the ruins and remains are so evocative of those tolerant and creative times. We’re soon to have a lecture at our Cercle Occitan about the discovery of the zero in 9th century Cordoba. I love Cordoba too, but unfortunately didn’t manage to get to Medina Alzahara when I was there….next time!

  2. Wonderful photos…THAT’S a place I’d love to visit.
    (And of course grown-ups go on dates…even Grandmoms do!)
    JP’s blog is a real find…and exactly what the Red Shoe award is for. Thanks for the link!

    1. Thank you and glad you agree with me about dates! JP´s blog is wonderful – there are a few people I thought it would particularly appeal to, and I thought you might be one 😉

  3. Oh this is such a beautiful post… It takes me back to my religious roots 🙂 I love Al-Andalus… I would’ve loved to live back then… the unfortunate thing is that although these caliphs, sultans and prime ministers lived in beautifully architectured palaces, their people never slept starving… I’m so glad you shared these with us.. I hope I get to go there one day myself! 😀

    1. …gosh, maybe I make it sound bad when I say “unfortunate”… by ‘unfortunate’ I’m comparing it to the prime ministers of the Arabian countries nowadays … killing their people for their rank. Such disgusting behaviour.. and it’s because they’ve lost their connection to the Islamic principles those caliphs used to abide by… aaaaaarrgh!

    2. You´re right, there were very distinct layers of society, but there was a place and a role for everyone. If only…. Glad you liked it Fati, it is a very special place.

  4. Congrats, Tanya, on receiving this well-deserved award! I was in Cordoba but, unfortunately, only for a night. We had stayed too long on the Costa del Sol and were in a rush to catch a plane. We really didn’t have any idea what we were missing. I’ll just have to come back, that’s all. 🙂

    1. That´s the trouble with travel…never enough time to do everything. But then it does mean that you´ll always have more to do on the next trip (and a tour guide ready and waiting to accompany you!) and a good reason to return 😉

  5. What a fantastic place, i am sure you visit often and really even with a photo you can almost see the ancient peoples gathering in that richness! thank you.. c

  6. How fantastic! Im so deeply intrigued by other countries, culture and history, which is why I adore your blog so much. Can’t wait to browse this new blog. Delicious wishes!

  7. I love travel and this looks exciting, love the photos! When is your birthday? Mine was 31 Jan. Happy belated birthday! Congrats on the award… you deserve it!

  8. Congratulations on this award, you simply deserve it! There’s still so much of Spain which I have not seen and your posts always give me this longing to head in that direction. 😉

    1. There´s so much so see here and my travels are mainly (but not always) focused on just Andalucía. Mind you, you visit some pretty spectacular places too from what I see on your blog!

      1. Spain has a certain charm that’s completely its own. I’ve been a couple of times to Barcelona and joined the husband for long weekends visiting the mountains in areas close to Cambrils and Tarragona when he was then supervising MSc Geology students in their fieldwork. We’ve also taken a holiday through the Pyrenees starting first with a stay at a Parador de Tortosa then going up to places up north. We really had a great time seeing Spain differently 😉

  9. Ooooh those pictures are beautiful. I love wandering around old ruins and imagining the kind of lives people must have had back then. The first European ruins I ever visited were the ones in Italica, outside of Sevilla. It felt like magic. I’m dying to go to Machu Picchu, Pompei and the Egyptian pyramids as well!

    Congratulations on your award, you deserve it! Your blog IS very educational, which is why I keep coming back! Your cooking is amazing, and surprisingly simple. You’ve become my go-to when it comes to Spanish cuisine.

  10. Congrats on the award Tanya, and well deserved, of course! I love archaeological sites and imagining what life was like for the people who lived during that time. We spent a lot of time throughout Greece in various sites, but this tour, along with many of your posts, really makes me want to visit Spain someday. The arches are just amazing, what gorgeous detail. I’m going to run and check out JP’s blog, but thank you for this great post!

    1. Thank you so much. This is one of the many historical sites in Spain that takes you instantly back to another era…sometimes you don´t even need to shut your eyes to imagine you are there!

  11. You really brought a smile to my face when seeing “we” were going traveling again!! Stunning, really the architecture and just finding places like this to discover and wonder how it was way back. I love it! And, yes of course, you can date as an adult!! Being single, of course I date, but I also hope to be married and continue to “date” him!!

    1. Hi Linda and glad you enjoyed our little “trip”! Pleased too that you agreed about dating – although we don´t have “date night”, we try to set aside special time for us when we can, and it´s wonderful! I know that you deserve plenty of fun dating and that when you meet Mr Wonderful, you´ll keep the romance alive with the special times you share together….

  12. Congratulations on joining the Red Shoe Brigade–your posts are *always* so informative one can’t read without learning great new things! And happy belated birthday, my dear; may your year be one of many such lovely adventures and joys as returning to such a spectacular place as the Medina. No question why you’d love it so. It’s beautiful and moving and carries powerful history and memories, and is set in a gorgeous landscape as well. Hope R and I can visit it someday too. In the meantime, how lovely that you took us all along on your visit! 🙂

    1. Thank you for your good wishes – am proud to be part of the “brigade” and to be a year older – life gets better with each passing year! Do hope that you and R one day get the chance to visit this incredible place, it´s very special and full of vibrations of the past.

  13. Congratulations on the red shoe award…totally awesome, stunning and beautiful. Red is a lucky color this year….Yes, laughter, love, joy and many more will come your way like a red carpet on a night of lights, glitter and glamour. As for the ruins….just took my breath away. Happy Valentine’s Day. Wishing you and your love ones all the love and joy.

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