I owe you pictures

Lots of pictures. Hopefully I still remember what I wanted to say about them.

This is an olive tree in the courtyard of the Mesquita-Cátedral. It’s the only olive tree I’ve been able to get a decent picture of, although I’m hoping to remedy that before I leave.

This is the Mercadillo, the biggest of the street fairs here in Córdoba. Street fairs here are rather more respectable than what I expect them to be in the US – well, in certain ways. For one thing, many people shop at them, and then sell everything from food to clothes to footwear to sewing supplies to underwear to I don’t remember what all. I found the underwear particularly odd; it’s so foreign to me to see stacks of bras sitting out on tables in the open air, and people coming up and holding them up to see if they fit. I’ll admit that the first of the stalls selling herbs and spices looked rather sketchy as well (there was too much stuff to fit on one table, so they had this second table further down that just had three different kinds of dried leaves in brown paper sacks). This stall on the left appears to be selling hair ties and scarves, unless they’re zippers.

These are Roman ruins in a parking garage. They aren’t quite in their original site; they’ve been raised several meters so that they’re at ground level, but otherwise haven’t been moved. These aren’t quite finished being restored; they still need to put back some mosaics and put a glass roof over the place.
There are Roman ruins EVERYWHERE.

This is a wall. It is not, however, any ordinary wall; it was built in the middle ages and displays multiple styles from different times. The stone on the left is big stones (earliest) and the stone on the right is a mixture of smaller stones and bricks (later) and the stuff in the middle is tapial, basically compressed mud made with dirt and lime and bits of random stuff for good measure. We spent a whole class filling out a worksheet on it; down in the bottom left you can see a bit of Kona and her worksheet.

For Vanessa’s birthday, we went to a restaurant, and then to this giant play structure made out of ropes. It was pretty darn cool.

There are smaller ones all over the city in various playgrounds, but this is the biggest one I’ve seen.
Yay for the birthday girl!

They dropped us off at the emergency room, and we went to an archeological excavation (which happened to be right next to the hospital; they’re building a new research center and needed to see what was underneath it).

This in the front here is typical Islamic-medieval-era flooring.

I don’t remember why this picture is distinct from the last one. Any ideas, fan_de_espana?

Again, nothing to say. I really need to get around to annotating these sooner.

Here you can see the ruins of roof tiles, left over from when the roof collapsed and the building stop being used.

My classmates are shown stuff on an aerial view of the site.

There are many pretty pillared and arched whitewashed patios here. I’m not here at proper patio season; in May there is a celebration and contest for the nicest patio, etc etc. But I still like the patios. This one is in El Zoco, the artisan market in the old part of town. It is, of course, generally full of tourists, but also pretty cool.

More patios. This one was apparently in the Córdoba Leatherworking Workshop and Museum – Free Entrance, only I couldn’t find the entrance, unless the whole thing was just the leather store which looked much like other leather stores (they even seem to all sell the same things).

Spain: Where the mail doesn’t just come in trucks and in funny little wheeled suitcase-things: it comes on motorbikes.

My archeology class looks at a Roman street (Several floors down in a Very Sketchy parking garage. I love the way this class never actually tells us where we’re going; we’re just expected to follow the prof into random dark alleys and parking garages and unmarked white vans, and sometimes we get handed off to other people and he doesn’t even come . . . I have yet to figure out if this is just him, or if it’s Spain in general).

The very street. Well, not actually; the street itself isn’t here anymore. But you can see one of the sewers down there at the bottom, and the two squarish piles of stone are the bases for the pillars that held up the portico that shaded the pedestrian walkway and storefronts. That trough was the drain from the portico, and they’re guessing that the ceramic tube was somebody’s private sewage pipe. It was a really big street. They’re guessing that this road/sewer connected to the amphitheater; that’s one of the things that they’re hoping to find out in the amphitheater excavation.

And now: on to the amphitheater!

More amphiteater excavation. This (not-quite-straight – it’s actually the side of a very big circle – but you can’t see that) row of big stone blocks in the bottom left corner is the first big stone circle upon which the seats rested. There are medieval-Islamic houses built on top, and people have reused bits of it, so it’s not very easy to see the amphitheater; it took me a bit even with someone showing us.

Have a picture of me!

On the whole, I like the architecture here. But I think that we all decided that the different elaborate style of arches on each level is a bit much. My guess: they got tired of doing each one, and so switched to a new one, which they once again got tired of . . .

These are the mail-drops at the main post office. I’ve seen similar ones at other main post offices in Spanish cities.
I tried to go to the post office yesterday, but it was closed; I’d forgotten that it was El Día de la constitución.

Back by popular demand: the guillotine! The picture is a bit fuzzy, but it’s the best I’ve got. For scale, that’s a piece of newspaper in the press, with a normal-sized pile of papers on top. And over there on the left, you can see all the bright colors of paper that arrived a month or so ago.

This is La Torre Malmuerte, the tower of bad death. My conversation partner showed it to me, and told me that it was a “supernatural tower,” but it sounded to me like a tower with a lovely tragic story, but nothing ghostly or otherwise supernatural.

There are many fountains in Córdoba; I’m told that there are subterranean rivers, or that the water is close to the surface, or something. It’s been calculated that the flow of water in the Roman aquaducts would have been sufficient for a hundred public fountains (most of which have not survived, not even in pieces). What I want to know is how they made them work.

The leaves are changing! Well, a little bit. I even found a yellow leaf the other day. It was somewhat disappointing, though; maple leaves at home are brighter. And this fellow on the right is Seneca; he was born in Corduba (Roman Córdoba), even though his family moved to Italy when he was wee little.

The Thanksgiving dinner after the tunas band arrived. In this picture you can see the slashed sleeves and stole-thingies of their 15th century costume, and the guy behind the candlestick is wearing the cloak with the badges and ribbons on it, too.

There was dancing. And hey, camera flash on glass. Which reminds me that I forgot to mention that when I got back from dancing, I discovered that champagne had been distributed. And then there were toasts, so I tried some. It was vile. Lisel, you’re not missing much.

Córdoba is all decorated for Christmas. There are lights, too, which were first lit on Friday night. I saw them yesterday, when I came back from singing at a wedding (which was in some ways very similar to weddings in the states, although of course in Spanish (they did use the Corinthians passage about love, as well as some other things that I wouldn’t have put on the program for a wedding, but the choir was was in the organ loft at the back, so maybe I misunderstood). The train was huge; a giant circle nearly as big as the bride was tall. There didn’t seem to be a maid of honor or best man, as such, but there were a number of relatives (or something) who kept getting up to fuss with the drape of the dress, the train, and the veil. It would have driven me crazy to have people keep coming up and fiddling with my dress, but I soon realized that it was necessary, because there were several points in the ceremony where the bride and groom got up, or sat down (on stools that were there for the purpose and made the dress drape funny, no matter what the fiddlers did) or kneeled, or occasionally wandered around to one side of the altar or the other, and the bride couldn’t manage her train by herself).

Archeology class again: have some Roman ruins in a bank downtown! The wall is the original Roman wall (or maybe the Imperial Roman wall after the Republican Roman wall got knocked down in the civil war? Not entirely sure about that).

And a reconstruction (mostly; the stone bits are original) of a mausoleum that would have originally been outside the city. This one was right next to the wall/gate and right next to the road, so it belonged to Very Important (or at least, Very Rich) People. On Thursday we were going to have a practical class, but the excavations were flooded because it had rained, so we went on a walk around the old Roman wall, instead.

On Friday the Medieval History prof (not my prof, but I tagged along) led a tour of Madinat al-Zahra (Medina Thara/Sara), a city which was built by the first Iberian Caliph, and is of Great Archeological Importance because it was abandoned less than a hundred years later.

The prof was sorry because the fog spoiled the view, but I rather liked not being able to see the jarring proof of the modern day quite so well.

The estate has an ancient beauty . . .

And here we have Eva, in front of a typical Islamic wall style; the wall is built with rectangular blocks, and has one laid lengthwise, and then two or three laid into the depth of the wall so that the short ends are showing, and then another lengthwise . . .
If I remember correctly, the Romans did a row of short ends and then a row of lengthwise blocks on top.

Miriam plays with the macro feature on her camera . . . again.

And this was described to us as the “plain, undecorated section.” I thought that it was pretty beautiful. Then again, I’m unappreciative of most of the “preciosa” churches, so that’s perhaps not surprising.

I don’t have anything particularly notable to say about this shot; I just liked it.

Some random fountain behind a tree whose name I’ve forgotten with an odd rock in front. Again, just an artistic shot.

The upper garden. Also, Rodrigo. I wonder what he’s saying.
Oh, and there behind him, you can see some of the zillion bits of stone decoration that were spread out all over the garden, waiting to be cataloged and cleaned and stuck back on walls.

And the restored/reconstructed throne room. This site was interesting because it hasn’t just been stabilized; they are very slowly putting bits of it back together, based on what archeological evidence remains. Of course, my memory card ran out of space at this point because I’d forgotten to empty it properly, and I couldn’t take any pictures of the inside. But it was kind of dark, and I’m not sure that they would have come out anyway. And then we were out of time, and never did get to see the residential section, which I thought was a shame, because it was a cool site. I’ll admit that I got a little antsy towards the end of the lecture in the throne room (if I’d realized that asking how ruined the site had been when they found it in the fifties would result in another ten-or-fifteen minute lecture, maybe I wouldn’t have asked. I did want to know, though).

I believe that I did warn you that it was a lot of pictures. I really ought to post them more often.


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