A Peep Behind Spanish Doors

Cathy Portas continues her writing about journeying in Spain.


The timing of our visit to Cordoba, in Spain was pure luck as we arrived in the middle of the ‘Patio Festival’. It was an unexpected treat which gave us an exciting peep into people’s homely lives because residents in the Jewish Quarter opened up their private courtyard gardens to the public. All year round their high gates are closed and tourists can only guess of what lies behind them as one walks down the tiny streets of the old town.


The great weather bought out the crowds and foreign tourists mingled with many  Spanish families to create a terrific atmosphere. Sometimes, the lineup of people waiting to enter the courtyards snaked down the narrow streets. We loved it when many locals, while waiting, would try out their limited English with us – and helped us with our Spanish! We soon got used to sharing those little streets with the odd small car and lots of motorbikes- a horn tooting would mean people just moved to the edge, the drivers adept at weaving through.


Walking through the streets of the Juderia, we discovered the Royal Stables, and watched a spectacular Equestrian Show. The silent communication between horse and rider was a joy to see, at one point being joined by a spectacular Flamenco dancer.


Each day brought another unique treat. We had lunch in an impressive large square surrounded by colonnades, next to a big group of families celebrating their children’s First Communion. The pretty girls were dressed in long white gowns, and a little boy was beautiful, too, in a sailor suit! We snapped their picture and they loved it!  A stage was being erected nearby and when we enquired, they told us there would be a Flamenco Guitar performance that night at 10.00pm.

The biggest adjustment we needed to make was that people eat so late in Spain, and we immediately fell into the pattern of taking an afternoon rest, and then going out again later, to sample tapas at different bars and cafés.


After eating that night at Bar Rubio, our favourite bar, we made our way back to the square, to find hundreds of people, including families and children, in rows of chairs, watching an old man in the spotlight on the stage singing the beautiful Spanish songs that seem to be full of pain and longing, to the accompaniment of a young man playing flamenco guitar. We wandered happily back to our accommodation just before midnight, leaving earlier than everybody else. I found out later this was the Plaza de la Corredera, built in the 17th century, apparently Cordoba’s grandest square, and the location of executions at the time of the Inquisition!.


Be Sociable, Share!

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply