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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cordoba another Constantinople

While planning the trip, two cities which we were visiting in Spain were fixed Madrid and Barcelona in that order. The tricky part was to plan the rest of it. We could do the northern part with Bilbao, San Sebastián and Pamplona, which is pleasant in the summers and that could have been clubbed with the French Riviera, to really make it a happening trip. The time we were travelling almost coincided with the bull run in Pamplona. A festival which is now so familiar to Indians because of the movie 'Zindagi na milegi dobara.' We did watch the movie again to see if we could get some help in planning the itinerary. But they have changed the timing of the festivals according to the story line. In actual the Tomatina festival takes place in August and the Bull run in July, while in the movie the order is reversed.

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The request for Spanish visa by Indians has increased manifold after the release of the movie. It does take a while to procure the visa for Spain it's best to apply for it, at least a month prior to the visit especially in summer.
Or we could take it easy and do central Spain near Madrid, Salamanca, Valladolid, include the nearby places Segovia, Toledo.

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The southern part which is more touristy includes Cordoba, Seville, Granada, Valencia. It's warmer in the south especially Seville. But people said that to see Spain it is a must to visit Seville. Then of course we could include Malaga in the south.

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We decided on Southern Spain, despite the heat. As we did not have many days with us, we planned on day trips for Cordoba and Granada. That was how we reached in Cordoba on a Monday, a day when many attractions are closed, but the main, Mezquita, which we wanted to visit was open. We took a superfast train (Ave), this time from Atocha Station at 7:00am in the morning reaching Cordoba at 8:42am. We were quite impressed by the coach. We boarded the train like one boards a flight.
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At the station there was no locker facility, we asked an official for such a facility nearby.  Outside of Madrid and Barcelona, the locals are not versed in English, but they are helpful and use sign language to help. He told us to look right after leaving the station. We could not take our luggage with us while going for sightseeing, so we had decided to keep it in a luggage locker. we
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