This last weekend there was an ICS sponsored trip to Italica in Santiponce on Friday and Cordoba on the Saturday.
Friday was a perfect day in Sevilla. There were no clouds in the sky, it wasn’t scorching hot but warm with a fresh breeze. Everyone caught the bus in Plaza de Armas and got to Santiponce without a hitch.
The Roman Ruins of Italica in Santiponce date back to 206 BC and was the birthplace of the emperors Trajano and Hadrian. As a prosperous municipality of Rome, this city housed an ampitheater, bath houses, as well as several larger homes. Excavations of the site began in the 1700s and continue to this day. Many of the mosaic floors are still intact and show the high level of engineering that the Romans cultivated. The sewer system for example still works and is in great condition. The interesting thing is that they only used gravity for it to function. Some points of interest within the Italica are the Casa de Pajaros, the Public baths and the Amphitheatre. The Amphitheatre has a space in the middle where it can be filled with water and water battles could be reenacted. There is also the Greek version of you must be this tall to get on the ride. On a piece of marble they drew feet / shoes and it is believed that you had to have feel larger than the drawing in order to be allowed inside the amphitheatre which I am such had some brutal and gruesome sights in its heyday. After Italica the whole group stopped off for lunch and had “patatas arrugas” or crinkled potatoes with roasted meat and a salsa native to Santiponce that consisted mainly of olive oil, paprika and garlic.
Santiponce was having the last feria or fair of the season so we walked over to it to explore it. Santiponce is a small town and when we walked in typical Spanish fashion, they just stopped and stared at us. I still haven’t gotten used to that reaction. In the tents they had people dancing Sevillanas a style of Flamenco and me being well me imitated them… and I wasn’t half bad if I do say so myself – lol - . Many ladies in the feria were dressed in typical feria wear – i.e. a flamenco type dress or skirt and top combo and I have every intention of bringing one back with me.
The next day was Cordoba. When my sis and I reached at the designated spot at 8.30 something a.m. we were greeted by other members of the program with ‘the bus already left’, naturally we thought that they were kidding but we quickly realized that they were not. Between the time that we arrived and 8.45 about half the program arrived , they like the rest of us waiting all thought that the bus would be leaving for 9am at the latest. Around 20 people, almost half the program missed the bus to Cordoba. Que barbaridad !! . After hemming and hawing as a group, we decided to get to Cordoba on our own.
In order to save time we decided to share taxi’s to Plaza de Armas which someone assured us would have buses to Cordoba. When we reached Plaza de Armas I asked information for the bus to Cordoba the time schedule etc. that is when I found out that we were at the wrong station. We were supposed to be at the Prado San Sebastian which was walking distance from where we were standing before getting the taxi’s that meant another taxi ride to the Prado cause as we stepped outside the station we saw the bus that would take us over there going round the corner.
So we finally got the ticket to Cordoba on our own and then we almost miss the bus. Our ticket said platform one but the bus was actually at platform 19.
HINT OF THE DAY don’t trust what’s written on your bus ticket – ask people. Always!!!
When we reached Cordoba, we met up with the other half of the program and took the tour with them to Alcazar of Cordoba. After the tour of the Alcazar we toured the Mezquita on our own. Under the rule of Islam, it was built as the second-largest mosque in the world. After the Spanish reconquista it was transformed into a church and honestly they did a pretty bad job of it which I am grateful for. The best way to describe it would be a mosque where they inserted Christian imagery to the sides of the walls. A muslim girl who was with me agreed and said that all that was missing for it to be more like a mosque was the carpets on the floor.
Around 3pm my sis and I started getting snippy with each other couldn’t decide on where to eat it , so in the end said – eff it and got burger king. When we came out of Burger King, I was accosted by gypsy women. After giving my fries to one with a young child another woman came up to me and looked into my bag saying “give me, you have more” Val a girl who was with me gave her an extra sandwich and the cheeky lady went across the street picked out the meat and threw away the rest of the sandwich. I guess beggars CAN be choosers. After lunch we all walked around the Juderia – the old jewish sector of Cordoba and went to a couple of flea markets. I had 2 Moroccan guys that day introduce themselves while others just watched/stared at me. It could be easy to get a complex here. All in all I returned home tired but happy that I went.