The most difficult part of my trip to Spain was coming home, though I had missed my husband and looked forward to seeing him and my family. The return flight felt like a blood bank extracting my vital life blood sending it to flow upon the dusty arid plains and mountains of Spain, feeding the exotic and soon to be distant world. The farther the distance grew, the less settled I became and upon landing in Chicago, I felt listless and drained. Many would say the feeling was the result of “jet lag”, but I felt it more akin to being given something precious then, after a moment's jubilation, having it snatched away and being left with an empty palm. It is with this in mind that I write my Spanish impressions and share the amazing experience I encountered in a country whose language I didn't know and whose history I could barely fathom. I feel fortunate having the ability to make this trip, one that many people can only dream of.
The trip to Madrid was long but the Iberia staff made it painless, serving wonderful food and some decent free Rioja wine, from the verdant Rioja area of Spain where much of the wine grapes are grown and harvested. After a missed connection, I and my travel partner Ken were finally on our way to Seville, a scenic Andalusian city of southern Spain. Upon landing we got a rental car for the first few days to familiarize ourselves with the terrain before embarking on our moto tour of southern Spain. It was in the airport of Seville that we somehow managed to connect with the rest of our mates from America and we decided to caravan to Lora Del Rio, the town nearest to the house that the group rented.
Leaving the awesome beauty of Seville to the scenic countryside, had anticipation flowing, so much that arriving in Lora, was a bit of a disappointment. It was a blue collar town, less than scenic though bustling. We stopped at the Mercadona, a major grocery store for supplies and necessary libation and headed to the cortijo, which was supposedly located just west of town on a short dirt track. The short track ended up being a 3k track of potholes, loose gravel the size of Idaho bakers and rain gullies full of soft mud. There was no real issue for the rental car, but I was terrified at the thought of riding numerous time over this track on my rental motorbike, a BMW F650GS. I decided to ponder it later...
The road into the house...lovely!
The 10 bedroom casa was amazing, even though the owners had let the condition slide a bit, the grounds were simply stunning, located right in the middle of several acres of orange trees, the white stucco glowed and the swimming pool glittered. This was to be our home, for the next 16 days. Well, as usual plans changed a bit and when traveling flexibility is your best friend.
This little guy had no idea he would become dinner in a few days...; )
Day 1---The corjito and resting up a bit
Swimming and hanging at the villa was the name of this day's game. It felt good simply to re-center anticipating the next day's move!
Our first meal together in Spain, home cooked!
Off to Cordoba to see La Mezquita, the worlds third largest mosque built in 786AD whose identity flows around the cathedral insensitively placed in the center of the mosque in the 16th century. One can feel the ineffable mystical power of the building with it's Mudéjar style. Mudéjar is a Medieval Spanish corruption of the Arabic word Mudajjan مدجن, meaning "domesticated", in a reference to the Muslims who submitted to the rule of the Christian kings.(wikipedia) It's difficult to see the suggested submission, considering the amazing endurance of the structure and to feeling the strength within the walls.
And we haven't even started riding!!