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cordoba with jo and liam
Yesterday I spent the day in Córdoba with Twitter friends Jo @JoBW and Liam @AnFearBui, their daughter Cáit and friend Sean. I’ve “known” Jo and Liam for quite awhile and so was thrilled that I finally got a chance to meet them in person as they were holidaying in Granada and Córdoba this summer. And as is so often the case with Twitter pals, it felt just like meeting old friends.

As many of you know, I love Córdoba, so I don’t actually need much of an excuse to hop on a train (round trip ticket 21€) even if it’s just for the day. But I almost bailed when it turned out that this week we were in the middle of a crazy “orange alert” Heat Wave – not really the kind of weather you want to be out and about in. But then I reckoned that we’d probably be inside cool tapas bars most of the time, and I really really wanted to meet Jo and Liam, so off I went.

Previously I’d been in touch with the Palacio de Viana, which I’d visited last year. I wanted to know if they could arrange a tour for me and a friend (I thought Markus from veoapartment was coming but it turned out he couldn’t make it) and they were very happy to provide me with two free passes for the patios and the upstairs tour, knowing I would be writing about it both on my azahar’s Sevilla blog and also on Twitter. Then I told Jo about it and they all wanted to come too. So it was very kind of Viana to invite us all in when I showed up with four friends instead of one. We spent about two hours wandering through the patios and then taking the tour, which we quite enjoyed in spite of The Heat (those old palace rooms are not air-conditioned!). And so after that it was clearly time for a Very Cold Beer.

Plaza de la CorrederaYears ago on my first ever visit to Córdoba I “discovered” the Plaza de la Corredera totally by accident and it turned out to be a perfect spot to stop for a pre-lunch cold beer. Since then it’s become a bit of a ritual… I cannot go to Córdoba now without a cold beer stop in the Corredera. So that is where we ended up yesterday, and afterwards we took a quick tour of the little market on one side of the square. Then it was time to find the restaurant I’d booked for lunch.

This was another accidental find and it turned out to be wonderful. A Sephardic restaurant called Casa Mazal in the old Jewish quarter. We shared huge plates of battered aubergines, chicken in spicy paprika sauce with bulgur wheat, couscous with duck confit, grilled tuna belly, falafel… all in a gorgeous setting and in great company with lots of lovely wine. And then all too soon I found myself wishing I’d booked a later train! But there was just enough time after our long “sobre mesa” to take a quick trip over to the Victoria Market, a new gourmet food court, where Sean ended up having an impromptu sherry tasting at one of the stalls. I had ordered a manzanilla for him but the barman insisted that he try some of the local “sherry” (you can’t actually call it sherry if it isn’t from a small area in Cádiz) which ended up with Sean, me and Jo trying about six different wines, all on the house (!!) while Liam and Cáit wondered where we’d gone off to. Then we all had one final drink together before it was time for me to lurch over to the train station… and I’m happy to report that I made my train with a whole five minutes to spare!

I’m still smiling thinking of all the wonderful memories we made together. And I am already looking forward to seeing my new Dublin friends again, hopefully soon as they do come to Spain quite often. Meanwhile we’ll stay in touch on Twitter and by email, but it’s extra nice now having faces and voices to put to the names. I really feel like my life got a lot richer yesterday.