I’ve been meaning to get my act together and sort out a semblance of a routine, now that school has officially started (not yet quite in my head), but that’s still pretty much a work in progress. I’ve always done my studying and readings at night but now that my nights are packed with tuitions after class… All I’m capable of doing once I’m back home is to stare at my readings before resigning to the fact that all I want to do is roll around in bed and sleep. So that pretty much calls for immediate intervention as my backlog accumulates into a pile of “Ah, I-need-to-get-that-done-now!” items.
Besides the increasing workload and other projects I’ve thrown myself into (more on this some other time), I’m still adamant in keeping up with writing because…. the memories are starting to wane in intensity.
Oh the horror!
As much as I am excited to share my experiences with everyone, this blog started out as a means for me to document my travels for my own (and family’s) sake. I would like to be able to refer back to it in the years to come, when I’m facing crisis or need a pick-me-up, knowing that I had an adventure of a lifetime and was bound for more, inshaAllah.
Based on the ‘one-entry-a-day’ effort that I successfully executed during my last 1.5 weeks in Manchester, I will aim for a ‘one-entry-in-2-days’ goal for. My nights will now be dedicated to writing, which seems more feasible than reading long articles.
Which pretty much brings us back to where I last stopped for Cordoba!
I was thinking of starting off with the Mezquita-Cathedral but… I don’t think I’m ready to delve into that yet. Much happened before, during and after my visit to that historical place, all of which require a higher level of energy and reflection than I am able to muster for now.
So let me start off with what I truly did first once I reached the historical center: I got myself lost in the juderia.
The juderia, or the Jewish quarter, is an area of the Andalucian city that I found extremely intriguing. Sevilla too had an extensive juderia, all with narrow winding streets, a maze of backlanes, interesting arches and unassuming building fronts.
I loved how everything seemed like a mess but within that mess, there was an order. The roads aren’t built like Hogwart’s staircases (which switch and change at their fancy), thus with time, a keen eye and a sharp mind, one will be able to figure out the maze.
I found out later on that the juderias were built as such so that Jews were able to outwit and outrun the police chasing them!
I loved the feeling of walking with no clue whatsoever of where I’m heading to but equipped still with a keen knowledge that wherever it is I end up at will be amazing. I was walking on cobbled paths that have been threaded upon by generations past, and this very area was the dwellings of an old people; it was soaked in history. I was between a state of being on high sensory alert and floating about: so alive and so free. It was magical.
While walking about and after turning a corner, I was greeted by this sight:
An old mosque’s minaret, attached to what is now a the Church of San Juan, which is located in the Jewish quarter. Talk about multi-faith!
The actual structure of the minaret has not been changed since the 10th century!
I found it particularly interesting that the only reason I actually knew about this little bit of history was a little note in the walking tour guide-map I got from the bus station. It isn’t mentioned anywhere else on the many website, forums and books I read while doing research. The minute I saw it, I knew it was significant so I looked it up on the map and voila, I saw the little note “Arab minaret” beside its name.
But I’ve got to be honest… What I loved even more was peeping into open doors/windows as I walked through the lanes and seeing beautiful courtyards within! Ok I know this isn’t exactly the nicest thing to do but ah, it’s like finding treasure!
You could possibly imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon a house that was turned into a craft workshop/market. I managed to step into an actual Spanish courtyard!
It was lush. It was fresh. It was alive.
I cannot find any better symbol for the Andalucia I experienced. (:
Besides the minaret and the courtyard (and the getting lost), I managed to stumble upon several other interesting finds in the juderia.
I stumbled upon the synagogue (quite unsurprising since it was indeed the Jewish quarter) but this particular one caught my attention because it was the only remaining medieval synagogue in Andalucia!
Managed to see some ancient Roman remains too!
I personally found these columns quite forlorn and, well, forgotten. They seem to be remarkable structures surviving through the centuries but their presence seem to have lost its wondrous novelty. Quite a white elephant, I feel.
I eventually found myself walking around in circles before I decided to sit down and face the practical issues that was bogging me down.
There was a very practical reason why I didn’t head straight to the Mezquita-Cathedral… A reason I’ll probably tell you in the next entry.
Till then, I’m going to do my best not to feel overwhelmed and live each life to the fullest! I wish the same for you too! ❤