After a night basking under the Supermoon outside Jaen, I set off to Cordoba. It’s 115km, so I reckoned leaving myself 20-30km the following morning.
My route had other ideas.
The road rolled gently over hills and valleys, oozing through infinite olive groves that turned the landscape into a Litchenstein painting. Dot like trees forming a matrix across the read and golden ground. Farms, villages and refineries area the only accents, accepted only to service the monoculture. Plumes of olive scented smoke drift through the hills, clouds beyond the reach of the Andalucian sun.
The road was so dreamy, the views surreal and beautiful, photo stops aside I made good progress, flying through the meanders.
As darkness fell I felt no desire to stop. I finally got round to adjusting my front light so I could see more than 6ft ahead, and suddenly the night world was my oyster. Buoyed up by the energy of a wonderful day, the gleaming lights of the city ahead and the challenge of a couple of hills at the end, I rode on. 115km in one day. Boom. And what a treat lay in store at the end...
To misquote Bill Bryson, if you’ve never been to Cordoba, go there at once. Take my bike.
The old town twists and turns, with Moorish design and architecture creating the perfect city for 45 degree summers. Flowered patios compete for beauty and tranquillity, a thousand oases in the urban heart. The bars, tapas and gelatarias are plentiful and excellent. La Bicycletta called out to a lone cyclist, a hipster haven in the historic centre; the food, drinks and atmosphere were all there.
And that's before I've even mentioned the Mozquita. It is stunning - but the atmosphere when you walk in can't be captured - the smell of burning incense, the calm, the cool. Walking through a forest of columns, moorish arches crowned with gothic gargoyles, to the sound of the organist warming up.