Madrid via Cordoba to the Villa

July 18, 2018 - Córdoba, Spain


Wednesday 18th

We were all up at 7 for breakfast between 8 and 8.30, as we had ordered a 6-person taxi to take us to Atocha. Again this morning we were charged more than the metred fare and when David questioned this – again – we were told – again – that the fare was for 4 people not 6. We were a bit sceptical but on the other hand Max and I have never felt that we have been ripped off in Spain, by taxi drivers or anyone else, and having been given the same information twice, I was inclined to accept it.

There was enough time before our train to Cordoba at 10 to explore the lovely station a bit and I was keen to introduce everyone to the tortoises in the downstairs tropical garden. Alas! No tortoises. Indeed no water – only gardens now. Which were nice enough if you hadn’t been looking forward to tortoises.

The train trip is very comfortable and relaxing of course, even though we were only in Turista. I glanced at the monitor from time to time and the fastest speed I saw was 270km per hour. Imagine! The landscape was dry and rugged, but we still saw olive groves and orchards as well as the rugged mountains.

We arrived in Cordoba at 11.43 and sadly said goodbye to Sue and Jackie as they got a taxi to their hotel. They are staying at the Casas Juderias on Max’s and my recommendation so I hope they enjoy it.

We went across the street to the Bus Station with the office of Enterprise Car rentals and David and Sarah signed up as drivers. The young woman who did all the paperwork told us that if the driver didn’t have an international licence the police could stop us, take the car and fine us 1000 euros. We had never heard of this before, and in fact when I looked at the contract it only required ‘a valid driving licence’, no mention of ‘international’ so I wasn’t too worried. We were able to leave our luggage in the beautiful Citroen 4 diesel ‘Picasso’ and go off to find lunch. We walked from the bus station through yet another lovely park and gardens and found a restaurant there. We each chose the 10 euro set 3 course menu, but had a different selection each. Lucie chose what sounded like an interesting entrée which was supposed to involve strawberries, but she and Sarah who both only tried it said the strawberries were not in evidence and the dish itself looked and tasted like Farex. David and I had quite a nice crumbed pork and ham roll, and the baked custard or rice pudding were both good.

Then it was time to go back and collect the car. David did a great job driving – his first time on the wrong side – and Sarah was a very careful and calming navigator. Once we were out of the streets of Cordoba – which is a much bigger town that you would think if you had only ever stayed in the old part – we enjoyed the trip on the motorway. The olive groves became more dense, eventually covering as far aw the eye could see, right up to the top of the mountains.

We stopped in the little town of Cabra to buy supplies. Apart from the house in Torrox, Max and I have only ever stayed in hotels, so have had no reason to buy the basics in a supermarket. Sarah and I had a hilarious time. Most of the labels on tins or packets meant nothing to us, notwithstanding pictures, and although we found most things we were stuck for cream. Sarah asked for crème or crema, and was shown honey, nutella and peanut butter before having the bright idea of Googling pasta carbonara on her phone, and encountering another shopper who recognised the picture and led Sarah to what she herself used as cream when she was making that dish. Whether or not it was cream as we know it we are not sure, but it eventually did the job. There was a huge amount of long-life milk, but we had trouble finding the actual fresh leche – when I showed a willing but bewildered staff member a bottle of what I though was it he shook his head vigorously but wasn’t able to help in a positive way. Sarah decided it was probably drinking yoghurt. In the end we came upon some cartons of leche fresca in a small refrigerated cabinet, much to our delight. Then, when we got back to the car, we remembered we hadn’t got mushrooms so I went back and found the same willing and friendly staff members (although they didn’t look exactly thrilled when they saw me coming back). I tried ‘mushrooms’. Blank stare. ‘Vegetables? Tomatoes? For Pizza?’ It was kind of like a game of Pictionary – I would suggest something, they came up with another word. We shook our heads, smiled, waved our hands, until I had the bright idea of finding a packaged pizza and pointing out a sliver of mushroom on it. Light dawned. Champignons! I was taken to a tin of mushrooms tired ‘fresca’. Success! It has become one of my ambitions to learn Spanish.

By the time we arrived at the villa at almost 7 o’clock – Cortija da Preso – there was nothing to be seen but olive trees, right up to the top of the hills. We turned off the winding road and up a steep driveway and there it was. In effect it is a large two storeyed L-shaped white house with a lovely walled courtyard held within the arms. The walls of this courtyard, and the walls of the house itself, are hung with flat-backed flower pots filled with red and pink geraniums, and there is a water trough on one wall with a small fountain constantly dripping into it. Each arm of the house has a number of brown wooden doors, each leading to a separate apartment and each apartment has two bedrooms each with its own bathroom, and in addition, those with ground-floor living areas have a separate toilet downstairs.

We were greeted by Will, Bex and lovely little smiley Charlie, Tom and Emily with Finn who is energetic, chatty, funny and gorgeous, and of course baby Isla, 6 months old and also very sweet. It was so lovely to see them all and there was much hugging and laughing all round. Lucie chose to share an apartment with Sarah and David and so I had one to myself, but their living area was the general family meeting place. ‘The Canadians’ arrived about an hour later, everyone got settled, and then we started to get the dinner. The babies, including Finn, had their dinner while we drinks and nibbles. Then we took our spaghetti carbonara out of the courtyard to a long dining table under a lovely vine-covered pergola with a long dining table.

There was a lot to catch up on so we were quite late getting to bed.


1 Comment

July 27, 2018
It’s great to have some background stories to go with Sarah ‘s Facebook photos :)
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