(December 19, 2012) Medina Azahar and return
It’s difficult we will still have pending visits in Cordoba
at this point, but if we have, we could do them this morning.
After that, we would drive to Medina Azahara ruins
outside the city.
When finished from this visit we would cover the 140 Km to
Seville and, depending on the time, we could do some missing visits in
that city or going directly to deliver the car and to the airport for
our flight back to home, scheduled by 8:30 PM.
We leave the hotel with no rushes, so we check out at 11 AM after breakfast, tidiness and baggage last details.
We’re carrying our bags while going through the Roman Bridge paying
attention to more details as if this was the last time, which it could
be. Yesterday, a man in a bar explained to us the wild bush area in the
middle of the river, now at our right, is a protected area because of
the birds living there. It is called “Sotos de la Albolafia” and there
are the ruins of some ancient mills in there too.
We say goodbye to Calahorra Tower and reach the car, which is resting where we left it the day before yesterday.
We drive Cadiz Avenue down to get the Bridge of Andalusia to go across
the river and it is there where the first signs pointing to “Medinat
Al-zahra” appear. We follow them to reach the place in less than 30
Parking is big and we walk to the only
building here, with a modern design matching with the landscape. We
think this is just the visitor’s center, but it is more than that:
there is a museum too but, before, we’re recommended to watch the movie
is going to be projected in a few minutes in the cinema they have here
too. We’re explained as well the ruins are two kilometers far and
everything is free but the bus to reach them: 2.10€ by the return trip,
which must be paid directly to the bus driver.
The movie is a computer simulation about how live was in the city
and the common daily task of their people focused on the main places we
are going to see in there. I haven’t expected to be so entertaining and
it helps a lot as, once seen, you don’t need any guide while exploring
The museum is small but modern, or even futurist. I can see some animated displays in 3D I only saw before in sci-fi movies.
When we think we’re ready we address to the exit, passing by the
stores, where you can see the lot of stones off display they have in
there trough big windows.
A sign says bus pass every 30 minutes since 10 AM to 6 PM, which goes
to 8 PM in summer. While waiting for it, we can enjoy with a couple of
storks in a low roof across the parking.
Bus arrives and this short ride leaves us in front of the door of
the ancient city ruins, which appears with the fog occupying its
streets. We’re told they’re out of Spanish maps as the format is going
to be changed. This already happened with the info we got at museum,
which is in English too.
The mist gives a magical touch to this place and we get into that mix
of clouds and stones. The first choice appears right at the beginning:
“Official area” at left or “Residential area” at right. We choose the
first one with no reason.
We immediately reach the upper basilica building, which only has
its roof missing, and we pass through the city doors to get into the
gardens of the Hall of Abd al-Rahman III using temporary platforms. The
hall is on improvement works and it is not allowed the entrance.
It seems like everything here is in improvements, including the
vouchers and maps, and when the works are over the itinerary will be
logically in a loop, but now we must return back by walking by the same
path we follow to here, passing again through the platforms which allow
us to see the Mosque below, and a little bit further, the bulls in
Now we must explore the residential area, which is quite smaller
than the official one. There we find the oven and the House of Ya’far,
which we were explained in the movie about. We pass though the guards’
quarter and the stable, finishing a very pleasant visit.
The next is waiting for the bus to take the car once back in the
parking and driving to A4 to Seville. It’s 1:15 PM, so we’ll need to
stop for lunching on the road.
We see our first Osborne bull and pass by places as “Puente Viejo” and “La Carlota”.
Somehow, just after reaching Ecija, we stop to lunch in a
restaurant beside a big gas station. Its name: “Venta del Empalme”.
We choose soups and meats from the daily menu and we end
satisfied as food is good by 20€ in total. We leave the place some
minutes past 3 PM.
We continue our trip passing by Ecija, which greet us with its pointed towers.
We still see another Osborne bull but, before, we’ve been
wondering what could be a sort of silver tower shining to the sun at
far, in the middle of nowhere. It looks like something out of this
planet, although I would find out later it is the Sun Tower.
A police security check in the road makes us to spend quite time
waiting in a long row of vehicles and help us to decide not going to
Seville, but directly to deliver the car.
We take exit 532 and follow the indications in the map they gave
us in Goldcar to reach their office and deliver the car around 5 PM. As
we have time to waste we let a family to use the next transfer of the
airport and we wait for the other one.
security check we look at the few shops of this small airport spending
the close to two hours they’ve taken to put our boarding gate in
In the less than two hours of our flight
we’re recalling our experience: we love these Andalusian cities!! We’re
surprised about how much we liked Seville which we were far to imagine
that well cared. We can sort the cities we’ve liked more by: Seville,
Cordoba and Granada. Somehow, the top 3 for monuments is: Alhambra,
Alcazar of Seville and Great Mosque of Cordoba.
Flight lands in time and we call to park&fly to be picked up and be
able of being in our car in exchange of 57.65€.