Normally, the alarm goes off at 6:30 and we allow ourselves until about 7 o’clock before getting up to do our yoga and meditation before breakfast. Not today though, for today we are going to Cordoba. And that’s a long drive (almost 2,5 hours) from here, so we’d better get going.
We arrive in the city at around 11 o’clock and park the car at the Centro Historico, from which we walk in the direction where everyone is going. Very soon, we see the first floats pass by. For today is the Battle of the Flowers. Which means that there are 14 floats, decorated with thousands of paper flowers and “inhabited” by (mostly) women in colourful traditional outfits.
They gather at the Paseo de la Victoria. The women busy themselves tearing coronations off their stems and stuffing them in bags. But that leaves many stems with flower buds, and the public is allowed to gather those and take them home. So there are people with arms full of stems everywhere. If we were staying near, we certainly would have picked ourselves a bouquet as well.
Battle of the Flowers
Since the battle is supposed to begin at noon, we spend the remaining time walking up and down the road past the floats. Admiring them, as well as all the dressed up people. At noon, there is a sound like an explosion. This is the starting signal and the floats start moving. The women in them throw flowers at the gathered crowd, who gladly throw them back.
Fortunately, we arrived early and thus had ample time to admire all the floats. For once moving, all fourteen of them pass us within ten minutes time, and that’s it more or less. There’s such a big crowd around the floats that we don’t feel like joining the masses and we decide to visit the city.
We leisurely walk into the city center and start looking for a place where we can eat. Because even though it’s only 12:30, we’re hungry! It’s a lovely city with little streets that are really well taken care of. Most of the houses are painted white and there are pots with flowers everywhere. And it’s so clean!
It’s a bit of a challenge eating out as vegetarians in Andalucia, so when we pass a restaurant that explicitly promotes vegetarian dishes, we decide to give it a try. We share a plate of spinach with chickpeas, and a vegetable paella. Both delicious. Not as cheeps as near us, but hey, this is a big city!
We spend the afternoon meandering through the city. It’s the last day of the May crosses and we very much enjoy the festive atmosphere that comes with it. It’s a contest of crosses, decorated with flowers. Many neighbourhoods join in the contest, and at every cross, there’s a (tapas) bar with music. Sometimes even live music and Flamenco dancing and singing, as we discover!
Cordoba is also known for its patio’s (courtyards). The traditional Andalusian architecture includes a patio in many city houses, and people take pride in creating beauty there. Not just in Cordoba, but in all cities here, you can often have a peep as you walk by a door standing open. This year’s patio festival starts tomorrow, but unfortunately, we won’t be here. But we manage to see quite some of them through the bars of their entrance doors.
It was a wonderful day, and we would like to stay longer. We have to return home though, but maybe sometime in the future, we’ll have the opportunity to visit again.