A Sunday Afternoon in the ByWard Market (Ottawa)

A Sunday Afternoon in the ByWard Market (Ottawa)

Category Archives: Spain

On Bastille day (we are in Europe afterall :), we went to visit Cordoba and its famous Mezquita. This old Mosque-turned-Cathedral was fantastic; a truly unique place. Here is my TripAdvisor review: You enter an arch-filled mosque lit by orange-colored light bulbs in intricate rounded chandeliers surrounded by hundreds of columns; a vastness that somehow makes you feel at peace. Then you walk around and bam! you get transported to a full-fledged Catholic Cathedral embedded in the middle of the mosque with an amazingly decorated high altar and an even more amazingly decorated choir built completely of red mahogany. One moment you are surrounded by the dim calming light of Islam, the next you are transported to the bright and ornate grandeur of Catholics. It is a must see in the region. Do read up on the history and the significance of the place before visiting.

But back to the subject at hand… As we were making our way to our designated train lane to leave Cordoba – a little deflated after buying another set of return tickets as our initial (non-transferable ones) were for 8 p.m. (just too damn hot in the city to wait that long*), Justin, who is in front, almost jumps out of his body as something moving hits his sandaled foot. What is it but a tiny bird clasping its wings and walking (stunned ?!?) on the hot concrete floor of the train station settling itself beside a huge pillar. Em and I looked around and on top of the pillars to see if another bird was around (a mother, a sister, a lover, anyone), but none seemed to be around. We waited, hemmed and hawed, before deciding to rescue the poor creature, still in what we called the fetus position, lying beside the pillar. And when I say we, I mean my daughter and I, for the boys wanted nothing to do with this. So without leaving my boy much choice to protest, I grabbed his baseball cap and made my way to the bird. The little thing easily crawled into the cap and remained still throughout our voyage simply looking through the back hole. We carried it under a tree and surrounded it by foliage, water being just a few feet away.

Of course, we questioned ourselves if we were messing with nature, but I hope we were rescuers and not something more sinister. I tell myself that all living creatures prefer dirt, leaves and grass to concrete whether to thrive or die (which is why I always pick up worms on the road after it has rained to put them back on the grass even those that seem beyond hope, but I digress). Well, in any case, as the Cordoban train was leaving the platform, all I hoped was for birdy to have found what was needed to survive in this harsh world.

Buen dia!

 

*when I say hot, I mean 46 degrees Celsius hot, as in nothing good can happen in this weather… as in food tastes off, even water tastes off! All you want is to get back to your air-conditioned apartment and lit down.

The lively Barrio Santa Cruz district of Sevilla thrives with tourists, leafy orange trees, a web of tangled streets, old world ambiance architecture and… secret cloisters! We knew they existed, and we tried to find some in Madrid, but alas, either the timing wasn’t right or we didn’t have the right password. This time, however, we found what we were looking for. Behind the impressive front gate of the Augustinian convent, in a dark corner, is a grand old wooden torno (lazy Susan) where your money gets magically replaced by sweet treats or (if you are quick enough and fluent enough to ask)… a consecrated rosary. And rosarios we received! Two rosaries from cloistered nuns who will find their way to my parents-in-law :). To a peaceful and prosperous future!

Stay tuned for more on Sevilla and our Cordoba side-trip.

Buen dia!