Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How Water Almost Washed Out Córdoba

For the past three weeks, due to a broken washing machine, I have washed clothes by hand. My landlord doesn't understand the need to wash sweaty clothing during a summer of daily temperatures hitting 40 – 50 degrees Celsius, so his search for a replacement has been slow, to say the least. When technicians finally came to fix the old one, I felt relieved, until there was a problem cutting the water. Due to my favorite friend, Mr. Language Barrier, I didn't understand what was involved in turning off the water to my flat. The techs very quickly, in Spanish, said “Youneedtogetaplumberorsomeonewithakeytoturnitoffdownstairsinthewaterroom.” I had no idea what they were talking about, as I'd never done it before. They left, water dripping under the sink where they'd disconnected the water hose. “But I'm leaving for Córdoba in a few hours,” I said.

“Have a nice trip,” said the tech, and he slammed the front door closed.

I called my landlord, who was not in town. He very quickly, in Spanish, said “Youneedtogetthekeytoopenthewaterroomdownstairsandturnoffthewatertoyourflat.” This key, which I didn't have, involved knocking on several neighbours' doors, finding no one home, and having to walk all the way to one neighbour's workplace in order to get her key. “When are you leaving for Córdoba?” my landlord asked, as I huffed back to my flat.

“At 1 p.m.”

“It's only 11:30 a.m., there's plenty of time,” he assured me. Uh, do you know what country we're living in? I thought. 1.5 hours is NOT enough time to deal with this problem.

Sure enough, I was right. By the time I struggled to turn off the water, waited for my landlord's relative to come and try to turn off the water as well, and cleaned up the mess from the leak in my flat, I had missed my window for the Blablacar. I ended up having to settle for a bus 3 hours later. I called my travel buddy and begged him to meet me for a mandatory alcoholic drink.

As the wine settled into my veins and relaxed me, I excitedly looked forward to forgetting the catastrophic morning and hearing great music at the Guitar Festival of Córdoba. The concert of the night: Chicuelo, Santiago Lara, and Alfredo Lagos. Three absolutely talented guitarists. It was a mesmerizing evening, watching their fingers fly over the strings.
We stayed at the very comfortable, centrally-located Hotel González overnight, and made the most of the next day: a visit to the Mezquita, a climb up the Cathedral tower, an indulgent visit to a microbrewery, and a fabulous meal of salmorejo Cordobese and THE BEST CROQUETAS I've ever eaten, at Casa Pepe. We survived the intense heat by walking in the shade, always having a granizado or cold water in hand, and popping into every air-conditioned shop that was open on a Sunday.

Córdoba's antique centre requires, at minimum, a full day. Every turn you make, you stumble across a unique restaurant, or shop, or historic site. This was my third visit and I realized that there were still more hidden spots that I had no time to see. I'll be visiting Córdoba again, hopefully this time without a flood.

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