A small mir­a­cle in Cor­doba

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SHEILA DUKE

DICK­SON, ACT WE had al­ways dreamed of vis­it­ing Cor­doba in An­dalu­sia in south­ern Spain, the home of the fa­mous Great Mosque. It was de­scribed to us by those in the know as a city of mod­er­ate size and thus easy to drive around.

Faith­fully fol­low­ing our car’s GPS di­rec­tions, we were to take the first turn over the bridge to the right, drive be­side the Guadalquivir River and then turn first left into Pasaje Santa Teresa Jor­net. There were no traf­fic lights at the cor­ner of that street so we did as one does in Aus­tralia and waited for a break in the traf­fic or a lo­cal driver to slow down and wave us into the flow.

Sud­denly we heard a siren and the man in the po­lice tow-truck be­side us seemed to be wav­ing and shout­ing. What was he say­ing? Our Span­ish was lim­ited to a few phrases such as buenos dias and bue­nas noches and he didn’t seem to be wish­ing us ei­ther good morn­ing or good­night. We drove on.

Not ev­ery­one is ac­com­pa­nied by a po­lice tow-truck with siren roar­ing full-blast when ar­riv­ing in Cor­doba. ‘‘The peo­ple in this part of Spain cer­tainly are a friendly lot,’’ I re­marked to my hus­band.

We­got to a round­about and it was time to farewell our po­lice es­cort. We waved good­bye. He must have been wish­ing us a safe and happy jour­ney, as he was still ges­tic­u­lat­ing as he headed away. We had to get back to Pasaje Santa Teresa Jor­net and the only op­tion was to pro­ceed down a side street and do a U-turn.

So my hus­band turned into the first one we came to, which was one-way. Un­for­tu­nately we were not go­ing the right way. A truck came hurtling to­wards us. What is Span­ish for one way, any­how? The only thing to do was to back up into the main road. Un­for­tu­nately there was a bus com­ing so quick-think­ing hus­band did a U-turn and back we headed to­wards Pasaje Santa Teresa Jor­net.

We ar­rived at a small but busy plaza. Peo­ple sit­ting on benches leapt up as our car ap­proached. Think­ing I’d have to move some fur­ni­ture so we could pass, I opened the door. Alas, the benches were bolted to the ground. So in and out of the seat­ing we drove say­ing, ‘‘Sorry! We’re from Aus­tralia!’’ to the frankly sur­prised lo­cals.

Wekept driv­ing but had no idea where we were headed. But then, a mir­a­cle. We saw the sign for our ho­tel. Send your 400-word con­tri­bu­tion to Fol­low the Reader: travel@ theaus­tralian.com.au. Colum­nists re­ceive an Aubecq fry­pan ($99.99) from the Ev­er­green Clas­sic range of ce­ramic-based eco­cook­ware with non­stick coat­ing. More: (02) 9662 3450; mor­gan­ware.com.au; pe­ter­sofkens­ing­ton. com.au.

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