A small miracle in Cordoba
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.