The Jewish Chronicle - - TRAVEL -

ar­ti­fi­cial light from thou­sands of small oil lamps.

Not to be missed is a stroll around the el­e­gant Old Town Square, as well as the mu­seum de­voted to Julio Romero de Tor­res, whose paint­ings are dis­played in a 16th-cen­tury hospi­tal in the Plaza del Potro. The sen­su­al­ity of Cór­doba is, in many ways, em­bod­ied in the se­duc­tive women painted by this early 20th-cen­tury artist.

A par­tic­u­larly lovely time to visit Cór­doba is in May, when the city holds its Pa­tio Fes­ti­val. The com­pe­ti­tion, held among the white-washed court­yards of the old quar­ter, is de­signed to find the best of the spec­tac­u­lar pa­tios, dec­o­rated with the abun­dant lo­cal flora. Grab­bing its coat tails is a bal­cony and win­dows com­pe­ti­tion. won last year by a house with four bal­conies over­flow­ing with pink, crim­son and vi­o­let gera­ni­ums.

Per­haps the big­gest sur­prise in Cór­doba was find­ing a ho­tel that I was deeply sad­dened to leave. El Pala­cio del Bailío, a De­sign Ho­tel and the city’s only five-star ho­tel, has been cre­ated inside a 16th-cen­tury An­dalu­sian palace in the heart of Cór­doba’s his­toric quar­ter. It has re­stored coach houses and sta­bles, as well as a breath­tak­ing Moor­ish gar­den adorned with Tus­canstyle 18th-cen­tury mu­rals and mar­ble foun­tains shaded by orange trees. The first-floor cor­ri­dor had enor­mous star­burst chan­de­liers and sump­tu­ous so­fas tucked clev­erly into wall en­claves, while the room was a nother del i ght, all high ceil­ings, pale decor, ex­posed brick walls, and dark wood fur­nish­ings. Who would want to leave this sanc­tu­ary of sen­su­al­ity, ex­cept to visit the spa (Ayurvedic mas­sage, plan­tar re­flex­ol­ogy, holis­tic bal­anc­ing fa­cial and more) or the Sen­zone Restau­rant — for once a gourmet treat in a ho­tel. And — even more sur­pris­ing — a fine, kosher 2002 Flor de Pri­mav­era from the Montsant re­gion of Tar­rag­ona on the wine list.

A bed­room in the El Pala­cio del Bailio

The arched pil­lars in the eighth-cen­tury mosque which be­came a cathe­dral af­ter the Moors left Spain

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