Up and at 'em this morning to catch our 8:30 train to Cordoba from Madrid. Some back and forth lack of decision making led to us not having a scheduled guide for Cordoba today although we spoke to many ahead of time. As I believe everything happens for a reason this led mom to stand in a not so short line at the tourist information desk at the train station. The biggest site to see in Cordoba is the Mosque-Cathedral and one of the main reasons we were going. Our train arrived at 10:30 which was also the time the church closed today because "holy week is very holy in Cordoba" and the only way we could see the inside was if we attended mass at noon and told the guard "we were there to pray".
We were not amused with the news but with there being no other way to see inside we hopped in a cab and drove into town. As the last tourists were leaving we were escorted in with another group who was "there to pray" and shown where to sit for mass. Oh and the mass started at 11:30, not noon, so good thing we got there directly from the train because it was 11:28. And so began our day of no one in this city knowing what times things will happen.
Mass was just about the longest mass I had ever been to aside from the time mom told us we could go to the Saturday vigil and could skip Easter Sunday (which was the worst "deal" in mother/child history). Not only was the mass long but, of course, entirely in Spanish, with every priest from the diocese in attendance and the most long winded homily ever given. I think since the priest was sitting while giving the homily, he just kept on going because its not like he was getting tired of standing up. Poor Sheridan's first activity with us is to attend an almost two hour mass where I can't even explain to her what's going on because it's in Spanish. She was a good sport and the mass was worth it in the end for us to be able to see inside the mosque-cathedral.
After leaving the church mom pulled out our trusty guide book to explain some of what we had just seen inside. As she's reading through the history line by line she says "and they would all chant Allah, Allah, whatever" and skimmed over the rest. That phrase will be one for the books just like the UPs store or the ravioli that tasted like air. They, the ones chanting, were the over 20,000 people who would come to prayer in the mosque each day. When the Catholics took over the space they chose to keep much of the mosque's architecture and build a church in the center. It's a very bizarre hybrid and like nothing else I have ever seen. Google it and check out the inside, since we were just "there to pray" I couldn't take pics. I also attached a pic I found online so you can see the overhead view of the church built in the center of the mosque.
We had a small lunch, explored the Jewish quarter, and wandered the shops. Because "holy week is very holy in Cordoba" there was to be a procession around the town where everyone dresses in very...interesting garb. Google Semana Santa (holy week) processions and you'll see what I mean. These processions happen everyday, all over Spain this week and we are hoping to see some in Madrid tomorrow night.
Every person we asked had a different answer of when the procession would start ranging from 5:00-6:30. We set up camp, and then moved sightly down because we were wrong and ended up in a perfect spot up on a set of steps. The procession is like watching a parade in slow motion on your DVR. You're not really sure what's happening, people kinda start to move and then they stop, and there's a whole lot of waiting. The cloaked individuals come out first and then there's a giant...altar? Not sure what to call it that is carried around the city with 20 or so people underneath moving about a millimeter a minute. All in all it was definitely worth sticking around for but I was sure glad I had a seat.
We grabbed some drinks, wandered for food and quickly ate before heading back to make our 8:30 train. Two hours of naps and knitting later we were back in Madrid and ready for bed!