Cordoba October 2009

The trip to Cordoba wasn’t just a quick break in the autumn sunshine clutching a camera, although it was fantastic to be able to wander around in shirt sleeves and to eat outside late in the evening. This trip was about writing rather than just being a tourist. Over the last few months (which have significantly more sedentary, in travel terms, than earlier in the year - 30-something days annual leave each year just isn’t enough to feed a serious travel habit) I’ve been contemplating writing more about my trips in addition to documenting them with pictures.

Searching for some assistance, I signed up for a long weekend course on travel writing with Travellers Tales . The location (based in Seville and Cordoba) was certainly an attraction - I’ve been to Spain three times over the last couple of years, but never ventured south of Madrid.

In hopes of keeping the carbon footprint of the trip down we looked at trying to get to Andalucia by train - perfectly doable (See the Man in Seat 61) but it does take time and it we just couldn’t make it fit into the work diaries. Heading south would have been OK, but getting back north required too many train changes and more time than we had available. Our second option, in an attempt to keep out of the clutches of Ryanair (other budget airlines are available) was to fly to Madrid and use the AVE (the Spanish high-speed train service) to complete the journey. The AVE is a delight compared with most of the UK domestic train companies, but figuring out the quirks of the RENFE website is an art form all of its own (Seat61 has lots to say on the subject). The trick being knowing when to stick with Spanish version of the site, and when to jump into the English version. I’m still not quite sure why the tickets south in ‘Turista’-class cost significantly more than the tickets north in ‘Preferente’. Having criticised the Spanish railways website - I’m pretty sure there isn’t a Spanish-language version of the TrainLine website.

The Travellers Tales course was extremely good - a mix of tutorial/seminar and research in the streets, alley-ways and buildings of Cordoba, writing time (and time to read what you’ve been writing to tutors and fellow students) and lots of time to talk about travelling and writing. Highly recommended.

I did take a few photos in Seville and Cordoba but a return trip to spend more time behind the camera is certainly in order.
Cordoba October 2009

If the writing here is any better than before Jonathan, Dan and my class-mates get the credit - if it’s no better (or even worse) I take the blame.