Thursday, June 16, 2011

The festival of the patios

Our dear friends Mike and Linda, who we only get to see every few months, as we live three hours drive away, were determined to make it up to Cordoba for the very famous "Festival of the Patio's" Now I hope they wont mind me referring back to their blog to remind me of the right blooming ole hoo haa that had trying to arrange it!

It is a direct line from Ronda to Cordoba, so they decided to come on the train, until they discovered the cost was 120 euros return! Apparantly they had heard of a ticket that offers pensioners 40% discount on train fares, so the day before they were scheduled to come, they headed off to the railway station. Unfortunately, the computer was down at the station, and were unable to get them, and this is where the nightmare of the tickets begins. Linda had read somewhere that these cards were available at the travel agents, so they charged down to the town centre, and tried three travel agents. Unfortunately, they were declined at all three as it was too close to their lunchtime, and siestas were looming, but they would all be happy to help them after 5:30 when they re-open! So back they went at 6 o’clock and bought the tickets. Unbeknown to them they had to pay the agent a commission, more blooming money! The travel agent also offered to organise their rail tickets....... er no thank you, and they returned to the railway station to buy the tickets.

Would you believe it, the computer was still down, so they were told they would have to purchase the tickets the next morning, on the actual day of travel! Thank goodness Mike and Linda decided to arrive at the station early and were thrilled to find no queue at the ticket office. However, when they attempted to purchase their tickets, they were told that the returning train was virtually full and that there were only first class tickets available!! So, after chasing around for the best part of 2 days trying to obtain a cheaper price, they ended up paying over 145 euros, whereas if they had just bought 2 regular tickets in the first place, it would have only cost 120 euros! Bless them!

There was one saving grace however, a little light refreshment and a rather large gin and tonic too. I have a feeling it could be first class all the way now for Mike and Linda!

We first had a peak inside the famous Royal stables of Cordoba, where an equestrian show is held, it is called "The passion and Spirit of Andalucian Horse"

The stables are set inside a rather beautiful old building and the horses, are just stunning. The shows are not on until late in the evening due to the heat here, in the "frying pan of Spain!"

The Royal Stables

Stunning horse just been exercised

We thankfully, after all this palava, did manage to meet them at the station. We visited a few of the patios, which once again were absolutely stunning, then relaxed and chatted, ten to the dozen, with an ice cold drink. Viewed a few more gorgeous patios, by which time it was time for lunch. As Mike and Linda were obviously tied to time and the excitement of first class rail travel, the day went far too quickly. We had such a lovely day, with wonderful friends. We must do it again next year!

Some beautiful patios below!

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