Bus ride from Madrid to Cordoba took approximately 4 hours. The journey along Castilla-la Mancha had been a delightfully pleasant joyride along flat land followed by mountainous regions. Also accented the landscape were occasional sights of olive farms, windmills, black bull signs and orange farms. The exceptionally clear blue skies, crisp air and culinary senses along the way reminded us over and over again that Castilla-la Mancha was indeed famous for saffron – the most expensive spice in the world and Don Quixote – one of the most influential literary work produced during the Spanish Golden Age.
There are 800 million olives tree in Spain and only 40 million Spanish people. Every part of the olive tree is useful regardless of its leaf, fruit, pit or branch. It is too easy to forget that this olive oil rich nation is only recovering from bankruptcy declared just several years ago.
Every nook and cranny on Earth has its own beauty. Yet, the beauty of Andalusia has been by far unparalleled in the eyes of a rookie traveler. It’s the meeting point between Christian, Jews and Muslim civilizations. More precisely, the Mezquita is a well-preserved hybrid created between the best of both Catholic and Muslim architectural splendor.
The decline of the influence Spain was predicted to have started ever since Christopher Columbus discovered the new world. The role of Seville as a major inland port and economic superpower in the past was gradually replaced by the United States of America. History showed us that the only constant in life is change. Travelling across Andalusia was a priceless journey enriched by valuable historical lessons.
The victory of the Reconquest of Spain followed by tales of the mad queen captured my imagination. Despite religious righteousness having justified a holy war, there is more to war than having the last word. War happened when we allow greed for power to overtake loving-kindness and compassion. In love, not every fairy tale will have a happy ending. Not even when one is as young, rich and powerful as the perfectly matched Phillip the Handsome and Joanna of Castille. Unlike the song “the winner takes it all”, every gain is always balanced by a loss. Yielding new perspectives by real-time exploration had been endlessly exciting.