April 28 - Zuheros to Córdoba
Jane decided to ride her bicycle today. Cindy and I were on our own to find our way. We were lucky to be able to stop in Baena to visit an olive oil mill of Nunez de Prado . The mill has been run by the same family since the 18th century. It took a while to find the mill but Cindy's sharp eyes did it. We parked on the street and walked into the courtyard. We were greeted by an elderly well-dressed gentleman who took us in hand and began a tour just for us without us asking. It turned out that he was one of the two brothers that own the mill and the one brother that spoke English. His accent was so pronounced that I had trouble understanding him. He gave us a good tour, though. We saw the presses, the various filters, the huge storage containers, the bottling facility and labeling room. We also saw a symbolic but real 500 year old olive tree that was just beginning to show its buds.
After that, Cindy and I drove on and caught up with most of the riders. We had arranged to meet Jane before the hill of the day, but she felt strong enough to continue. So we drove on to Hotel Hesperia Córdoba in Córdoba .
I parked the car in a dirt lot next to the hotel and we checked in just ahead of the first riders. I had a large room at street level. I could look out the window and see the car. This was nice for security reasons. The hotel was very close to the old Roman bridge which spans the Guadalquivir and leads to the Mezquita - the former mosque with a 16th century church rising up from the middle.
I unpacked my bag, did some laundry and then walked over the bridge to find some lunch. I had good tapas at Bodegas Mezquita . Then I did a short walk through the area on very narrow streets alongside whitewashed buildings with lots of shops selling lots of stuff to tourists. It was pretty, though, with many balconies with hanging flowers. In May, there is a festival where homeowners open their patios to the public and compete for the best floral displays. Flowers are important here.
I wandered back to the hotel to rest.
Happy Hour started in a conference room with Simon's presentation of the next day's ride which takes place after a rest day in Córdoba. After he was finished, we went up to the rooftop bar for refreshments and a wonderful view of the city. I had my first sangria which was really good. A group of nine of us strolled to dinner at Meson San Basillo . We split several tapas.