So Saturday morning came around and although there was only the doubles match today, we had a packed day planned. Larky Lark Rafan was up to do her morning paper-round, and whilst out, also took the opportunity for a look around Cordoba’s famous Mezquita – the Mosque – a 12th Century throw back to when the Moors ruled and which had then been overtaken by the Christians who decided that rather than pull the mosque down, they’d just build a Christian church inside it. Simples. As she knew the place was full of famed arches (which could get a bit “samey”), she was well in there before the tourists pulled up and you had to pay the princely sum of 8 euros to get in.
I stayed in bed.
However, she then came to collect me and we went off for breakfast. We split up as we got to the Mezquita cos I wanted a good wander around inside, and she headed off for a mozy around her beloved souvenir shops – a guilty pleasure (so it turns out) that she shares with several of the VB girls who she bumped into along the way. As for me ... well, once again I found myself blown away by what I saw inside. Yes, its column after column all topped off by pink/red brick arches ... but the area is vast, huge. And its one of those things where you think that I have seen nothing of its kind anywhere else in the world before. It was amazing. But then as you walk around it, you find yourself coming upon the central church, and there’s a high altar and all the ecclesiastical trappings that you usually find in a Catholic church that’s hundreds of years old ... and yet it was surrounded by all these Islamic references and obvious throw backs to a very different style of architecture. It was yet another thing that I found fab on this holiday.
But whilst walking around the mosque, I felt some stirrings. And no, it wasn’t just my geeky obsession with architecture ... motion, not E-motion type of stirrings, if you get my drift. I hadn’t been since the day before I’d left England, whilst Rafan proudly told me that she’d scored 3 times. Now it wasn’t as if I could have gone quietly behind a column, so I thought I’d just have to control this the best I can and I let the feeling pass. And chucked in the odd Hail Mary whilst I was in there for a bit of succour. Anyhow, once I taken my 72nd arch picture and therefore deemed that quite enough, I left the Mesquita and met back up with Rafan.
I’d done a quick scoot into BurgerKing before seeing her, just to see if there were some aseos in there ... nada ... so when I met up with Rafan, I told her of my stirrings and that I was popping into this restaurant come shop thingy and was going for goal. And yippee! I scored!! I was back in the game at 3-1, only for her to then tell me that whilst I was in there, she’d rounded the keeper and successfully slipped the ball in the back of the net for a 4-1 scoreline and to maintain her 3 goal cushion. Rotter!! She had, however, purchased 2 small flags which we could wave excitedly with the Category 4 riff raff during her souvenir shop foray, so she was almost – but not quite – forgiven. She had actually taken her big flag with her the previous day, but even though it was like gossamer silk, in that heat, Rafan felt like she’d brought her eiderdown with her. :D
So the next stop on the itinerary was the Alcazar Castle where the point of interest was to be the gardens. When we entered though, we found out that the castle had actually been the seat of the notorious Spanish Inquisition. And its subsequently dawned on me that we should haul Djerk into there to get him to confess what the eggy secrets to his success really are. Anyhow, we went in the castle bit and a quick wander around led us to a narrow staircase that you could go up to lead you to the top of the tower. Now I knew the views from the tower would probably have been fab and great for taking pictures, but I have a bit of a phobia about century old, tiny winding staircases as they bring out my mild claustrophobia ... plus, I’m too much of a un-fit heap to cart myself up there.
But as we all know, I was on holiday with a mountain goat, who promptly started on her skip to the ascent of the tower. A somewhat different looking Rafan made her way down though. Through her exhaling and puffy-out cheeks, she’d revealed that the gradient of the steps had got that deep towards the top that she’d felt like she’d done a massive series of squats, and she collapsed in a heap on the floor as the work to her muscles had turned her legs into jelly.
But she felt the strain though. So out into the gardens we went, and once again, they were stunningly beautiful. Very landscaped, very structural, with ponds and fountains all bordered by lovely looking flowers. The whole place smelt beautiful too, and there were columns of trees and more flora and fauna than you could shake a gato at. Someone’s picture portfolio is going to be HUGE. ;) It then, of course, got to the time where we needed to be making our way to the bullring, so me and JellyLegs set out on our way.
We got to the bullring just a bit earlier than the previous day, so we didn’t really have to stand in a Spanish version of a “queue”, we knew which Tendido we had to enter by, and for some reason, I almost huffed and puffed my way up those steps as quick as a mountain goat with jelly legs. Our luxurious concrete slab with the numbers 25 and 26 painted on it awaited, and as the French team were practicing down below, I started to eat my lunch. Which reminds me. The previous day during the match, there had been a camera doing a ‘pan shot’ along the crowd during the end of games. Cue enthusiastic flag waving and cheering and waving from the Category 4 riff raff – which Rafan also excitedly joined in with in a self promoting way to get on the telly. And what was I doing at this precise point ... yep, stuffing my face. :doh: I would like to apologise to the Spanish TV public for doing that and for once, am thanking God that Sky show adverts at this point.
Anyhow, what a feast of hotness for us today as FeliFer were to take the court. Now I’ve seen Feli play, and I’ve seen Fer play ... but I’ve never seen FeliFer play together.
And I’m still waiting.
What the bloody hell sort of a match was that? I mean, the whole event started off with a very similar pomp and ceremony that we’d seen the previous day. The flag bearers were once again on court, the band was on court, the ball boys and girls were all lined up. The French team together walked onto court following the French flag, and then the Spanish team walked onto court lead by Feli and Fer as they followed the Spanish flag. Feli bent down to adjust his socks and we were treated to the marvellous curvature of his wonderful ass. We had both countries’ national anthems again ... so the atmosphere was once again rife and exciting and we couldn’t wait for play to start.
And it seemed to start so well. FeliFer were receiving at our end of the court and had a break point. We thought they’d done it, but no, Llodra got the ball back ... and it all quickly went downhill from there. It was as if neither of them had ever played together before, they were seriously that bad. Fer in particular was awful. At least he did seem to get very frustrated by it all, but this scratch pairing of Tsonga and Llodra were playing out of their skins and annihilating them. At 6-1, 6-2, Costa decided to take them off court. Like that worked ... they came back on and got stuffed 6-0.
Poor FeliFer ... I would willingly have taken them to my heaving bosom to help them feel better. *cough*.
But as with yesterday, one of the best things about live tennis is watching everything else that is going on ... and today’s bench action came from Rafa. Now we know that away from the court, he is essentially a boy ... forget the image he tries to portray in these Amarmi pictures, he’s really the dork ... and that’s why we love him. But it was with some amazement that Rafan and I sat there and watched him aim kicks at Marc!’s head! (See above photograph captured by Rafan!). And if we had doubts about his hamstrings before, they were quickly quoshed. He then played a game of lobbing empty water bottles in the bin to see if he could score off a first hit (he did). He bounces around a lot on the bench, but equally, it seems that his time is still very much in demand even when he’s just supposed to be having a day off and watching his team mates, because he made several disappearances behind the scenes. He was out for the end of the Greek tragedy happening on court and seemed a bit stunned when clapping the flakey FeliFer off.
But a quick match meant us getting back to the hotel a bit earlier for a rest, so we left, but not without making a last port of call ... to “Javier” ‘s stall. Erm, sorry ... “Victor”, because Rafan still fancied that R-A-F-A picture (or she said it was the R-A-F-A picture that she fancied). “Victor” greeted her warmly with a kiss to either cheek. Now who am I to sully the character of our lovely Rafan whom we all know is as a pure as the driven snow. But perhaps she was drifting, because she gave “Victor” her address AND telephone number. For once ... I am saying nowt, but the previous day “Victor” had said that he’d been over to England a couple of times to Old Trafford, Manchester, to watch Valencia play. I did wonder why Rafan was quizzing me about when the next round of Champions League fixtures were ... ???
Anyhow, we made our way back to the entrance gate to the Old Town, and this time successfully went “off piste” and made our way back to the hotel without the aid of the map and without getting lost!! A couple of hours later, we were out again in the Plaza Tendillas, at our “safe” restaurant and eating some “safe” food ... Rafan with a seafood pizza and me with some chicken turned into cannelloni. No bulls tails. We also ran into the VB girls again and rolled our eyes at how absolutely terrible FeliFer had been. Although we did feel a tad guilty and selfish in that with now being at 2-1, the chances were that Rafa would take to the court first on Sunday as he’d been drawn, as it was now crucial that Spain won that match so as not to leave it to a tense 5th rubber thriller.
And even though we’d packed tons into our day, it wasn’t over, because we headed back towards the Mesquita as we’d booked to go and see a traditional Flamenco show in an outside courtyard just near to the mosque. Now the courtyard was all bedecked out nicely with white linen covered chairs and even though it was 10.30 pm at night, it was still balmy hot. The guitarists took to the stage first, and then the couple of (male) singers came on. Now ... have any of you ever heard traditional flamenco singing?? Strangling a cat comes into mind. And when they started up, Rafan emitted the now immortal line which is still making me laugh when I think of it now ...
“They’re not a patch on the Gypsy Kings ...”
:D :D :D Rafan’s joke ... 10/10. But one by one, the dancers came on stage and with their traditional costumes and with much clacking of heels and stomping of feet, and castonettes and clapping and the like, they drowned out the cat-a-wauling that was going on. It was a great show, really entertaining and again I’m glad that we experienced another bit of Spanish culture.
So then it was off to our beds, to catch some zzzzzzzz’s and to look forward to our final day in Cordoba. It had taken us a good couple of days to get into this holiday, what with our early experiences, the travel, the heat, the food and the like ... but by this point we were totally into it and loving it. Spain had started out at 4/10 ... but by this point, I’d give it an 8 (and Feli’s ass, a 10).