This weekend marked a first for me. The first time I had to survive the soaring temperatures here in Cordoba. The weather boards around the city clocked 40 degrees and when all the locals had retreated indoors, I was silly enough to step out, directly into the inferno. I’d like to say I was embracing it.
Step 1 – A long lunch (just not too long)
After finishing an uncustomary day at work on Saturday, my friends and I decided to get lunch at La Tortuga. We had seen the mouth-watering meals dished up and looking pretty on the table tops before but the place had always been so busy, we had never stopped to try it.
The trendy, upmarket cafe is unique in the sense that it steps outside the standard Cordoban square and puts a new spin on traditional recipes. I like this in an eatery and personally, I think we should see more of it here.
Sometimes, the same menu can get a little tiring, and no matter how much I love the local cuisine, it’s refreshing to see someone love it even more, so much that they’ve taken the time to stay true to its origins but add some intrigue by playing and pairing tradition with modern flavours too. But then, I’ve always been a fan of mixing the old with the new.
Goldilocks ordered a spinach and goat’s cheese pisto, that looked well tasty, and for 4€, it was a bargain. My other friend and I, craving colour and greens in the peak of the afternoon heat, both ordered the ensalada blanca, or the white salad, for 7€. We weren’t disappointed.
It came as a tower of fresh cheese wheels, interlaced with a salad of carrot, beetroot, lettuce and topped with a strawberry and balsamic dressing and these strange, gelatinous pieces, which unfortunately, we can’t pinpoint what they were (with no flavour, I am picking they may be a rather unnecessary decoration). Anyway, it was tasty and immaculately presented. A rare delight when eating out in the city.
But here is the million dollar question, will we go back? I really couldn’t tell you. The service was dire, in fact, we found the waitress downright rude who took the time to personally offend us with some rather snarky words.
Now customer service is by no means a big part of the culture here and thus our expectations aren’t great but the way that we were spoken to by this woman, really made us all think twice. This, accompanied by the fact that we were kept waiting to order for a good 40 minutes and had to ask for the bill four times before we were able to leave left us all feeling a little disgruntled and fed up by the whole experience. SUCH a shame when the food is SO DAMN GOOD.
Step 2 – Find shade
We went and rested our wary legs and withering bodies for a few hours under a tree in a central park called, the Jardines de la Agricultura. We felt so relaxed and lethargic from the heat that some of us even fell asleep.
Step 3 – Maintain fluids and eat ice cream
The evening was topped off by salmorejo in Cafe Gloria (a personal favourite, you will find it on Calle Claudio Marcello), ice cream, some gin and tonic (I didn’t say what kind of fluids) and a flamenco concert in the Plaza de la Corredera – a part of the Festival of the Patios, which finishes today.
The concert was fabulous but being the lover of dance that I am, wished there had been a bit more dance on show. I guess I will have to wait until the Flamenco concert in June for some more.
Step 4 – Wear shoes that are two sizes too big
Even when I walked home from the concert at 2am, it was 30 degrees. I might spare you the details here but feel you really ought to know of one rather attractive consequences of the summer temperatures here in Cordoba. That is, if you are going to be walking around in the heat here or standing for long periods, be prepared for a case of elephantitis.
To clarify, if you are unaccustomed to high temperatures, you are likely to experience feet ballooning and cankling. This is where your feet look like balloons (not unlike those of a hobbit, perhaps minus the excess of hair) and the ankles merge into your legs quite happily such that the nice little bone that usually protrudes either side, disappears. It’s a rather delightful and painless experience. One which, I bet you are well envious of.
Step 5 – Wear deodorant
Really? Need I say more?
Balloon feet and cankles aside, I am pleased to say I survived my first proper day out in the summer sun. Minus sunburn (this is where I thank my lucky stars for an ozone layer). This of course, makes me a seasoned expert and you should absolutely follow everything I say.
It will only get hotter from here on in but clearly I am developing my coping mechanisms quite well, wouldn’t you say? Lots of shade, lots of water and lots of ice cream. You can’t go wrong.