#055 - Petra Eriksson
#055 - Petra Eriksson
Destination: Córdoba, Spain
Date: 15 - 20 May, 201
Details about the print:
Dimensions: ± 50 x 70 cm
Colours: 3 colour silkscreen print
Edition: 50 prints, signed and numbered by the artist
A little word by Petra…
“I had very few expectations, but I've been excited to see more of Spain and had heard from a group of friends that Córdoba was an interesting place to visit. One of the things I was really looking forward to was to discover the remains of different cultures that has met and mixed in this city over the past centuries. I was also positively surprised that there are a total of four UNESCO Heritage Sites in Córdoba, making it the city with the most UNESCO monuments in the world. Not bad for a city of roughly 300.000 inhabitants.
The Mosque-Cathredeal, La Mezquita, definitely made a big impression on me. It's such a stunning and interesting building. Filled with history, which shows in the way it's been made, with a lot of different architectural styles within the same monument. The origins of the building dates back as far as year 788, when the original mosque was built, since then it’s changed its shape and role during the centuries. It has been rebuilt many times, each century adding it’s own style to a part of the building. I knew early on that I wanted to incorporate something from La Mezquita in my artwork but it took me a while to figure out how. In the end I created an image where you see the building and other parts of the city from the distance of the hills surrounding the city. I also wanted to add some of the tall trees from the old royal gardens and work with the color and round shapes of the oranges that can be found everywhere around Córdoba.”
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Today started with the train journey from Barcelona to Córdoba. A five hour trip that would have made me restless a few years ago but a distance that once learned to enjoy as a time for myself where I can’t do much else than read and listen to podcasts.
When I arrived in Córdoba I realized that I should have checked the rather report a bit better. Even after five wars of living by the Mediterranean I guess I’m still very much a Swede because I only looked at the report quickly yesterday to see if there would be any rain during my days here. Definitely no rain it seemed but for some reason I didn’t check the temperatures. I was not prepared for the 30 degree heat that slapped me in my face as soon as I got off the train.
The good thing is that Córdoba is a small city so you don’t need to go far. And my main with this goal with this first day was to just settle in a bit and start exploring without visiting any of the main sites. First I just made my way to my home for these days, a beautiful old townhouse in a quiet but very central part of the city where a bunch of people and half a zoo lives at the moment. There’s Marta, her husband, their daughter, a middle aged Spanish professor, a Greek Erasmus student and their cat, dog, bird and rabbit who runs around free in the house. Plus me.
After chatting to Marta for a while I went out for a slow walk down to the river, passing by La Mezquita and walking over the Roman bridge. Slowly strolling without any other goal than to start getting a feeling for the city. I found a vegan café where I bought a wrap and then hid in the shadow under an orange tree while eating it. After getting half lost in the small winding streets of the old town I’ve now just made my way back home. Happy to just relax here for the evening and start planning which places to visit during the upcoming days.
Thursday, May 16, 2019
I started the day by going to La Mezquita, the only real “must see” place on my list before going here. It’s a fascinating building in many ways. It’s history is old and rare, the building dates back as far as year 788 when the original mosque was built, but since then it’s changed its shape and role many times. It’s been rebuilt many times, each century adding it’s own style to a part of the building. The whole site was consecrated as the Cathedral of Santa Maria in 1236. It still holds the Holy Mass for the Christian community every day but the building is described as a mosque-cathedral.
Afterwards I returned home to rest for a while before heading back to the vegan café La Libelula, owned by a Swedish girl and her Spanish boyfriend.
After eating some advice about which patios was worth visiting I walked over to The Courtyards of Viana, a palace from the 16th century with no less than 13 patios in this building itself. However it’s hard for anything in that style to match the experience from the morning. I felt more inspired when I by chance stumbled upon a part of the city completely decorated with old milk cartons forming letters and telling people to recycle.
Friday, May 17, 2019
After a full day of tourist locations yesterday I decided that today would just be a day of walking around and try to get an overview of the city. Trying to get a better sense of everyday life here.
I walked over the Roman bridge and along the river for a while before grabbing breakfast at El Arbolito (the small tree), a tiny but cosy café around the corner from where i’m staying. Then I went back to the house to start sketching on the print for this trip. I knew yesterday that I definitely wanted to bring something from La Mezquita into the image, but I wasn’t sure what. I’m really drawn to the different kinds of vaults and entrances of the building and how different styles come together in this monument so I think I want to create some kind of puzzles together building/city/imaginary place. However being in a city where’s oranges and other citrus fruits grows everywhere feels very exotic for me. I know it’s like this in many cities and villages around Spain and even Barcelona has some orange trees in it’s parks but walking along streets filled with fallen oranges made me feel like I need to include them in some way.
Saturday, May 18, 2019
I started by visiting Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. To be honest I still feel that any tourist attraction compared to La Mezquita is falling pretty flat so after strolling around the gardens there for a while I went out to find a breakfast place where I could gather some energy before continuing my endless wander around the city.
I ended up at La Bicicleta, a small café that’s mostly known for their juices but also serve simple dishes. I had the largest avocado toast i’ve ever seen together with a juice and a tea (which seem to have become my go to vegan meal on this trip as it’s so far been the main vegan option in all cafés except all vegan La libélula). Anyway, I ate, I read a bit and then I looked on the map to find a place to walk toward so that I would have some kind of goal to get to. I walk towards a place that looked like a small park on the map but which turned out to be a dusty and very un-garden-like playground. I put the map aside and just strolled back towards the city centre, going up and down the small roads, looking at the two-thee storey buildings that fills the most part of the centre. When you are in these parts Córdoba really looks like a fairytale city, and I like that it’s pretty easy to avoid other tourists as long as you take a step away from the main attractions. It’s easy to get a little bit lost but the city is so small so at one point you will always end up back in a familiar place, and hopefully by that time you’ll by mistake have stumbled over a cute half hidden square filled with cafes and bars.
Monday, 20 May, 2019
It’s the last last day of my trip and I’m on the way back to Barcelona. Going on a train trip through Spain is a beautiful journey, so even if they trip from Córdoba to Barcelona takes five hours it’s a pleasant one where we just soar through a green landscape.
My five days away has been fantastic overall. I’m not going to lie, it’s been a bit lonely at times, but I also get so much out of that slightly awkward space that appears in my brain when I’ve spent too much time by myself. It’s easier to reflect on things and dig a little bit deeper when there’s not as many people around you to distract you. And i’ve taken some days almost completely off work which has given me a lot of time to read, listen and just be as well.
As you’ve probably understood if you’ve read the previous blog posts i’ve walked so much to try to see as much as possible of the city. Córdoba isn’t big, but it’s a place where it seems like there are always new things to discover in the narrow streets in the old part of town.
It feels like a very friendly and peaceful city. I love Barcelona but can sometimes get tired of it’s noice, rush, dirt and emotions that sometimes brings out frustration in people (but also makes it alive). Córdoba is so much smaller and has a much more relaxed vibe to it, and even though a lot of tourists pass by this city as well it feels like it hasn’t lost its identity. It’s a place that the people living there care about and want to take care of.
I’m sure i’ll be going back there sometime but right now I’m looking forward to going back home to my everyday routines and my Barca-family. I’m also happy to get going with part two of the print, looking through my sketches, cleaning up these ideas and look for my way to best express the feeling of Córdoba.