What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Without doubt, the Mezquita in Cordoba. I loved Cordoba full stop, but the Mezquita was something else; astonishing, awe-inspiring, breathtaking. An almost surreal visual and spiritual experience. It needs - and deserves - plenty of time to take it all in.
What did you think of your group leader?
I've been lucky on all my Exodus trips to have great tour leaders. Ale continued that trend; very knowledgeable, well-organised, helpful and also friendly, sociable and always ready to have a laugh and a joke with the group (and there was a LOT of laughter in the course of the week!) He promised to always try and answer any questions we had, but if he didn't know the answer, to try and find it out within 24 hours. I asked a lot of questions; he always kept his promise!
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
If you're expecting an activity-packed agenda, this is not the trip for you. It definitely is, as the brochure says, "Leisurely". However, for anyone wanting a laid-back week, with flexibility, plenty of time to do your own thing (especially in the first half of the week) in beautiful surroundings, a good balance of town & country and a taste of the "Real Spain", I would recommend this trip. The Cortijo is really out in the sticks but that's part of its charm, and none of the locations visited are too far away. Expect to be well looked after by the excellent staff and above all, well fed! As other reviewers have said, knowing a few words of Spanish in this area is useful. In Cordoba, as well as the Mezquita and Juderia I'd recommend visiting the patios at the Palacio de Viana; very pretty but off the main tourist drag and therefore peaceful. An ideal place to while away a tranquil hour or so. One word of advice for vegetarians: If you're a "true" vegetarian, i.e. you don't eat fish or shellfish as well as meat, do make sure that's made clear to the tour leader at the start of the trip or you might find yourself faced with a plate of prawns one evening (the only minor blip in an otherwise excellent culinary week). You can expect to be well looked after by the staff at the Cortijo though, and definitely won't go hungry.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I'd never visited mainland Spain before and really didn't know what to expect. If I'm honest, the choice to book was made not because the area was on my "wish list" but because I thought it would be "nice" and give me a good chance of some autumn sunshine! So I'm delighted to say that the week exceeded all my expectations. I had an absolutely lovely holiday; I thoroughly enjoyed every place that we visited and also time spent just chilling out at the Cortijo. The leisurely pace was just what I needed to recharge my batteries after a hectic September. I really hope to visit this part of Spain again in the future and get to know it even better.