Staying in Cordoba for one night was sufficient for us. We planned where and what we wanted to see and knew it would fit into the two days of being there.
When we got to Cordoba after a three hour coach journey, which I must say, was not bad at all, we made our way to visit The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba.
This was a site where emotions ran high. The architecture is beyond ones expectations from seeing it in pictures and the carvings so intricate, one felt mesmerised. However, it was the interior that made the emotions scatter.
Once a mosque under the caliphate of Abd al-Rahman i built in 786-788, was later conquered by the Christians in 1236 and turned in to a cathedral.
You walk through the monumental site and chills run through you. Pillars and features that emulate those of the Haram and Medina Munawarra, taking a few steps to the right, you find a cathedral.
One of the things that is great about these sites, both in Cordoba and Granada, we found bi lingual museums within the premises which was helpful.
Make sure you pick up the English leaflet at the entrance as it is filled with everything you need to know as you walk around.
We later took a walk from the cathedral up to a road where we found Case Árabe! I will never for the life of me understand why gems like these are empty? The streets were full of tourists! So, If I were you, I would take advantage! We were there in May where they were showcasing an Egyptian artist. I believe this exhibition is on until the bgeinning of July.
ACTIVE MOSQUE TO PRAY?
I can't lie, there was something in us that thought that the mosque-cathedral of Cordoba would be active for Jumah prayers. Of course, its not! But we were lucky to come across security that guided us in the right direction. That's where we found MOSQUITA DE LOS ANDALUCES UNIVESIDAD ISLAMICA INTERNACIONAL AVERROES DE AL-ANDALUS. The Mosque of the great philosopher Averroes, or as Muslims know him, Ibn Rushd. His famous writing include Tahafut al Tahafut (The Incoherence of the Incoherence) available here
MADINAT AL ZAHRA
The following day we planned to visit the great ruins of Madinat al Zahra. Tickets for this we bought here. Tickets and booking is required for to visit this site otherwise you are not going in!
It was honestly spectacular. We went through and once again, there was firstly a screening which lasted approximately ten minutes. At first I questioned whether to watch the screening was necessary but, alas, I was wrong again! Of course it was! It prepped us before we took the bus to the hills of where there was once a kingdom!
You can view so much more including videos if you go to our instagram @wwags and click on the Granda/Cordoba story highlight.
WHERE TO EAT?
You will find random halal resturants in places but nothing that we loved to be honest. We did however have a lidl 5 minutes from our hotel so we were VERY content (lol)
WHERE TO STAY?
Okay, So I have to be honest, our hotel was kind of ugly and I'm sure I developed an itch *insert appropriate gif* We didn't realise it was a 1* hotel! I mean, I really don't mind where I stay *okay Halima* but it has to be clean, which it somewhat was... I think it just needs some updating and it would be fine!
PLACES TO VISIT
- The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba
- The Jewish quarters
- Avicenna mosque
- Casa Árabe
- Madinat Al Zahra
- Torre De Calahorra
It wasn't what I would call the ideal flight.
We chose to land in Malaga and take a coach into Granada. I have nothing against the only way is Essex, BUT, imagine being on a plane where 90% is caucasian, from Essex, has bad hair extensions and one woman with butt implants...
Okay Okay, I know, it's Ramadan and thou shall not judge (haha)
We landed, and we waited for our coach, which was very easy and simple to book. We got to Malaga and changed our ticket time as we landed well in advanced the time of our coach journey. We used the ALSA service, which is the national express of Spain.
When arriving to Granada coach station, our hotel was a ten minute taxi drive. We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Catalonia Granada.
Great service, great room, lovely stay, would definitely recommend it.
The hotel was approximately a twenty minute walk into the centre and then a further ten minutes to start our journey by foot to various attraction points.
On our first day, we started to explore straight away. We were walking and then I spotted a stair way. Yes, I went up it.. So far so, we ended up at the peak of the town. Over looking the rustic buildings and cobbal floors, it was a beautiful day in Granada!
We did a lot of research before we went to Granada as we knew there would be much more to there than just the al Hambra Palace!
We actually ended up visiting majority of the palaces and courtyards on our first day! We paid 5 euros and we got into them however, I will be honest, it is not the same as having someone there and explaining the beauty of it. If you have an interest in Islamic history, you will feel blessed to have a tour guide as they go in depth of who, what and where!
A few things we would recommend before your travels is:
- Pack comfortable shoes! Everyone says this however the roads are mostly of cobble and when you are climbing *exaggerating a little* but walking up hill, you will 100% appreciate good foot wear. I had a lot of blisters even though I thought my sandals were comfortable!
- Book a tour guide for the various sites you want to visit (A list of places available below)
Prior to our trip I did not think we really needed one, however, the one we did have was full of much knowledge and I left with a fountain of unknown knowledge.
- SIESTA! The Spanish are famous for their siesta time so majority of the town closes (including tours and sites) between 14:00-17:00
Palacio Dar al-Horra
Residence of Aixa, wife of Sultan Muhammad XI
TRAVEL AND STAY
Coach/Bus Service: https://www.alsa.com/en/web/bus/home
Hotel: HOTEL CATALONIA or the other hotel we were inclined to stay in was VINCCI ALBAYZIN
Tour Guide: https://www.viator.com/tours/Granada/Private-tour-into-Alhambra/d554-5819P69
There are much cheaper ones available however to be honest, I think it was worth it.
PLACES TO VISIT:
Palacio Dar al-Horra - Residence of Aixa (Aisha) Wife of Sultan Muhammad XI
Casa Horno de Oro - Moorish-Style Residence - This Casa was stunning! However, they had some type of exhibition on so I didn't manage to get any pictures.
El Bañuelo- Arab Baths (Hammam)
If you choose to go with a tour guide, they stop in various small places to give you some more information of the place.
Opening times for these places: 9:00-14:15 and 17:00-20:15
Al Bayzin - A small town where now the masjid of Granada is situated next to Mirado St Nicholas.
Carrera Del Darro- The route to al Bayzin
To be honest, due to it being Ramadan, we did not venture to many places however the place where we enjoyed the most (and halal) was a little restaurant called 'La Puerta de Syria'. Authenticate and delicious Arabic food. There were other resturants running a long the same road however to be honest, this was our favourite!
ALCAICERIA- Arab spice market - The oldest market in Granada.
PLAZA NUEVA - High Street with Sephora (lol)
PATIO DE LOS PERFUMES - A lovely perfume store and Rose Garden.
We had an amazing time in Granada. It was calm, peaceful and the locals were really lovely. Much recommended destination especially if you would like to get a feel of Islamic history!
Every shoot that we arrange has a concept and execution plan. It can be quite free on the day of shooting, however the base of the shoot must be strong otherwise things can spiral downhill very quickly.
I had a shoot early this year which somewhat frustrated me due to all the creatives who were on the shoot had their own idea of how they wanted it to be executed. To be honest, it was a mess. From the garments to the styling, hair to the make up. everyone had their own input of what they wanted to do.
I believe when it comes to projects and shoots that are very creative, there must be at least one key person that is directing the entire shoot. There must be a clear plan and a clear outcome of what you have in mind.
How can you do this? Here are a few pointers of how I plan a concept
- First things first. MOOD BOARD
I do not ever plan a creative shoot without a concept in mind which then goes on to a board.
The board will consist of a theme as seen below. This Mood board was created for KHANUMS.co
Her new collection of jackets and blazers are heavily embellished and the founder and I discussed the full concept weeks before the shoot. From what I took back from our conversation, I created the above mood board. A few key words I kept in mind from our conversation:
MAKE UP MOOD
- Select and choose the team you are working with. -Stylist - Make up Artist - Creative Director (If your'e not an over controlling freak like myself haha) Sometimes this can be difficult depending on who you are shooting for. I have been quite lucky in being able to suggest members of my team for various roles in a shoot. To be honest, it helps me on the day in being confident.
- MODEL! Now this feature for me is very, if not, the most important factor. If you know me, have worked with me or have ever been in the discussion with working with me, one of my most pushed element for a good shoot is a model. You would think that was common sense right? Wrong. Sometimes brands and individuals just want to go for the ''instagram model'' because shes cheap (no offence) and cheerful. I don't agree with that. It is unfair and to be honest, you will notice all the difference in your work. And if anyone ever wants to be cheeky and compare my work of the two, you'll see the biggest difference. STICK TO REAL MODELS.
- EXECUTION: The day has come and you're ready to shoot. First things first, team briefing. Make sure EVERYBODY is on the same page. From the hair and make up artists to the assistants on the shoot. It is a vital everybody understands one another.
- Set Up: I am hoping to do some posts of set ups for your shoot.
and finally: EXECUTE!
Make sure to have fun. We can't always be serious and boring!! Enjoy the process because without the joy, it's just another day!
MAKE UP: @tanji.s