Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cerro Pedro Lopez

We had perfect weather this weekend for another Llega Como Puedas hike in the Córdoba Sierra. Since the excursion was so close to home, there were a lot of people in the group. Not that I don’t like having lots of people come, but it tended to make the trail a bit crowded. See the pictures at

Theoretically this hike was shorter than last week’s (15km, versus 20km), but it felt longer. That may be because it involved a lot more ups and downs. I was happy to have my ski poles on some of the steep cross-country inclines.

The nice part about this hike was that we got to see some ruins: a Roman bridge dating from the first century A.D., and a Caliphate bridge dating from the 9th century A.D. It’s interesting that after a year in Andalucía, I can identify a Muslim bridge just from the shape of the arches.

Now, the Roman bridge isn’t the well-maintained one that people usually associate with Córdoba. Both of these bridges are remote from the city, and have been left to fall into ruin over the centuries. As you can tell from the pictures, the Roman bridge is doing better than the Caliphate one. The fact is that structures do not stay looking pristine over long periods of time without a consistent program of maintenance. In previous centuries, people weren’t necessarily interested in keeping the original design of the structures when doing upgrades. As a result, most of today’s well-preserved medieval (or earlier) buildings are curious mixtures of styles spread out over multiple centuries. When you see something that hasn’t been maintained…like these bridges…you can see what they must have originally looked like. Of course, you need some imagination to see past the ravages of time.

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