Trip to Jaen, Baeza and Ubeda — January 2024

On Tuesday 23rd January, 32 of us set off for our 2 night 3 day January jaunt, to sample “Historic Sights and Gastronomic Delights”.
We had our customary breakfast stop and continued on to the city of Jaen where were met by our guide Eva. We had a panoramic drive through the city, where Eva pointed out various monuments, including the first sight of the impressive cathedral. We left the bus and started with a thorough tour of the largest Arab baths in Spain and a visit through the ceramics museum which has some incredible examples.
We then sauntered through pretty streets to the square, where we saw the impressive, imposing Renaissance Cathedral. Eva explained the decoration on the outside and then we entered. We heard about the choir area, with its dark wood carvings and then we heard about the significance of the numerous balconies.  Some of the individual chapels are highly decorated, adorned with the works of well-known artists. The cathedral claims to have a cloth, used by Veronica to wipe Jesus’s face on his journey to his crucifixion.  The towel has an imprint of his face. The cloth used to be displayed each Friday, where people would come to see it, touch it or kiss it.  It seems these days to be less popular and so is only on display on certain feast days.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We then adjourned to a nearby restaurant, where staff were waiting for us with local food and wine.
After our lunch, we boarded the bus for the short journey to Baeza, where we were met by the tourist train. We had a most enjoyable tour around this lovely, compact World Heritage town, including a stop for photo’s of the stunning views of the countryside. The train was able to drop us near to our hotel, a former XVl century palace where we were greeted by the owner and the manager and we checked in.
After some R & R, we met in the evening for a welcome glass or 2 of cava before enjoying a wonderful dinner in the hotel.
After a good night’s sleep, we boarded the bus for our journey to Ubeda (another world heritage sight town) and met our wonderful guide Adrian.  He was an absolute delight, informative, amusing with an ability to embellish to create a good story. We saw some amazing architecture and the weather was sunny.
After free time for lunch, we met for the short walk to board the bus and return to Baeza. Once again, the train met us to take us straight to the hotel for some R & R. We met later for dinner at a nearby Palace, owned and run by a wonderfully eccentric restaurateur called Manolo.  It was a most memorable evening in every way. Great venue, wonderful food and local wine and only a stone’s throw from our hotel.
After another good night’s sleep and breakfast, Adrian came to collect us for a walking tour of Baeza.  We saw more wonderful architecture and heard more history about the origins of some buildings and saw some rather raunchy decoration ! We also heard about the sad life of poet Antonio Machado, who spent time in Baeza after the death of his young wife.  We visited his classroom. Adrian then left us to board our bus for our trip back to Jaen, to visit the Santa Catalina castle and have lunch in the Parador.
From the comments and subsequent messages and emails received, it was a successful trip !
Christina Sinclair
Nerja History Group