11th February 2017. Guadix & Úbeda, Spain

I didn’t get much sleep due to the rain hammering down on the van and the cars coming and going but I must have fallen asleep at some point because when I got up there were lots of white vans scattered around the tarmac area and a few stalls were starting to be erected in the heavy rain.

We watched the work going on while we had breakfast and got ready to move on.  Considering the size of the car park the market was surprisingly small, we assume from the bays marked out that it’s bigger in the Summer months.

We left reasonably early and drove up to the cave dwellings.  I’m glad we got there before other tourists started to arrive, we parked in one of the coach bays in the tiny village and walked around admiring the cave houses, some were quite posh others were a bit run down.  We saw 4 residents getting ready to start their day, as we were going back to the van Darren spied a view point so we walked up to the top to take some photos, from the viewpoint we could see snow capped mountains with the clouds draping over them and the cathedral and a castle which we hadn’t noticed when we walked round the town the previous night, we’re SO observant!!

We left the cave dwellings, we’d have liked to have visited the museum but were worried that the coaches would be starting to arrive by then and it had already been a bit of a squeeze in places along the road we’d travelled in on.  The journey out was interesting, Darren went back the way he’d come but the SAT NAV kept trying to take us up totally unsuitable teeny lanes, it was bizarre.  We were very pleased to get back to the main road unscathed!

Our journey up to Ubeda was absolutely wonderful, we travelled through all sorts of terrain, it didn’t occur to me that we would be travelling across snow covered mountains though.  The snow got thicker as we got higher and we started to get a little concerned when we saw snow ploughs sitting at the side of the road and on the bridge above the road!  The road was fine though and as we came back down the other side of the mountain we entered a cloud!  I’m pleased there wasn’t much traffic on the road because we couldn’t see very far in front of us at all.

The rugged terrain changed once again when we came down into the valleys, there were rolling green hills, it was almost like being at home except for the rows of olives trees for as far as the eye could see!

As we got near Ubeda our SAT NAV decided to take us the long way round but we were pleased in the end because it took us over a long bridge with a beautiful view over the edge.  We took the turning toward Ubeda and this time the SAT NAV decided to try to send us up a dirt track to the aire!  Darren ignored it and we eventually found the aire hiding behind the Civil Guardia training centre.  It’s a nice little aire and it takes a few minutes to walk into town which we did pretty quickly because we were hungry and went off looking for food.

The walk into town was lovely and the town itself is so beautiful, how can such a small town have SO MANY fancy buildings e.g churches and palaces.  We spoke to a very helpful lady in the tourist information office who kept apologising for not being able to speak English very well (we kept telling her that her English was very good) and she gave us a beautifully printed glossy leaflet with walks and information about things to see as well as a map to go with it.  We started off on the main route but got side tracked when we saw an ‘A’ board at the corner of a street advertising the menu del dias for a restaurant up there.  We went into the pretty restaurant and the lady was very helpful when it came to ordering something for me.  We had a very tasty 3 course meal with a carafe of house wine, a bowl of olives and a basket of bread for 12 Euros.  We were the only people in there for our first course but very soon it started to fill up, we must have been exceptionally early, we never seem to get the timing right!

We carried on exploring after we’d left the restaurant but we’d been suckered in by the warm weather when we’d left the van earlier and although it was still sunny it was getting quite chilly (unsurprisingly as we were up in the mountains but we hadn’t thought that one through at all).  Every corner we turned we were greeted with a surprise, the buildings were so beautiful and the view we saw when we walked over to the view point was breath taking.  We followed a route which took us via more beautiful buildings and the city wall and as we got back to the van had a little detour to see whether we could find the track that the SAT NAV wanted us to follow, all we found was an awful lot of clay as we grew taller with each step we took and our shoes grew heavier, having said that that is not strictly true we also found a training area for motorbikes, it was a little road with tiny traffic lights, junctions and stop signs, what a great idea.

We were shattered after the big meal and the lack of sleep last night so we had a siesta and when we woke up I tried to catch up with the blog.  I think I’ve got the writing up to date now but the photos are another thing altogether.

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