12th February 2017. Úbeda, Spain.

We had a lovely surprise as we walked into town this morning, we had just left the aire when we heard a band playing and we saw the tail end of a marching band disappearing off down a road.  We thought we’d catch them up a bit further into town so we took the path that had a view over the valley, as we got half way down it the band turned out of a side street and marched towards us!  We assume they were making the most of the good weather and were out practising for an event.

We were heading for Iglesia de San Lorenzo  to the church that we’d hoped to look in yesterday only it was closed when we arrived.  We were greeted by a happy lady as we entered the church, she asked if we were French or English, told us lots of information in English and kept apologising for her poor knowledge of the English language.  We both said we thought her English was very good and she said we’d made her day.  She had mentioned that they were collecting for the restoration of the church and for 1 Euro each we could walk outside on the city wall, we asked where we should pay and she pointed to a large plastic bottle with a hole cut in the lid and tried to say something to us which we didn’t understand, we eventually worked out what she was asking, she wanted to know what we call a collection box, she mentioned the word “Piggy” and for some reason I said “Box” just before Darren said “Bank” so she thought it was called a piggy box, at the risk of showing how dense I was (I can’t even speak my native language properly) I decided I had to tell her that the word I’d told her was wrong.  She practised saying “Piggy bank” a few times just to make sure she’d got it right this time.

We walked out on to the wall, it goes without saying that the view was breath taking what we found intriguing was why the church had been built with a 60 mm gap between its rear wall and the back of the city wall, why hadn’t they combined the two or moved the church further away from the city wall so there was a reasonable gap?  As we walked back into the church we noticed that the lady had a group of people queuing up at the gate to come out on the city wall, as we went out she let them in, it looked like she’d been waiting for us to come back in, if I’d realised we wouldn’t have taken quite so long out there discussing the gap!

At the rear of the church there was a walkway through to another room where there was an exhibition of art work called Rostros del Meditteraneo (Faces of the Meditteranean) it appears to be highlighting the plight of illegal immigrants and the dangers they are encountering trying to get to a safe environment.  The art was thought provoking, I think the idea is that people are given a piece of paper with an oval shape and then draw a face, it was written in Spanish so I am assuming each face represents a person that has drowned trying to cross the Meditteranean Sea.   The information said that since the year 2000 more than 36,000 people have died trying to find refuge in Europe, that’s horrific.

I left the room when the group of people started filing in and looked around the main part of the church, there was a very fancy roof at one end and over by the exit I noticed the remains of a fresco.  I do hope that they managed to collect enough money to restore the church to its original grandeur it is so sad to see it crumbling.

We left the church and came to a square where we spied a bar.  It was nice and sunny so we sat outside in the square admiring the architecture and drinking coffee.

Our next task was to find somewhere for lunch, during our search we came across a grand square with some more beautiful buildings around the perimeter.  Unsurprisingly there was a cafe there and equally as unsurprisingly they were charging extortionate amounts of money for food so we went back to a sign we’d seen pointing down a side street and went into the restaurant it was advertising.  I had been rehearsing how I was going to ask whether they could make me something to eat that didn’t have meat or fish in it, when the waiter greeted us I reeled off my little speech only to have him reply in English!

He said they could do that and asked us to choose a table (in the pretty but empty restaurant) so we sat by the window.   The food we had was out of this world, it was absolutely gorgeous and 5 hours later my mouth is still thanking me for the eating experience.  I was very sad when I had finished my meal, I hope we find somewhere equally as good when we meet up with our friends Janet and Paul in a couple of days time.

We followed one of the designated walking routes after lunch in a feeble attempt to feel less stuffed.  Ubeda is absolutely beautiful, a surprise around every corner and I am so pleased that I found out about it by accident while I was looking for information on Jaen.  I clicked a link that sent me through to a blog.

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