Instead of the acres and acres of sunflowers, during this part of the drive, the major crop we saw were hill after hill of olive trees. Olive trees as far as the eyes could see. I’m pretty sure we were in the heart of Spain’s olive production area.
When we got to Ubeda, we followed the signs to our hotel and found it all too easily. I think we're getting better at navigating these small yet tricky Spanish towns.
Ubeda, is a walled city on a hilltop, one which was taken back from the Moors in the 13th century. It has some Baroque and Gothic buildings left over from the Visigoths and Moors. Otherwise, it is a quiet town with panoramic views. Additionally, it does have the distinction of being the home town of Paco Tito, a world renowned ceramics artist.
We stayed at Hotel Afan de Rivera, an ancient building composed of old thick walls of brick and mortar (that unfortunately prevented the wi-fi system from transmitting throughout the hotel).
We spent the latter part of the afternoon visiting some of the local sights and the next morning headed off to Paco’s studio. When we got to it, he was standing on the sidewalk saying good-bye to a friend - Diane recognized him from photos she had seen.
We had a tremendous visit with Paco. He showed us all around his studio and showroom. What amazed us most, were the ceramic pieces he had done of people, some near life-sized, with lots of detail. Diane ended up buying a couple of pieces of which one he signed for her. Got a couple of pics of he and Diane too.
In the afternoon we drove to the nearby town of Baeza. It was smaller than Ubeda and had a prominent Gothic cathedral, an old university and a number of (small) palaces that have since been converted to hotels, restaurants and other functions. After a quick tour, we headed back home to Ubeda.
Next we go to the Cazorla National Park.