Friday, 21 October 2016

Berenjenas en vinagre - pickled aubergines - from Ubeda and Baeza

Another favourite tapa in Úbeda and Baeza is berenjenas en vinagre (pickled aubergines). They’re not to be confused with the famous ones from Almagro in La Mancha, as these are a smaller variety and are served in a slightly different sauce.

Pickled aubergines - berenjenas en vinagre

Friday, 23 September 2016

Typical dishes from Ubeda and Baeza

As for typical dishes from Ubeda and Baeza, andrajos are famous as an idiosyncratic local stew, while anything involving cordero segureño is worth trying. This is a breed of lamb that takes its name from the Segura mountain range and is delicious. Alcauciles, meanwhile, are a kind of semi-wild artichoke, and are certainly worth trying if a restaurant serves them fresh and in season, rather than from a jar.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Snails as a tapa in Ubeda and Baeza

From spring to mid summer you’ll also see signs up in many bars in Ubeda and Baeza announcing that “Hay Caracoles”, i.e. snails are available. During their season, they’re perhaps the most popular tapa among the locals, who’ll cross town to find a bar that serves them to their taste. These snails are dinky little things, a far cry from what you’ll encounter in Madrid or France. They’re gently stewed and the art is in the ingredients that the chef adds, orange peel and mint often being put in.

A tapa of snails in Ubeda, Spain

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Ochios from Ubeda, ochios from Baeza

So, what tapas are local specialities in Ubeda and Baeza? Well, mini rolls called ochíos are definitely widespread. They’re made with olive oil and paprika, and are served with various fillings. Here's a photo of a tapa of ochíos for two, served for free with a drink:

Ochios from Ubeda, ochios from Baeza

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Joaquin Sabina from Ubeda, Spain

Joaquín Sabina, meanwhile, is a renowned singer-songwriter and sometime poet who also comes from Úbeda. He was an important cultural figure during the years that followed Spain’s transition to democracy and his songs form something of a soundtrack to social change in the country.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Antonio Muñoz Molina, a novelist from Ubeda, Spain

Ubeda's most famous literary connections are perhaps more contemporary. The well-known novelist, Antonio Muñoz Molina, hails from the town. Much of his work is explicitly or implicitly set there and creates fictional versions of his childhood and early life in Ubeda. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Antonio Machado in Baeza, Spain

Baeza will be forever related with the name of the poet Antonio Machado, who lived there for seven years between 1912 and 1919. The town’s international summer school is named after him and the locals are justly proud that Baeza should figure in some of his most famous poems, as in the following example:

“De la ciudad moruna
Tras las murallas viejas
Yo contemplo la tarde silenciosa
A solas con mi sombra y con mi pena.
El río va corriendo
Entre sombrías huertas
Y grises olivares,
Por los alegres campos de Baeza.”

In reality, his relationship with the town was somewhat tortuous, as is hinted at in this poem. Having moved to Baeza after the death of his wife, he associated its small-town atmosphere and agricultural surroundings with his grief. However, it can also be argued that these very surroundings spurred his creativity on, his literary output in this period being excellent.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Behind Baeza Cathedral

Behind the cathedral is another Baeza that many tourists don’t reach yet is a real discovery and a great way to end your walk after such a glut of monuments. Cobbled lanes are flanked by dry stone walls that find themselves overhung by palm trees. Few cars disturb a lovely and surprisingly shady stroll that ends up with a lovely view down over hills and endless olive groves. 

Behind Baeza Cathedral

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Baeza Cathedral, Baeza Spain

Baeza Cathedral (16th Century, Renaissance) is a National Monument and is more than worth a closer look, as can be seen in the photo below:

Baeza Cathedral

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Fuente de Santa Maria, Baeza, Spain.

The Plaza de Santa María is another square that seems frozen in time, but is far larger than the Plaza de Santa Cruz. All its surroundings are completely in tune, without any concrete at all to strike a duff note. The old seminary is on the right as you enter, while  the Casas Consistoriales Altas are on the right. A Gothic complex, this currently houses the local music college. As you cross the square, you'll walk  past the 16th Century Fuente de Santa María.

Fuente de Santa Maria, Baeza, Spain

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Seminario Conciliar de San Felipe Neri, Baeza, Spain

The Seminario Conciliar de San Felipe Neri (old seminary) is a huge 17th/18th Century building that runs along the right-hand side of the street of the same name. It was restored in 1990 and is now the hub for many courses in the Universidad de Verano “Antonio Machado” (the Antonio Machado Summer School). The inner patio is cool and inviting in the summer.  Students graft in the classrooms that lead onto it, kept well away from the heat outside. The seminary had a chapel that can be viewed from Calle S.Felipe Neri, while the old seminary’s Baroque main frontage can be viewed from the Plaza de Santa María at the end of the street.

 Seminario Conciliar de San Felipe Neri

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Pottery from Ubeda, Spain

Pottery from Úbeda is rightly renowned throughout Andalusia and the rest of Spain.

Pottery from Ubeda, Spain

This craft has a long history in the town, drawing on many differing strands and influences – the Romans and the Renaissance, but most of all the Arabs. You only have to walk into a potter’s studio in Úbeda to feel the blend of Hispanic and Arab cultures that is concentrated there.

Instead of browsing standard gift shops, my recommendation is a visit to one of the potters themselves, with a chance to view their workshop, kiln and exhibition. Some are now located in the pats of town that are most frequented by tourists (i.e. around the Town Hall and Parador), but most remain in their traditional area along Calle Valencia in the lower reaches of Úbeda. This location was originally due to the abundance of water that was available there (a key component in the production process) and the fact that the smells, etc, from their kilns were thus kept away from the town centre.

Pottery from Ubeda, Spain

These days many potters combine traditional designs and techniques with dashes of modernity, and there’s nothing like holding and using such a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. If you’re looking for a gift that’s typical of the area and you won’t regret buying once you get it home (!), look no further.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Easter in Ubeda

Easter in Ubeda is an amazing time of the year for the town. Its streets are filled with processions and music at seemingly any hour of the day and night, while the locals make the most of the holiday time to enjoy some gorgeous tapas in between following the different images that they venerate so much. Everything culminates in the expression of their "Semana Santa".

I hope you enjoy your visit to Ubeda at Easter if you get the chance. It's a unique experience!

Friday, 18 March 2016

Real Monasterio de Santa Clara, Ubeda, Spain

The Real Monasterio de Santa Clara  in Ubeda (13th-18th Century, Gothic-Mudéjar, Renaissance and Baroque) is currently a convent, in spite of its name. A closed order live there, although they sell their homemade cakes through a hatch – buying them is a real experience, as is scoffing them!

Real Monasterio de Santa Clara, Ubeda, Spain

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Palacio de la Rambla in Ubeda, Spain

As you explore Ubeda, a stroll up along Calle Jurado Gómez will lead you to the Plaza del Marqués and the Palacio de Marqués de la Rambia (16th Century), which has now been converted into a posh hotel. It's a beautiful building, as can be seen in the photo below:

Palacio de la Rambla in Ubeda

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Casa de las torres, Ubeda, Spain

Climbing back to the upper part of the Plaza de San Lorenzo, you’ll encounter the Casa de las Torres, an impressive mansion and the oldest one of its kind in Úbeda (16th Century, Plateresque). The building has been restored and is now home to the local Art College and their lucky students. 

Casa de las torres, Ubeda, Spain

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Plaza de San Lorenzo and Iglesia de San Lorenzo, Ubeda, Spain

It’s worth heading down to the Plaza de San Lorenzo in Ubeda, which is dominated by the beautiful ruins of the Iglesia de San Lorenzo (16th Century, Renaissance) with its tower half overgrown with ivy overlooking the square. Just by the church is a little alleyway that heads out of the old town and straight to the countryside, as steep slope means further construction is difficult there. There are thus lovely views over rolling olive groves and hills in the distance, while along the town walls we can see the Puerta de Granada, another gateway to Úbeda. 

Iglesia de San Lorenzo, Ubeda, Spain

Monday, 1 February 2016

Ubeda tourist office in Ubeda, Spain

Leaving Plaza del Ayuntamiento via the Calle Corazón de Jesús, you’ll find the Iglesia de Santo Domingo (16th Century, Gothic-Mudéjar and Renaissance) just round the corner from the Palacio Marqués del Contadero, where Ubeda Tourist Office is now housed. They’ll provide you with lots of info on Úbeda, Baeza and the surrounding area, so you should definitely pop in there and browse, even if it’s just to check out the frequent concerts, exhibitions and events that you might be able to attend during your stay.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Dinner in Ubeda and Baeza

Evening dinners (mainly 9-11 p.m.), however, are different. Some people do go out for a sit-down meal, but many will go to a bar rather than a restaurant and have some tapas over a beer or wine. The terminology for ordering the following is as follows: a caña is a small draught lager, a tubo a bigger one and a botellín a bottled lager. The most popular wines are from Rioja or Ribera del Duero, as most local consumers haven’t yet woken up to the gorgeous wines being produced in other parts of their own country. 

Friday, 15 January 2016

Lunch in Ubeda and Baeza

Lunch is normally the main meal of the day in Andalusia; it’s served 1.45-3.30 p.m. and usually involves a set menu or à la carte meal. Set menus tend to be cheaper – and sometimes nastier – although they can be excellent value for money and often throw in cheap plonk as part of the deal. As for ordering your food, it’s important to remember that many restaurants will hand you an à la carte menu when you walk in, but have a set menu available if you ask. N.B. The carta is à la carte, while the menú is set!

The starters are usually larger than in the U.K. and may involve a stew or salad, while the main course is invariably meat or fish with a very limited range of veg. Don’t forget that veggies struggle in Spain, and Úbeda and Baeza are no exception. Even peas or artichokes are served with diced ham, while pulses are popular, often as a starter, but in stews that also contain meat or sausages of some description.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

A typical breakfast in Ubeda and Baeza

Let’s move on to the meals of the day, inevitably beginning with breakfast. As the working day starts so early and lunch is so late, many people leave the office for a few minutes mid-morning to have breakfast out. This leads to many bars specialising in the first meal of the day. Some of them have made quite an art out of a humble slice of toast, often revolving around the omnipresent olive oil that the locals love so much. Toast is served with oil to be poured over it, freshly grated tomato to be spread on it, garlic to be rubbed on and salt to be sprinkled over it. 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Tapas in Ubeda and Baeza

it’s worth mentioning that Úbeda and Baeza really stand out for their tapas. It's worth noting the differing culture that lies behind tapas in different parts of Andalusia: around the Seville area (i.e. western Andalusia) you have to pay if you want a tapa with your drink, but in many parts of eastern Andalusia you get a tapa or aperitivo for free. In Úbeda and Baeza these are often famously large and you can even make a light supper out of them. Bigger appetites can order any extra dishes, called raciones, to share.