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We met with Alexandra this morning and had a wonderful time chatting with her in the courtyard of our apartment.  It is delightful, with grape arbor, lemon trees, decorative pots, and laundry.  It all feels so homey, and even though Juan speaks very little English, and we very little Spanish, somehow we communicated-- sometimes through Alexandra.  I think Juan even talks too fast for her!!  She gave us maps and all kinds of pointers, as well as her personal recommendations for local sites which we had not considered.  (And, in the end, Alexandra's tips were the best!)

After the meeting, we decided to drive to Baena.  We'd heard there was a festival going on there and wanted to check it out.  So, off we went in our little standard shift Seat (a Spanish Fiat).  A great little car for the area, don't see why you'd want anything else.  In retrospect, it was the only car we could have driven on some of the narrow, incredibly steep roads.  And getting it in and out of the parking garage, while more convenient with two people, was not that bad. We got onto it right away.

These are some of the festival costumes, it was an olive oil festival and street fair.  Very entertaining but driving and parking in Baena was a nightmare.  The olive oil museum was closed, but we really didn't care so much about that. We wandered the streets a while and decided to head back in the direction of Priego.

A mill for crushing olives along the way back to Priego

When we got home, we explored the village more, did a little grocery shopping and mapped out our visit for the next day.  We planned to go to Ubeda, a UNESCO world heritage site and home of famous Renaissance architecture and pottery.  

The next day, a Friday, we set off for Ubeda.  The roads are well marked and certainly wider and in better shape than the roads we've driven in Italy.  Even the bare white marked country lanes are quite good--we did not have a bit of trouble on the way north to Ubeda.  We'd been instructed to avoid driving into Jaen at all costs, so we did just that.  (However, on the way back we got a little bit lost and drove into the outskirts--but realized our mess up, did a u turn at the next roundabout, and headed out of Dodge, er, Jaen!)

Here are some Ubeda pics--the architecture was amazing, and yes, we did buy pottery at Tito's!

A bite to eat at the Parador....it was as delicious as you have heard.

Palace doors within doors

Inside the Palace

Holy Chapel of the Saviour in Ubeda

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