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A Night Away - August 2015

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Parador de Úbeda

If you want to go off the coastal tourist trail, why not take a trip inland and visit the city of Úbeda. A few hours drive takes you beyond Granada, the Sierra Nevada mountains, through horizons of olive trees, to find this astonishing World Heritage City perched on a ridge above the Guadalquivir River plain.

We drive through the old town to the ornate Plaza de Vázquez de Molina, and gaze at the magnificence of the Renaissance buildings surrounding us. We are delighted to be staying in an old 16th century palace, which has been converted into a Parador Hotel.

Maria del Mar welcomes us with a smile, and we are taken to our room on the first floor. We step inside a cool bedroom, with rich fabric curtains, and a tapestry hanging on a high wall, below the embellished wooden ceiling. We have a spacious bathroom, and another door leads to a small terrace overlooking a courtyard below, where we hear a trickle of water in the fountain.

After unpacking, we go down to the covered centre patio, where we sit and sip cool drinks. Later we wander across the deserted plaza, and shelter from the searing heat in narrow streets and make our way to the famous “ Museo de Alfareria Paco Tito”. As we walk through this ancient building, we admire the abundance of colour and texture of beautiful, handmade pottery and have a chat with Tito himself, who has won national awards for his craft.

In the cool of the evening, we walk to Calle Real, and sit in the street to have wine and tapas, after deciding the hotel menu was not suitable. We are greatly surprised to find there is a film festival in town, and some of the original characters of the Star War films are here. We enjoy watching the procession of actors and local families as they wave their lightsabers through the crowds.

Later, back in the hotel, we sit on our terrace to have a final drink – the tranquillity only disturbed by the murmuring water in the fountain below. Next morning, after a breakfast delivered to our room, we sadly pack and take time to walk through the streets and buy a few pieces of pottery to take home.

Yes, we did “time travel” back to Renaissance times, and the stay in the hotel was perfectly in tune with the rich history of the town. If you want elegance, grandeur, history, with good service, this is the hotel to visit.