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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Baeza, Jaen Province, Spain

Continuing the grab bag of posts I should have got around to months ago, here are a few photos to give you a sense of why Baeza is well worth visiting...

Only twenty minutes from Ubeda, Baeza is a lovely small town. As you can see from the photos it was deserted when we strolled around on a sunny day in late March.

On the righthand side of the picture above you can see the purple banners going up on the buildings in preparation for the parades leading up to Easter.

The small church above with its Romanseque entrance was a contrast to the Renaissance architecture that dominates the city.

The Cathedral from the attached cloister.
Where to stay Ubeda or Baeza?
We had difficulty deciding whether to stay in Baeza or Ubeda and having visited both towns I'm glad we opted for Ubeda. Somehow it felt like the historic area of Ubeda was more lived in. Baeza was lovely and well worth the visit, it is a lovely small University town but to us Ubeda was a more charming place to stay because the town felt more alive. This may be quite different in the summer when the University of Grenada runs a summer school in Baeza However, the older areas of Baeza (around the old University and the Cathedral) seemed to be more of a historic than a residential quarter. Either way, both of these towns make a nice change if your itinerary is heavily weighted towards larger cities (Grenada, Seville, Cordoba) as our was. 

On our next trip to Andulucia I'm looking forward to spending more time in either the countryside or in smaller towns like Baeza.