Just keep climbing up

13 Nov

Yesterday (Friday), one of my fellow auxiliares came to visit Jaén from her nearby town and we had one main goal in mind: climb up to the castillo. I’ve been up to Santa Catalina Castle twice before – once during the day and once at night – but I had always gone up via car. This time we decided to hike.

Lauren came over for lunch and then the three of us started out around 5pm from my apartment, aiming to make it up before sunset. We didn’t exactly know where we were going, but I figured that as long as we kept going up (the castle is on top of the mountain), we were bound to make it eventually.

So up we went. And up, and up, and up. About 40 minutes later, we had finally made it out of the neighborhoods and to the base of the woods/castle. We started to hike up the trail and I swear I felt like I was in a scene from Lord of the Rings – nothing but trees, rocks, and the greenest grass I’ve ever seen. I felt like we were miles away from any civilization as we kept climbing up.

After a loosing our way slightly and ending up at the pool of the accompanying parador hotel, we finally made it up to the castle. It was about 6:30 and we had made it just in time for sunset.

But something was wrong. They were closing the gates to the castle and there were a bunch of construction workers coming out. We knew that the castle had been under construction, but we had wrongly assumed that it was finished.

Then followed a short conversation with the construction worker, which went somewhere along the lines of:

“Is the castle closed?”



“Because we’re working.”

“When will it be open.”

“It’s closed whenever we’re working.”

Woah Mr. helpful! We finally got it out of him that the castle will be opening on the 25th for celebration of Santa Catalina (the saint). Then we retreated to the cafe of the hotel parador for some coffee. On a side note, Jaén’s parador hotel has been voted one of the top ten paradors in Europe. (A parador is an old castle that has been converted into a luxury hotel.)

But the trip wasn’t completely a bust. We got to spend some time at the top of the mountain, we got a good workout on the way up, and on the way down we were rewarded with this beautiful view of the cathedral:

I love that Jaén still seems to have little surprises that I’m still discovering 2 months later. But today, we’re laving the city behind and heading off to our friends pueblo for a night in the country.

My Lesson of the Day: Sometimes the best things appear when you’re not actually looking for them.


One Response to “Just keep climbing up”

  1. mom November 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    That picture is awesome. Saw some more on facebook. Looks beautiful but if you don’t mind when we come to visit I would love to see the castle, via car. Haha

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