Hmm. Jaén. What to say about my first impression of Jaén….well, let’s sum it up with a little story. Here it goes: I got off the bus in Jaén, and immediately stepped into a pile of brightly colored vomit composed entirely of gazpacho. The end.

That was my first experience in the province I now call home. I also couldn’t find the taxi line at the bus station because of a lot of construction going on in the area, so I needlessly wandered around the block a couple times in the dark with all of my luggage, further weakening my soul. Oh, and then my hostel was literally the creepiest hostel in the entire world. It actually was really nice, but it was too nice for Jaén. I hate to break it to the city, but they are never going to have enough young people visiting to fill up that youth hostel. It was a really, really nicely renovated hospital complete with pool and spa, dining room, private bathrooms, etc., etc., etc., but honestly, there were like three people there in a building built for like 5 million. It was like staying in an abandoned hospital. Because that is literally what it was. Anyways, I cried a little teensy, teensy bit. Luckily I had been in touch with an auxiliar in Úbeda who said I could stay at his apartment the next night, so after a brief walk around the blah city the next morning, I was out of there.

Before I get into Úbeda though, let me do Jaén justice. I went back about a week later for orientation and I stayed with some really lovely returning auxiliars who knew their way around the city. My experience in Jaén the second time around was completely different. I actually really enjoyed myself and the city. It’s rather pretty in parts, has some great tapas bars and cafes, and is populated by some really nice people. My third time there, to get my NIE, only affirmed this more positive impression. So Jaén, I am sorry for judging you so harshly. You are kind of cool, and I am really happy that you have a Zara and an El Corte Inglés… but Granada is still cooler. Sorry.

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