Here is another question/answer session with a soon-to-be auxiliar!
Hi, just found your name on the Expat cafe…and thanks for the offer to answer questions, super! Hereby mine: what can you tell about Bailen and Jaén-capital? Distances, places themselves, general opinion, etc….thanks a lot for your time!!!
I am sorry to say that I never actually went to Bailen while I was in Andalucía, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you anything about it! Jaén capital, on the other hand, I did visit quite a bit, so I can give you my two cents on that.
Jaén is about one hour from Granada on a bus, and that is how I first arrived. My first impression was bad. I arrived at night, all alone, with tons of luggage and no idea where I was going. Jaén is not a big tourist town, so you can’t just show up and expect to find a hotel. Anyways, the point is, it may look a little ugly at first, but there are some really nice parts of the city and there are a lot of auxiliars there.
Tapas are free in Jaén, just like they are in Granada, so there are a lot of great tapas bars, and there is an awesom area near the cathedral that is really pretty with narrow, winding streets filled with bars and cafes. It is a lot like some of the old areas in other Spanish cities, but without the tourists! There is also a university in Jaén, so there are a lot of young people there, as well as Erasmus students. I think last year auxiliars were allowed to take Spanish classes at the university for free too.
All of the auxiliars I knew in Jaén really liked it. It’s not super glamorous or big or anything, but the people there are so so nice, and you really do get to experience a tourist-free part of Spain. It is also so cheap in the lesser known parts of Spain, so everything will be really affordable in all parts of Jaén province! Check out www.alsa.com for information on buses in the area. They don’t list everything on there, and there are a few other bus companies that go to Jaén, but for the most part it’s a pretty comprehensive list of your transportation options. Jaén capital also has a RENFE station, I don’t know if Bailen does.
I liked Jaén, though it definitely isn’t as nice as Granada or Sevilla or anything. Try getting in touch with people through Expat Café or Facebook to see if you can stay with some returning auxiliars before deciding where you’re going to live, or you could always couchsurf with a local! That was what I did the second time I went to Jaén and it was soooooo much more fun. I think it’s important to have someone who knows the place to show you around so you actually see the good stuff! Also, beware the accent! If you haven’t been to Andalucía before, the jienense accent might be a little tough to understand! You’ll get used to it!