Jaen – Ciudad Nueva – Carretera de Madrid
My employer puts us up at the Hotel Infanta Cristina www.hotelinfantacristina.com on Carretera de Madrid, in the newest part of town.
It’s handy for the train station (max ten minute’s walk) but the neighbourhood it’s in is pretty sterile and there are no good bars or restaurants nearby that I know of.
Personally I like a bit of exercise before I eat so I always walk up the long hill most of the city is located on to one of the tapas areas I mention in my other posts.
The hotel itself is supposed to be the best in town, but that’s not saying much as there is a dearth of good hotels according to Lonely Planet. It’s tolerable but the rooms are quite dingy and the walls are a bit thin. On the other hand the breakfast is usually quite comprehensive and the hotel tapas bar seems to be relatively popular should you not want to go out.
Outside the front door of the hotel on Carretera de Madrid is the ghostly spectacle of the brand new tram tracks, although you won’t see any trams on them. A teacher later told me that the city had run out of money after the 2008 financial crash and had never got round to buying them. A shame as it would be a good way to get up the hill!
In recent years Jaen has become a destination for food tourism, especially oleotourists as this is the ‘world capital of olive oil’. This is the city’s gastronomic website which has news of special events and a list of places to eat.
It’s only when you leave Jaen by car or train that you got a true understanding of why the area is so well-known for olives. All you will see out of the window is olive trees for hour after hour (video here), a slightly unsettling monoculture with no other kind of vegetable life in sight. According to the Olive Oil Times Jaen province produces 45% of the Spanish total and 20% of the world total, an incredible statistic!
If you can’t face climbing the hill to Casa Paco to buy your olive oil (see Paseo de la Estacion post) then Carniceria Almaden at 7 Calle Manuel Caballero Venzalá is just two blocks from the hotel and also has a good selection of local produce. I like to load up on quality oils and almonds to take home.
You can find the shops on my Google map of Jaen that shows all the places mentioned in all these posts, and more.