Went to the airport with Julio to pick up David Arnold and John Scott. David apparently took an earlier flights, so had been hanging out at the airport for 1.5 hours, and John Scott’s flight was delayed. Poor David also was under the impression that the drive to Ubeda was about 1-2 hours, so it came a shock to him (and myself) that it was actually closer to 4 hours to get there. Lordy.
After driving back into Madrid (now in our new large minibus), we picked up two more people (and my luggage) from the hotel, and we started driving to Ubeda. Once we got outside of the city, the landscape turned flat, somewhat arid, and amazingly dull. We stopped for a small break about an hour outside of Madrid, where I picked up what was easily 3/4 of a gallon of bottled water for 1.5 euros. Not too bad!
The conversation on the drive was quite interesting, but shall not be divulged until my memoirs are published in 2050. The last hour of the trip also became more visually interesting once we entered the mountainous region, and then broke through into a valley that was covered with more olive trees than I’ve ever seen in my life. Absolutely insane – the orchards went up the sides of the mountains, and apparently they’re all harvested by hand!
We finally got into Ubeda, around 9:30pm, and took David, John and Nancy to their hotel, which is (apparently) in a 14th-century building in the old part of town. The roads are incredibly narrow and tight, and I will definitely try to get pictures while I’m here. Though the sun was setting (late here since we’re only 1 hour time difference from Israel, for example), I was able to see that there will be some very nice views from this hilltop city. I’m not staying at that hotel; rather my stay will be at the Ciudad de Ubeda, a modern hotel about a mile from the conference venue.