Our arrival in Valencia was delayed due to the problem s with the lifeboat yesterday in Almeria, so our arrival was pushed out to 1 PM. As soon as the ship was cleared by port officials, and this was commercial port, we were required to take free shuttle bus to the main gate. Upon arrival there, we caught the first available taxi to the Lladro (Ya-thro) factory. This was a wild ride as the driver wanted to return and pick up another fare, however at no time did I feel unsafe. This was the first of three taxi experiences, and I must say that all three drivers were most courteous, did not speak a word of English, and extremely honest. More about that later.
Pictured above is the simple logo of the factory and in a location in a seemingly less that upscale community. Only pictures can properly express the beauty of what we were treated to inside the outlet showroom and their beautiful and stylishly appointed museum. We had emailed the company some weeks ago and were assured that if we arrived at 3:30 PM we would be able to take one of their free tours. Although there was some misunderstanding, and after that got sorted out we were treated like visiting royalty and had sufficient time to visit and photograph the museum.. alone, as the ships tour that we were permitted to join, had not arrived. This picture is in the outlet showroom and all pieces are “seconds”! You may not be able to read the price tag on the one with the brown base, but the one of the left was 113 euros ($170)!
The following pictures are from the museum, and although they appear small they are decent size and all for sale, although there were no price tags on any of them, sort of “if you need to ask…”.
During the tour we were not permitted to take pictures of the process, but the craftsmanship of the process from the molds to the finished product is astounding.
I would estimate that the cost of the flamenco dancer above would be no less that $1000. After the tour we returned to the outlet showroom where Barbara purchased two children flamenco dancers (about three inches high) for 38 euros ($57). Yesterday I had an amazing breakfast conversation with a gentleman on the ship who inquired about our visit,and then proceeded to share that when his mother died several years ago, she had a cabinet full of Lladro pieces which they “got rid of” at a yard sale.
When we were ready to leave the factory, our hosts called us a cab to take us to the center of town, here again another wild ride, and an honest, courteous cab driver. As soon as we got out of the cab, Barbara started salivating at the souvenir stands that abounded on the grounds in front of their cathedral.
After some shopping and several “hundred” photos later we decided it was time to have a bite to eat and head for the train station where we were assured that there would be a commercial shuttle to take us back to the port entry. Surprise, no one knew anything about where we were to catch the bus, no markings, no signs, and we had no clue to what the bus looked like– wow! We are now about two hours from our “all aboard” time and some distance from the port. Finally a policeman (speaking no English) recommended (strongly) that we walk across the street and catch the # 19, which we did. The lady bus driver assured us that she would let us know when we should get off – at the port. Since Barbara had researched bus system before we left home we were quite sure we were on the right bus. However, when we got off the buss we apparently started walking in the wrong direction! After about a half a hour of walking (75 deg) and we could see no sign of the ship, we opted for our third and wildly exciting cab ride.
Our driver assured us that he knew just where we wanted to go – not! This particular port is a maze of roads leading to many different facilities and it seemed that each road we took was the wrong one, and the driver, bless his soul was getting more frustrated with each wrong turn, finally – bingo – and away we raced to the ship and arrived with about 25 minutes to share. The driver was so embarrassed, that when we tried to pay the fare indicated by the meter, and then Barbara offered him a tip, well, it was just moment one doesn’t have everyday, and one I won’t forget.
Next Two days in Beautiful Barcelona
One thought on “Valencia and the Lladro factory tour”
Hi Jack – How close to the earthquakes in S.E. Spain were you both in time and distance?
WA7HDY – Jeff Foro