Monday, July 14, 2014


During the first week of classes, we already had activities prepared for us. (As we do for the entire trip.) As it happened, the first activity with the program happened on the same day as activities for both of my classes. But right now I'm going to focus on the guided tour of the Lladro factory, the middle event of the day.

Lladro is a world renowned porcelain manufacturing company. When I say world renowned, I mean, their porcelain can be found not only in the same shopping area as Swarovski, but in the same store. I haven't been in one, but I'd imagine that some of the jewelry costs less than the porcelain.

When we got to the factory, we were welcomed by a tour-guide, and taken to watch a short video about the process of making the porcelain. The video was a brief glance at everything that they make, and a bit about the family Lladro. After the video our group was taken to see more of the process, albeit, sped up, with most of the waiting cut out. The porcelain is made in a mold, and the guide spent a little while explaining the negative and positive aspects of the process. He also told us that one mold can have up to 30 pieces. Once the porcelain has dried for a specified time, the porcelain in the middle of the mold is poured out, leaving the hollow figure. This has to dry for much longer. We got to walk around and see how the pieces are put together. The people working in the Lladro factory are professionals, and have exquisite talent. Each piece is hand-painted, and then fired according to specific instructions. I won't go into the process much deeper here, but if you ever have a chance I definitely recommend taking a tour. Whether it's Lladro, or elsewhere similar.

After the tour, the group was taken into the show room. Pictures are not allowed, so I can't show you the amazing things that they create, but -> here's a link to the website <-, so you can look for yourself. Since everything they make is of such high quality, even the slightest defect makes a figure unfit to be sold. However, there is a small shop at the factory, with said imperfect pieces at discounted prices. They are still beautiful, and to the untrained eye, there is nothing wrong with any of them.

I wish I could leave you to one last picture. But, as I said taking pictures was prohibited. Definitely take the opportunity to look through the galleries on the website. The pieces are varied, and subject matters cover a wide variety of feelings, cultures, and time periods.

Just because no blog post is complete without pictures, and I want to share the cool things I find with you, here is one of a building that I found while I was wandering Valencia one afternoon.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


After the length of my last post, and the time that it took me to write it, I've been a little put off of blogging. That being said, I do want to start telling you about all of my adventures and such.

As you know, our getting here was an interesting process. However, the next day we turned around and ran off to Peñíscola (aka Peniscola). A little history: Peñíscola is a small walled-in town in the province of Valencia, slightly north of the city. Not only does it have a beautiful beach, there's a castle! The castle was built in the 13th century by the Knight's Templar, and was later reverted to the Crown of Aragon.

The history of the castle was interesting, but I was honestly more focused on trying to drink in all the sights. Yes, the beach is amazing. But as my host-mother told me, Peñíscola is a unique town, and a beach is a beach. [Words of wisdom for anyone and everyone traveling anywhere.] So after spending enough time at the beach to eat my bocadillo and cool off in the water, I found some friends and we went wandering around the town.

Basically, once you enter the city all of the streets are uphill. I'm not exaggerating. On the way up to the castle (which you can see at the top of the picture above), there are no flat streets, none at all. A typical street looked something like this:

But then you get to the castle, and it's amazing. It's very split level, and the church below is somehow connected, but also outside? I'm not quite sure. The view from the top was breathtaking.

That's all for now, but I'll work on having slightly shorter posts, and more of them. Hasta luego!