What happens when you drive through nauseating, mountainous back roads of southern Spain until you’re convinced that you’ve made a wrong turn at that fork in the road about 30 km back? You keep going, my friend. Another 20 minutes of driving, and I’m convinced this is all a sick joke and we’re actually starring in a new horror film where the car breaks down and we’re all doomed.
But luckily, that didn’t happen. Finally we reached the pueblo we’d been searching for this whole time.
Why would you drive to the most random, tiny town in the middle of nowhere in Spain? Why not go to the Alhambra or better yet the Sagrada Familia? you ask. Well, my Internet friend, since you asked:
Me and my peeps were searching for Valeriano Bernal’s classical/Flamenco guitar studio. It’s home to the most exquisite handmade guitars in all of Spain. And we were determined to find it. Once in town, we resorted to the awkward, roll the window down and ask people for directions approach. As soon as the locals heard the word guitarra roll off our tongues, they pointed us in the right direction. The quest took all of three and a half minutes.
We walked into the small studio and looked around. It was small and unassuming. Posters of flamenco dancers and flyers advertising live shows flooded the walls. I knew there was much more to this place than meets the eye. We peeked around the corner and noticed a staircase. And 10 minutes later, in true bravado spirit, we were somehow getting a free tour of the studio. We walked around, taking pictures and generally acting like we owned the place. I figured the owner, who the shop is named after, had passed away because his son was working in the sales section and his daughter gave us a tour. Next thing we know, ole Valeriano walked in the studio and plopped down in a chair right next to me. He looked exactly as I imagined a guitar-crafting legend would: short, plump, grandfatherly. After a short conversation with him, my friend Paolo was coerced to play one of the brand new, expensive guitar in front of the classical guitar master. Talk about high pressure situation.
After Paolo’s epic performance, we casually chatted with Valeriano for a while about his studio and how glad he was that his family worked alongside him. Finally, we thanked them for their kindness, waved goodbye and were off to our next adventure: RONDA.