One of our group’s visits while in Spain — well, two actually … it was sort of double-header — was at the restoration / conservation shop of Luis Alba Marin and the workshop and showrooms of Francisco Dorantes Caro, both CAA members.

We had already met them, plus their translator and their wives, at Santiago Domecq’s two days earlier.

When it came time for our visit to Carruajes Alba, our bus driver and I called my contact person at the shop, Javier, who met us on the road into the small town of Lebrija and guided us in. It’s a good thing there were no more than twenty-five of us and that we were in a half-sized bus. A full-sized one would never have been able to squeeze through and into (or out of) some of the places we went!

The major project underway at the shop was the restoration of a Gala Berlin owned by the Spanish royal family, a few details of which I’ve included here:

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In another part of the shop (beyond the room with the lovely spread of ham, cheese, olives, and drinks) were several other projects in various states of repair.

This is the interior of a covered wagon of sorts, with two inward-facing bench seats and a rounded canvas top.

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Luis and his wife, Maria Angeles, in front of the body of the Gala Berlin being restored

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the CAA group, with the Carruajes Alba and Dorantes Saddlery folks in the front row

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While Luis is in charge of the vehicle restoration / conservation work, Maria Angeles does all of the fabric / coach lace restoration, and she makes braiding and bridle “pom-poms” like this one:

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… each one of these takes a total of about eight hours to make by hand and you've already seen how many are on each bridle!

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You can read about our visit to Dorantes Saddlery in tomorrow’s post.