INTERVIEW WITH PABLO GARCIA, CREATOR OF SPAIN’S FIRST MOVIE TOURISM PACKAGE TOUR
Valencia International has been collaborating in the creation of Spain’s (and possibly Europe’s) first ever set-jetting package tour and we spoke to our man in Cuenca, tour guide and entrepreneur Pablo Garcia.
The first time I met Pablo he impressed me by making fun of the English; later he endeared himself by making fun of the French.
I don’t usually like to be a tourist and to go around in a group, but when I joined a guided tour of Cuenca led by Pablo, I admit that it was serious fun; informative and a laugh a minute.
Pablo has been collaborating with us in the preparation of a set-jetting route for the province of Cuenca, and on February 4th at Cuenca’s Parador Hotel, precisely where Pierce Brosnan stayed while shooting (quite a lot actually) The World is not Enough, Pablo will be presenting the complete package.
This is the first time in Spain that a movie tourism package has been offered; other organisations have only made lists of films made in their area, whereas this is a complete guided tour of the locations where some important Hollywood films have been made.
But let’s let Pablo explain.
You speak good English Pablo; how did you learn?
I spent 7 months in Plymouth during the last year of my degree in Geography. Of course I improved it since I work as a Tour Guide. We have welcomed many British, American and Australian clients in the last years.
Which films have been shot in the province of Cuenca?
A lot of them, but the most famous is probably EL CID shot in Belmonte´s Castle in 1961, with Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. Some years later they shot The Four Musketeers in Uclés monastery with Oliver Reed and Richard Chamberlain. The last one was a James Bond movie, The World is not Enough with Pierce Brosnan in an amazing location Los Callejones de Las Majadas inside the Serranía de Cuenca Natural Park. Also in the same Park Arnold Schwarzenegger worked in one of his first movies Conan the Barbarian.
Sergio Leone’s first film in Spain, The Colossus of Rhodes and Cary Grant’s Pride and Passion were also partly filmed there.
They also shot many Spanish movies in the Old Town of Cuenca like Calle Mayor, one of my favourite Spanish films.
Which specific locations will the movie tourists visit?
Three cultural landscapes Uclés Monastery, Belmonte and its castle and Cuenca which was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1996, as well as an impressive natural park: Los Callejones where we can enjoy the erosion of limestone caused by atmospheric elements like rain and wind in the last millions of years.
What kind of accommodation can you offer?
The best hotels in town, like the Parador, an old 16th century monastery, and Posada San José which was a school from the 17th to the 20th century, and is run by a Canadian lady. For those who prefer quiet places outside the town we also offer a couple of cottages.
Do you take care of the transport?
That´s right. Our visitors just need to manage transportation to the accommodation they chose. We´ll pick them up at their hotel to start the tours. Our van is a luxury Mercedes Benz for up to 8 people.
Is Cuenca easy to get to?
Since they opened the high speed train station it takes less than one hour from Madrid or Valencia to get here.
Will there be any other activities apart from seeing the filming locations?
Of course, cultural activities like the old town city tour and wine cellar tour in La Mancha. Also adventure sports in the Natural Park like kayaking, horse riding, canyoning, archery, etc. All optional of course.
Does Cuenca have interesting gastronomy?
Yes, it does. The most famous local dish is the morteruelo, a warm game meat pâté. There is a local spirit, called Resoli, a kind of coffee liquor; and we can´t forget the local sweet; Alajú, made of honey and almonds. A couple of local restaurants have developed a special menu included in the package tour.
Is there only one package or is it flexible?
Very flexible. Our clients can choose how many nights they want to spend in Cuenca and how many locations they will visit, from just one to all of them. They can choose the accommodation and optional activities as well.
What are the maximum and minimum numbers in each group?
From 2 to 22 people but we also encourage associations to book the package tour, because we can suit a personal tour according to their needs and offer special discounts.
When is the first one?
The weekend from March 31st to April 2nd.
What are the prices?
For this first tour, including 2 nights, all the meals (2 dinners, 2 lunches and 2 breakfasts), tours to 4 film locations with English speaking guide, wine cellar tour in Belmonte, entrance admissions to Belmonte Castle and Uclés monastery and transportation (prices in double room):
– 265€/ per person in Cottage accommodation Casita de Cabrejas
– 285€/ per person in Posada San José
– 325€ / per person in Posada San José SUITE
– 410€ / per person in PARADOR (single room surcharge 150€)
– 465 € / person in PARADOR Room with gorge view (single room surcharge 200 €)
And for those who don´t want to go over budget:
2 nights in a country house EL PAJAR DE LA ABUELA
Tours to 4 film locations with English speaking guides, entrance admissions and transportation from: 170€ / per person in double room (200 € in single room)
Notice that this option does not include meals and wine cellar tour in Belmonte.
So, what do we have to do if we want to try one of your packages?
Here are our contact details:
Pablo García 658 629 185 / Guillermo de León 606669609 Diego Recuenco 620029929