Exciting "find" or not?
October 20, 2009 at 4:21 am #11263Carolyn WhitlockParticipant
It was the last day of our 14-night cruise of the Mediterranean. I’d seen lots of bell towers during our vacation but couldn’t get close enough to see the details on the bells. There were many souvenir bells in gift shops but they were pretty expensive. “But they are hand-painted, Madam,” the sales clerk would say. With the Euro equaling about $1.47 while we were there, I wasn’t about to pay $50.00 to $80.00 or more for a string of three small ceramic bells, regardless of how pretty they were. I’m a Yankee, you know! As a bell friend said to me before I went to Italy, “You can get Murano bells cheaper on eBay!”
Fourteen days had passed and I hadn’t found one bell I wanted to buy! Our last day was spent in Barcelona, Spain. We had just toured the Gaudi church. While my husband kept a street bench warm, I went into a gift shop. There they were! My heart leaped! Two, new, shiny, Damascene turtle bells with gorgeous designs!
I rationalized that since I hadn’t spent any money on bells during my whole trip, perhaps it was all part of a divine plan for me to buy just one really nice bell. They were in a locked case so I couldn’t pick them up to see how much they cost. I bent over to see if I could see a winder or a price tag on the bottom. The turtles’ legs were too short to see so, I went looking for a sales clerk. Finally finding one that was fluent enough in English to help me, I asked, “Are these turtles bells?”
“No,” she replied. Well, I knew darn well they were. I asked her how much they cost. She told me they were 245 Euros each! That translated to roughly $360 each! I asked her to take them out of the case so I could see them closer. Son of a gun, there were no winders on the bottom! But, the structure of the turtle was identical to the turtle bells I have so I pressed on the head and on the tail. Instead of a beautiful ring, I heard a bland buzzing sound! What a let down! Apparently, they used “modern technology” instead of good, old mechanics to generate the sound! No wonder the woman said they were not bells! They really didn’t ring! I thanked the lady for her help and moved on. As I left the store, I wondered if the turtles had replaceable batteries in them or if they simply died and left a dysfuctional, expensive bell!
Sadly, I did not buy any bells on my trip but I did take pictures of the lovely turtles to share with my bell friends! Enjoy!
October 25, 2009 at 4:55 am #14937dorthybellMember
Wondering if the lady kept information about the store. Often the bag in which the purchase is placed has the name and address of the store. I’d like to find that store.
October 26, 2009 at 1:54 pm #14936AnonymousInactive
I can’t tell you the name of the store where I saw these bells but I can tell you where it was located. They had one other “high-end” bell there that also cost in the hundreds of Euros. I believe they all were gold plated.
The gift shop was beside the Gaudi designed SAGRADA FAMÍLIA (HOLY FAMILY CHURCH) in Barcelona, Spain. It is located in Sagrada Familia Square. If you are standing in front of the Nativity facade, the gift shop is across the street to the left. There are many gift shops on that block. The one that had the turtle bells and the gilded glass bell was closest to the Nativity facade and was clearly the most high-end shop on the block. That’s the best info I can give you. Sorry I can’t do better.
Nativity Facade of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family Church), Barcelona, Spain.
The glass bell has a hang tag that says it was made in Toledo. I looked at the turtle bells and didn’t see any markings. I was expecting to see “BOJ” at least on them but it wasn’t there.
October 29, 2009 at 12:15 am #14935AnonymousInactive
Carol J. writes:
Here is my turtle bell tale. Last Spring my husband, sons and myself spent 10 days in Barcelona and Madrid. We took a side trip to Toledo and I too went on the hunt for a turtle bell. I found the “door bell” type but in Toledo. It would be nice to go back to Toledo for at least an overnight to see if one could actually watch the making the the shell. Toledo is a built on a hill with winding streets and old buildings, very interesting. However, my story ends differently from yours, we now have a “modern” turtle sitting next to the wind-up variety. I’ll let you know how long the battery lasts, as I wondered that myself. To non-bell collectors both gather more interest than some of the other bells in my collection.
Posted with permission of the sender.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.