Anything But Paella

Albacete and its knife museum

It’s been a few years since we were last in Albacete and the chance arose to make a return visit, this time during the opening hours of the knife museum! Staying on the southern side of the city centre, we found a whole raft of bars and restaurants that had eluded us before.

Of particular interest was one of a number bars of the flourishing craft ale industry in Albacete. We chose Bigote Blanco for a pre-dinner drink and we were not disappointed. Yes, prices are a bit higher than a typical small beer in a typical Spanish bar, but this is real craft ale, so what do you expect? It wasn’t exactly expensive though, and but for some other plans we could easily have spent the whole evening there!

The main reason for the visit though, was the knife museum. It did not disappoint. On three floors you can explore the history of knife making in Spain and around the world. A word of caution though – everything is in Spanish only. I’m told that the website (currently down at the time of writing!) has English language information for visitors but no leaflets or signs are available on site. Take a dictionary or phone app if you can’t manage in Spanish.

On the basement level there is an intriguing look at knife making around the world. Brits will no doubt be drawn to the section on the Bowie knife and Sheffield steel but, having lived in Argentina for two years, I was drawn to the information about the knives the gauchos use both there and in Uruguay.

The museum though, is primarily there to show off the local history of knife making. There are informative videos to watch and many examples of the magnificent workmanship of the local artisans. The Albacete Association of Cutlery (APRECU) are not shy about promoting their wares and it was interesting to learn more about the Albacete style of knife which comes stamped with the letters AB providing a guarantee of origin. There are reminders of the past such as the knife sharpener’s bicycle containing all that was needed to keep everyone’s blades sharp.

There’s plenty of excellent artwork on display too, covering the whole history of Albacete knives. It’s totally up to date too with a collection of photographs with a modern twist. There’s also an excellent collection of children’s artwork.

For me, it was definitely worth the return visit to see what this great museum had to offer. If you visit, then why not leave a comment telling us all how you felt?

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