The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see – Gilbert K Chesterton
There are two things I don’t like – being mistaken for a romance novelist, and being called a tourist. I went to Spain without maps, guidebooks, or a plan for my trip. Yet, I decided to do something that would mix in two things I don’t like, and walked around like a tourist, taking photos of a book about love affairs destroyed by the Spanish Civil War. People in Valencia didn’t look twice at me, such is their relaxed nature. Madrileños looked at me like I was crazy, which was pretty fun. Either way, for several hours, I took photos of my last novel in some of the locations in the book.
Caught being a tourist at Valencia’s Pont del Real
Valencia’s Turia is a central point in the book through most of the novel, and in the titles to come in the ‘Secrets of Spain’ series. Who wouldn’t want to visit? I enjoyed sitting in the grass every day of my time in the city.
So here we are, in rough order as they appear in the novel, photos of my book and locations in BITVS. Even if you haven’t read the novel, you can still enjoy some beautiful parts of Spain –
Chapter one – 1939: view of the Cuenca Convent San Pablo from the Beltrán family home in Barrio San Martín
Chapter one – 1939: Cuenca’s Casas Colgadas, Hanging Houses, where Cayetano, Alejandro, Scarlett, Luna and Sofía discuss the civil war
Chapter two – 2009: Madrid’s Plaza de Toros near where Luna meets Cayetano ‘the bull-minder’
Chapter two – 2009: a walk in Madrid’s Retiro park
Chapter three – 2009: a night at Madrid’s Ritz hotel
Chapter seven – 1939: the drop from Luna’s window
Chapter eight – 2009: Cayetano follows Luna in Valencia’s Turia
Chapter 11 – 2009: Luna and Cayetano go to Cuenca in search of their namesakes
Chapter 12 – 2009: Cayetano and Luna get into a fight at Cuenca’s cathedral
Chapter 13 – 1939: Luna, Cayetano and Scarlett panic run up Cuenca’s Barrio San Martín steps
Chapter 14 – 2009: a stolen night in Cuenca’s parador
Chapter 19 – 2009: another visit to Madrid to uncover the Beltrán family secret
Chapter 21 – 1939: a secret burial in the Valencian mountains
Chapter 21 – 1939: arriving in Valencia as the war comes to an end
Chapter 21 – 1939: Placa del L’Angel, where a plan to survive the war is hatched
Chapter 24 – 2009: a disasterous night out in Valencia’s El Carmen district
Chapter 26 – 2009: a secret hideaway in the Valencian mountains is found
Chapter 29 – 1939: panic at the clock tower at Valencia’s port
Chapter 33 – 2009: Luna goes back to work as a Valencian bike mechanic
Chapter 34 – 2009 and 1939: a declaration of love (written on Cuenca’s gorge bridge) that is broken and forgotten
Chapter 35 – 2009: Cayetano hears a painful truth, another barrier to getting back in the bullring
Chapter 39 – 2009: a bullfighter and a bike mechanic at the Valencia’s Plaza de la Virgen fountain
Chapter 39 – 2009: the entrance to the Valencia cathedral where the Water Court meet
Chapter 45 – 2009: a new grave discovered in the Valencia mountains
There you have it! Because I am doing posts on Valencia, Madrid and Cuenca, I didn’t feel the need to go into specific detail about each location, I will save that for other posts. In the spirit of not planning my trip, I unexpectedly ended up in Xátiva. I didn’t want to visit the town again, but the fun trip gave me this photo, standing in the spot where, in 2005, my husband took a random scenic photo. It ended up being the photo that graces the cover of BITVS, but I didn’t have a copy of the book on me that day!
So, what happened to the copy of the book in the photos? It got autographed and given to a friend who was kind enough to accompany me on a very cold day out in Madrid as I took the photos. Thank you for your good humour and an arm-in-arm stroll in Retiro, in the spirit of the novel. Being able to talk about Spain and the civil war every day was the highlight of my trip.
Up next… Part 5 (of 10) – Madrid Tapas and History Tour with James Blick