In the novel I’m currently writing, traveling features heavily, not just because I love it, but because, to me, discovering a new place is bound to be a transformative experience. Here’s a description of one of my key characters:

It was as if she could go straight to the core of a place and feel its beating heart, while the rest of us were merely wandering around.

Every time I board a plane to a new destination, I aim to uncover its beating heart. Being a writer means that I pick up details here and there others might not, that I absorb the environment around me in a more impressionistic way. So, instead of describing the many sights I saw in both Seville and Cordoba a while ago, here are my impressions/memories of both places:

The smell of orange flower in the air.
The constant noise.
Families immaculately dressed to go to church early in the evening, children with combed hair, flannel shorts and high socks, as if coming straight from the fifties.
The narrow streets, the absence of pavement and of pedestrian zones.
The combined and heavenly flavours of grilled tuna and cold sangria.
Elderly people elegantly dressed, looking proud and dignified.
The rich taste of dark chocolate ice cream.
The miniature paper renactement of the Easter procession in the window of one of the many bookshops in the city.
The guitar player’s eyes fixed on the flamenco dancer, adjusting his music to her every fierce move.
A slightly dazed-looking young girl, in her communion outfit with an adult hairdo and make-up, receiving instructions from a professional photographer while standing by a fountain in the Alcazar garden.
The tight security checks at the station, before boarding the train to Cordoba.
The dark and surprisingly silent Mosque-Cathedral in Cordoba.
Seagulls hovering en masse over the stagnant water of the Gadalquivir by the old bridge.
The guide at Cordoba’s Sefarad museum, eyes closed, singing old Jewish songs from all over the world.
The emptiness of Cordoba’s synagogue, one of the three left in the country.
The sun on my face as I write a new chapter.

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