Wednesday, 26 October 2016


November promises to be a hectic month, with two anthology launches (Motives for Murder, a Detection Club book of short stories) and Crimson Snow (a British Library collection of classic winter crime stories) as well as some events and plenty of writing tasks. So I decided to warm up for it with a short break in the south of Spain, where at this time of year, the weather is usually quite lovely.

Our companions on the tour of Andalusia were fellow crime author Kate Ellis and her husband Roger, and an assorted group of British and Irish travellers, one of whom, by a startling coincidence, had attended a talk of mine about Dr Crippen's criminal career a few years back. The itinerary was a mix of guided tours and free time, and the balance was good, enabling us to appreciate some terrific destinations.
The main stop was Seville, with its incredible Alcazar, and magnificent cathedral. I was also very struck by the dramatic modern Metropol Parador, constructed mainly of wood, designed (no doubt at great cost, but I think it was worth it) as a "cathedral without walls". You pay three euros, go up in a lift, and are able to walk up and down the undulating walkways, taking in the marvellous views all around. And a free glass of wine is thrown in. This is the life, I reflected, as I drank my wine in the shade. Four years ago I reviewed the TV version of Robert Wilson's The Blind Man of Seville, and said that I really ought to get around to reading the book. I still haven't done so, but now that I've seen the city for myself, and liked it enormously, I have an added incentive.

Other destinations included Mijas, Ronda (I'd never heard of it, but was very impressed; an old bridge spanning a dramatic ravine, shown in the photo at the top of this post, is a highlight, and lunch in a garden commanding great views was also great fun), Corduba (with its Mesquita, originally a mosque but converted by the Christians, and with an alcazar that's not on the scale of its spectacular Seville counterpart but is still impressive), and finally Granada. It was a great pleasure to walk along the paths of the Alhambra, where once Washington Irving strolled, in his days as US Ambassador; his Tales of the Alhambra is now on my ever-lengthening books-to-read list as well.


Fiona said...

Ah, favourite old haunts of ours - we have friends who retired to Andalusia some 25 years ago and have spent many happy hours with them.(If you draw a straight line between Granada and Malaga, they live just about midway in the mountains.) Cordoba and Granada are both wonderful, but we were lucky enough to visit the latter nearly 50 years ago before it was completely overrun by tourists... it was a quite shock on our later visit!

Martin Edwards said...

I bet you've had some fantastic times, there, Fiona. I didn't mention it in the post, but I was very taken with the landscape, the Sierrra Nevada and so on.