Why I love long car journeys #Mondayblogs

I travel across Spain from south to north about once a month. That’s over 800 kilometers, and I go by car. I could travel by plane or train, which is faster, but unfortunately it’s not practical and here’s why.

My husband and I stay at my mother’s cottage, in a tiny village which has 200 inhabitants. There is a tiny grocers, but there are no supermarkets, chemist, coffee shop, or any type of bar or shop.

It’s very cosy and peaceful. I come across cows, chickens, horses, or goats as I walk around the streets and nearby fields and country roads.

The problem is if I want to buy food, or anything else, sit at a coffee shop, or go out for lunch, I need the car as there’s no public transport between villages.

Also, my main reason for coming is to visit my mum who is at a care home in a nearby village. But again, I need the car to get there.

Of course having the car also means we can visit beautiful, secluded places literally in the middle of nowhere, as well as nearby large towns such as Santander.

Back to the delights of the eight hour car journey. I have my laptop, kindle, smartphone and tablet, plus tons of apps (audible, scribd, youtube, netflix, amazon prime videos, etc., notebooks and pens. So I’m never bored.

I have bottles of water and snacks, just in case, although we stop twice for a bathroom/coffee break.

I also enjoy looking through the windshield, watching the world go by, daydreaming, thinking, taking photos, and chatting to my husband.

Paradoxically, I find it liberating to sit in a confined space, free from mundane distractions and obligations. I’m with myself exclusively, while my husband is busy driving. I’m not a fan of driving myself. I prefer to do my own thing while he drives!

So, do you enjoy long car journeys? Tell me why or why not.

#Tuesdaybookblog ‘Ines of my Soul’ by Isabel Allende #BookReview #HistFic Audible

Today I’m reviewing ‘Ines of my soul’, a passionate tale of love, freedom, and conquest, set in the 16th century from the New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende.

Inés of My Soul: A Novel by [Isabel Allende]

From the blurb

Born into a poor family in Spain, Inés Suárez, finds herself condemned to a life of poverty without opportunity as a lowly seamstress. But it’s the sixteenth century, the beginning of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. Struck by the same restless hope and opportunism, Inés uses her shiftless husband’s disappearance to Peru as an excuse to embark on her own adventure. After learning of her husband’s death in battle, she meets the fiery war hero, Pedro de Valdivia and begins a love that not only changes her life but the course of history.

Based on the real historical events that founded Chile, Allende takes us on a whirlwind adventure of love and loss seen through the eyes of a daring, complicated woman who fought for freedom. 

 

File:Isabel Allende Frankfurter Buchmesse 2015.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

I have a confession to make. I admire Isabel Allende so much that when I grow up as an author (I consider myself a young author, because I published my first novel seven years ago), I want to be as intelligent, insightful, prolific, poetic, beautiful (inside and out) and full of life and vigour as Isabel Allende. She’s 78 and fell in love and married a year ago. She has also sold over 72 million books since she wrote The House of Spirits in 1982, and she still writes every day and publishes at least one novel every year.

She writes in Spanish always, which is her mother tongue, but her English is so fluent that she has translated some of her Spanish books into English, such as her recent memoir The Soul of a Woman, which I featured on my blog yesterday, International Women’s Day.

I am proud to say that we have a few things in common. I write mostly in English, but also in Spanish. We are both perfectly fluent in both languages, we are incurable romantics, and we are both mothers, grandmothers, writers and feminists.

She is my role model as a writer and a woman, and it is my pleasure to tell you about Ines del Alma Mía, a novel I read in Spanish when it first came out in 2014.

By the way you can watch the brilliant mini-series of eight episodes produced by Spanish and Chilean television companies on Amazon Prime.

My Review

Inés of my soul is an epic tale of love, adventure and the cruelty of the conquest of South America by the Spanish conquerors of the 16th century, when Spain was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, Charles V.

The tale begins in the early fifteen hundreds in Spain and continues to Venezuela and Peru, which had been conquered by Pizarro and continues with Pedro de Valdivia’s obsession to conquer Chile for the Spanish crown. 

It is also the story of Ines Suarez, a young girl whose husband travels to America in search of El Dorado and never returns, so she decides to go there herself to find him, which was a dangerous and daring thing to do at the time for a woman on her own. But Ines is no ordinary woman. When she arrives she meets Valdivia, they fall in love and travel together during his conquests. There is plenty of drama, action and adventure, as well as savagery and inhumanity, which had me gasping in horror and shame.

The novel is thoroughly researched; all the major characters are based on real historical characters. The rich prose immerses the reader in the life and minds of the characters and the hardships and cruelty they face.

It’s not a quick, easy read, but it’s worth it to gain an insight into this convoluted and fascinated period in European and South American history.  

Have you read any of Isabel Allende’s books?

#PhotoOfMyLife Day4 Autumn Leaves #Poem #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation

On my way to town this morning. What a lovely autumn day!

Enough

The path is narrow,

With many a winding turn,

Which leads us to who knows where,

Who knows when, or why?

So, Crunch the leaves,

Stare at the sky,

Feel the wind swipe your cheeks,

While the sun tickles your eyes,

And smile,

Because that’s enough.

Enjoy your walk!

On my way back home. I’m nearly there!

I live outside my city, but not far enough that I can’t walk into town. I could take the car or catch the bus, but as I’m in no hurry at the moment, I enjoying a long, brisk walk. (I spent many years rushing to work, shopping and taking the kids to school and after school activities!).

Sometimes life is so demanding that we forget what a simple, quiet walk can do for us. We can stop for a few minutes to listen to, see and feel the trees, wind, and sky, which is so mentally and physically refreshing.

I love walking. It’s great exercise and I have time to think about so many things that time flies by!

The rules for this Twitter Challenge: no people, no explanations and challenge one new person every day. I was challenged by @GeorgiaRoseBook check out her blog.

Today I challenge @bakeandwrite check out her book blog.

As I already told you, I’m terrible at following rules, so not only have I written a poem, I’ve also told you all about the picture!

Enjoy your Monday! I hope you can spare a few minutes for a walk:)

#SixWordSaturday ‘Who misses shady trees in November?’ #StreamOfConsciousnessSaturday

Who Misses Shady Trees in November?

Passers by sit and chat or rest

On those empty benches,

In summer,

Under the shade of sturdy trees.

Not now.

Today they’re walking on puddles

Under a cloudy sky,

In autumn,

Or sitting indoors, by the fire,

Waiting,

For the sun to shine for a while,

as it might tomorrow,

Or later.

No one misses the shady trees,

At all.

I took both photos last week in Cantabria, Spain.

Check out Six Word Saturday here

Check out Stream of Consciousness Saturday here. Today’s prompt is ‘shade’.

#PhotoOfMyLife Day2 Cantabria #Spain #Tanka

Ice cold mountain stoops,

Peering down at autumn leaves,

Waiting patiently,

For spring to dress them once more

With flowers and leaves galore.

The rules for this Twitter Challenge: no people, no explanations and challenge one new person every day. I was challenged by @GeorgiaRoseBook check out her blog.

I challenge @BookClubMom check out her book blog.

As I already told you, I’m terrible at following rules, so not only have I written a tanka, now I’m going to tell you all about the picture!

I was here, for a freezing week, a few days ago. It’s a cold, but beautiful part of the north of Spain, where my mother and her family originally came from. There is a skiing resort nearby (see photo below), but I just visit for the scenery!

#ThursdayDoors #Jerez #Spain

One of the gates surrounding Jerez’s Royal Ecuestrian School

I was recently in Jerez for a few days with some friends from the UK and couldn’t resist taking some pictures of its beautiful doors to share with you!

Jerez is the 25th largest city in Spain, the 5th largest in Andalucía and the largest city in the province of Cadiz.

It is famous for The Royal Andalusian Ecuestrian School of Equestrian Art Foundation. We really enjoyed its famous show, “How the Andalusian Horses Dance”, a fascinating exhibition of horsemanship. Unfortunately, no photos are allowed during the show, but here’s a picture of one of the horses on its way back to the stables.

Here are three doors seen around the beautiful gardens on the grounds of the School.

After the show we had some tapas at a very modern, Michelin recommended restaurante nearby.

We stopped for a glass of famous Jerez wine. The city specialises in sweet and dry sherry. Sweet is my favourite! The dry sherry is very dry indeed.

Jerez has many beautiful traditional Spanish buildings, with stunning doors. Here are a few I saw strolling along its ancient streets.

We stayed at a charming, Modernist style, small hotel in the city centre, Hotel YIT Casa Grande, It must have been the home of a very rich family in the late 19th or early 20th century.

There’s a Cathedral and there are plenty of churches in Jerez. I’ll show you some church doors next week!

Meanwhile, do pop over to Norm’s Blog, #ThursdayDoors host, to join in or to check out other fabulous doors from around the world!