Literature and film have a great influence on people’s lives and also in the way they travel. Some people follow in the footsteps of their favourite authors or characters and plan trips around their adventures. I have been to places described in books I’ve read and films I’ve seen and loved every experience. Although this is not the way I plan my trips, I have to admit that those books and films influenced the way I perceived those places. The nerd in me was thrilled.
I feel a special bond with Barcelona, the land on my ancestors, so I was especially excited to go back after I read a book called Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones. This historical novel tells the story of the construction of the Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral during the Middle Ages. It was especially moving for me to walk around the nave, the aisle and the transepts picturing the stonemasons hard at work. Another building of special significance for me was La Pedrera, or Casa Milà, because my great-great-grandfather was one of the stonemasons who built it.
I’d love to say that Roman Holidays inspired me but Angels and Demons was fresher on my mind. I looked up at Bernini’s sculptures on top of St. Peter’s Basilica and wondered what secrets the Vatican is still keeping. I followed a couple of Swiss Guards just to take a picture. I was disappointed that the Fountain of the Four Rivers at Piazza Navona was covered with tarpaulin. I wish I’d gone to the church of Santa Maria del Popolo to see the Chigi Chapel but there’s a limit to the number of churches one can visit on a trip!
I can reminisce all day about the City of Light but I’ll just mention one glorious moment: looking up the bell towers of Notre Dame to get a glimpse of Quasimodo. All I saw was the gargoyles but it was good enough for me.
There are so many films and books set in the City by the Bay! It was electrifying to walk on the footsteps of Al Capone along the corridors of Alcatraz. Scenes from the film Escape from Alcatraz inevitably came to mind too. Back on terra firma, Lindsay Boxer, from the Women’s Murder Club novels by James Patterson, took me on a tour of the city in her patrol car and Mel Gibson was still trying to figure out What Women Want.
Tempe Brennan, Kathy Reichs’ fictional forensic anthropologist, works here, owns a condo (which I, unsurprisingly, couldn’t find,) goes shopping at Rue St. Catherine and jogs along the Lachine Canal.
Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul (Turkish novelist, winner of the Nobel Prize in 2006)
Inspector Morse’s Oxford (Morse is a British TV series – 1987-2000)
V.I. Warshawski’s Chicago (V.I. Warshawski is a PI in the series of novels written by Sarah Paretsky)
How has literature, or film, influenced your travels?