How film and literature influenced my travels

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.

Barcelona

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.

Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral

Rome

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!

Swiss Guards

Me and Swiss Guards

Paris

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.

San Francisco

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.

Alcatraz Island

Montreal

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.

Bucket list

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?

15 responses to “How film and literature influenced my travels

  1. :D So you probably know why I chose Aledys (originally it was Aledis, but somehow my subscription to some message board didn’t work and I had to choose a new name) as my pen name! :D I liked it when I started reading “La catedral…” and later on, as the story develops and Aledis becomes a protistute – I couldn’t help laughing! I’d chosen the name of a protistute! Lol!

    I haven’t been to Barcelona yet, but I would love to go and see the cathedral, too.
    I recently went to Córdoba and Granada, and I was partly eager to see those cities because of Falcones other novel, “La Mano de Fátima” – have you read it?

    How nice that you got to see part of your ancestor’s work in La Pedrera! :D

    As for Rome and Dan Brown’s book/film – at least one can say that it promoted a interest in art and history!!!

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    • The story of your pen name is too funny! I haven’t read La mano de Fatima yet. I’ll try to find it online.
      I agree with your take on Dan Brown’s work :)

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      • Oh I totally recommend La Mano de Fátima – I think I liked it even more than La Catedral…! Maybe it’s the moorish thing, I don’t know!
        I don’t know what happened with my fingers when I wrote the previous messg. but I meant, “prostitute” :D

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  2. You are so right! When I read a book that features a destination I have already been to, I always try to remember if I’ve seen the details they are mentioning. Same with movies! Dan Brown’s books come to mind with Rome and Paris – two cities I have spent some time in. Maybe I should re-watch Angels and Demons before going back to Rome in August :)

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    • Going to Rome? I’m jealous! :)
      I hate it when I’ve been to a place and I read a book where it’s mentioned only to realized I’ve missed some places!

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  3. I’m often inspired to travel after reading a book about a certain place. Mostly novels with a particular setting – like Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth and Carcassonne. But also travel memoirs. Loved reading William Dalrymple’s City of Djinns – a Year in Delhi, when I was there. The city became even more alive.

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  4. Movies and films definitely guide my travels!

    Che’s ‘Motorcycle Diaries’ inspired me to go back to Argentina and explore a country where I had lived but never traveled around. I didn’t do the trip on motorcycle, but I enjoyed every minute in Northern Argentina. ‘Goodbye Lenin’ makes me want to revisit Berlin, and ‘Lost in Translation’ calls me to Tokyo. I’ll get there eventually!

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    • You know what? I’ve never been to all those places either (Actually, I was 8 months old when my family and I went to Jujuy but it doesn’t count :) )

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