I am back from three weeks of road tripping through Spain and Portugal, which was a great little adventure, even though I did not get nearly as much reading done as I had planned. Too busy!
Initially, I was too tired after night shifts to read on the plane, watching 10 episodes of The Black Lake (a terrifying Scandinavian crime series) instead in between regular naps during our whopping 18 hours of flying time. The train and car rides in Spain and along the Portuguese coast were way too scenic to have my nose buried in a book, and my husband complained that I wasn’t much company when I had my earphones in listening to an audiobook when he felt like talking – especially as I was chief navigator next to Manuela, our tireless GPS guide, who kept sending us down wrong roundabout exits and calling for death defying u-turns in city traffic. Evenings saw me collapse exhausted after walking up and down hilly, cobblestoned streets all day, and my eyes grew heavy after a few pages. However, I did read a little bit, and even found another five-star mystery to go onto my list of favourite reads for 2017. My Netgalley ratio reached 80% at one point (which it hasn’t been for a long, long time due to my greedy requesting), so all was not lost.
As for blogging – well, a bit of a train wreck on that front I’m afraid. Even though I pictured myself tirelessly typing my reviews in seedy little hotel rooms like an intrepid war correspondent of the 60’s, in reality I was painfully battling autocorrect and bad wifi signals, and cursing my fat fingers as I stabbed away in the semi dark on my Samsung S5. Maybe I am not dedicated enough, but after three mini reviews that took me hours of cursing technology and feeling like crushing my little phone under my hiking boots, I decided that the wandering blogger just wasn’t going to be me. I am hoping to catch up on my reviews now that I have my computer back.
Sooooo – to the holiday wrap-up:
Books read: 6
Famous book shops visited: 2
Livraria Lello, Oporto, Portugal:
This apparently is the place that inspired J.K. Rowling when writing Harry Potter. It surely had something magical about it, and I don’t mean simply the ability to disappear like 12 Grimmauld Place – I swear we walked past it at least 3 times and it wasn’t there! So after trudging around Porto for hours (and this is one hilly city!) with DT (“dumb tourist”) tattooed on our foreheads and trying to ask for directions when our knowledge of the Portuguese language consisted of exactly 2 words between us, we finally found it at the exact moment when I was ready to give up and admit defeat. It was worth the painful calves though, as it is every bit as beautiful as described in travel blogs, despite the sizeable crowds lining up outside and the 4-euro entry fee.
Igreja de São Tiago, Obidos, Portugal:
This charming bookstore was quite a surprise, located in an old church in the historical walled town of Obidos that goes back to 1186 – so much history there! Apparently the church had fallen into disrepair and was transformed into a bookshop as part of a growing literary movement in the town. I loved this charming place, which still exuded an aura of peace and calm, totally lacking the crowds of the Livraria Lello, making it a pleasure to browse and simply enjoy the history of the place. If you are ever in the area, this town is well worth a visit and was a highlight of our trip.
Book Fairy activity: 2
After much soul searching, inner turmoil and debate, the eeny-meeny-mo approach and room left in my suitcase decided which physical books made it into my suitcase in the end:
I read two of those, taking great delight in leaving them as book fairy gifts in two very lovely locations we passed through along the way: one in Vigo, Spain; the other in Nazare, Portugal (being claimed by Atlantic mist here in the picture).
If you haven't heard of the book fairies yet, make sure to check them out here: LINK
Now, after 48 hours of planes, trains and automobiles we made it back home to our lovely little piece of heaven, with three more days off to recuperate before going back to work. I have already requested several more books on NG in anticipation of getting some reading done over the next few days, which dropped my ratio down to 78% again– just can’t help myself!
Which is off to a great start!
In summary – I may be a failure as a travelling book blogger, but my love for both travel and books remains strong. Watch this space as I try to catch up on reviews ....