From Spain Back to France

Continuing on my European literary adventure! (If you’re behind, catch up on my literary journey here and here and here.)

This past week and a half, I’ve been in Spain.* My trip to Spain lasted a bit longer than anticipated, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

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During my time in Spain, I originally intended to read Cervantes’s Don Quixote in hopes of killing two birds, or in this case two reading challenges—#BackpackEurope and #GARbingo. Sadly, I wasn’t feeling Don Quixote. I’ve had too much going on to focus on it. So I switched to The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory.

If you’re so inclined, you can read my full review of The Constant Princess here.

And while visiting Spain, I had the opportunity to go to Granada and see Alhambra. For #BackpackEurope, this gave me a landmark bonus. In The Constant Princess, we first meet Princess Catalina (aka The Infanta and later Princess of Wales and then Katherine of Aragon, Queen of England) with her formidable mother, Queen Isabella of Spain, when Isabella and Ferdinand seize control of Granada. The two ultimately take over Alhambra.

Visiting Alhambra, one of the landmarks on the #BackpackEurope adventure, earned me an extra 4 points. And it is a stunning sight to see.

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Originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889, Alhambra was renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built the current palace and walls. In 1333, Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada converted into a royal palace. In 1492, Granada was finally conquered by Ferdinand and Isabella during the Reconquista and Alhambra became their Royal Court.

Granada Spain

Of course, I saw many other wonderful sights in Granada. Granada, located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, sits at the confluence of four rivers, the Darro, the Genil, the Monachil and the Beiro. Granada is known for its grand examples of medieval architecture dating to the Moorish occupation.

In addition to the Alhambra, I was able to visit the Patio de los Leones in Alhambra, Palacio de Generalife, Royal Chapel of Granada, Granada Cathedral (or the Cathedral of the Incarnation), Arco/Puerta de Elvira, and the Royal Gate (Puerta Real).

Europe Map Week 3.jpgOverall, I say it was a successful and lovely visit to Spain. Now it’s a quick trip back through France to get to my next country, Belgium.

While I now have fallen a bit behind my intended one country per week schedule, that’s okay. I do have to go back into France to get to Belgium, and per The Reader’s Room rules for this challenge, I must read another book set in France or written by a French author in order to continue my journey.

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Luckily, I prepared and tonight I will be starting The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Ms. Barbery is a French author and the book is set in Paris. Bonus, it should be a relatively quick read. And after my quick trip back through France, I’m off to visit Belgium (yum Belguim chocolates!) via The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier.

So I’ve had a fun visit to Spain, and even more fun trying to remember my long ago European history class and who reigned over what country and when. But I must now say adios to Spain.

What are you reading this week? Share your favorite reads this month in the comments below.

*Disclaimer: This is a virtual trip. I am not physically traveling in Europe, only visiting through books. In fact, I’m currently sitting on the floor of my living room, wearing yoga pants and oversized tee, binging Netflix in between books, eating marshmallows, and occasionally petting the cat when he demands attention.

Any and all mistakes about locations, travel, weather, etc., are mine because most of this is a product of my imagination with a few random trivia facts thrown in for fun.

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