Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stumbling into Inspiration

On Saturday, some friends and I ventured to Cordoba, a smallish city about an hour from Sevilla.  Since we were only there a day, we visited all the usual tourist sights:  the Mezquita, the Puente, the Arab Baths, etc.  While those were great, the most memorable parts of the trip were unplanned, as is usually the case.  I love adventure, so I was thrilled to stumble into some amazing experiences.

Check out this mill.  It dates back to the Romans, and though the wheel has been replaced, the base is all original.  How cool is that?  And if you look to the right, you can see the famous bridge in the background.

It seems that very few people get this close to the mill.  Most view it from a street above (it's to the left), but we decided to venture down some old stairs into the "wilderness."  It wasn't far from those stairs, but by the time we reached it, our shoes were caked with mud, the bottoms of our jeans soaked through.  Oh well.  Definitely worth it.

But not nearly as cool as what we stumbled upon a few hours later…

A medieval gypsy market!  If you've seen Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (I still haven't gotten around to reading the book, so I can't speak for that), then you'll know the Festival of Fools.  It was pretty much like that.  The colors, the food, the costumes!  Since we're in Spain, a lot of the people are actually gypsies.  Not like a Renaissance Faire back in the States.

One of the stalls was selling herbs with special purposes.  You know, to cure certain illnesses, relieve stress, clear the mind, etc.  There were hundreds of them!  Had I more time, I definitely would have liked to research.  Since historical fiction is one of my favorite genres to write, I'm often scribbling about old medicines.

Just look at these masks!  They're gorgeous.  I've never written about a masquerade, but I've always wanted to.  And whenever my writer friends bounce ideas off me, and they mention a dance or ball of some sort, I always encourage the masquerade.  Hmm…I wonder if I can work a masquerade into my WIP ;)

Ah, the bird.  Not just a bird.  A peregrine falcon who was keeping company with other falcons and a few owls.  I got especially excited when I saw her because the MC of my current WIP has a pet falcon just like this one!  Of course, I took two dozen photos of her.  That's called research :)

What about you?  Have you ever accidentally stumbled upon inspiration or spur-of-the-moment research?

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