I’ve spent many, many happy times in Spain and I’m so glad to be featuring it in my new story True Blue. Spain was the first ‘abroad’ place I ever went to – on package holidays to the Balearic Islands with my family. I adored those holidays, and I can still remember the unique smell of arriving at Ibiza airport when I was five. It smelt of pine trees, hot earth and geraniums, with an undernote of citrus cologne. And there were lizards in the flower beds!
In my twenties I experienced two very different types of Spain: the first was visiting my friends Alex and Kev who had moved to Madrid to work. There I met ‘real’ Spain; I visited galleries, walked through El Buen Retiro and went out to dinner at 10.30 – I fell in love with the culture and food.
I also went to Mathew’s parents Villa on the Costa del Sol, where a group of friends, drank Estrella, floated in the pool and partied into the early hours in the busy town of Torrevieja.
In my early thirties I visited northern Spain for the first time, on a wonderful road trip with my friend Sarah I discovered San Sebastian – a city of so many foody delights it’s impossible to describe adequately – and I’ve visited regularly for some years.
In my late thirties and early forties I got reacquainted with Mallorca when my friend Sheelagh decided to move there. We house-hunted all over the island until she settled on a place called Port d’Andratx where she lived (and I visited) for many years.
And then in my fifties I got to spend quality time in Asturias, the greenest, most unspoilt part of Spain, with its authentic cuisine and views of the Picos de Europa – even some walking (a tiny part) of the Camino del Santiago happened.
I LOVE Spain and so this month it’s been such a pleasure to go back there if only in my imagination for a while.
Charlie and Ali are in Mallorca at the moment. They will be moving on soon – I just need to write a couple more chapters.
I’m having so much fun writing about these two very different women, and their enduring friendship. I have realised True Blue is a love story to friendship (as well as that other happily-ever-after love story). Greece next!
PS. The picture is of me in Asturias not Mallorca.