You may remember that we’ve previously shared blog posts such as Snapshots of Spain at Christmas and Snapshots of Spain during Semana Santa to give you a virtual tour of sorts during special times of year in Spain. Seeing as it’s a very special time for Dani, we thought a similar post would be the perfect opportunity to share with you some “snapshots of Spain” in honor of Dani’s book, Snapshots of Spain, releasing this week (September 22, 2021)!
If you haven’t heard, Dani has been a full-time writer since January 2020. She released her first collection of short stories, Fairly Familiar in July 2020 and, since then, has been working on her second collection which is all about expat life in Spain. While there’s something for everyone in this collection, the stories you’ll find in Snapshots of Spain are especially relevant to readers who know and love Spain, so we wanted to make sure you knew all about it!
To get you extra excited and prepared for Dani’s second collection of stories, we’re going to use this week’s post to explore the seven different locations across Spain that are featured in this book—with accompanying snapshots, of course!
As one would imagine, Valencia is the capital of the Valencian comunidad of Spain. The city is known as the home of paella and the Fallas festival in which ornate paper mache sculptures are designed and showcased throughout the city, one being selected as the winner. On the final night of Las Fallas, the Eve of San José(patron saint of Valencia), the Cremà takes place and all but the winning sculpture are burned to the ground in massive fires.
When Dani personally thinks of Valencia, though, it’s the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias that comes to mind. The “City of Arts and Sciences” feels like a city within a city as the area is made up of incredibly futuristic buildings that contrast with the otherwise historic Valencia. She was personally awestruck when she saw la Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias in person and so she’s included a similar experience for the character in Valencia. You can read more about Valencia here.
Sevilla is a beautiful, vibrant inland city in southern Spain. In fact, it is now recognized as the capital of Andalucía, Spain’s largest and most southern autonomous region.
This city is historically rich and home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you may recognize this site more: The Plaza de España. In this gorgeous square located in María Luisa Park, you’ll find colorful tiles dedicated to each province of Spain and arching bridges over the sparkling water of a manmade river. You can read more about Sevilla here.
Santiago de Compostela
One of the largest cities in the northwestern autonomous community of Spain, Galicia, Santiago de Compostela is most widely known as the end-point of the famous pilgrimage, “El Camino de Santiago” or “The Way of St. James.”
People from around the world come to walk from different points in Spain, France and/or Portugal with the final destination being the Catedral de Santiago, the gorgeous Romanesque archcathedral basilica you see here. It is considered to be the resting place of St. James, making it one of only three churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle. You can read more about Santiago de Compostela here.
Granada is the enchanting Andalusian city that Dani calls home. Here, you’ll find the famous Alhambra (not only a palace, but essentially its own mini city consisting of a fortress, Nasrid Palaces, and the Generalife gardens that picturesquely overlook the city). Also, in our totally biased opinion, Granada has the best tapas culture in Spain. Here, tapas (those small plates of food) are brought to you for free with any drink you order. Essentially, you can go out and eat dinner for the 6€ (maybe less) it will cost you to order three drinks (alcoholic or not).
Although Granada has less than 300,000 residents, the university here is well-known and so the city bustles with things to see and do and plenty of nightlife year round, but especially while school is in session. All granadinos will tell you that you get it all when you live in Granada, snow-covered mountains (really! It’s the most southern place in Europe for skiing) and the beach just forty minutes away. You can read more about Granada here.
Once a small fishing town, Torremolinos is now a popular destination for international holidaymakers to vacation in the summer and sun-seeking expats (particularly from the UK and Scandinavia) to reside year-round. It was one of the first places along the Costa del Sol to be developed for resorts and tourism and you can see it thriving with high-rise hotels along the beachfront today.
But Torremolinos is more than just a beach destination! It is full of history, dating back to the Neolithic Age, and has a super cute historical “casco antiguo” area at what feels like the top level of the city’s hillside. You can read more about Torremolinos in this Day Trips from Málaga article.
Alicante is located on the southeast coast (much further south than cities like Barcelona, but on a completely different coast than Málaga). It’s located in the Valencia comunidad and, as such, valenciano is one of the local languages, alongside castellano (or what we English-speakers refer to broadly as Spanish). It’s a beautiful small city on the Costa Blanca beachfront.
It’s also where Dani studied abroad and first experienced all things Spain, so it has a special place in her heart! She was especially enamored with the artwork cover design artist and fellow blogger, Michelle Weigold, created and how it captured all of my favorite places in Alicante – La Explanada (a gorgeous promenade), el puerto (the port), Playa Postiguet (the beach), and el Castillo Santa Barbara (the castle). You can read more about Alicante here.
Well, this one last location is a little bit of an anomaly. All of the other settings are specific cities in Spain whereas Andalucía (or Andalusia if spelled in English) is the autonomous region that encapsulates numerous other settings (Granada, Torremolinos, and Sevilla)
However, Dani uses this location in the description for the setting when she wants to be a bit vague. As you know from following this blog, not all of Spain is similar in terms of culture, food, weather, or even language but cities/towns in the region of Andalucía have a lot in common. When a story could take place anywhere down south in Spain, therefore, she calls it simply “Andalucía.” You can read more about Andalucía here.
Heartfelt and honest, Snapshots of Spain is a collection of stories for the adventurer in all of us.
Language barriers, cross-country pilgrimages, and budding relationships are only the beginning. Each story offers a raw slice of life abroad for characters who grapple with their own identities, privilege, and growth in ways that are all too relatable. One thing’s for sure: as they trek the famous Camino de Santiago, sip too many tintos de verano, admire the beautiful Plaza de España, and laugh at all the mishaps along the way, each character will find something they didn’t even know they were looking for.
Join Norwell’s diverse cast of characters as they explore España and discover themselves.
At a time in which travel is still so limited, Snapshots of Spain is sure to whisk you away to sunny Spain while grounding you in the everyday struggles we all face.
Interested in this book? You can purchase in e-book and paperback format on Amazon (special merchandise and signed copies are available on Dani’s website). Be sure to add it to your “To-Read” pile on Goodreads and/or The StoryGraph so you can find it later!
As always, if you have any specific questions or thoughts you’d like to share, let us know in the comments below!