Dispatches from Spain

We fortify ourselves pre-flight.

On Being Laura Anne’s Reports to Prove Writers Can Too Take Vacation

Greetings from Spain!  In which I attempt to prove that writers CAN take holiday without doing any work at all….

The players are myself, DAW author Kari Sperring, her SO Phil, and Anne and Michael, another couple.

At the crack of mid-afternoon five people, plus bags, packed into a cab and off to Stansted airport.  Despite a cluster of serious men looking serious at a road checkpoint, we made it to our gate in plenty of time.  Which was important since we were flying Ryanair.  Five people, no assigned seating.  Thankfully A and I were both big city commuters and know how to move through a crowd.

Ryanair seems to exist not to transport people but to shill as many different items as possible in the time of enclosure.  We manage to resist.

I torment Kari by reading her WiP (she had already read mine when I was out.).  Yes, this is what writers do to each other for amusement.


Landed, picked up rental car, loaded luggage, loaded all 5 people, hit the road.  A few hours later, we arrive in Zefira, and the Parador.  Drinks and tapas in the courtyard, and then we fall over.

The next morning: onward to Merida!

Left Zafra for Merida (and another Parador, the state-run hotels which are lovely, built in (mostly) historical buildings).  We hit the town running, as Merida is chock full of Roman and Moorish ruins.  Ok, we hit the town walking – it’s HOT.  85-90 degrees hot, and intense sunshine.

I will spare you the details of what we saw (you’ll have to check my full report, once I’m back home on regular connectivity and a real keyboard) and simply say that it was amazing, and I’m glad a) I’m traveling with specialists and b) specialists who can read Latin, when my Spanish language skills failed in reading the plaques.

Also, traveling with the English is…an experience.  I occasionally felt as though I’d fallen into a Merchant Ivory film (I kid!  Mostly.)

Kari Sperring, Intrepid British Traveller

And yes, in case you were wondering, we are drinking Spanish wine  So far, mainly Tempranillo.   And a lot of  water.  I did mention it’s HOT?

Merida, by the way, is a lovely town, and if ruins are your thing (as they are ours) it’s well worth a visit.  Also, a shout-out to Candela Bar & Restaurante, which didn’t seem all that ideal from the outside but gave us very good food, amazing desserts, and a quite reasonable tab.

And, lest we forget, there were storks.

A LOT of storks.

Also a few eagles, but they did not deign to be photographed.

During a siesta-inspired lounge on the grass by the aqueduct, watching said storks, the idea for a children’s book hit us.  I seem to have written half of it already.  It’s…slightly mad.

Oh, if you ever hear me mention velocivultures, it’s All Kari’s Fault.

And then we packed up and headed out for the rental house, where we will be based for the next few days…

Laura Anne Gilman is a former editor with Penguin/Putnam, and the author of more than a dozen novels, most recently the THE SHATTERED VINE, Book 3 of the Nebula-nominated Vineart War trilogy,, and TRICKS OF THE TRADE. Her SF collection, DRAGON VIRUS, which SF Signal called “amazingly evocative….a potent ride through a changing future,” was published by Fairwood Press in June 2011. For more info check her website, her BookView Cafebookshelf, or follow her on Twitter (@LAGilman)

She also runs d.y.m.k. productions, an editorial services company (www.dymkproductions.com).

And yes, her nickname really is meerkat.

Posted in Travel permalink

About Laura Anne Gilman

Laura Anne is a recovering editor-turned-novelist, with an Endeavor Award, a Nebula nomination, another Endeavor award nomination and a Washington State Book Award nomination under her belt. Her most recent series is the award-winning "Devil's West" trilogy, starting with SILVER ON THE ROAD, and her same-universe story collection, WEST WINDS' FOOL, AND OTHER STORIES OF THE DEVIL'S WEST. The novella GABRIEL'S ROAD was published by Book View Cafe on April 30th, 2019. Her Patreon, featuring original fiction, writing advice, and original Rants, is at https://www.patreon.com/LAGilman Learn more at www.lauraannegilman.net, where you can sign up for her quarterly newsletter.


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