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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I'm writing this Tuesday night because tomorrow I'm going with my CP to take her baby for another pre-surgery appointment for his eyes. Some of you may know about this little fellow- he was born in March, weighing just barely one pound. Now he's home, and passed seven pounds a few weeks ago. Because he's so fragile and I tend to pick up infectious illnesses easily, this will actually be my first time meeting him. So I won't be home till sometime late in the afternoon.

So I thought I'd just show you some of my research pictures from our trip to the Mediterranean last fall. Notice, these are research photos, not the magnificent and sensational views the usual tourist takes. I'll tell you about the Mediterranean from a tourist point of view another time, but my purpose here is to demonstrate the arduous and sometimes grueling business of researching.

Barcelona was an excellent place for research. Its recorded history goes back through Roman times, and its medieval history is what really attracts me.

Inside Barcelona Castle, toward the upper castle yard In order to study the centuries of building and evolution of the castle, it was necessary to walk over the entire grounds, view the buildings and walls, watch a medieval circus,listen to drum bands, and observe the gardens below from the outdoor cafe on the grounds.

There's an incredible collection of weapons in the armoury, from ancient times through medieval, the early modern era, all the way through recent times. Naturally I meticulously recorded as much of the collection as I could. In order to see this magnificent collection of swords, pistols, muskets, rifles, pikes, helmets, cannons, and other weapons, it was necessary to fly across a continent and an ocean, take rooms in a tiny Spanish village by the sea, take the train into Barcelona, and ride first a tour bus then a tram to the top of the mountain where the castle sits above the sea. And that's not saying anything about all the steps.

This is Count Raymond Berenger, 1035-1076. As Count of Savoie and Provence, he also governed Barcelona. If he's who I think he is, he is known to have established an order of lady knights. You'll find him in one of my future books.

Researching contemporary European music at Barcelona Castle. This is Houba. I worked especially hard to get an accurate recording of their music, but the sound quality was poor. Fortunately, you can hear them here:Houba
(Okay so the link doesn't work. I'll have to do that in the morning so I don't wake hubby. See what I mean about research being arduous?)

Plaster over brick column construction at Pompeii. You thought they were all stone, didn't you? Of course my arduous research determined the Romans went to great lengths to hide the brick underlying their great buildings. A true researcher pays attention to these little details, rather than to all that touristy stuff.

Researching contemporary cruise ship French cuisine.

More research in Rome. The Coliseum, that is, not the centurions. Although constant and consistent attention to detail did confirm my hypothesis that there is no such thing as an ugly Italian man.

My husband insists there are no ugly Italian women either, but I was not interested in researching that subject.

All in all, it was an exhaustive study. You can see why I find it necessary to limit such efforts to once a year.


At 7:10 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

I'll agree with you on the Italian male thing. I recall doing an international cardiologist convention, and all the Italian doctors were HOT.

On the other hand, when we were frequenting EPCOT for dinner as part of the resident's discount pass, we usually opted for Norway. Both of us were more than satisfied ogling the wait staff.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

The little details fascinate me, too. When I went to Williamsburg, I spent about an hour asking the tailor questions and looking at the sewing equipment and the stitching on the garments. The way that stairs are constructed, weaponry. I can't wait for your book on the female knights!

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Judy said...

The female knight thing sounds intriguing. And how kind of you to share the results of your slavish labor, for which I, for one, am truly grateful! :-) There is something to be said for being able to describe a place, after actually being there. I can well imagine a scene including that tunnel. What fun!

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

What an amazing trip, Delle. Great pictures. And great detail! Good work!

At 6:49 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

I am so jealous, Delle! What a great research trip! I'm with Judy. The females knights sound like the perfect little kernel of information for a romance novel. I can't wait to read it! (or them, we hope?)

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

Love the photos. There's nothing like really being there for research. I love that we can get a lot of info on the internet, but you can beat actually seeing the place. One of my books, Mommy's Hometown Hero, is set in South Dakota, where I was born. I know a lot about the state, so I enjoyed writing that story. I received many fan letters telling me how much they enjoyed reading about South Dakota, because either, they lived there or had made the same trip across South Dakota that my characters made.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I agree with Terry. When I visited Italy, I noticed the men were HOT (to describe them the way Terry did).

Nice ancient architecture, too.


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