Novel tourism in the Basque Country

Maider Pérez, in charge of the novel guided tours.
Maider Pérez, in charge of the novel guided tours.

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Maider Pérez is above all a great reader of novels and has decided to make her passion her way of life. To do so, she organises guided tours of the settings in which well-known novels and films are set. She tells us about it for BasqueMagazine.

What are your guided tours like?

The tours last about an hour and a half and include visits to places in the centre of Donosti that have appeared in various novels, detective or historical thrillers. And also some films.

The visits in Pasaia, on the other hand, are mainly based on two novels such as "Los privilegios del Ángel" by Dolores Redondo and "El faro del silencio" by Ibon Martín. Both sides of the mouth of the harbour are visited and our history, traditions, culture and the functioning of the port are also explained. For both visits, it is not compulsory to have read a novel.

In the future, I plan to organise other types of visits also related to the novels but which include more services such as walks around the bay or gastronomic tours. I am also in talks with the Gipuzkoa Booksellers' Association to organise more specialised visits.

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What kind of people hire your services?

Normally they are people interested in literature, who like alternative visits, who like to hear about things other than facts, dates, history... these facts are on Google. I offer them a close-up view of our city. How the people from San Sebastian live it.

For the moment they are Spanish-speaking people. Some of them love crime novels and others haven't read the novels, but they create very nice conversations. They are also curious to read the books. That's why all my visitors get a discount in the bookshops to buy the novels that appear on the tour.

What do you value most about these visits?

The work behind these visits. All the books on which they are based, you first have to read them, mark the places, incorporate them into the tour, tell the story of that monument, building, street... so that it has a coherence. I am always on the lookout for new literary novelties to incorporate them. In addition, during the visits to Pasaia, some fragments are read.

Any curious anecdotes to tell?

I am surprised by the origins of some of my visitors, from the people of Pastrana to the people of Navarre or the Canary Islands, as well as Argentinians and even Israelis.  And with everyone, the visits are different. I don't have the same discourse with everyone. It depends whether they are readers or not.

The other one told me that they were surprised by the humour we had, that they thought we were much quieter and duller, and yet they left with the good feeling of meeting people they were very close to and with whom they had laughed a lot. I don't know what they thought we were?

Is Euskadi a territory for novels?

Absolutely. There are already visits in Gasteiz and my visits come from those in Elizondo about the Baztan trilogy.

We also have Mikel Santiago who places his fictional villages on the Biscayan coast, we have 'El secreto de Gibola' which is based in Brinkola and Zumarraga, and who knows if in a few years we will be making routes through different areas of our geography. And this is just talking about crime novels.

Reservations and information at www.euskaditurismodenovela.com

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