Collecting Mysterious Locations

Lately, I’ve been collecting mysterious locations. From the monk’s wine cellar (turned restaurant) in the monastery (turned hotel) in Evora, Portugal to the strange alignment of mirrors and shelves full of bottles at a fancy, downtown bar in Manhattan.

I’m not a good enough photographer to have captured the slightly disorienting effect in the bar, so I’ll try to explain it. We were seated at an abrupt and tight curve in a central part of a long bar that curved to accommodate turning a corner leading into a larger room, but the placement of mirrors and bottles, left a spot—right where I sat with an old friend—where I’m certain someone could spy on the bar without causing a reflection.

That’s a mysterious little location to keep in mind for a future story. While the cavernous dining room at the Convento Do Espinheiro in Portugal is a grand and luxurious place that inspires thoughts of all the many events that have occurred or could have occurred in that space.

The monks hiding during times of religious dissention; power play conspiracies; poisoned wine in casks; and scandals—in the centuries when Espinheiro was occupied by the order. Devious multi-national business deals proposed and agreed to over elegant, multi-course meals with serious wines; illicit love affairs ended over dessert & port; and murders plotted in the kitchen of the 21st century restaurant.

PLACES—mysterious and otherwise—can become more than backdrops, they can be characters that contribute to a story!

The monk’s wine cellar turned restaurant…


  1. Love the sound of that ‘dead’ spot in the bar. You could always use it in another vampire story – you know the bit about vampires not having a reflection?

    • Candy Korman

      Yes. Yes. Yes…
      That was my first inclination. The spy thing was just “in the air” in the place. My friend was drinking a Cosmo and talking to the bartender about how much he’d enjoyed this particular bar twenty-something years ago when the bartender was named Tony and they served a fancy bar mix with popcorn & wasabi peas. While they chatted my imagination was running wild with semi-retired Cold War spies freelancing in NYC…