Taken on my Sony Xperia Z, this 13.1 MP Exmor RS IMX camera inside does pretty good work. I was taking a weekend walk through the city of Rota, Kingdom of Spain. As I took in the many views of the city: the boulevards, the wide streets, the corner coffee bars, I noticed how pleasant it was to live here. I don’t even know where in the city I was when I turned off a walkway and stepped into history. What made me want to take the picture was almost everything about the little lane.
The smells of the Spanish wives and mothers making the afternoon’s lunch for their family, the smells of the beans, the meat, the spices. The atmosphere; so hot yet mild in the shade of the buildings, the humidity of Mediterranean living, and yet, the relative cool of the shade. The beautiful southern Spanish sky, in her immense beauty, silently saturating the inhabitants with her glory. The little doors all lined up side by side on this little lane made me feel satisfied and quiet safe. The women enjoying the cool of the afternoon on their patios, smiling, and waving, “Hola! Buena Tarde’!”, they would call out to the young American taking pictures of their cute neighborhood.
The picture invites you into its presence. To me, it’s full of memories of that hot day, and fills me with melancholy. A sharp desire to make it back to Europe. The street layout is very typical for Spain. It comes from the ancient Roman city grid plans. The traditional way Spanish streets are set up is as follows: big blocks are planned out, and then subdivided among a north-south or east-west layout. They are further divided into smaller and smaller lanes.
Beginning with the Reconquista, the ancient kingdoms began to re-plan the re-conquered cities in the roman way of city layouts. Whole cities were demolished and rebuilt in most circumstances, but yet, that was for the best in my opinion because it has given us the layouts that many people idolize so much today. The small and cute lanes, full of flowers, and smells, and life. The beautiful bridges built by Romans and copied by their predecessors. All of this adds such intrigue to Spanish life.
These grids were carried over to the United states during Spain’s colonial days, and were made to be much bigger than those in Europe, due to the immense space found in the Americas. One can see such layouts in New Mexico, California, Texas, Mexico, Peru, etc. To me it’s more than just the way cities are laid out, it’s what they layout does to the area. It creates little communities within communities. You are more likely to knock upon your neighbors door and talk when they are little a couple of feet from your front door.
To me, it’s more than just a pretty lane that invites you in. The life that goes on in such places like this is what drives me to continue exploring. My desire to be immersed in such activities and to be able to be apart of such welcoming communities is strong. The sights, and smells, and sounds, and atmosphere are the make-up of such memories that you too can make by getting out there and inspiring your own adventure. Go make those memories today!