One of the things I miss about Spain (and it may come as a shock, me missing anything from there!) is the idea of the paseo: a leisurely evening stroll, ending at the Plaza Mayor, and people-watching.

If it were a movie, there would be flamenco guitar music playing softly in the background…

Las Tunas play in la Plaza Mayor.

Las Tunas play in la Plaza Mayor.

… the evening light would add an orange glow and bokeh across the Plateresque architecture …

The University of Salamanca | Crumpets 'n' Cream

The University of Salamanca

… and people would walk …

Salamanca | Crumpets 'n' Cream


… until they wind up at the Plaza Mayor. For life revolves around this plaza; this is where the very young to the very old congregate over espresso, wine, gelato, or that blessed drink, Coca-Cola con limon.

Many a paseo ends on the town's Plaza Mayor.

Many a paseo ends on the town’s Plaza Mayor.

Of course, life is not a movie. But all too often, musicians play outside la Catedral Nueva; las Tunas – post-baccalaureate students in their ceremonial robes – sing in the Plaza for tips on weekends; and the waning sun truly does turn the architecture orange.

Outdoor seating is plentiful; all the restaurateurs ask, if you sit down, is that you order a beverage or tapa. Many families, groups, dates, or the solo wanderer will make an evening of it, snacking on tapas along the Rua Mayor before a late, late dinner on the Plaza. Free concerts are common at either end of the Rua – whether outdoors on the Plaza or indoors at the Catedral with its glorious organ – until the wee hours of the morning. If you are “fortunate” enough to have a balcony hotel room, you don’t even need to leave your room, but can just open the window and enjoy the sometimes wistful, sometimes passionate and fiery musical notes.

Life happens on the paseo, and I have yet to meet its equivalent. This walk is a walk of joy, aches, pains, anger, happiness, sadness, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Would that we could recreate it in our daily lives at home, wherever that may be.

Pull up a chair and order a Coke with lemon! | Crumpets 'n' Cream

Pull up a chair and order a Coke with lemon!

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