The Plaza Mayor: Where everybody knows your name

Like a heart circulating blood, people come from every corner of town to flow through their plaza mayor. A Spanish plaza mayor is the major life line of any city or pueblo. If you want to take the vitals of your new destination head straight to the plaza mayor.
While architectural design can reflect both the king who started its construction, and the one who finally finished it 120 years later, what is constant is the role plazas play in Spanish society. It is the heart that connects all the veins. The old, the young. The resident, and the visitor. The lonesome traveler and familial group. Everyone finds themselves there, at one time or another.
For me every exploration in Spain begins at the plaza mayor. Hiding behind shades and anonymity, I peep the town as it is, when nobody’s watching in plain sight. How peaceful it is to share a history and space with everyone who lives in your town. I try to melt into the scene, imagine what it would be like to know just one little thing about every person present at that moment. A city born girl like myself my closest relation is the 2 mile stretch of downtown Chicago. Cold steel buildings reach for the sky driving wedges, disconnecting one part of the city from another. Its no surprise our world are small. North side, south side, this neighborhood, my block, my building, and finally my home. Lacking any sense of connection to the past or present, I hardly give my fellow Chicagoans a glance much less thought. Here in Spain traditions are held more closely and familiar bonds extend father away from the central family unit. Old people having a chat? Plaza Mayor. Impromptu after school football match (without proper goal)? Plaza mayor. Lovely couple out for drinks while their children recklessly play somewhere, safe? Plaza Mayor. For a cafe con leche….pues tu sabes. The Plaza mayor!

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