Oh boy have I been waiting for this one. Slimbach could not be more right when he satiated that walking is a great teacher. This might be one of his concepts I agree with most so far in the readings. A couple days ago the program I am in had a required cultural workshop. At first I was dreading it because let’s be honest, it doesn’t sound to fun does it? But it turned out to reassure some of my thoughts and assumptions about Barcelona. The professor who was teaching the workshop asked the class whether we noticed certain smells or stronger and maybe even unpleasant smells. This prevented me from dosing off and attracted my attention. Every day on the metro I smell a couple unpleasant smells. Apparently Spaniards are less conscious about smell than Americans are. Americans “value” smell a lot and are a lot more aware of it. This explains why on my walk the other day there were a lot more unpleasant smells than pleasant. At first I thought it was just the city, but I have been to a lot of cities and none have those smells like Barcelona. I am pretty positive that as I walk along the streets I smell the sewage below the sidewalks. It’s that smell over and over again. I noticed there are a lot of “vented” plates over the sidewalks- maybe that’s it. Who knows.
In terms of vision, things are pretty consistent. The buildings towering over the streets are all pretty similar in terms of design. Here and there you’ll find one of Gaudi’s creations. These are usually marked by a swarm of tourists, but the buildings are pretty magnificent. Overall, the city is pretty clean too from what I’ve noticed, and my walk confirmed that. Wait – I just thought of something. Would the smells of the city affect my behavior? While it affects cognition, I am not sure if it will affect my behavior. I still continue to take the same subway line despite the consistent smells. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll just get used to it. I guess there just isn’t anything I can do to stop it because the smells are everywhere. They are a part of this culture.
The Old Ways, by Robert Macfarlane was an interesting read – a bit difficult to get into. What the book essentially is is a long walk. On his walk he meets numerous amounts of people, which he uses to tell stories of the past. I found this book a little boring because it didn’t matter where he went, he was basically walking. He used his walk to connect to his past and his ancestor’s past. This book was not what I was expecting.
The picture I chose is this street in the roman part of the city. I chose this because this part is where I noticed the smell Barcelona has. I think it is because the sewage system there is very old. This is the point where on my walk I knew this smell was something more than just an ordinary smell that I smelled around the city.