The eight Spanish World Heritage Cities have the common virtue of keeping their natural scenary alive. They are cities whose horizons have not been closed with wild urbanism.They have grown, it is true. Modernity is combined with the past and although we may point to examples of unfortunate actions, nature continues to be wonderfully present around about their walls, in their nearby river courses, in the nearness of their fields, hillocks and woods. When it rains, the city smells of stone or sodden earth. Spring is a crucible of colours. Autumn, dry leaves. Winter, snow and laziness. Summer, silence and fiestas. The perfumes of harvests and ingatherings come in from the countryside... You can feel nature's vitality and nearness. Daylight displays pure and umpolluted tones.
Let the visitor discover the storks' comings and goings, the swallows' low-level flying, the sparrows' playful slips, the doves' daily poses, the sleeping kestrel among the towers, the nearby call of the cuckoo or the owl's nocturnal presence. They are within the surroundings of Ávila's walls, enjoying the cool shadow in Cordoba's "patios", flashing in the "Ciudad Encantada" in Cuenca, going along Compostela's Huertas Street, lingering about Segovia's aqueduct, nesting in Cáceres' Cathedral, sun-bathing in Salarnanca's Main Square, learning Sephardic tongues in Toledo's bell gables and weathercocks.
Let the traveller discover the interior market gardens of these cities -they are there in Ávila, Compostela, Segovia, Salamanca, Córdoba,... These are witnesses of other times of self-sufficient economies. Discover the grids of their houses, grouped together in defensive blocks, forming impenetrable labyrinths, designed to confuse and defeat invaders, where tourists today feel as if they are in an incornprehensible maze. Such is Toledo, Cáceres... Imagine, among the colonnades, the life of the old merchant or the wise traveller sheltered from the sun or rain. They were other signs of life that still maintain the taste of apples preserved in straw; of melons hanging from the mature timbers to keep them firm until Christmas; cheese soaked with olive oil, fresh "nipple" cheese and olives in salt. Explore the colonnade environments and you will feel the emotion of wheat bread upon your skin. They are they in Compostela, Salamanca , Cuenca,... ln any of the eight cities' squares.