We got ice-cream late in the afternoon and walked down Calle Carlos III towards the Royal Palace. The sun gently touched our faces, our ice-cream melting slowly. She looked at me, one eye squinting from the sun, and smiled. The distinct aroma of cured ham rolled down the street nebulously from a nearby jamonería. Anonymous shadows stretched along the cobblestones before us. Typical city sounds were our soundtrack; one-way conversations by random passersby on mobile phones, a distant concerto of car honks, intermittent and sibilant sounds of wind passing through the leaves, the rumble of a tourist bus accelerating.
“Walk as if you know where you’re going,” one advises in order to not be harassed by street urchins and beggars. Sound advice, perhaps. But I’ve walked these streets before, calmly losing myself amid the din of city life. I know these streets, their beauty and their tricks. I don’t rush, letting my senses absorb as much as possible, trying to listen to the street’s whispers.
The street’s whispers get silenced under the pitter-patter of hurried footsteps. Walk slowly and experience the present moment; the stories that streets tell are the memories you create and the world you observe.