Since I’ve begun my traveling adventure in January, I’ve been noticing unique atmospheric qualities in each city that drive daily and historic occurrences in each place. I’ve started to wonder about subtle connections between climate, language, food, and interactions that not only define a culture, but provide an insight into the mentality of the people.
This insight gives clues to why major historic events or urban development happened. For instance Paris has an aristocratic atmosphere associated with it that aims for beauty in everything they do. This can be seen in how the French language drops certain sounds in order to make the language sound “prettier”, the aesthetic style made popular by the École des Beaux-Arts, and the decision to remove large neighborhoods in order to create street axes on an urban scale. Likewise, Rome has its distinct flexibility apparent in the culture due to all the layers of history that collide with one another in a beautiful palimpsest. Perhaps this is why when the trams stop running people still manage to get to where they need to go or how the city is able to react to dramatic changes in population due to different amounts of tourist as a result of pilgrimages. Also, Istanbul has a population of warm and friendly people who welcome travelers. Perhaps this demeanor is because of its history of being the “city of the worlds desire” bringing in inhabitants from all over the world and being under control by many different governments throughout time. Having such a diverse population could lead to citywide acceptance of minority groups so much that there are no minority groups but only people who say “İstanbul’lıyım”.
In my first week in Madrid I’ve begun to notice the subtleties and connections that lie in its culture. One attributing aspect to the culture is the climate. Even in the spring the afternoons are hot which attribute to the siesta culture. In addition the main meal being a two-o-clock in the afternoon adds to the drowsy feelings. The cultural aspects and heat create drowsiness in the entire city that makes certain parts of the day feel sleepy. Perhaps this sleepy culture is part of the reason that artists like Salvador Dali came out of Spain. Living in a state of drowsiness for so much of the day could lead to more dreaming and make artists want to express their drowsiness in the form of surrealism. Being exposed to Spanish culture has made me want to try more surrealist drawings and create dreamy landscape with the photos that I take, creating a series of invisible cities to explore.