I spent June and July working and traveling in Spain and Portugal. My preferred way of seeing a place is walking; walking for hours, for miles and stopping every now and then for a coffee, or wine, or sightseeing. Two things that always stand out for me when I travel outside of India are the aesthetics in unexpected places in any town or city, and the liveliness of the cities. I realised that a lot of it is to do with owning the space you inhabit, not just your homes, but the community or area and bringing the colours and culture out on the streets to celebrate with everyone. In Europe especially what makes the cities lively are their ‘squares’. The squares are where all the activities happen- performances, live music, food and just hanging out. Imagine if we could have that- eating chat and dosas on a Sunday afternoon, with some live drums in Cubbon Park. Aah but where will the trash go? Where will potable water come from? Therein lies our problem. I wonder, what are we as a society doing wrong that people feel the need to trash their surroundings? But that’s a whole different discussion. As for now, here are some pictures of beauty in unexpected places- patterned ceramic tiles on the underside of a balcony, sidewalk tiles, whole building covered with ceramic tiles.