I suppose it boils down to the weather, but became really obvious to me on my recent trip to Mallorca that those living in warm countries live their lives outside in, whereas we in the UK tend to live inside out.
I’m not complaining, not least because I have made a 20 year career out of interiors and my love of home. But it is interesting to see the process in reverse, with people relaxing, eating and conversing mainly outdoors, and only retreating inside in the depths of winter or during the hottest part of the day in the summer months.
It also has a pretty profound impact on how you behave and feel. To wake up to the early morning sun makes you want to get out of bed. To eat outdoors to the sound of birdsong with the sun caressing your feet feels instinctively more relaxing than eating inside. Taking a stroll down to the outdoor market involves meeting neighbours and stopping for a chat. Warm nights encourage you to sit and converse in the local square, which becomes the beating heart of the community, as opposed to just a piece of civic architecture.
Clearly the Spanish do also have a private life, a life behind closed doors, and the very family focused momentoes and decor of our Finca illustrated the importance of the domestic history of that particular family.
But it is almost as if the Spanish have two types of life – the private one behind the thick stone walls of their home and the public one, played out in the everyday theatre of the town or village in which they live.
Spain has many faces, and I have enjoyed my glimpse of them.