Fuenterrabia, Calle Mayor

This is an obviously well-to-do street of modest proportions. It is clearly over-square but I do not believe that many people would find this street claustrophobic.

The buildings announce themselves as belonging to the well-off by several features. First, the second story (first story to most Europeans) is considerably higher than the ground floor. This is the floor on which the living and dining rooms are almost certainly located, that is to say, the important public rooms of the house. The ground floor will be more concerned with utilitarian functions, and the kitchens are probably located here.

Second, the roof overhangs are generous well detailed, and even, in one case, carved.

Third, the iron railings on the balconies are nicely made and ornamented. Most of these railings are not part of balconies - they are really part of the windows. It is not unusual in this practice for the windows to go nearly to the floor, admitting plenty of daylight. The railings are installed to prevent people from falling. It is doubtful if it is possible to place a chair on any of these narrow ledges, but people will probably frequently lounge against the railings while watching the world come and go, and perhaps greeting friends as they pass.

By the way, wrought iron railings are much better than the steel now so often employed for this purpose. Wrought iron does not readily rust, whereas steel rusts freely the moment any break occurs in the paint film. The result is that steel railings must be repainted every few years (at great cost) or else they look terrible. Iron railings will stand longer periods without paint and without rusting badly.

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