National Geographic : 1965 Mar
Inseparable immortals of Spanish literature, Don Quixote (right) and Sancho Panza ride in search of adventure astride lean Rosinante and Dapple, the donkey. Cast in bronze, Cervantes' indomitable idealist and shrewd squire stand in the Plaza de Espafia in Madrid. doubled the past twenty years," he told me. "Eventually, it will be many times bigger. And we must keep pace. We have all the difficul ties of Europe's old cities-narrow, crooked streets, many hills. Our 930 traffic police can not keep up with the growing number of auto mobiles. We are now studying the system in New York, but I understand that even there all the traffic problems are not solved. "We now have our first underground park ing station beneath the Street of Seville. It can take 400 cars, and we soon will complete others like it." The mayor talked about the new apartment developments going up around the city. "Our national housing plan is ahead of the quota, so that by 1973 we will have met the needs of all our people-some 3,713,900 units built throughout Spain. New homes mean 326 Don Quixote's "monstrous giants," windmills of new services. So in Madrid we have more than 350 schools under construction." Then the subject turned to fighting bulls, and the mayor changed from quiet adminis trator to rapturous poet. He raises bulls him self. He went on at length about the value of mountain air for the bulls' lungs and of long walks for muscles. If city and country meet in Madrid, so do present and past. Late at night, for ex ample, madrilenos stand in the street and clap their hands, summoning the sereno, or night watchman, who keeps the keys to apartment buildings. The sereno is named for the old town-crier custom of calling out the hour and "all serene." Clocks have re placed his cry, but, like the concierge of Paris, the sereno still keeps the keys-and secrets -of Madrid.