- Age: everyone is older here, well older than we were 20 years ago. That's not to say there aren't any young people, as there are. But age and change work a little differently here. This first picture is the entrance into a place I used to hang out with my friends. It had a white and black tile floor, not much if any seating and you could just order something to drink, no food. Well, maybe a bag of chips but not real food. Now on the inside it has fancy modern comfortable seating, pintxos (small appetizer size portions of food), and the clientele is my age, not 20 years younger.
- Engineering/technology: there are some innovations in place to help those who have aged so that they can continue to live as they always did.
In contrast, in the states, often when people age they look to move to a home or apartment where all they need is on one floor, no steps.
Since this area of Spain is in the mountains, and people don't tend to move, you can now imagine how older people may have some difficulty with the hills. Or the flats that they own, since the first floor, known as the planta baja, is simply an entry and the flats start on the 2nd floor, known as el primer piso, that means stairs in most cases.
This is where engineering and technology enter. The building where I lived in Portugalete in 1985 now has an elevator. It wasn't there back when I was living on the 5th floor (6 flights up) but as those who live in the building aged, they decided to add an elevator taking up some of the space in what was once a narrow inaccessible courtyard-like area in the middle of the building.
OK, so that fixes the buildings but it doesn't help people to get up the step hills that lead to their homes or to the fruit store they like to shop at, for example. Here are some pictures of what we now see...
This set of outdoor escalators heads up the street to where I used to live.
In various places we also find moving sidewalks along side the regular sidewalks. While there isn't nearly the snow here that we have in Wisconsin, it rains quite a lot in the winter. These moving sidewalks can get slippery, which is quite fun for the younger crowd to slide/skate on.
This final picture is an outdoor elevator of which there are many as well.
So, I wonder what this area will look like 20 years from now. What changes and innovations will we see to continue to make life a little easier for everyone? I guess it is up to those kids that are currently skating on the moving sidewalks to decide.