At Ciudad Porta Norte, we strive to facilitate physical activity, connection with nature, and belonging. We do this by preserving natural waterways, building tree-lined trees, parks, and squares with lots of greenery, promoting sports, and more to promote culture.
In this story, I imagine what a father’s day will be like enjoying Porta Norte’s European town lifestyle.
I wake up at 5:30 am on a Tuesday. I open my eyes and see my roof supported by wooden beams from the trees of Porta Norte. My feet are on the bamboo floor and stretch my arms.
I go out onto my terrace, take a deep breath of fresh air and watch the tops of the trees dance in synchrony. It is one of the last summer breezes. But, then, I remember that I have a tennis match at 6:00 am.
I cross an inner courtyard on my way to the kitchen. I make myself a cup of freshly ground coffee beans, grab a plate, a knife, and salt. The mornings in the yard are spectacular. On a typical morning, the sun hits the mango tree, the birds sing, and the weather is chilly while I sip my fresh brew.
I go out into the inner courtyard and am greeted by my dog, Max, wagging his tail as usual. I walk through the grass barefoot until I reach my morning chair under the mango tree. Before I sit down, I stretch out my arm and pluck a ripe mango. I sit listening to the voices in the garden as I scratch Max’s furry neck. The birds sing as they drink water from the little waterfall in the pool.
A lot of little animals come here in the summer when they need water. That’s the beauty of having a courtyard connected to Mariposa Creek —it attracts biodiversity. I breathe in the fresh air before I begin to meditate. I close my eyes and focus on my breath.
In the end, I give thanks for another day and plan my day while I peel the mango and eat it with a bit of salt. Then I ponder, do I go to the Bike Park at midday? Do I bike? To the office? the orchard? the park? the river? a square? For a stroll?
I get ready for tennis and go to the Sports Club to play with a friend from 6:00 am to 7:00 am. Then, I go back to the house, grab the hose, freshen up the floor and my head. When I’m done, I start watering the plants. I love watching the plants grow, especially my tomatoes and cucumbers; it’s eatable art. My garden is pesticide-free because I want the birds, bees, and butterflies to grow as nature commands.
I continue my virtuous morning and go to the sauna for a few minutes. Inside I’m thinking about my new project, a small house overlooking the creek. I’m going to put a small office there.
When I finish, I take a dip in the pool, play with Max for a while and go to change. Then I meet up with the rest of the family. They say they want to go to our usual café in Plaza Fundadores for breakfast. So we grab Max and head out the front door to a pedestrian street.
This is my favorite street. It is full of pots with plants and ends with access to Mariposa Creek. We walk a little and see some children running in the community garden and the amphitheater in the park. The laughter of the children running is the music of the neighborhood. My son wants to go and play with them, but I tell him we will join them later.
We walk along a tree-lined street where the trees form a green roof. The squirrels keep moving from tree to tree. It is nice to see how some rays of light pass through the canopy of the trees. The brightly colored veraneras are overflowing from the balconies.
We walked to the plaza in 3 minutes. On arrival, we greet neighbors and friends. A couple of people are enjoying their hot coffee while reading the news under the tree shade. The elders are in their usual corner chatting.
There is a fountain in the middle of the plaza, and you can hear the water drops falling. Brightly colored mosaics dress up the fountain.
My favorite places in the square are the bookshop and the market where they sell fresh food. In addition, there is a park for children to play in and a dog park—the smell of freshly baked bread permeates the plaza.
Marco, the waiter, smiles at us and asks, “The same as always?” We nod. We enjoy our toast while we do some people and dog watching in the plaza until we finish.
My office is on the second floor of the plaza. I say goodbye with a hug, a kiss and go to work. My office has an antique wooden desk facing my balcony, which overlooks the María Prieta River, is full of plants, and has a hammock with a mola design.
I like to keep the doors open to take advantage of the cross ventilation and to see nature. It’s a great inspiration for writing. Also, the eaves over my balcony keep the rain out.
At lunchtime, I decide to exercise. I am thankful that I have direct access to rivers from my house and office. I walk down to the plaza and cross the pergolas that lead down to the river. Next to the volleyball court, I join the yoga group and then go for a hike.
There is a microclimate; the air is cooler and humid due to the river. The smell of the tropical forest is identical to that of El Valle or Cerro Azul. I walk for several kilometers, seeing howler monkeys, blue butterflies, iguanas, ñeques, small fish, bees, and hummingbirds.
The riverbank has countless species of trees. Some of them are huge centenarians. I enjoy the fruit trees the most because I love to take them home with me. The canopies form a green roof that cuddles me.
Occasionally there are cave-like passages formed by bamboo. I feel like I’m in a movie when I walk through them. The track is made of gravel, and every 2 minutes, there are spaces with benches, picnic tables, and barbecues made of wood, stone, and brick.
Many people love to come down and play. How nice to have that dose of tropical nature just a few steps away on any given Tuesday. It’s food for the spirit. When I finish exercising, I approach the edge of the river where some children bathe and play with frogs. I watch the water flow between the rocks, kneel, dip my hands in the cold water and soak my face.
I go home, bathe, cook and have a home-cooked lunch with my partner. Lunch includes vegetables from the community garden and free-range chicken eggs that we buy at the market.
Before returning to the office, I have to pick up my son from school. So I go out the front door and grab my bike parked next to the door. On the way, I greet many parents who are walking back with their children. Next, I ride by the Plaza del Amor. When I arrive, I wait a few minutes for the soccer match to finish.
On the way back along the cycle path, my son decides to go and play in the park. So we go for a while. The space we like the most is the vegetable garden. He enjoys pulling up vegetables and seeing the roots.
There we both learn about permaculture. There is a wide variety of flowers, vegetables, fruits, and medicinal plants. Medicinal plants used to be a mystery to me, but I am learning more and more about them. Now I drink anti-inflammatory teas.
I enjoy feeding the fish in the irrigation ponds. When I leave, I take a couple of vegetables with us for dinner. I leave him at home and walk back to the office to work some more.
The bells are ringing in the distance, so it’s 6:00 pm; as usual, I watch the sunset in the hammock on the balcony. A few minutes pass, and I see a couple of friends downstairs having a few beers in the plaza under the trees. I give in to temptation and join them at their table. As I arrive I am grinning from ear to ear, and we all greet each other with a hug. I order myself a glass of wine, an appetizer, and we start telling stories.
I have plans for the evening. First, I’m going to cook on the wood-fired barbecue on my terrace with my family. As dinner time arrives, I say goodbye to the table. Some of them have already started to dance to the guitarist’s songs, so I wave them goodbye from afar.
As I walk back to my house, I get a silly smile on my face when I see so much life on the street. The lighting at night gives me a warm feeling. Finally, I cross my pedestrian street and enter my home, where I am greeted by nephews and nieces who arrived early to play.
I begin preparing the wood-fired barbecue and rinsing the vegetables from the garden. Finally, we end the evening sharing the barbecue, a few dishes that each of us brought, including the fruit from the river, wine, and good conversation at a long, narrow wooden table under the full moon.
Some nephews and nieces decide to dip in the jacuzzi while others water the plants. Finally, at the end of the night, we all say goodbye and go to sleep. I look at my phone and get excited because I surpassed my 10,000 steps a day. Then, I thank this joyous day and go to sleep.
What a great day.
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[…] Porta Norte has human-scaled urbanism integrated with dense nature and adapted for micro-mobility. It has a network of open, public spaces. We believe social interactions in public spaces are essential to fight the loneliness that remote workers often feel. You can get a clearer vision by reading A day in Porta Norte. […]
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