After a few days of jetlag, we have managed to get out and about in Barcelona. We left a very cold and snowy new York to arrive in a Barcelona full of warm air and bright sunshine. One would have thought it was a September day instead of mid December. We have had sunshine and some rain. Yesterday we took a leisurely stroll and around our hilly neighborhood located only a few blocks away from the famous Parc Guell. We actually sat on a park bench soaking in the rays while we watched grandparents play with grandchildren and other families also enjoy the day.
It’s the middle of December and as you can imagine, Christmas is in full effect here in Barcelona. Streets are decorated in festive lights and homes all have their trees set up. It’s funny to see how fake trees are much more the trend around here as opposed to the real trees we indulge in back home. Poinsettias are everywhere as are nativity scenes. Nativity scenes are huge, so huge in fact, that there are even Christmas markets with booths selling everything you need to DYI your own nativity scene or Belen as they are called around here. There are also many large scale nativity scenes in churches like the grand cathedral of Barcelona and in many of the plazas. Families and tourists alike line up to take a peek. Some are modern while others even have live geese waddling in small pools. Perhaps they are meant to represent the animals found near the manger where baby Jesus was born.
It’s a nice time of year to be here as families prepare their Christmas eve menus and christmas day visits. Jamon is definitely on everyone’s menu. The streets are lively as the locals go to the markets in preparation for feasting and gift giving. Every once in a while you can hear some Christmas music in the background playing in English.