Just about two years ago I was in the process of selling or giving away most of my stuff as I was getting ready to start traveling for a while. On Christmas day in 2009, I was on an airplane headed to Japan for what was basically the start of the path that's led me to where I am now. Flash forward a year later and I was down in Colombia hanging out with Diana's family. During the whole month of December 2010, I took photos of Christmas lights pretty much everywhere we went and ended up putting some of them into a story called Christmas Lights In Colombia. I have no idea why but that post has ended up being one of the most visited stories on my blog.
This year, I decided that I wanted to do a story about Christmas lights here in Barcelona so this past Saturday night I journeyed out with David and Diana into the (not-so-cold) night to take photos of Christmas spirit. We started our walk around town at the top of La Rambla right near the Hard Rock Cafe and Plaza Catalunya:
Plaza Catalunya is considered the center of Barcelona and often has things happening during the whole year. Right now, they've got an ice skating rink set up in a large tent along with lights in (fake) trees (in the bottom left, you can also see the lights on the wall of the department store El Corte Ingles):
There's also a large Christmas tree covered with lights where we stopped to take a self-portrait (bummer I cut the top off!):
We then left Plaza Catalunya and walked over to the Portal del Angel (Angel's Door), which is a pedestrian shopping street that leads towards the Santa Maria del Mar church and Gothic area of the city:
Everywhere we went that night was busy, busy, busy. There were a lot of people out walking and shopping. It was a nice time and definitely got me into the holiday spirit a bit. The next photo is from Calle Feran, which runs between Plaza Sant Jaume and La Rambla. During weekend nights, they block access to private vehicles because of the number of people who are on the street.
I was surprised when in Colombia last year just how much decorating the city does during the holidays. Barcelona's similar in that they've got lights and decorations up on most of the major streets as well as these cutesy "Feliç Nadal" (Catalan for Merry Christmas) banners:
The decorations in some neighborhoods are themed. On Avenida Parallel, right near where we live, the lights have a theater theme since the area is home to a bunch of live theaters:
Over on the nearby Ronda de Sant Pau, which runs by the Sant Antoni market, the theme seems to be holiday food with what looks like a roast turkey (is turkey holiday food in Spain too?), cava (Spanish champagne), grapes (not sure why), and a Rosca de Reyes (a ring-shaped, slightly sweet holiday bread):
Some streets don't seem (to me) to have a theme but the lights, like these on Avenida Diagonal, are lovely nonetheless:
It was fun walking around looking at lights with David and Diana. The highlight, though, was our end-of-the-evening stop at the Cafe de L'Opera for some churros and hot chocolate. Yum!
I can't wait for Christmas this year. Bon Nadal (merry Christmas) from Barcelona!