Tag Archives: El Corte Ingles

Ya es Navidad: Madrid’s Starting to Look Like Christmas

The happiest and most awaited month of the year has started, and so I deemed it best that my first post for December is light but nonetheless special. Let’s make it filled with lots of pictures of fun and Christmassy colors. Isn’t it obvious that the Yuletide air already pervades around? The season of hope and inspiration is definitely upon us.

Indeed, it is apparent that Madrid is fast turning into a Yuletide paradise; there’s just no stopping establishments from sprucing up their buildings – inside and out – with tons of exciting Xmas displays. Streets, side streets and avenues are one by one being adorned with multi-colored lights. Plazas and gloriettas, big and small, boast of giant, glowing Yuletide trees of yellow, red, and blue.

And so for this post, time again for me to get my phone cam busy and capture photos of Christmas scenes from around the city, where possible.

imageEasily, Puerta del Sol is one of the most crowded spots in Madrid during the holiday season. The famous square’s Xmas tree this year glimmers with its blue lights, instead of yellow from the past few years
imageYuletide decors of life sized and gigantic toys and cartoon characters are displayed in the upper facade of El Corte Ingles

Cibeles, Alcala, Puerta del Sol, Atocha — it’s a given that these neighborhoods are some of the most colorful spots in the city. I expect to have pictures of these places draped in full christmas display, as I alway had in previous years.

Of course, I’ll explore Madrid further — I am only too sure to find more neighborhoods that are suited up, proud that they’re part of this year’s Yuletide revelry.

Here is some initial photos showing how dazzling and enchanting Madrid can be during the Christmas season. I’ll leave this as an open post, which means I will be posting more from time to time, as more places become spruced up for the Yuletide season.

imageInstead of multi-colored lighting, the Palacio de Cibeles is bathe in red this time
imagePlaza Mayor is a venue for many different cultural activities during the Yuletide season. December 1 showcases a night filled with Rumanian festivities at the square
imageBrightly-lit holiday house at Azca, Paseo de Castellana, Madrid
imageMore or less a dozen Christmas tree stand in the plaza in front of Picasso Building
imageimageStores selling traditional Yuletide goodies such as asadas castañas and maize (roasted chestnuts and corn) are found in strategic corners of the city. The store in the first picture above stands in front of the Nuevos Ministerios Metro Entrance, the second is in the corner of Calle de Bravo Murillo and Paseo de la Castellana. Prices of castañas vary from 2 to 3 euros for a dozen.imageKids have a grand time ice skating at Plaza del Colon
imageNeighborhood shops and downtown boutiques have started filling their shelves with holiday merchandize items. The lower part of the collage is a photo of Xmas trees sold at a Chinese variety store, while the upper half shows multicolored decor balls from Tiger, a popular novelty gift shop.
imageYou know Christmas is just around the corner with the sprouting of more flower stands and kiosks around the city, like this one at the corner of Calle del Postigo de San Martin.

imagePlaza Remonta in Bravo Murillo is no Plaza Mayor. It’s like many other typical town squares in Madrid; quiet and dimly lit at night. No matter, this plaza is one with the season by putting up two Christmas trees in its midst — modest but helpful nonetheless in illuminating the place come nighttime, a delight to the kids at play.
imageThe Nativity and other scenes that depict the birth and early years of the Child Jesus, displayed at Parroquia de San Antonio, Bravo Murillo and Cuatro Caminos
imageChristmas trees brightly shine at night as they surround the Artichoke fountain replica at the roundabout or the Glorieta de Atocha

Christmas at Plaza Mayor, MadridBusiness is brisk at the Plaza Mayor, with Christmas lights and decors as best sellers year after year
imageMadrid, Spain, Calle Bailen, carouselCarousels and similar fun rides and attractions are a common sight around the city. The first carousel is found in Plaza de Sta cruz, along Calle Atocha, the second is located at Calle Bailen, near Palacio Real

imageEl Corte Ingles leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the display of Christmas decors. Its branch along Paseo de la Castellana has already begun showing Yulletide theme visual messages in its large electronic display

imageThe red Christmas tree now stands beside the yellow fountain in Paseo de la Castellana and Calle Vitrivio, livening up the area in time for the merry season

imagePlaza de Espana has put up its own Christmas Tree, which stands beside the square’s famous oblong-shaped fountain and near Calle Gran Via

Madrid, Spain, Christmas, Gran ViaGirl pals pose for the camera with their sweet smiles, reindeer antlers headband, red noses, and all.

imageTerrace restaurants install their outdoor heaters to warm  up the cool evening ambiance, like this one near Puerta de Alcala

imageChristmas is in the air, especially in Plaza del Callao where to be found in its midst is an adorable bright-yellow Xmas tree and the Tienda de la Navidad

imagePlaza Callao’s Tienda de Nativid sells Yuletide trees, bells, lights, decors, and everything else that’s Christmas
imageCalle Preciosa spruces up in time for the holidays
imageVarious attractive, Yuletide-themed pastelerias and other sweet goodies are available at La Mallorquina, a popular bakeshoop located in a strategic spot in Plaza del Sol
imageFancy holiday lights dangles along the length of Arenal, providing sufficient illumination as pedestrians traverse through the street, and perhaps towards San Gines Church to hear the evening mass, or even further down to Palacio Real

imageThe city has already installed the holiday lights, which I believe are the same ones for the last couple of years, along Calle de Alcala. In the background is the Palacio del Cibeles
imageIn the same manner as that of the Cibeles Palace, the Ayuntamiento building in Plaza del Sol is also bathe in red, as if to signify the solemnity of the place while still actve in the celebration of the festive occasion
imagePhoto of the Puerta del Sol Xmas tree in close range

Every year, the agency Loterias y Apuestas del Estado come up with a video advertisement promoting the Christmas lottery draw in December, with this year’s draw scheduled to happen on the 21th. 2016 Anuncio Loteria de Navidad’s theme is El Mejor Premio es Compartirlo, roughly translated as “The best prize is Sharing.” And like the previous ones, it proves to be a tearjerker. Be ready with your hankie as you watch this heartwarming Christmas lottery ad.

Hospital de Maudes of Chamberi, Madrid [Sta Maria del Silencio]

imageTravel blogs have lauded this former Madrid hospital for the labourers as one of the most eccentric yet beautiful edifices in the city. I definitely agree with them. Its name is long, Hospital de Jornaleros de San Francisco de Paula; this alone makes you feel it is special. Hospital de Maudes for short,  its impressive white-and-brownish hued facade and stately towers give off a royal vibe.

At least once a week, I never fail to take a short eight-minute (as how I timed it) walk that starts from El Corte Ingles at the corner of Paseo de Castellana and Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde and ends at Cuatro Caminos, or vice versa. And when I do, this building located midway always earns from me a long, bewildered gaze.

Is Hospital de Maudes really a hospital or a church?

I am at a loss about the true “identity” of the Maudes Hospital. Is it really one, when if viewed from afar, it appears to be abandoned? It doesn´t look busy like any typical hospital rendering medical services.

And so I thought I needed to do some sleuthing by visiting the building myself. Going there is easy — Glorieta de Cuatro Caminos, a busy roundabout, is four Metro stops away from Valdeacederas station, which is a few blocks from my place.

Upon reaching the Glorieta, I turned to Fernandez Villaverde and walked its sidewalk down to the spot where I could take some long shots of the building. I also had to take pictures from close range, which meant walking back to the glorieta in order to cross Villaverde street and access the opposite sidewalk.

As I approached the building, I realized it wasn’t a hospital but a church. However, since it was mid-afternoon, the gates were closed and the main front doors shut. I was almost sorry about the glum surroundings.

After taking pictures, I walked to the back of the building, and discovered that this portion faces a street called Calle de Maudes. It became clear that it was named after its location.

A large sign, “Comunidad de Madrid” is posted on the facade, and this got me more confused. Is it a hospital? A church? Or did they turn it to a government agency of sorts?

I noticed a security officer was around, walking and checking the premises, occasionally stopping in front of the gate to observe people passing by. I notice he looked at me as I took pictures from the outside, but he didn’t seem to mind my presence and continued his unhurried gait around. All the while I took shots, I waited for him to venture near the grilled fence.

Finally, he did. This signaled me to field my questions about the building, to which he graciously responded.

Parroquia Santa Maria del Silencio

He explained that the original building was constructed to serve as a hospital, providing medical and health services to the laborers of the city.

Eventually, the property was divided, the part facing Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde now serves as a church, known as the Parroquia Sta Maria del Silencio, the Parish church for the deaf. (This church primarily serves the spiritual needs of people with hearing disabilities.) The other half located along Calle de Maudes Site operates as a government office.

I thanked the security guy profusely for his efforts to enlighten me as far as Hospital de Maudes’s current function is concerned. [I couldn’t remember the number of times I uttered “Como” and “Mas despacho, por favor” as he spoke entirely in Spanish].

Now, I see the building differently, having learned about its history and function as well (a noble one at that). I don’t think of it now as a beautiful building gone to waste but a Palacios masterpiece that has more than served its purpose.

imageThe edifice is currently under the administration of the Comunidad de Madrid.

imageOriginally a hospital that served laborers and workers of the city, the part of the building complex facing Villaverde is now a Church, Santa Maria del Silencio

imageThe Maudes edifice along Calle de Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde

imageNotice how the towers of the buildings have a strong resemblance to those belonging to the Palacio de Cibeles, mainly because both buildings were creations of the same Spanish architect, Antonio Palacio

imageThe beautiful facade of the hospital / church, as seen from the steps of Calle de Ciceron

Facts and trivia

1. Antonio Palacios, the Spanish architect of Hospital de Maudes and Cibele Palace, had a significant part in the construction of a number lineas of Metro de Madrid, designing the entrances to the stations.

2. Year 2016 marks its centenary, since construction was finished in 1916. A beautiful website, Palacio de Maudes, is dedication to its 100-year celebration.

3. The government agency currently housed at the Maudes part of the building is the Consejería de Transportes, Vivienda y Infraestructura, or the Ministry of Transportation, Housing and Infrastructure.

4. The owner of the land on which the building was built is Dona Dolores Romero. She ordered the creation of a hospital specifically meant to welcome city laborers needing medical attention but didn’t have the financials means to pay for it. The hospital was tasked to admit and retain patients up to their full recovery and restored ability to return to work.

How to reach Hospital de Maudes

Hospital de Maudes is found in one of bustling neighborhoods of Madrid, a few hundred meters away from the Glorieta de Cuatro Caminos. Immediate streets are Bravo Murillo and Paseo de Castellana, both of which intersect Calle Fernandez Villaverde, the street where it is found. Important landmarks nearby are El Corte Ingles and the the Governnment office, Nuevos Ministerios.

Nearest Metro Stations: N. Ministerios, Bravo Murillo

Autobus paradas: C1, C2, 149, 40, 5, 27

Map:

(If you have to upload or embed the map of Hospital de Maudes on your own blog or website, don’t search the key phrase Hospital de Maudes, but go for “Santa Maria del Silencio” instead, which is how they refer to the building on Google Maps.)

Plaza del Callao – Plaza Famosa en el Distrito Central de Madrid

imageDo you agree with some people on the Internet referring to Plaza del Callao as Madrid’s version of New York’s Times Square? I’d say I’m not quite sure about that, if you ask me. Well, a mini Times Square perhaps?

Some will insist, however, on the resemblance of the two on account of the fact that both are beautiful plazas and widely popular among tourists.

The legendary square in the “City that Never Sleeps” always teems with crowds – it’s a people magnet. The same can be said about Callao. The latter pulls in swarms from all over, but especially from the touristy areas such as Puerta del Sol and Gran Via.

For me, I think it’s about the massive digital neon ad signs of all sizes that litter the plaza – Callao does mimic the Times Square in this regard. It boasts of a dozen or so signs that when lit up further flood the already brightly-lighted vicinity with a continuous glow of iridescent illumination, mesmerizing people as they ogle at the beamed advertisements. Most of these LED displays are owned and run by top establishments such as department stores and theaters within the Callao area.

Cines Callao

Considered as a major attraction is the Cines Callao edifice, an iconic theater created by the Spanish master-architect Luis Gutierrez Soto. It is one of the most photographed sites in the square, it’s main come-on being the giant screen on the center part of its exterior wall that faces the square itself. Here you can watch the trailers of the movies being shown or soon to be featured; they are flashed alternately with product commercials and announcements on the city’s various activities and public interests. I’m not sure whether the theater is doing the latter as a form of public service or the city government compensates it to do so. There is another similar screen, by the way, that faces Calle de Jacometrezo.

A look at the facade as well as its interiors, and you could easily discern it to be one of those sixties-styled cinemas  that give off an old feel.  Such has an effortless appeal to old-fashioned cinema patrons, who instead of playing their DVD machine, would rather go out, buy tickets at the taquilla, and enjoy a latest full-length feature on the silver screen. Most movies here are dubbed in Spanish, and without English subtitles.

imageThe Cines Callao edifice is located at the corner of the square near the streets, with the main facade in front of the plaza itself. This screen, the one at Jacometrezo, and the 3 other screens at Palacio de la Prensa are all part of what is known as the Callao City Lights, making such screens modern sources of information – commercial (advertisements) or otherwise (Madrid government publicity) – via impressive and breathtaking visuals

imageTaquilla of the cinema. Listed are current box-office movies like Alicia a Traves del Espejo and Rumbo. It helps that the theaters are located right in the central district of Madrid; hence, more people have convenient access to them. Tickets are available at affordable prices

Palacio de la Prensa

An integral part of the plaza and standing proudly along the busy thoroughfare of Gran Via is El Palacio de la Prensa. Designed by renowned architect Muguruza Otaño, its construction was finished in 1928. During those times, it had the distinction of being the tallest edifice around the area. It is a building of mixed use, with a variety of businesses and offices as well as residential units occupying most floors, including the Associacion de la Prensa. In fact, the building used to be the main office of Madrid’s Press Association, hence the name, until the group transferred to its current headquarters at Calle Juan Bravo. As part of the Callao City Lights, La Prensa boasts of four cinemas on its lower floors – known as the Cines Palacio de la Prensa.

imageImposing Palacio de la Prensa accentuates the busy Gran Via thoroughfare. Seen even from afar are multi-screens installed in its lower facade, showing LED-based visuals

Colorful Giant Digital Billboards

Similar to the Times Square’s probably hundreds of electronic screens and billboards are the commercial, digital versions of El Corte Ingles and FNAC, both of which show advertisements of popular brands that are mostly sold in their stores. The strong light that radiates from these screens become more pronounced during nighttime; they are literally an eye-catching enticement to people from all around, inviting them to come to the plaza and check them out.

imageThe tall buildings of El Corte Ingles, the premier department store in Spain, and FNAC, a French shopping chain of electronic products dominate over the rest of the structures surrounding the square. The two boast of gargantuan and high-tech electronic screens showing ads of major consumer brands. The attractive displays start in the early hours of the day and continue well into the night

Edificio Carrion (The Capitol Building)

It is understandable that Edificio Carrion is made more popular because of the Schweppes neon sign found on top of the building, which for years had been visually enhancing the night skies this part of Madrid. This shining, multicolored ad of a world-renowned beverage is attached on top of the building, and had been stared at and admired by countless people ever since. Likewise located on top of the roof of the building a few meters above the Schweppes logo is yet another ad sign, the Capitol Vodafone. It’s much  smaller but nonetheless visible, especially at night.

imageThe edifice is also called the Capitol Building because it houses the Capitol Cinemas, a theater chain popular among avid cinema goers.

Pedestrianized square

Callao has become totally pedestrianized like many other major squares in Madrid, making it a more desirable destination of people who enjoy roaming around at a leisurely gait. As it is, turning a square, or any part of the city for that matter, pedestrian-friendly is a boon to tourists who shun riding cars, but are instead eager to walk or even promenade in order to check closely and appreciate the place’s many sites and attractions.

Albeit, I was at the plaza early in the morning a few times and noticed the delivery trucks and vans parked within the premises, presumably to load off goods to waiting establishments. This is a scene also familiar in other supposedly pedestrianized plazas in Madrid, like Puerta del Sol and Plaza Santa Ana. I lament the lack of benches considering Plaza del Callao is a major square. I counted only three located near the Adriatica Building. Hence, some who had to wait or want to spend the afternoon at the plaza are forced to sit on the concrete planters that hold the plants or trees, while many others stand in front of El Corte Ingles building and Cines Callao.

imageWhile many visit Callao to see its many amazing attractions, others consider it as a perfect place to meet up and interact, or as a starting point from which they proceed to other nearby prominent and sought-after tourist sites such as Plaza Espana, Lavapies, Alcala, Gran Via, and Puerta del Sol

More Plaza de Callao Photos

imageCalle preciado. This street connects the plaza to Puerta del Sol

imageView of the Cines Callao building and Schweppes or Capitol Building. Photograph taken from across Gran Via

imageLa Adriatica Building towers over the corner part of the square. It stands beside the buildings of El Corte Ingles shopping mall and FNAC

imageI had soft and tasty Croissant bread and cafe con leche at Restaurante el Jamonal, along Calle de Jacometrezo. Apart from light snacks, Jamonal also serves a variety of jamon and lacon sandwiches, Spanish cocidos, tapas, bocadillos, paella and much more

imageFigure of the Crucified Jesus Christ is displayed at the Parroquia de Nuestra Senora del Carmen y San Luis, one of the parroquias nearest to the plaza
imageHotel II Castillas boasts of its 3-star facilities and being in close proximity to the square of Callao. It is located at Calle de la Abada, a stone’s throw away from the plaza and Puerta del Sol. The hotel is an ideal accommodation option for those who want to be near the prime tourist and commercial areas of the city
imageThe Capitol theater of the Edificio Carrion, designed by architects Martínez-Feduchi and Eced, is another popular cinema chain in the Callao-Gran Via area
imageDesigual is just one of the many popular high-end boutiques in the vicinity

imageA group of teens presumably on a tour got off their ride at Gran Via and rushed towards the middle of the square imagePasteleria Portuguesa Natas Belem, with its chilled and icy treats, must be bracing for a deluge of customers the whole summer season. The establishment boasts of a strategic location in the area, alongside the Cines Callao

imageThe last time I was there, I counted three chairs (they’re not even benches) in all of the square. Now there’s only one I swear. Que esta pasando?  Lucky is the guy in the photo above who was able to enjoy the best, and the only seat, in Plaza Callao

imageCines Callao and Edificio Carrion come nighttime

imageMetro sign within the plaza. Other entrance gates to the station are found along Gran Via, in front of La Adriatica Building, and Calle Jacometrezo

Direccion: Plaza del Callao, Barrio del Sol
Distrito: Centro de Madrid

Puerta del Sol by Night

Nothing shines brighter than Puerta del Sol in the midst of Madrid where streets and pavement roll; over yonder where the young night skies are blue. It’s so magical everywhere I look; indeed, it is utterly true.

As the evening grows deeper, and the stores one by one close, only the incandescent lamps remain lit, yet they only keep me active, and not a bit morose.

These undulating waves of golden luminescence that reach everywhere, and touch every corner, every nook – put me in a trance-like state that’s seen in my gait, and apparent in my look.

Oh, I yearn to stay at the plaza an hour more, or perhaps two, to continue admiring  scenes around – every single sight, every single view.

And even when time creeps steadily into the night’s ungodly hours,  relentless meandering I continue- while trying to keep sleepiness at bay. I’m one of the scant number of souls who still survey the place, albeit trudgingly i must say.

Until finally, even if my heart will not budge if it had its way,  I accept that I am too languid, too weary not to call it a day.

image Dusk sets in, signaling tourists to come in and roam the beautiful Plaza del Sol

image Fountain right in the center of Puerta del Sol – a familiar landmark of the plaza

image Tio Pepe Neon sign is a permanent fixture at the plaza

imageOne will rarely see Plaza del Sol as bare as in this photo, taken just as the clock’s about to strike 12 MN

image El Oso y El MadroñoimageStatue of Rey Carlos III riding his horse as it faces Real Casa de Correos

image El Corte Ingles, a premier shop in Spain

imageAt right is the entrance to the Vodafone Sol Metro Station

Christmas 2015 in Madrid

Christmas is just around the corner. A week from now, Spain and the rest of the world will again be commemorating the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In my case, this will be my second Christmas in Madrid. And as in the previous year, it’s all bright, colorful and Christmassy everywhere I look, with the sentiments of warmth, love and happiness pervading the air around. There’s no doubt that Madrilenos love Christmas and are just all out when it comes to celebrating this festive season, such as looking forward to lots of parties, attending occasions of family get together and reunions, and gift-giving.

For posterity, I will again post a number of Christmas scenes from various places in Madrid – Plaza del Sol, El Corte Ingles in Calle de Castellana, Calle de Alcala, and Cibeles. I wish that this particular post will somehow send out the spirit of the Yuletide Season, even if in its small and humble way. Feliz Navidad a todos! image Colorful lanterns hang along the length of the the street of Alcala, which starts from Plaza de Independencia to Plaza de Cibeles

image Formerly known as the Palacio de Communicaciones, the Palacio de Cibeles lords over everything else within the whole area of the Plaza de Cibeles. During Christmas, it serves as the centerpiece of the vicinity, being the most intricately lighted and decorated edifice in tune with the Yuletide season.

image Anos Luz at Calle de Alcala 111, a seller of modern lighting fixtures and systems puts up a beautiful display that’s appropriate for the season.

image As soon as December starts, you will definitely not miss this yellow light-decked Christmas Tree as it becomes the center of attraction at Puerta del Sol. It is actually the same tree that they put up at at plaza last year, with the same decor, lighting, and all. Still, it never fails to buoy up the Yuletide spirit in everyone. This tree alone makes Sol – hands down – the most Christmassy in all of Madrid.

imageEl Corte Ingles, one of Spain’s premier shops, takes the season seriously with its gargantuan board showing moving Xmas displays for everyone, customers and pedestrians, to see and appreciate.

Bidding Madrid Christmas Goodbye

Have you ever wished you had that extra space in your apartment, so that after placing your Christmas tree atop a platform cart – with lights, balls, star, and trimmings still in – you just slide everything inside it? I’m certain that not a few on Earth have been doing this all along.

I am not being mean-spirited. I am not even lazy to undo the decorations.

The thing is, I have trouble with the holidays ending. It’s like doing away with the best days of the year. The child in me does not want it to end. To this stubborn child, Christmastime means joy, fun, adventure, play, and he doesn’t want to part with all this.

As a grownup, I love the season because it lifts up my spirit. And now that I had the chance to witness and experience it in Madrid for the first time, I have to say that I enjoyed it wholly. It’s low-key compared to Manila’s shameless Christmas extravaganza, but it’s fascinating, nonetheless.

You should see Christmas in Madrid at night as beautiful lights are not wanting. Everywhere you look is a sight to behold, and something for your eyes to feast on. Needless to say, Madrid’s illumination at this time of the year is captivating in its own way.

The trees draped in bluish white lights lining up the paseos and calles, the giant digital display of El Corte Ingles, the gargantuan trees of sparkling yellow, blue, or red hue that litter the plazas of Madrid – all are enthralling. You will be spellbound by these lights even if subtly and help you imbibe that Yuletide feeling.

Up to this point, I still consider Madrid as a strange land, and the Spanish language as a saccharine, romantic music that I have yet to play beautifully. To put it simply, everyday is a big struggle.

Fortunately, being in Madrid at the time when the city is in the midst of the festivities buoys me up and helps me sustain my desire to stay – despite all odds.

Yuletide here has given me hope and emboldened me to look forward to the new year with great anticipation. Definitely, I’ll celebrate Christmas again in Madrid next year.

Here are some more photos (of Alcala and Cibeles places) to remember Madrid Christmas 2014 by:

Imposing buildings at night. Metropolitan, along Calle de Alcala and Rolex Building at Gran Via, as viewed from Calle de Alcala
Imposing buildings at night. Metropolitan, and Rolex Building at Gran Via, as viewed from Calle de Alcala
Banco de Espana
Banco de Espana
Palacio de Cibeles is a grand spectacle during evenings of Christmas 2014. Location, Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid
Palacio de Cibeles, a Christmas spectacle. Standing at Plaza de Cibeles, it easily dwarfs other edifices around the vicinity. I can compare its grandeur to that of Paris’ Notre Dame.
Chariot of Cibele, major landmark at the Plaza de Cibeles
Chariot of Cibele, major landmark at the Plaza de Cibeles. In the middle of the Plaza is the fountain also named Cybele, one of the city’s most important symbols.
Don't you wish it's always Christmas in Madrid? Portion of Calle de Alcala that connects Plaza de Cibeles and Plaza de la Independencia
Don’t you wish it’s always Christmas in Madrid? Portion of Calle de Alcala that connects Plaza de Cibeles and Plaza de la Independencia
Puerta de Alcala stands in the middle of Plaza de la Independencia. Madrid, Spain
Located in the midst of the Plaza de la Independencia, Independence Square, is the Puerta de Alcala. An architectural masterpiece, the structure evokes neoclassical art, and is popular for its five arches. One of the Symbolic gateways to the City of Madrid, Puerte de Alcala boasts of equal, if not greater, significance to the Palacio de Cibeles.
Puerta de Alcala as seen from Retiro Park, at the southern portion of the Plaza de la Independencia
Puerta de Alcala as seen from Retiro Park, at the southern portion of the Plaza de la Independencia

Madrid After Christmas

It's the 26th, and the spirit of the Yuletide Season is very much in the air in Madrid even if Christmas has already passed.

Everyone is not ready to let the festive mood within them disappear. Decors all around the city, at homes and in the streets, avenues, and plazas, are still up and will not be removed until January 6th.

Madrid is Christmas Land 'til Feast of the Three Kings

For a few days more (10 days to be exact), Madrid continues to be a magical place come night time as Christmas trees and lighting decors brightly illuminate the city.

Speaking of Jaunary 6, it is when Spain commemorates the Feast of the Three Kings or Epiphany, and also the date when Christmas officially ends.

Dia de los Reyes, as how they call it in Spanish, is the Spaniards' The Little Christmas. Gift giving is done on this occasion as a tradition, instead of Christmas Eve or Day.

I want my Roscon (and the good luck that it brings)

Another popular tradition during The Three Kings is the eating of sugar-coated Roscon, a delicacy similar to a doughnut, only much larger.

Inside every Roscon is a toy, most likely a little Nino Jesus. Everyone partakes a slice, and the one who gets the toy enjoys good luck and blessings for one whole year.

Hail to Kings Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltazar

Likewise, I can't wait to catch candies that will be thrown to the crowd by people from the Municipalidad as they pass by Calle Principe de Vergara.

The parade symbolizes the arrival of the Three Kings and bringing of their gifts.

This candy-throwing event is done in many places in Spain during Dia de los Reyes.

My first Christmas in Madrid made me realize that the city vigorously celebrates the Season, much like how we celebrate it back home. I look forward to enjoying the same joyous experience again next year.

Here are some photos of beautiful sights and scenes from Madrid after Christmas. Feliz Navidad!

Colorful lights adorn this building at Plaza Puerta del Sol, Madrid
Christmas lights in the form of giant snow flakes adorn the facade of El Corte Ingles building at Plaza Puerta del Sol, Madrid

Christmas Lights shaped in circle mesmerize passers-by at Calle de la Montera
Yuletide lights mesmerize passers-by at Calle de la Montera
Blue Christmas Tree at Calle de la Montera, in front of Gran Via
Blue Christmas Tree at Calle de la Montera, in front of Gran Via
Beautiful lighting decors of red and blue brighten up the length of Calle de la Montera
Christmas lights of red and blue brighten up the length of Calle de Fuencarral
Gargantuan neon sign display at El Corte Ingles, Nuevos Ministerios
Gargantuan digital sign display at El Corte Ingles, Nuevos Ministerios

Chandelier lighting decors send warmth and illumination throughout wintry Calle de Goya, in Salamanca
Chandelier lighting decors send warmth and illumination throughout wintry Calle de Goya, in Salamanca

Calle Velazquez, Madrid
Calle Velazquez boasts of truly attractive lighting that highlight the festive season, in Distrito Salamanca

Goya, Madrid
Yuletide gives this establishment good reason to spruce up its facade with draping rope lights, located along Calle de Goya
Feliz Navidad sign welcomes pedestrians as they walk through kiosks that line both sides of the passageway beside Nuevos Ministerios Metro Station and going to El Corte Ingles, Plaza Castellana.
Feliz Navidad sign welcomes pedestrians as they walk through a passageway with kiosks on both sides. Beside Nuevos Ministerios Metro Station, fronting Paseo de la Castellana
A mini recreation fun land is set up to accommodate kids wanting to enjoy fun rides. At the back of El Corte Ingles
A mini-recreation and play center is set up in the grounds of El Corte Ingles to accommodate kids wanting to enjoy fun rides
Bluish white Yuletide Lighting decors shine down upon the busy street of Bravo Murillo
Bluish white lighting decors radiate warmth and illumination upon the busy street of Bravo Murillo
Chamartin Mercado, Madrid's most beautiful market (for me, at least) made more beautiful with it bright green Christmas tree and trimmings. Along Calle Colombia
Chamartin Mercado, Madrid's most beautiful market (for me, at least), is made even more charming with its bright green Christmas tree and trimmings, along Calle Colombia
Imposing Christmas tree complements the Paseo de la Castellana fountain near Nuevos Ministerios. What a site to behold!
Imposing Christmas tree complements the spectacular Paseo de la Castellana fountain near Nuevos Ministerios. Such a site to behold!
This scene at Paseo de la Castellano reminds of Champs Elysees during Christmastime
This scene at Paseo de la Castellano reminds me of Paris' Les Champs Elysees during Christmastime

Merry Christmas everyone, from Let's Talk Madrid!