Tag Archives: Yuletide

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.

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