Christmas in Seville for us it was! The city is firmly in the grip of Christmas fever!! We are staying put for the holidays in Spain. We thought about visiting Federico’s family in Rome, but we left it too late and the ticket prices are simply outrageous, it is affordable, but we will not be gouged! so we said the airlines can suck it :-) . We will spend a quiet holiday at home in Seville. Save for a Santa Claus climbing a window here and there, you would never even think it was Christmas time. The lights and the hoopla is concentrated in the old center of Seville. We decided to take a camera one evening and show you the sights.
Christmas in Seville is all about street lights and decorations which are truly magnificent against the backdrop of the Alcazar and the Cathedral. I don’t think l would be exaggerating if l said there must have been over half a million people or more milling about the old center. The main thoroughfare of the center is Constitution Avenue. The giant lit tree that you see in the first picture located at the beginning of the avenue, close to the Puerta Jerez metro stop. It is surrounded by little restaurants and bars and is always a fun place to hang out. The best part is that since cars are no longer permitted to pass through there, people are free to walk down this very wide street. The trams still run through every few minutes.
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There are a total of three villages set up for Christmas in Seville. One is just off the avenue Constitution. The second at the Metropol Parasol (La Seta) and the third is at the park by the Metro entrance (Prado de San Sebastian). We only visited the one by the avenue as we set out late in the evening. We walked for over three hours in the city. It wasn’t just because it was fun to people watch and be part of the crowd. It was also because there were so many people, it took twice as long to get anywhere. You could literarily stop walking and be carried along with the crowd. Every so often, we went off the main square for some quiet.
There were a lot of Christmas carolers and singers of all kind entertaining the crowds. Movement of any kind practically ground to a halt anytime you were close to the entertainers. You just had to smile, wait for everyone to take their pictures and then move on. It really was interesting hearing all the old Christmas carols song in Spanish, with the guitars and drums etc. giving it a sort of salsa-flamencoish (my word) kick was quite delightful. I found myself involuntarily grooving to the beats :-) .
It was really cool checking out the Christmas nativity sets that were all along the village. How many hours must have gone into making all these tiny little sets l can only imagine. I started to understand how it could be an obsession if one collected those nativity sets. There are so, so many and all of them beautiful. So much so that you feel the need to own them all. They are quite pricey though, so l am happy just to look, ooh and aah over them from afar ;-).
What l found interesting was that the stores, like Guess, H&M etc. did not really have any Christmas decorations in the windows either. There would be like a little banner or something saying there was a sale, but nothing like you would see in the U.S. It’s like they all made a pact to let the city shine and not bother with all that work. The city did not disappoint, so really there was no need for extra hooplah ;-) . Each street has a different shaped light, trees, bows, and so on, the government buildings too. It was fun to veer off from the bigger streets every so often and discover more lights on the narrow streets.
We saw so many long lines everywhere..restaurants.. bars.. clubs..and for what we figure must be free entry to cultural events. The lines were way too long to be anything that one had to pay for. There was also an ice skating rink set up to entertain the kids, along with a carousel. Long lines there too, but no one seemed to mind.
The best and most wonderful part of this Christmas is the peace of mind. It’s hard to put it in words, but nothing beats the calmness of knowing that there was no nut job with an Uzi waiting to gun everyone down just because he/she was depressed or just plain evil. I think we spotted about eight policemen the whole night that we were out. No kidding.. Of course, safety can not be guaranteed, you never know where evil lurks unfortunately, but we can not be ruled by fear. Nonetheless, we probably would not have ventured out to something like this had it been taking place in the States. It’s really hard for me to say that, but it is true.
We ended up our night at our favorite tapas place in the center, the Taberna Autentico where we indulged in paella, spinach dip, mini hamburger and yummy potato salad. The metro was so crowded. Insane. I had the last seat before the crush. It stayed that way till we got to our stop. That was the sucky part, we were in a car with like twelve 4-6 year old kids and they were screaming and singing, just being rowdy the whole ride. We took comfort in the fact that we only had to hear them for 10 minutes (which felt like 700!) and the parents had to hear them for years :-) .
How is Christmas celebrated in your neck of the woods? Are you decorating at all? Do you go all out or are you more like us – with zip!, nada..no Christmas tree, not even a mistletoe! ? What do you think of Christmas in Seville?
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We wish you all a very merry Christmas. We hope Santa brings you everything on your wish list and then some. Please be safe as you enjoy the festivities. Remember how lucky you are to be alive and healthy :-) . That in itself is a gift. We have already started enjoying our Christmas gift to ourselves – flannel sheets :-). It’s freaking cold in Seville at Christmas time!!!!