Cavalcada de Reis

Barcelona, Festivals, Spain

It’s 5th January. Tonight, one of the three kings (Balthazar? Melchior? Caspar? You can choose) will steal into your house and deliver you presents, as once they did to the infant Jesus. That’s if you live in the Spanish speaking world of course. Before that though, they – or their stand-ins – parade through the streets of every city and town they can find. There’s an eruption of lights, gaiety, colour, as the three kings and a cast of musicians, dancers, and hangers on of every kind process slowly through the streets. Joy and delight is uppermost, whether you attend the no-expense spared slickly presented civic offering, as we did in Barcelona in 2018 and 2019, or enjoy a more low-key event put together by your local community as we did in 2020.

These are not the best photos you’ll ever see of the Cavalcadas, But they might give you a small taste of this upbeat, family focused event. Which sadly, this year, will not be taking place. Of course.

Square Up

An Upmarket Grocer

Barcelona, Spain

This time last year, we were in Barcelona to spend Reyes – the Festival of the Three Kings, and traditionally a bigger deal than Christmas (Presents! From the kings!) – with Emily’s Catalan family. Here we are outside what’s considered the best grocer’s shop in town, all gussied up for festive shopping.

If you think I’ve muddled up my photos: well, the shop window did that, by reflecting the street scene as well as allowing us to see the goods on offer.

Square Up.

Monday Window

Organic Geometry.

Barcelona, England, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, London, North Yorkshire, Spain

I am very late in joining Jude’s Photo Challenge #51, but here I am. She invites us to make a collage of images, some of which have strong geometric shapes, others of which are organic in form. I had fun looking back though my collection. And what I soon realised was how hard it is to determine what makes a good photo when those images are so bound up with the memories they represent. I suppose that’s what makes me a snapshot-ist rather than a photographer.

I also found myself choosing photos which were primarily geometric – of buildings and so on, but which were enlivened in some way by more organic forms. So Jude, I may not have quite stuck to your brief (again!) but you’ve made me think (again!)

The featured photo shows Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire. Nobody could accuse them of being geometric.

Varied Viewpoints on a Murky Monday

Barcelona, Blogging challenges

I’ve woken up feeling unaccountably gloomy this morning.  Is it the fine but insistent rain?  Is it the spike in Covid figures that seems to presage what this winter may be like?  I don’t know, but Positivity seem to be called for, and a Virtual Day Out in the Sun.

Let’s go to the seafront in Barcelona, and have a look at a  very up-beat window with varied viewpoints.

 

Monday Window

Barcelona’s Best Windows

Barcelona, Blogging challenges

This time last year, we were near Barcelona, me and my whole family, celebrating two significant birthdays.  What a difference a year makes.

This year, nobody’s travelling anywhere much, so I’m going on a virtual journey, to Barcelona and to one of my favourite destinations there, the Hospital de Sant Pau.  I’ve already written about it twice, here and here.  Today, let’s celebrate its vibrant, colourful windows, with glimpses of the glorious buildings that lie beyond.

Monday Window

Spanish Views from Spanish Windows

Barcelona, Blogging challenges, Catalonia, Spain

This is my last post about Spain for a while, and it includes images from previous visits too. Browsing through my collection, I see that windows feature – a lot.

Views through, of, and reflected from windows; views through spaces that serve as windows; and finally, views of things outside windows (washing lines!) that have me imagining the lives lived behind them . You’ll see all of these here – mainly, but not exclusively from Barcelona.

But let’s start in Granada, at the Alhambra. This young woman was impossible to get out of shot, as she had to take a selfie from every angle. In the end, I decided to put her centre stage.

A real view from a real window: our go-to tourist attraction in Barcelona: the Modernista Hospital de Sant Pau.

I’m a sucker for reflecting windows. This high-end grocery store in Barcelona offered those reflections in bright light, as well as showing the goods on offer inside (this one’s for you, Becky)

More windows where it’s the reflections providing the views.

And now it’s time for those washing lines.

Two contrasting views through not-a-window: in a garden in the Jewish quarter, Córdoba: and at El Clot-Aragó station, Barcelona.

Finally – this isn’t a view through a window at all. But who could resist viewing this window in Barcelona?

An entry for Lens Artist Challenge #79: ‘A window with a view’,

and #January Light.

The Day the Kings Came

Barcelona, Blogging challenges, Catalonia, Festivals

Finally, those kings came. A day of bright delight shared with Miquel’s wider family: feasting, talking, laughing, sharing, and exchanging presents as ‘invisible friends’ – that’s Spanish for ‘secret Santa’.

This photo of my daughter’s reaction to her gift may not be filled with yellow light. But it expresses completely the brightness of heart of a day when Malcolm and I, for all our language limitations, once again felt accepted into the heart of this joyous Spanish family.

January Squares: January Light

Cavalcada de Reis: the Kings are Coming!

Barcelona, Catalonia, Festivals

Tomorrow, the Three Kings who once visited the infant Jesus will be busy delivering gifts to children all over Spain.

Tonight, they are in exhuberant and joyful processions in just about every community in the land. We’ve been to Barcelona’s spectacularly impressive city offering for several years. But those crowds …

Awaiting the local procession

This year, we decided Small is Beautiful. We went to the small community event covering just a handful of streets round Emily and Miquel’s flat. It was cosy, homespun, atmospheric and fun.

Drummers escorted the kings, dancers too. We worried that Emily’s community wouldn’t be able to deliver King Balthasar, traditionally black. But Queen Balthasar stepped up. There were fire-eaters accompanying a Heath Robinson contraption belching smoke.

And sweets for anybody who could catch them as eager elves and helpers chucked them from the floats. Even we caught some, before wandering off home, relaxed and cheerful.