This afternoon, I saw the Three Wise Men climbing a rope ladder onto someone's terrace across the street from our house. And then when I got home, I stepped out onto my bedroom balcony to find that, a couple of floors above those wise guys, there are another three — with Santa filling in for the guy in the middle. Odder still, they all wear capes. Like superheroes.
|WHERE DID THEY STASH THE GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, AND MYRRH (AND SANTA'S GOODIES)?|
It is beyond 'beginning' to look a lot like Christmas around here. No snow — although apparently some is being manufactured on one of the large plazas in town, along with an ice-skating rink. But the decorations are up in force. Some look very similar to what we're used to, but the streets and shops are still filled with surprises.
|THE TOP OF AVENIDA DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN, IMMEDIATELY SOUTH OF PLAZA NUEVA.|
There's an exceptional Christmas market on Plaza Nueva. Each booth is stocked with handmade items from mostly local artisans. Beautiful jewelry, scarves, lamps and other home furnishings, and more. I scouted it out earlier this afternoon and Jerry and I are planning a walk there tonight (it's only 10 minutes away) to shop together and to see more of the festive lighting around town. Sevilla's City Hall (Ayuntamiento) is on Plaza Nueva and it is apparently lit up brilliantly for Christmas. There's also a major nativity scene erected on the south side of the building.
|PLAZA NUEVA AND A FEW OF THE STALLS IN THE CHRISTMAS MARKET.|
|THE AYUNTAMIENTO (CITY HALL). CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE AT NIGHT.|
|EL BELÉN (THE NATIVITY SCENE), WITH PLAZA NUEVA IN BACKGROUND.|
And, of course, there are always the processions. Yesterday afternoon, when we had just finished our cafés con leche at El Sanedrín, we heard drums that sounded like they were perhaps two blocks away. Then came the horns of a marching band. We headed in the direction of the music and came upon a small and very good youth marching band from one of the local brotherhoods, the Hermandad del Museo (the Brotherhood of the Museum). This brotherhood was established in 1575 and, in 1577, moved to the Convent of Mercy, which is now the Museum of Fine Arts. The brotherhood now makes its home in the chapel (built in 1613) next door to the museum. Lola, my language studies pal, and Alejandro (of "Kiss Me Cheenatown" fame) are both very active members of the brotherhood.
The band was marching around the neighborhood collecting money for the needy. I was about to snap a picture and was immediately approached (nearly run down) by a very serious teen girl from the brotherhood selling either cheeses or candies. It was very difficult to tell. The band was on the move and I wanted a picture. I said no thanks, but reached to quickly pull some change from my pocket anyway. A woman approached a moment later, carrying a similar tray of cheesy looking candies or candy looking cheeses, apologized for how pushy the girl had been, and laughed and commended me for paying for the privilege of taking a picture.
|GOOD MUSIC. SAY CHEESE... OR MAYBE CANDY.|