Wednesday, January 12, 2011

3 Kings Day - January 6, 2011

January 6th is 3 Kings Day in Spain! And Rota celebrates with a parade. I have to say, it was kind of a random parade...

Started with a nice band...

And then Spongebob Squarepants...????

Followed by a bootleg "Aladdin" float...with the Disney Aladdin Soundtrack in Spanish blaring...

And then some Sevillana dancers...and a bunch of other bands and random floats filled with kids...they were ALL throwing candy...

FINALLY something that made sense....a float featuring a guy bearing the Kings' gifts...

And then each king had a float (well, two for him and one for his harem of women)

And the Kings were throwing ENORMOUS amounts of candy (and a few babydolls) to the people lining the streets...I mean, it's better than just stand there and candy rains from the sky...none of this walking door to door, "Trick or Treat" business! LOL!

We were told by one of the Rota natives who works in the Commissary to take an Umbrella to protect from the raining candy...and we turned out to be REALLY handy! Reese got "bonked" in the head by some candy!

Ray took a piece to the eyeball! I was taking pictures at a "safe" distance!

And as crazy as this sounds...this was the least chaotic parade I've ever been to.

Go figure!

Now to figure out who to donate all this candy to...

New Year's Eve

On NYE we went to walk around in downtown Puerto, since we've been here 8 months now and STILL haven't been inside the Cathedral or the Castle which are 5 minutes from our house...

I am sorry to say we STILL haven't been IN either. We were starving by the time we got there and ducked into this fabulous little Bar where we are now fervent fans! They have the best tapas around! And by the time we wandered around the corner to the Cathedral... was cerrado (closed) for Siesta...

Same with the Castle..
Oh well...we have 2 more years here...Guess we'll have to visit again later.

New Years eveNING, our dear friends, the Lippmans came to celebrate with us. Johann and I made Blackeyed Peas, Greens and Cornbread...Carrie brought over her yummy bruschetta and chips...

**Colton, Eric and DJ Johann...

***Kasey and Reese

And we played Mexican Train (a dominos game)...

... until midnight when we took on the Spanish tradition of stuffing 12 grapes into your mouth at the last 12 seconds of the old year to bring good luck!

Happy 2011!

Arcos de la Frontera - Living Nativity

Arcos is a pueblo blanco about 45 minutes Northeast of us. Each year at Christmas, the town turns itself into Bethlehem and the residents host a "Living Nativity". We'd heard it was pretty neat, so we signed up with the Base for a self guided tour of the city. We left the base around 4pm and arrived at 5. The bus dropped us off at the bottom of the hill and we walked up a very steep staircase to the top of the town where the Fortress/Cathedral are and where the festivities were taking place.

**Ray and I about halfway up the stairs...she gave up at this point and I had to give her a piggy back ride to the top...we were all out of breath by the end...(except Rayna!)

We were a little early, so we walked around a bit, since it was our first time in Arcos. We are definitely going back. What a beautiful little town! We also got to see the people getting ready for the big show!

**R&R taking a break on the Orange Tree lined streets. Thanks Granny for the cute hat, scarves and gloves!

***Outside the city square of Arcos. After we passed thru the gateway, we entered "Bethlehem".

***The Arcos Cathedral and below, the front view with Bell tower...

***The bell tower faces a courtyard with a beautiful view of the gorge we are standing in front of it.

And we ran into the Roman soldiers who were patrolling the grounds!

We grabbed some tapas to kill time and then went back to the front to begin the walk. The first stop was a doorway labeled "La Visitation" and through the door, sat pregnant Mary and Elizabeth!

We took this picture of the doorway in the daytime before the events, each "scene" was viewed thru a doorway that looked like this...and people crowded around to take a peek inside.
SOOO neat!

Next there was a traditional Hebrew wedding and they were giving out wedding pastries...they were delicious...we had some fried donut type thing...Mmmmm!

There were about 20 different stops along the route around town. There was a neat scene of people coming to "register" with the census takers, there was a Carpenter...

There were Blacksmiths, shepherds, Mean old King Herod and his harem of women (whose door was surrounded by a swarm of men!)

The 3 Wise men (aka "Magi" in Spain - who visit the children, bringing gifts on January 6th, instead of Santa Claus - makes WAY more sense to me)...the children sit on the Kings' lap and tell them what they want for Christmas...R&R took their turn too...but Rayna wasn't that excited to be sitting on a strangers lap...and when he asked her for a kiss as is the custom...she told him No! LOL

***Reese rattling off her Christmas wish list... with Rayna standing in line...

***Rayna not really sure about this guy..."Doesn't look like Santa Claus to me..."

And of course the last location was to view the Nativity...with Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus and a real donkey! R&R were impressed that Mary was holding, "A REAL baby!!!"

Christmas Decor

Here's what Christmas looked like at our house this year!

Thanks Mom for the cute Tiana ornament!

And Thanks Cousin Linda for supplying the girls' tree a few years ago (it's still hangin' in there!) AND Linda and Auntie Kay for dressing it so well!

Check out that Barbie stiletto heel!!! And one of the Magi to the left...

This tree had Fairies, Barbies, angels, Baby Jesus, the shepherds, Mary and Joseph and Nem, dancing ballerinas with battery operated music...I tell ya!

Very Festive indeed!!!