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 below...here 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 began...so, each "scene" was viewed thru a doorway that looked like this...and people crowded around to take a peek inside.
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!!!"