Not once, but twice. Got to do it a second time, because my battery died on me just when we were on the last stretch of the Navidad drive across the city center. Yes. Bummer to the core. I wanted so much to commit the lovely spectacle to memory. But I do need to document the scenario through my cam lest i fail to describe them well. And yes, I wasn’t so happy with the iPhone shots…… so i trooped back and joined the line.
Las luces y arbol de Navidad. These Madrileños do take their Christmas decor seriously. There were assigned artists/designers for certain streets. Not sure if there is a competition, but the variety from street to street certainly spelled excitement during the hour’s drive along Calle Serrano through Puerta del Alcala through Gran Via, Santo Domingo, back to Paseo de Recoletos and through Velasquez, Goya, etc and finally back to Calle Serrano. Don’t know all the names of the Calles but this second time around, I noticed the crowd getting thicker! Makes me mull over earlier plans to be in Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor area right on Christmas Day.
Calle Serrano is right within the posh neighborhood of Salamanca in Madrid. Somehow, I expected Christmas lights to be brighter and fancier in this barrio. What can I say? They were fancy, bright, colorful and festive. Just as it was everywhere else. If this is some competition, the judges would have a difficult time. If only the Navidad Bus would take time to stop for a few shots of the brightly-lit Puerta del Alcala. Or pause for a moment at the corner of Calle Goya or Calle Diego Velasquez!
At 5 degree celsius and on a moving bus, it was an ordeal to take shots with frozen fingers. That plus almost everyone on the bus stands up to take shots everytime the NaviBus momentarily stops. Since this is my 2nd time, I earlier planned on WALKING around my fav streets but they were too many and kind of spread out, so I ditched the plan and took the bus at Plaza de Colon. Swell……… except that the windchill left me with freezing bones.
The iconic Palacio de Cibeles (called Palacio de Comunicaciones before 2011) looks like a gingerbread house, though one admits this edifice looks awesome even outside the Yuletide Season. The Puerta del Alcala all lighted up across Parque de Retiro somehow reminded me of December brides (don’t ask me why….), all veiled and vibrant. It’s a pity the Navidad Bus couldn’t navigate through the small streets and alleys with just as interesting luces or Christmas lights. They’re just as lovely and add to the festive spirit. Even posh department stores, signature shops and some government and big private buildings displayed some Christmas spirit.
By the time the NaviBus negotiated its way back to Calle Serrano side of Plaza de Colon, the infants on the bus with me were asleep, the toddlers crying out of hunger, and the more senior gingerly walking down the steps (from the open top section of the bus), likely with freezing knees and limbs. As for the teens and young at heart? I wonder if they really joined the line to view the luces y arbol. They were very “BUSY” keeping themselves “warm” at the back of the bus. Ahem. 😉