There’s an accordionist who sits on a stool in my main shopping street, pretty close to the Metro Entrance, so it’s hard to avoid him, who never plays anything recognisable. Occasionally you might hear the first few bars of something familiar, but just as you think you know that tune he drifts off into something else. “Ave Maria” sort of segues into the “Trish Trash Polka” as if he wanted to combine all the tunes he knows in one discordant melody. So as I walked past him today it was no surprise to hear one tune to the tune of another, if you know what I mean. But he has changed his tunes. Today he was somehow combining “Silent Night” with “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”.
It must be Christmas!
During this time, according to the booklet, Christmas will officially start on the 17th of December with an inauguration event in the Plaza de Oriente, opposite the Royal Palace. There are two weeks of special celebrations on Lavapies and a special celebration on the 27th for Madrid’s main street, Gran Via, which will be one hundred years old next year. There are exhibitions and concerts, religious services and theatre, and circuses seem to be springing up all over town. The Plaza del Torros at las Ventas has been converted, as it is every year, into one very large circus.
So, according to those dates we are well in to the season of goodwill to all men - except accordion players who can’t carry a tune.
The Completed Tree
The Callao Tree.
Sol at night. Can you see the "Tree"?
The Christmas Market in The Plaza Mayor
The Lights in the Calle de AlcalaThe police are manning roadblocks all over town to check for drivers over the alcohol limit. An excess of yuletide spirit in the blood will now get you a hefty fine or incarceration. However, taking a taxi home at three in the morning a few days ago we passed through one of these roadside checks. My taxi was waved through while other cars were pulled in. I was thinking that was right; no taxi driver would dare drive drunk. But then my driver began a rant about how the checks were an infringement of drivers’ rights. I found that quite worrying.
But I love Madrid at this time of year. There are festivals, concerts, fireworks as well as all the lights and Christmas Cones, er, I mean “Trees”. But what I love best about this time in Madrid is the subject of my next post. So, slightly premature greetings to one and all and come back in a couple of days to see what it is that makes me want to be here more than anywhere else at this time or the year.