Originally a Southern California girl, Christmas day always reminds me of bikes, roller skates and basketballs. Perfect gifts for little giggle monkeys who live in sunny places...rip, open, play! So, gotta new bike, but no balance? Learn to ride it down on the promenade in Park Ciutadella between Passeig Pujades and the zoo. Nice and flat, long and straight, no cement.
Trash culled. A spark. Twisted, hammered, sewn, painted, torn, assembled into works worth more than a look or two. Recycled. Some funny, some angry, some just, well, crap (literally). Junkyard gems, a small quirky collection. Figure it out! A once a year exhibit in December at CCCB, Carrer de Montalegre 5. www.drapart.org
By now the stressy part of the holidays is setting into Barcelona. Crowded streets, full parking lots and packed shops. For a Christmas market that is so calm it almost doesn't have a pulse, a day trip to Begur. Combined with a quick visit to empty beaches and a long lunch at Turandot (excellent food and generous menu of the day, for only 17 euros in a cute family run place), a gulp of calm before diving back into the city's lively celebrations. www.restaurant-turandot.com
When Spain adopted the whole Santa thing, oh, about 20 years ago, it was too late to add chimneys to the buildings here and keep the Santa story exactly the same. Kids in Barcelona already had two holiday traditions involving gifts. A smiley faced log who poops presents after you sing a song, hit it with a stick and go upstairs to pray. And the three kings who bring gifts after a celebratory arrival in parade at Epiphany. But, where there is a will, and a pile of gifts, there is a way. So, over the balcony goes Santa!
For more on the holidays in Barcelona, here is an article Mary just sent me...http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/travel/a-catalan-christmas.html?emc=eta1
By Maia Pay Ozguc
Barcelona Impressions. Be curious. Be present. Be Barcelona!