Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas markets - Madrid

On Saturday my husband and I decided to brave the holiday crowds downtown and see the Christmas markets. We went to five and this is the first time I have done this kind of outing in Madrid. My first Christmas here in Spain I went to THE (the one in front of the Cathedral) Christmas market in Barcelona. Last year I kind of glanced at a few while friends and family were visiting, but I did not really go through and have a good look.

My conclusion is only by putting together all five of the markets I saw yesterday in Madrid do you get the equal of just the one in Barcelona. Still it was a fun day. For example: the first thing we saw when we came out of the metro was this:


It was apparently a "Knitting Party" event put on by We Are Knitters that had just ended. It is very nice to see more and more of these types of events happening in Spain (where the knitting revolution is just now exploding). The very first thing I saw was the yarn. Apparently I have a homing beacon for it and was drawn to it almost immediately.

Then, turning around I snapped a photo of the Callao xmas tree in daylight.


Our first Christmas market was the one in Plaza Santa Domingo. It was so underwhelming we did not even snap photos of it. Basically it sold: leather goods, jewelry, watches, scarves, and those animal head hats that are so popular now. It is definitely more magical to shop there at night when the lights are on.

The second market was in a building across from the Convent de las Descalzas Reales. Various craft stalls were set up around the perimeter a central space.

Next we walked to Plaza Mayor to see it's Christmas market. This is definitely the largest one, and where I would go to get figures for a Belén (Navtivity scene) if I were setting one up. As there are lots of little stalls selling miniatures of various types and sizes. It is also a place to get those New Year's glasses, hats of any size and shape, and various other Christmas decorations.

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Plaza Mayor

Oh, and there is a beautiful carousel.

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

Outside an entrance to Plaza Mayor
Outside an entrance to Plaza Mayor
Heading down Calle Atocha from Plaza Mayor you can come to one of the prettiest Christmas Markets in Madrid.
Iglesia de la Santa Cruz
 The Market in Plaza Jacinto Benavente. A small prettily decorated market with high end gifts. For some reason it reminds me of what a German xmas market would be like. I have never seen a German xmas market, but this is how I would imagine one. You can go through tall arched doorways of "stone" and inside under a tent of xmas lights there are little cottages bedecked with greenery and snowy scenes on top.

Plaza Jacinto Benavente
Plaza Jacinto Benavente

Plaza Jacinto Benavente
Plaza Jacinto Benavente
Plaza Jacinto Benavente
 On our way back to catch the metro we past by the World Famous (with it's claim to being the oldest restaurant in the world) Restaurante de Sobrino de Botín. There is always a little 3 story miniature of the restaurant in the window and this time the miniature was decorated for Christmas. (Sorry, only the photo of the first level come out).

In the window of Sobrino de Botín
 The setting sun on the decorative roof of the Marcado de San Miguel.

Marcado de San Miguel
The Royal palace also glowed the setting sun.

Palacio Real
Our last market was the Marcado Dulce (sweet market)in the Plaza de Ópera. We were apparently too tired to get a picture but it was a pretty little market, but, as you may have guessed, centered on sweets and baked goods.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


 Last night DH and I decided to take a ride on the Navibus. As the name suggests it is a bus that only runs during the Christmas season. It is an open air double-decker bus that drives along a certain route in order to see as many of the city's Christmas lights as it can. The city of Madrid puts up festive lights on certain streets in the center of Madrid. The lights have not changed for several years, but we had never taken the Navibus before.

The Navibus has no stops and you take it from Plaza de Colon.

We had just gotten a new 50mm lens for our camera and we were excited to try it out.  We are still learning but I think that the pictures came out rather good! Most of the photo credit went to my husband as my hands were tucked well inside my mitts.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves, hollar if you have a question. Enjoy.

Plaza Colon
Calle de Goya
Calle Serrano
Part of ls Jardines del Descubrimiento 
Puerta del Alcalá
Fuente de Cibeles
The fountain and Cibeles
The Metropolis
Gran Vía

Vodaphone "tree" on Gran Vía
The famous Schweppes sign
Christmas market at Plaza Santa Domingo

Gran Vía

Ice skating rink entrance

Puerta de Alcalá

Puerta de Alcalá with moon

Church of San Manuel and San Benito

Calle Goya
 Calle Velázquez
calle José Ortega y Gasset
Calle Serrano
Calle Serrano

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Santa Claus is coming to town

So it turns out that the holidays are a busy time, and I have not been able to felt each day. Today, however, I was able to carve out some time to make something fun, felted and festive.

Meet Nick.

My idea was to make a ball like Santa. He came out less ball-like and more like a Santa who has lost his legs. But in today's culture where Santa and snowman come in every shape, size and design I figure that he will fit in.

Anyone who needle felts will tell you that claws and fingers are really hard to do. My solution? Mittens! I only had to do two fingers.

His Hair, beard and fur trimmed was made out of some fleece I carded. The fleece has a very fine micron count and in the carder developed a lot of noils (tangles). Noils in needle felting are just great for texture.

His arms are raised to invite a kiddie in for a hug.

Even though it is cloudy today I was able get some good photos of him thanks to my brand new 5 in 1 reflector and my 50mm lens. My husband also just order a big book about digital photography I am hoping to study. It is in Spanish so I suppose I will be studying two things at once.

I hope everyone's December is jolly so far.