As the rest of the world gets back to normal after New Year, Spain’s still in party mode until next week. Any Spanish kid will tell you it’s the Kings on the 6th January who brings presents, not Papa Noel. Some houses Papa Noel and the Kings drop by except the Kings don’t do chimmeys. They have more style.
They arrive with their entourage including the coal train for naughty kids, parade through streets on the 5th. Just image being a kid seeing Kings roll into town and the next day waking up to presents! It’s a great time to visit Barcelona, the sales are about to start on the 7th and you can’t help but get caught up in the magic of the Kings if you happen to pass them by!
Unfortunately I missed the arrival this year of Casper and Melchior as my usual bike route into the centre was blocked. I ended up taking long way to the Via Latieana and then find somewhere to lock my bike. All the usual bays were taken or too many people to push past to find to one. The Kings arrive by boat in Port Vell around 5pm with the main parade starting around 5.50-6pm at Placa Palau, up Via Laietana snaking through the city until the Magic Fountain at Placa Espana. I’ve only ever watched it from the end of Via Laietana (habit out of previously living in El Borne) so I’ve no idea if the entertainers excitement’s still as energetic an hour later. I found a spot just in time for my favourite King, Balthasar to pass by. He’s my favourite as he’s got the most lively entourage, African drums and is the kids favourite as he’s the one who leaves the presents! For some reason the only in focus shots I got were of the Carbon/Coal train at the end, which is also the most livest! Maybe it’s a sign I’m getting coal.
King post box which kids hand letters over for posting.
The parade starts with a bedtime story of the Kings, At the start and towards the finish, little children get ready for bed on beds kinda like hospital beds. The visual effects, imagination and time that goes into the parade is amazing. Each Kings arrival’s heralded by glowing orbs.
The parade lasts about 40 minutes and after the carbon train you get sweets! Hundreds of caramelos blasted from caramels canons which everybody scrambles to get. And no, you don’t give any up to the kids. You pocket them. Which is why there’s a coal train.
Tren de Carbon
Bedtime. Dreams filled with toysCaramelos, Sweets, Candy!And ticker tape. I don’t want to be a kill joy however I was surprised how much ticker tape for a city that’s up on recycling and waste. It lined the streets later shopping. However in the moment, it only adds to the magic! Each town and city through Spain hosts their own Kings Parade. I’ve never been, but Madrid’s is said to rival Barcelona’s!