Los Reyes Magos 2016

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!Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016

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.Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016

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. Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016

King Balthasar Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016

Presents! Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016

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 CarbonLos Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016

Bedtime. Dreams filled with toysLos Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Caramelos, Sweets, Candy!Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016And 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! Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Los Reyes Magos, Barcelona 2016Each town and city through Spain hosts their own Kings Parade. I’ve never been, but Madrid’s is said to rival Barcelona’s!

The Three Kings

The only spot I could find free to workout at the gym yesterday was under the stairs. Religated to the broom cupboard! The cliché January full gym. I’ll let them off as they were regulars getting their fix before the place shut early. One reason why I choose to be a member of my old gym is that it’s open all year round. The 25th, 26th December, 1st, 6th January it’s open until 2pm. The December dates it was vertically empty, so it was a surprise to find it so busy.

Busy or not, I had to enough space to frog jump squat, spiderman press ups with slides for a twist and scurry out to the suspension trainer. I got there a little late, had to condense my circuit andI felt better than my usually hour. Which is good as I’ve been wanting to switch up my circuit’s format for a while and needed that push! It’s easy to get stuck in rut. I change them every two weeks, however the format’s the same. Challenge 2 of the New Year! Challenge 1, scheduling, I want to be that morning person! Challenge 3, Energize (which I keep very quiet encase it’s gets swept into the broom cupboard.). 21 days it takes for something to become habit. I’ve got some long 21 days coming up.

In the UK we don’t celebrate the 6th January or Kings Day. Here it’s their Christmas and they celebrate like it no other! Any Spanish kid will tell you that Papa Noel might visit, but the Kings are the ones that bring Christmas presents. And they do it in style! About 4.30pm on the 5th they arrive by boat in Port Vell before making their way around 6pm through Barcelona until Placa Espana. If  you ever get the opportunity to visit the city in winter time, it’s the perfect time to visit. (Bonus, the sales start on the 7th!). The parade lasts about 2 hours, beginning with a bedtime story of the Three Kings.

Snowflakes on roller skates bring Winter, Jack Frost and the North Star before the Kings post system. Kids post their Kings or Father Christmas letters into lit up fishing nets. Lots of kids were on step ladders so they could see the magic, waving their letters before dropping them in. The tale continues to the sorting office, toy factory and present delivery before the Three Kings arrive each with their own entourage. And if you’ve been bad all year, the coal train!

Lastly and the one all kids (and adults) love, the sweet/candy floats. Canons are used to spray sweets into the crowds. It’s free fall, happy chaos diving to pick up what you can. Only way to describe it, raining ticker tape and sweets! It really is a magical time. Image being a small kid, watching the Three Kings arrive and waking up the next morning to presents! Costumes, floats and the dancing changes every year, so you never know what to expect.

I tried to keep photos at a minimum, but it was impossible!

Now I’m tasked with taking down the tree. I’m always sad taking it down, leaving at the Christmas Tree recycling point. At least it doesn’t look so sad as being left out with the bins with odd pieces of tinsel. It also marks my official start to the New Year. 21 days, I’ve got you!

Do you like it when the gym is busy or empty? I prefer empty to half busy as I don’t have to move every five minutes to set up else where. But I like the energy of a full gym! How often to you switch up your training?