As the wheels touched down on the tarmac, I felt a sense of ease. The city streets that emerged from the subway metro were clean. No garbage to step around. There was a welcoming feeling of familiarity being back in Valencia. It doesn’t take long to unpack a backpack. There were people to see. More mountains to explore. A bike ride to the south to explore the Castle of Xàtiva.
As with all of Europe there’s a fascinating history to Spain. From what is now no more than a blimp on the history timeline, different invaders have left their influence. From a seafaring mob called the Phoenicians about 900 BC. Then several hundred years later the Romans take over. Another hundred years or so raiders from North Africa decide to have a go. Then amongst all that give or take a few hundred years or so there’s the Muslim invasion. They at least brought a lot of prosperity. And so it continues. Even as late as 1936 the assassination of political leader Jose Calvo Sotelo resulted in a significant civil war that ended only three years later. Pheew. It’s good to be here at a time when no ones invading the place.
Meanwhile, by contrast to the turbulence of history, the glow of Christmas lights spread a calming peace throughout the city. The shoppers, as in any other part of the world, filling the late night shops. The traditional dancers that entertain. The musicians that entertain each passer by. The life size nativity scene that features in the Plaza De La Reina square. The huge ornamental Christmas tree lights. Or hidden away in a nearby village, a most impressive model of Bethlehem with its animated characters (check out the last part of the video… I mean it’s all about life as it was!!)
Winter may indeed be setting in. But there’s no question the chill in the air is as much replaced by the warmth of the spirit of Christmas.