From the Christmas Festival of Lights on 18 November 2016 to the Three Kings Cavalcade on 5 January 2017 we have shared in Gibraltar’s Christmas and New Year celebrations.
After returning from Exploring Andalucia with the Olds, we joined the crowds of families in John Mackintosh Square to listen to music and songs, from the Sea Scouts Pipe & Drum Band and St Anne’s Middle School Choir, and see the switching on of the Christmas lights. The middle of November seemed a bit early to kick off festivities but there’s nothing like bagpipes, drums and children singing to get you in the mood.
The light show projected on the Town Hall was incredible, bringing scenes apparently from inside the windows and an appearance from Father Christmas on the balcony.
With all the lights and a tree up in the marina it started to feel a lot like Christmas, even so far from home. I bought a Christmas tree made from recycled pallets from the Botanical Gardens and some lights from Morrisons and with our small box of decorations stowed away for the occasion we made Pintail feel cosy and festive inside.
We celebrated Christmas early when Ursula and Alex visited us. They introduced us to white sausage and beer for breakfast and made a traditional German potato salad for dinner.
In return we introduced them to roast turkey, stuffing and sprouts accompanied by paper hats and silly games. (Photo credits: the Munchingers)
Christmas Day itself was a lot more quiet. We did have some unexpected visitors. A huge group of jelly fish appeared in the marina on Christmas Day morning and were gone again by the day after Boxing Day!
To make up for not seeing family and friends we had a walk up the Rock to say Merry Christmas to the monkeys!
We saw in 2017 with our Dutch neighbours, Annamieka and Steve, and went up on deck to watch the fireworks over the town. They were apparently a little more muted than last year when there was a huge display. However, as midnight chimed, all the ships anchored in the Bay of Gibraltar sounded their horns in a surprisingly melodic New Year symphony.
In glorious sunshine on New Year’s Day we took another walk up the Rock to wish the monkeys a Happy New Year.
To end the festivities, on 5 January we went into town to watch the Three Kings Calvalcade. Epiphany is celebrated with festivals throughout Spain and it’s a big thing in Gibraltar too. The story of the three kings was accompanied by the stories of the Wizard of Oz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Madagascar and by the frenzied handing out (no longer throwing out – on health and safety grounds!) and eating of sweets.
Happy New Year everyone from SV Pintail!
Here’s to adventures big and small in 2017.