While chances were slim to none that Barcelona would have a “white Christmas” (the last snowfall in Barcelona was a bizarre mid-March storm in 2010), the city seemingly did all it could to deck the streets with ornamental lighting of all kinds. Just a couple of years ago the decorative attempts were described as “pathetic” and “cheap,” but as far as I could tell, this years showed no signs of an economic slump. (In fact, the city was able to add lights and extend the days and hours they’ll be displayed just by using LED lights that cut the cost from a mind-boggling 200,000 euros to a mere 10,000 euros.) The streets (main ones and ordinary ones alike) shine brightly, subliminally enticing shoppers to the center.
A new draw this year is Europe’s biggest outdoor ice-skating rink (“pista de gel” in Catalán) in the center of Plaza Cataluña, an end-point of Las Ramblas. Twice as big as the rink in Rockefeller Center, more than 350 skaters can fit on the ice, although I always wonder how they come up with these figures – do they consider the skaters linked in arms, shuffling along shoulder to shoulder, or with arms outstretched to account for wipeout space?