Accessible Algarve

Christmas lights and Cobblestones

First Published November 29th 2010 by Constance 


Europe’s antique streets look even more romantic and inviting on a crisp cool evening when the town swithes on the Christmas lights. Chestnuts roasting, cobblestones and walking arm in arm under sparking lights.

The holidays have begun and I am obviously in a very different world than I left. 

A bout of homesickness hit on Thanksgiving, my number one favorite holiday. I love the smell of roasting turkey as the freezing Rockettes high kick in precision in front of Macy’s between the Snoopy balloon and the McDonalds All American Marching Band. I longed to get my hands into the traditional family stuffing recipe and fill that big organic bird with yummy-ness, set the table and have the collection of mis-matched chairs with the odd collection of family and friends that always end up in my home on the fourth Thursday in November. 


However, the magic happened the very next day. While Americans were off crowding malls and discount stores, the Christmas lights were turned on in my little town! It was a lovely crisp cool night, the chestnut vendors were on strategic corners selling the warm lovely treats in paper cones and the lights reflected off the cobblestones and decorative cornices of the beautiful buildings and I was again, living in Europe. 

People were strolling arm in arm, just enjoying the evening. No hype, no big radio give-a-ways, no corporate sponsorships, no noise. Snatches of conversation, people laughing at sidewalk cafes’ while enjoying a warming brandy, families together sharing the (what I guess) is a long tradition of going out to see the lights on the first night. 

While it wasn’t a festa, it was a festive atmosphere. Everyone seemed just, I don’t know, happy and content. And romantic, it was so very romantic to walk down cobblestone streets, arm in arm with the lights twinkling above. Warm in our sweaters and caps, knowing soon we would be enjoying wine and music in one of our favorite little bistros. 

Calma, not just a Portuguese word, it’s a Portuguese state of mind.
I am looking forward to a holiday filled with Christmas lights and cobblestones, and of course, the “calma” state of mind.

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