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Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos (Parade of the Three Kings)

SPAIN | Thursday, 5 January 2023 | Views [135]

Black-faced Baltasar

Black-faced Baltasar

SHOULD WE DRIVE OR TAKE THE BUS into Córdoba? that was the question. I even downloaded bus schedules and made a list of possible parking lots. In the end we decide to walk in—it’s only 3½ miles, mostly downhill—and take the bus back home. Connie had marked her map with the places we wanted to visit and we wanted to stick around for the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos. The Parade of the Three Kings is the eve of Epiphany and the end of the Christmas holidays. More importantly, it’s the time when Spanish kids finally get their gifts!


         Fountain on Avenida de Americas


                                  Plaza de Tendillas


                                   It wouldn't be Spain without a Fan

Even after reading our diaries from our last visit, other than the Mezquita I can’t really place Córdoba in my mind, not where we stayed, how we got around or what we visited. But walking through downtown I realized what a wonderful place this is. The streets are wide, the plazas are clean, the buildings are modern—those that aren’t ArtDeco—and orange trees grow everywhere. There are all manner of fountains as befit a place that was the capital of Moorish Andalusia. 


                     Queued up for Roscón


                   Rides for the Kiddies


                               Got Roscón??

There’s a festive atmosphere today, it being a semi-holiday, families were out in force. Women lined up at bakeries for the traditional “Three Kings” Roscón fruit cake while others supervised the kids on the holiday rides. And those without kids begin the celebration early with an adult beverage.


                     Roman Temple, right downtown


                                Roman Bridge


                            Early arrivals get the best spot, Plaza de Teresa

After a stop at the Roman Temple we eventually reached the Guadalquivir River and crossed via the Roman Bridge, past the Calahorra Tower and headed towards the Plaza Santa Teresa— Cabalgata Central—where the parade would begin. Our first order of business, however, was to locate the bus stop for our return home. It was then we realized that no buses would be running in this part of town. Or anywhere else that the 4½-hour parade covered. So we hunkered down to wait and watch the crowd grow. And grow. And grow.


                       Grand Marshals in the van


                             Disney themes were well-represented


                                  Tossing candy for the kids

The parade was lead by the grand marshals followed by 20 floats interspersed with three marching bands. Most of the floats had a Disney theme and all were laden with kids shoveling candy and treats into the outstretched hands of the spectators. The Three Kings—Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar—brought up the rear, but not without controversy. The wearing of blackface by the character of Balthazar and his assistants has been labeled racist in the press. I wonder if the same people would say that the addition of a beard by a clean-shaven Santa would be age discrimination.


                                 Reye Magos Gaspar


                                        Melchoir himself

It took an hour for the parade to pass us by and we hurried back over the Roman Bridge hoping for a bus. It was not in the cards so we ended up walking both ways—ida y vuelta in Spanish—12 miles total for the day!


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