Nine minutes to Bethlehem / Nueve minutos a Belén

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

THE OTHER DAY, WHEN I bought the Santa/gnome and cat toy at Dog & Love, the owner, Penny, told me about a belén (nativity scene) created by one of her relatives. She gave me the address and I walked over Tuesday around 1 p.m. after my Covid booster shot (YES!!!). The gate to the driveway was closed and I saw a sign that said the belén (which means Bethlehem) was open from 4:30 to 8 p.m. So I walked back over in the afternoon only to find it still closed.

On my way home, I stopped by to tell Penny the belén must have run its course for the holiday. She knew for certain it hadn’t. The owner/creator is her aunt, María Jesús. So she phoned her and asked what was going on. Mará Jesús apologized and said due to Covid and the lack of visitors, she only opens when she happens to see someone from her upstairs window. She said I should come back. It’s a 9-minute walk from home, so only about 6 minutes from Dog & Love.

Maria Jesus is charming and a creative genius. When she opened the gate for me, some neighborhood kids (young, charming, and respectful, and clearly loved by María Jesús) asked if they could see it again, and then several friends arrived to admire and visit with her and each other (you can hear all the talking on the videos). The Bélen is housed in a huge downstairs room in the house. I told Maria Jesus, she had made my Christmas better.

I’ve shared a lot of photos below. Just click them to increase the magic. I think it’s worth it. There are also five videos. They total less than 4 minutes, so I hope you have time to enjoy them. (Don’t miss the last one with the traditional outhouse.) María Jesús, the kids, and her friends made me feel good about people. And the love, care, and playfulness devoted to the creation of the belén is an inspiration. On my way home, I stopped to thank Penny.

San Geraldo and I will visit together this afternoon. María Jesús doesn’t have a donation box and only hopes visitors will sign her guest book. I plan to bring her flowers today.


EL OTRO DÍA, CUANDO COMPRÉ el juguete de Papá Noel / gnomo y juguete en Dog & Love, la dueña, Penny, me contó sobre un belén creado por uno de sus parientes. Ella me dio la dirección y me acerqué el martes alrededor de las 13:00 después de mi dosis de refuerzo de Covid (¡¡¡SÍ !!!). La puerta del camino de entrada estaba cerrada y vi un letrero que decía que belén estaba abierto de las 16:30 a las 20:00. Así que regresé por la tarde solo para encontrar que aún estaba cerrado.

De camino a casa, me detuve para decirle a Penny que el belén debe haber terminado para las vacaciones. Sabía con certeza que no. La propietaria / creadora es su tía, María Jesús. Así que la llamó por teléfono y le preguntó qué estaba pasando. Mará Jesús se disculpó y dijo que debido a Covid y la falta de visitantes, solo abre cuando ve a alguien desde la ventana del piso de arriba. Ella dijo que debería volver. Está a 9 minutos a pie de casa, por lo que a solo 6 minutos de Dog & Love.

María Jesús es encantadora y un genio creativo. Cuando me abrió el portón, unos chavales del barrio (jóvenes, encantadores, respetuosos, y claramente amados por María Jesús, me preguntaron si podían volver a verlo, y luego llegaron varios amigos para admirarla y visitarla a ella y a los demás (ustedes). puedo escuchar todas las conversaciones en los videos). La Bélen está ubicada en una enorme habitación en la planta baja de la casa. Le dije a María Jesús, ella había mejorado mi Navidad.

He compartido muchas fotos a continuación. Simplemente haz clic en ellas para aumentar la magia. Creo que vale la pena. También hay cinco videos. En total, son menos de 4 minutos, así que espero que tengan tiempo para disfrutarlos. (No te pierdas el último con el tradicional retrete). María Jesús, los niños y sus amigos me hicieron sentir bien con la gente. Y el amor, el cuidado y la alegría que se dedica a la creación del belén es una inspiración. De camino a casa, me detuve para agradecer a Penny.

San Geraldo y yo nos visitaremos juntos esta tarde. María Jesús no tiene una caja de donaciones y solo espera que los visitantes firmen su libro de visitas. Planeo llevarle flores hoy dia.

• María Jesús, the charming creator of this masterpiece.
• María Jesús, la encantadora creadora de esta obra maestra.


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

40 thoughts on “Nine minutes to Bethlehem / Nueve minutos a Belén”

    1. David:
      Truly amazing. We did go back together yesterday afternoon. I could go every day and not discover it all.

    1. Bob:
      A lifetime of collecting and creating. She’s something else. Will tell a bit more about her Friday.

  1. Wow. And it has moving figures! Quite a project. Even with the videos it’s hard to get a true perspective of the size and scope.

    1. melinda m way:
      Thanks so much for leaving a comment. Yes, truly impressive. And I learned more about María Jesús yesterday (when we went to see the belen together), which makes it all even more impressive. Will write about what I learned, briefly, tomorrow.

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      I wish I felt comfortable going into Málaga to see the belenes around town, but I prefer taking the train in and … well, you know how it is. Thrilled I got to see this one, which I’ll make a point of visiting every year.

  2. Simply amazing work!
    I was happy to see just the photos at first but when I saw through the videos that it was animated…….I am blown away by the work.
    Thanks for sharing this.
    By the way, did you know that it takes approximately 2 weeks for the booster to be fully effective. Learned this yesterday when we got ours.

    1. Jim:
      Yes, the videos are important to give you a true sense of it. More to share about the history of this tomorrow. Yes, know about the 2 weeks. I’m counting down, although still being extremely careful again. (Anyway, I might have already had the Omicron variant for all I know — my cold of a few weeks ago.)

  3. Oh, it’s so marvelous! And so detailed! I like that there are many cats and dogs throughout the scenes. Love the moving figures too. My fave is the potter at his wheel, although the bread bakers are pretty cool too. And of course, the outhouse! Thanks for sharing this, Mitchell!

    1. Debra:
      I, too, loved seeing all the cats and dogs. María Jesús clearly enjoys herself. My favorites, I think, are the shoemaker (I LOVE his face) and the potter. Although, I found some new to me figures yesterday that I hadn‘t noticed the first time around.

  4. You are correct. Maria Jesús is a gifted (and generous) genius. The attention to detail is phenomenal. Your thoughtful flowers are well deserved.

    1. Mary:
      We went back yesterday and I brought her a big, boldly colored orchid filled with buds. She was delighted (and shocked). She loves flowers and proceeded to show us her gardens, more than 20 rose bushes, etc. It made me feel SO glad. She and I talked a lot this time (it was just the three of us there) and I learned so much more. Will share tomorrow.

  5. How does one even begin to create something as fantabulous as this? Such a treat, Mitchell! Thanks for sharing your exploration of her magical creation. Please be sure to let María Jesús know that people around the world are enjoying her belén.

    1. Wilma:
      I had a great conversation with María Jesús yesterday, so have a bit of history to share. She has never seen a blog and said she’d have one of her grandkids show her.

    1. Ann:
      A combination of purchases over many years, others she made herself. She goes into the countryside and then dries wildflowers and other things for detail.

  6. I love miniatures and I was pleasantly surprised that this display had small automatons too! It’s easy to see how a person starts out with one vignette and it grows and grows until you have a spectacular display like this one. Maria Jesus deserves flowers AND chocolates, LOL!

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      I wonder if she likes chocolate. I’ll ask her niece. A great idea for next time. She is a sweetheart. We had a wonderful conversation yesterday.

  7. She has a lot of talent to create such a nice Preseppio, imagine all the work, months for sure. And it has to then be preserved and cleaned. A work of love.

    1. Laurent:
      Truly a labor of love. I have more info to share Friday. She told me the history of the work.

    1. Claudia:
      Yes! I asked her about its history and what she does every year. I’ll share more info Friday.

  8. My, what a treat to see this! Thank you so much for the videos and explanation. Maria Jesús is a gifted artist.

  9. I’ve seen many nativity scenes using The Santons de Provence but never an animated one. Impressonant. What an absolutely beautiful piece of work, such dedication. It never ceases to amaze me the creative abilities of humans. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Karen:
      She and her work are astounding. And the joy she has sharing it and telling about it.

    1. wickedhamster:
      I’m glad you noticed that. It struck me as funny and magical. And, yes, sheep everywhere. I thought of you.

  10. Stunning!! I can’t get over all the wonderful detail. Please, if you see Maria Jesus after reading this comment, pass along my congratulations and admiration!

    Thank you for sharing this with us, Mitchell. It made my morning!

    1. Jennifer:
      Some experiences are pure magic. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I WILL tell her all the wonderful comments she’s received. She didn’t even know what a blog was, so she was going to have one of her kids or grandkids… or nieces and nephews show it to her. A loving family.

  11. That is remarkable! It IS refreshing to see someone go to such lengths for her community. It took me a while to find the outhouse but I did eventually figure it out.

    1. Steve,
      María Jesús warmed my cold, cold heart this week. A little bit more info to come in tomorrow’s blog post. And a couple of better shots of the caganer (the shitter).

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