Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Traveling for Christmas
This year will mark my third Christmas in California, making it an official tie with the number of times I actually spent the holidays in Minnesota.
Every place we’ve been to had a very different Christmas spirit. Some places feel like they came out of a movie about Christmas. One such place is San Francisco, where the streets are nicely decorated, the sound of carols come out of every store, the cable cars are covered in lights and other decorations, and the streets are buzzing with amazing energy as December 25th gets closer and closer.
Around mid and late December, everybody seems excited about the end of the year, and the cheer of the holiday season. I personally love the energy that emanates from people around this time of the year!
In San Francisco, I have really enjoyed admiring the larger-than-life decorations that adorn most buildings downtown. I also love the ginormous tree in the middle of Union Square, right next to the large Menorah, right next to one of the ice skating rinks that open for the holidays. The other rink is on the Embarcadero. At the entrance oft eh Golden Gate Park, one of the large trees has been covered with lights and a sled pulled by reindeer adorns the grassy area underneath it.
We visited London for a couple of days on our way to Tanzania, and we ended up spending half of Christmas day there, before flying out. The days leading to Christmas, we walked around London and loved the spirit of the season there!
Because most things we closed, we visited a church in Dar Es Salaam that was nicely decorated for the holidays. Because Tanzania is a religiously diverse country, Christmas decorations were not something we saw. This sure was a different Christmas, but we still loved being somewhere else, celebrating in different ways!
The Christmases we have spent in Peru have been with my family. The one thing that is unusual for U.S. people about Christmas in Peru is that it happens during summer time. To me, having Christmas during winter was very strange at first too, which shows how we simply get used to what’s around us!
Our Christmas in China was also the result of a month long trip during winter break. After spending a few days in Hong Kong, on December 24th, we took a train to Guanzhuo in China, and then took a bus to Yangshuo. It was on this bus that we welcomed Christmas.
We arrived at Yangshuo around 4 in the morning on Christmas day. The town was very quite, everything was closed, even our hostel. We walked around for an hour or so and found a bakery where we saw two women making bread, both of them wearing Santa hats!
There were some Christmas decorations in Yangshuo, however, the day went on as any other travel day. At random times, we would look at each other and remind ourselves that it was Christmas!
This brings me to the last random place where we have celebrated the holidays: Santa Barbara. Like San Francisco, Santa Barbara goes all out for Christmas. They cover all their palm trees with lights, they put up a giant tree, and all the stores do their part in adding to the holiday spirit.
While in Santa Barbara, we learned of a hidden street that gets all decorated for Christmas and we decided to drive there one night to take a look at it. The street was so much fun! Most of the houses were fully decorated from their yards all the way to their roofs! What an incredible oasis of holiday cheer!
I’m very excited about the down time up in the cabin, but I’m also really looking forward to some good photo taking!
I hope you enjoyed my photos of the holidays. For more fun photos, visit my Etsy store at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/WorldPhotosByPaola.
Check out my blog next week for fun photos of Gualala! In the meantime, happy holidays to all of you!!! And may all your dreams come true on 2013!