Showing posts with label Merry Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Merry Christmas. Show all posts

Sunday, December 29, 2019

A Greek-Style Village Christmas

Living differently, as I refer to this expat life of ours in Greece's Peloponnese, means that holidays are also celebrated differently.

Christmas Morning downtown Agios Nikolaos

Christmas in our village of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) is a laid-back sort of day, a delightful contrast to the rather fast-paced, often-stressed way we approached it in our Seattle suburb life.

Decorations here are minimal and retail outlets are few which means a dash for a last minute gift would take us to a hardware store, a meat store, a nursery, two gas stations or two grocery stores.

Decorations at Elli's - a favorite village restaurant of ours

There's a single light display draped over the main street into town. It spells out, Kronia Polla, meaning 'Good Year' (an all-occasion phrase in Greece, as it seems as it is used as greeting at every holiday but only displayed at Christmas).

Kala Christougenna, (Merry Christmas) has so many letters it would be too long to drape over that main street of ours; it is a narrow one that winds between the storefronts and harbor.

We do get a double-day holiday here because Dec. 26th, Boxing Day to our many British ex pat friends, is the Synaxis of the Mother of God in the Greek Orthodox religion.

Nine nations represented at our Christmas lunch

Both days were picture perfect. . .blue sky, sunshine, and just cool enough to need a jacket or sweater. 

Christmas cooking was limited to a dish to contribute to a buffet Christmas lunch at a neighbor's home. The group was comprised of expats all of whom live within a couple kilometers of us. We were the only Americans and our small gathering represented nine countries. And what a feast! It might be the best Christmas dinner we've ever eaten!

Boxing Day toast in Hades - Agios Nikolaos
Boxing Day was toasted with a group of our British expat friends at our local taverna, Hades.

Fig tree and ladder - village garden Christmas morning

We hope that whatever holiday you might be celebrating, if any at all, you are enjoying this week as much as we are in our Greek village.

Thank you so much for the time you've spent reading TravelnWrite this year and for recommending it to others.  Learning that you've sharing our tales is one of the greatest compliments we could have. (And thanks for your continued patience as we try to correct our defective email distribution service).  My one New Year's resolution is to rehab the blog with a distribution system that works! 

Happy New Year to you from The Scout and The Scribe! We'll be back in 2020 with more tales of travel and expat life for you ~ 

Linking soon with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Decking the Halls ~ In Greece

Rosemary Clooney was dreaming of a “White Christmas” right after Elvis had predicted a “Blue Christmas” and somewhere between the plastic goods and kitchen accessories, Bing Crosby had swept us off to Hawaii with his rendition of Mele Kalikimaka. The store’s background music had shoppers pumped by the time they reached the enormous Christmas decorations area.

Kambos Town en route to Kalamata
I need not have worried about ‘missing’ Christmas because we are in Greece. The spirit – both Holy and Shopping – is alive and well in this part of the world.

Christmas Bazaar fund-raiser - Stoupa town
The store I described above called, “Jumbo” is in the city of Kalamata, the shopping Mecca of this region. Those of us in the surrounding villages make pilgrimages there sometimes once or twice a week. In this ‘stone house on the hill’ we are about an hour’s drive away.

Our House day three

Our shopping has been focused this week on more practical things: coffee pot, microwave, rugs, furniture, bedding. . .so I am afraid if you were hoping to see this perfectly decorated new holiday home of ours, you are out of luck!  In fact, I am writing this post sitting on a folding chair hunched over a small end table in our nearly empty living room.

We bought the car as part of the house deal

 I must thank all of you who wrote comments or sent emails containing good wishes about our finally catching the daydream, and purchasing the stone house on the hill. They all meant alot to us and I would normally respond to each, but because we are limited to cafe internet time this trip, a bulk thank you will have to do until I get back to Wi-Fi land.

DSCF1228Some of you said you were eagerly awaiting more about Christmas and others wanted more about the house. . .so today you are getting a mish-mash report with a little about both.

We purchased the house ‘furnished’ just because that is the way it was sold. The well-used furniture was not to our taste so in addition to buying furniture, we have been selling furniture this week.The heavy, and far-too-big-for-this-house furniture (see last post) was sold Friday

And for another few days we are ‘camping out’ in our home. The new stuff is scheduled for delivery December 24th! And what a present that will be!  (Our good-sport English friends, Sue and Don, pictured in the photo were our first guests yesterday, proving again that good times can be had in the barest of surroundings.)

DSCF1207 The painters arrive tomorrow to start the process of ‘warming up’ this hospital-white-from-ceiling-to- floor house.  The color chips have been selected and by the time the furniture arrives it should have a warm, colorful setting in which to reside.

For those of you wondering whether we are enjoying this or whether we are having second thoughts, I can assure you we’d have missed one of life’s great experiences had we not thrown caution to the wind and chased the daydream.

Waterfront in Stoupa Town Saturday night
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

‘Twas the Time Before Christmas

GreecePt12013 001It’s that time of year when suitcases sit empty at the TravelnWrite House

The flurry of pre-travel packing and departure preparation has been replaced by Christmas preparations for a stay-at-home holiday.

But there was a time in our early years together when my work – and its Scrooge-like amount of vacation time -forced us to travel at Christmas (one week of current year’s vacation coupled with one week of the next, made for a blessed two week getaway without zapping my entire year’s 10 vacation days).

So Christmas time was always spent in some far away place;  thousands of miles from family and friends. . . And you know what?

It was a great time to travel!

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We were surrounded by knock-out holiday decorations the filled the hotels (much more elaborate than we’d have done at home), we ate Christmas dinners and goodies that we didn’t have to prepare (whew!) and we had time to enjoy the season, our surroundings and our time together . . .

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This year we had a taste of those old Christmas travel memories when we began the month of December by spending a few days at the JW Marriott in Texas Hill Country, outside San Antonio. The photos in the post were taken there.

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I was among some 1,200 conference attendees and outside each conference room a festive tree and poinsettias made it clear the Holiday Season was upon us.

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Amazing what a couple of Poinsettias will do to enhance everyday décor.


And a gingerbread display filled the hotel foyer with cowboy boots as big as the State of Texas!

SanAntChristmas2013 004

The decorations that filled the grounds and the building provided a chuckwagon-sized helping of Christmas Cheer and guests couldn’t help but be caught up in the festive feel of the season.

We hope this Christmas Season you will be caught up in festive surroundings 
and that your hearts will be filled with Christmas Cheer!

SanAntChristmas2013 038

We thank you for the time you spent with us today during this busy season ~
hope to see you back again soon! As our greeting card says this year, 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

DSCF2364 The languages and words may differ, but the wish they carry is the same the world over:

Gut Yontiff!
Zalig kerstfeest!
Mele Kalikimaka!
Kalá hristúyenna!
Schöni Wienachte!
God jul og gdt nyttår!
lyi Noeller ve Mutlu Yillar!
Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee!
Buon Natale e felice Anno Nuovo!
Glaed Geol and Gesaelig Niw Gear!
Crăciun fericit şi un An Nou Fericit!
¡Feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo!
Wesołych świąt i szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!
Frohlich Weihnachten und ein gutes neues Jahr
Veselé vánoce a šťastný nový rok!
En frehlicher Grischtdaag!
Рождеством Христовым!

We add our wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happiest of Holidays to you. . .
. . .where ever you are and whatever you are celebrating this wonderful season.        
~Joel and Jackie, TravelnWrite

Note:  The photo was taken in the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel at Doral, Florida. 

Friday, December 24, 2010


No Matter how you say it, from  Mele Kalikimaka to Feliz Navidad~
No matter what you are celebrating~ 
Happy Boxer Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Lucia Day, Three King's Day, Las Posadas and Omisoka. . . (just to name a few)

Planters Inn - Savannah
J. Smith photo - (c) 2010

We are sending you our wishes for a joyous celebration of your special holiday
 where ever you are in the world this season ~
Jackie and Joel


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