Christmas Road Trip to New Orleans – Part 1/3

Sarah and I decided on a whim to spend New Year’s Eve in New Orleans, at the Gulf of Mexico. Milestones along the way would be to visit the biggest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere, admire the “lucky” USS Alabama in Mobile, and watch fireworks and College Football in New Orleans. Writing this blog post I really can’t believe how much we did in only a few days!

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Christmas and New Year’s driving: >24 hours and >2,400 kilometers on the road

In the past days I have been driving for over 24 hours and 2,400 kilometers through the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and France for my Christmas and New Year’s vacation. It was worth every minute and every meter.

Drive around christmas new year

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Munich-Salzburg-Munich: Christmas Markets, Climbing the Alps, Wagner and Mozart, Bavarian Beer, and More

In an earlier post I described our latest British experiences, which ended with us getting on a plane to Munich. In Munich and Salzburg we would celebrate Christmas with Sarah’s (my girlfriend) family, who came all the way from the U.S. for six days.

December 20 we arrived in Munich, but the journey was not as smooth as one may expect, but more on that in a future post.  The plane that took us to Munich was one of the smallest I have ever been on, with only four seats in every row. At the airport we would wait for Sarah’s family, who would arrive an hour or so after us. We wandered a bit across the airport, and were surprised to see our first German Christmas market. Continue reading

Our Hero, Zwarte Piet (“Black Pete”)

At December 5th, Siji Jabbar published an article in the online Guardian on the Dutch (and Belgian) phenomenon of Zwarte Piet, which literally translates to “Black Pete”. Zwarte Piet is an important, indispensable part of the feast of Sinterklaas, which is celebrated in the Netherlands every year around 5 December, and from which many Christmas traditions, most notably Santa Claus (observe the etymology), have evolved. Mr Jabbar’s article is despicable, generalising, offending, uninformed – utterly ridiculous. Continue reading