Christmas in Malta 2009

Main street in Zurrieq

On the eve of the 22nd Ann and I made our way to Gatwick airport. We had a flight to Malta the next morning at 7.15 AM and didn’t want to count on public transport getting us out there in the morning as London was having severe traffic issues due to snow and ice. Lucky for us the the flight was almost and time and we made it to Malta without any problems.

While England and the rest of northern Europe was struggling/celebrating snow and ice we ended up in Malta’s warmest Christmas in more than 20 years with temperatures up to 24 degrees – nice!

On December 24th, while Ann was busy, I walked around the village she is from taking pictures of the Christmas decorated houses.

Door in red

Miniature windmill

Christmas decorated house

Handpainted picture on the back entrance to a bar

The last photo is a hand-painted picture on the back entrance to a bar that really have an aura of Christmas. As I walked by Christmas music was blasting out in the streets. Check out the front and side photos.

In the evening of the 24th we went to the village’s Christmas Procession where kids dressed as angels and shepherds walk the baby Jesus through the streets as they sing carols.

Christmas Procession

In the evening we went out with Ann’s siblings and partners to a nice restaurant on Vittoriosa Waterfront.

All the kids

After that it was on to the university church where we went for midnight mass. The church was packed with people sitting outside watching the service on a big screen. We got a seat inside and watched the Maltese service which started with this kid retelling the Christmas story. Very cute.

Christmas recitations by boy

Well I’m used to celebrating Christmas on the eve of the 24th but here it’s different so we had to let the gifts stay under the crib for another night before we could release the excitement.

The main crib with gifts

The next morning we got stockings, opened gifts, played games, Wii and watched films.

An extra bonus is that Ann’s mum has orange trees in her garden so we could all start the day with a glass of fresh juice – delicious.

Making juice

Merry Christmas!

Summer in Denmark

While Czech Repulic was getting washed away I went to Denmark for a bit more than a week. I had not been back since Christmas so it was really great to get back.

View from Tørskind

I started out in Odder where I spend a day with Magnus, my nephew. First I went with him to preschool (it’s called 0th grade and the kids are 6-7 years old) and had a good time with Magnus and his classmates. During his school day we had morning singing (or whatever it is called) followed by roll call, and me telling his class a bit about what i do and about some of my travels. I didn’t really know how to approach kids at this age but they had a map of the world and Europe that we used to talk about different places and how they were different than Denmark. They seemed interested and had their own stories of trips they had made so the time went quick. Then it was time for a library visit with a fairytale reading by the librarian, followed by the class showing off what letters in the alphabet they had learned.
After school Magnus and I went home to play for the rest of the day untill Majbrit and Mogens got home. Here is a video of a slide with a “bomb” we tried to make from his bed to the living room – can you ever get too old to play with Lego? 🙂

It was really great to spend some time in Odder with family and catch up with the little guy – who is not that little any more.

The family in Odder

Friday Ann arrived and stayed for the weekend. For once she wasn’t visiting in the winter time so I was happy to see that the weather was fairly good to us.

Tiny, cosy house

Saturday we packed a lunch and took off to the southwestern corner of the kingdom. First stop was the sight of where the Golden Horns were found. Apart from two stones marking the locations of the finds there wasn’t anything to see here. Apart from the tiny, cute house pictured above right next to it. The gold horns are two very unique finds in Denmark and their history is quite remarkable.

Main street in Møgeltønder

We continued to the village of Møgeltønder (pictured above) where Schackenborg Castle is situated. Schakenborg is the home of Prince Joachim, the younger of the queen’s two sons. He just had to his first child (Prince NN :)) with his second wife (his third in total – officially) so there were crowned storks in the garden to mark the expansion of the royal family.

The stork has visited the castle

We stopped at Hojer Mill to have our lunch and went to the coast to see dike and the vastness of the marsh landscape out west by the Wadden Sea.

Us in front of Højer mill

At night we went to Ribe to walk around with the watchman as he told about the oldest city of Denmark.

Nightwatch man in Ribe

Sunday we went to the area around Tørning and had a barbecue there with my folks.

[Picture of BBQ from dads camera – coming soon]

Ann was flying home on Monday so we spend the day making our way slowly towards the airport. We stopped in Jelling to see the rune stones and mounts marking the christening of the Danes and the burial place of Harald Bluetooth. Before Ann took off we had dinner at my aunt’s and uncles farm which is just next to the airport.

Jelling Church

My cousin Anders graduated high school on Tuesday so there was a big party in his parents garden and the weather was perfect. Congrats to him!

People in the garden

Now I’m back in rainy Prague. Hopefully it doesnt stay that way because Mikkel, my thesis buddy is visiting me.