Christmas, 2018

Carcassonne, France

Joyeux Noël from Jeff and me!

We hope this letter finds you thoroughly enjoying the magic of the holidays.

Carcassonne’s Christmas season started here on December 6, (St. Nicolas Day) with the opening of our adorable Christmas Market, complete with ice skating rink, wooden huts, crafts, absolutely delicious food and wines, and of course “vin chaud” – hot mulled red wine. St. Nicolas brings candies fruits and other sweets to the children on the night of Dec. 5, and then Le Père Noël (Father Noël – the French Santa Claus) brings gifts on Christmas Eve. We’re so enjoying our first Christmas together in France. It brings to our minds memories of our very first Christmases in Europe long before we met each other – my first being when I was 21, working in a ski shop in Berchtesgaden, Germany for four months, and Jeff’s in 1995, when he spent six months substituting for a chiropractor in London.

We didn’t put up a tree this year, but the inside of our house looks very festive with a combination of our own Christmas ornaments, and dozens and dozens of Christmas decorations that were left behind by the 80-year-old previous owner, as he downsized. His wife was Danish, and I’m delighted to display their many Scandinavian Christmas decorations! I’m so glad we can give his possessions, including many pieces of furniture that are more than 100 years old (and in good working order), a warm and loving home.

Because you’ll be seeing much about Carcassonne in my emails during the coming months, I thought I’d focus this year’s photo Christmas card on some of Jeff’s and my other travels which I don’t believe I shared with you as they were occurring.

Starting with the top Right of the Christmas card and working clockwise:

July – a week in Edinburgh, part of our two-month summer travels in Denmark and the UK. The island in the photo is Incholm, on the Firth of Forth, during a wonderful bus/boat tour.

March – Lisbon, where I stayed an extra week after a teaching opportunity. In the photo, I’m at a wine tasting during a half-day private driving tour along the Atlantic coast.

August – Bergen, Norway. I traveled from Carcassonne to Bergen and Oslo, to meet up with my dear Colorado friend Karen and her travel companions, for four wonderful days.

July – York, England, where we spent a week. York has, so far, become my favorite city in England! The photo is of the river Ouse, where we took an afternoon boat tour.

September – Nice. Jeff and I took a three-day trip there to finalize our French visas, and took many beautiful walks while we were there.

Top left – Jeff and me in Carcassonne’s Christmas Market on Dec. 19, wishing you a bright and shiny holiday season, and all the best in 2019!