Monday 24 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 24

Christmas Eve and time for the last door of the Advent Calendar, in which I talk about the new country (new to me, that is) I'd like to visit in 2013 and reveal the countries behind doors 1-23.

So which new country will it be?  Well, as yet, no definite plans.  There has been talk of Argentina, of Botswana, of Lesotho; closer to home there's Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia ... and I have a TON of airmiles that I'm determined to put to good use.  Be sure that I will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying a few weeks travel-free (next trip: France, but not until January) and wish you all the very happiest of Christmases and a great start to 2013.

Oh, and before I forget - the countries depicted behind the Advent doors are as follows:

Door 1: Greece
Door 2: New Zealand
Door 3: Canada
Door 4: Switzerland
Door 5: Italy
Door 6: South Africa
Door 7: Denmark
Door 8: Hong Kong (yes, I know, I cheated)
Door 9: Ireland
Door 10: Finland
Door 11: USA
Door 12: Singapore
Door 13: Scotland
Door 14: France
Door 15: Wales
Door 16: Austria
Door 17: Japan
Door 18: Germany
Door 19: Australia
Door 20: England
Door 21: Liechtenstein
Door 22: Zimbabwe
Door 23: China

Happy Christmas and happy 2013!

Sunday 23 December 2012

Saturday 22 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 22

This is the lovely place I spent Christmas three years ago.  I've been trying to come up with a way of going back ever since, and sifting through the photos for today's Advent door has reminded me why.

Friday 21 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 21

Oops.  So, here's the thing.  I did visit this country in the life of my blog but I don't seem to have taken any photos.  None.  Not a single one.  So today's post is going to rely on my giving hints and your cleverness.

Hint the first: there's a good reason I didn't take any photographs.  This country is so small that you've passed through it almost before you've realised you were there at all.

Hint the second: at one point you could rent this country on Airbnb, though sadly this listing no longer seems to be available.

Hint the third: this is another Alpine country, with chalets, castles, pine trees etc.  According to Wikipedia the national anthem is Oben am Jungen Rhein which translates as up on the young Rhine, which makes no sense at all.  But let's face it - if you didn't get this one after the first two hints then you probably aren't going to.  

Advent 2012: Door 20

With profuse apologies for the lateness of this door - and also the fact that these aren't necessarily the most representative photographs of this country ... although, come to think of it they were taken at two of its most popular tourist destinations.  The problem is, I can't put the taste of afternoon tea, or the smell of a country pub, or the sound of the Shipping Forecast on my blog.  Oh, wait ...

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 19

For today's country, I wanted to be subtle.  Really show that there's more to this beautiful place than the cliches.  Express something of the appreciation for the finer things in life.

Try to express some of the reasons the culture and landscape got under my skin.

And the sun.  And the fabulous place names.

But I just couldn't avoid the cliched images.  

Might as well just give in.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 18

Door 18: home of the dirndl.  Do you need another hint?  Didn't think so.

Monday 17 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 17

Oh lovely country
That I wish to return to
soon.  Sayonara

Sunday 16 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 16

Okay, this one may be a little harder: although I have visited this country many times, it seems that in the life of this blog, these are the only photographs I've taken of it (in it?)  And let's face it, these photos could be of a few places.  But I'll give you a hint: it's Alpine, but it's not Switzerland.  Or Germany.  Or France.  Or Italy.  Need another hint?  The hills are alive with the sound of lonely goatherds serenading the edelweiss-picking nuns.  Is that not how it goes?

Saturday 15 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 15

Okay, two BIG hints in these photos: try putting the text of the poster into Google translate and you'll quickly find out which language it is (though likely be none the wiser about what it means).  And while the D. Thomas on the sign doesn't refer to the poet, it seems to provide an excuse to quote some of my favourite lines of his:

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. 

Friday 14 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 14

J'adore ce pays, n'importe ou, n'importe quand: en été, en hiver; au nord, au sud.  Bien sur, je l'aime parce que quatre de mes bien-aimés l'habitent (y compris deux neveux adorables), mais non seulement cela.  J'adore la langue, la cuisine, la mode, le paysage, et, peut être surtout, la lumière.  

Thursday 13 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 13

This country is represented by its Bard - and perhaps most famous son, whom I grew very fond of in the course of making his museum.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 12

This one may be harder to guess from the photos, so I'm giving a few hints:

1 It's a city and a country, one that I have usually spent time in on my way to and from other places.
2 Exotic and terribly ordered, all at the same time.
3 Oh, and Raffles (not tombolas) very popular here.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 11

Although I have visited this country (briefly) during the era of the blog (Anno Bloggi), I went back in time to find some photos for Door 11.  The first photo is my attempt to channel Hopper, the second is of a very pensive Lady Traveller (with really long hair!) gazing out on the ocean.  What a lot has happened in the five years since these photos were taken ...

Monday 10 December 2012

Advent 2012: Door 10

Land of midnight sun, beautiful design, gorgeously friendly people, incomprehensible language.