Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category


Somerset Christmas

January 2, 2017

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

cathedral sanctuary with vaulted ceiling and scissor shaped arch

Wells Cathedral

We had a very pleasant Christmas week in Somerset. It wasn’t snowy, but we did get a couple of frozen days with fog and frost. Rupert took us to Bruton and Wells.

coastline and wooden pier

Clevedon Pier

We roamed around Clevedon on Christmas day.

poster for theater performance


Boxing Day involved going to Weston-super-Mare to see the pantomime. The cast was talented, but a pantomime is an acquired taste. I think you have to grow up watching them to find them enjoyable. Per Wikipedia: “Modern pantomime includes songs, gags, slapstick comedy and dancing, employs gender-crossing actors, and combines topical humour with a story loosely based on a well-known fairy tale, fable or folk tale. It is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers.” It also involves popular songs with rewritten lyrics and a baking skit involving pie in the face.

TIntern Abbey medieval stone ruin

Tintern Abbey

We went up through the Wye River valley stopping to see the Tintern Abbey. It was a very cold day and everything was beautifully frosted.

medieval cathedral on a foggy day

Hereford Cathedral

We stayed overnight in Hereford meeting with more friends. The next day we were off to Ledbury and caught a train to Oxford. One night in Oxford was too short, but we tried to make the most of it.

medieval church

St Michael at the North Gate, 11th century


Somerset – part one – 109 photos

Somerset – part two – 76 photos

Somerset – part three – 14 photos

Tintern – Hereford – Ledbury -Oxford – 328 photos


Wandering East London

December 24, 2016

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

four story brick building

Spitalfields Market

If you have followed our travels previously, you should know that we tend to wander around neighborhoods just to see what we can see, instead of following a typical tourist itinerary filled with museums and touristic sights. We stayed in Whitechapel, but did not bother with the Jack the Ripper tour.

This trip was heavily influenced by the fact that Daddybird has been following the Spitalfields Life blog, so many of the buildings and places we sought out are historical places mentioned in that blog.

neoclassical church colonnade and spire

St Leonard’s Anglican Church, Shoreditch 1740

We wandered into the Shoreditch neighborhood and happened upon St. Leonard’s Church which had a sign announcing a carol service that evening at 6 pm, so we made a point of coming back in time for a bit of Christmas music.

red stone building with arched windows

The Jamaica Wine House – used to be the first coffee house in England ca 1652

Daddybird’s itinerary included buildings like the one above which was the first coffee shop back when coffee was the new, exotic drink.

root beer float

What have we been eating? (surely you wonder about this) Our breakfasts have been English, but all other meals have ranged from Turkish to Pakistani to American. I generally don’t drink soda/pop/cola (whatever you call it), so having a root beer float was a pretty fantastic blast from the past.

fried chicken and waffles

I had not had fried chicken and waffles before, but now I understand. I understand.

See Day 1 pictures here. (129 photos)

See Day 2 pictures here. (89 photos, 3 videos)

See Day 3-5 pictures here. (131 photos)


What We Did on Our Christmas Vacation

January 8, 2015

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

tower lit in multiple colors at night

So, now that it is over, what did we do with our two week stay-cation? Prior to Christmas day, it consisted of going to Christmas markets around the city, drinking mulled wine or cider and eating cakes and cookies.

escalator surrounded by ocean theme painting

We took the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel (also known as the Huangpu River Pedestrian Tunnel). The picture above is the escalator down to the ticket area and pretty much the most exciting part of the tunnel sightseeing attraction. The Tunnel is kitchy and corny. We will probably inflict it on anyone who comes to visit us. (One caveat, we were there on a very low crowd day. I would not stand in line for this or put up with being crammed into the tram with too many people.) To experience a video of the tunnel experience, click here. 

bowls of rice noodles with toppings, bowls of broth, and bowls of black gelatin

We ate interesting food, of course. These are freshly made rice noodles topped with peanuts, green onions, and a few other unexplained but delicious things. There are bowls of broth and bowls of black gelatin. The menu was simple – two entrees and two “drinks.” The gelatin was in the drink category. There was no English on the menu and the clerk pointed to the Chinese writing to ask what we wanted. This is how we ended up with gelatin instead of glasses of liquid. It was refreshing, so it all worked out in the end.

miniature of Shanghai city

We went to a few museums, including the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall which houses the miniature of Shanghai seen above. It isn’t exactly accurate. It contains a few flashy buildings that don’t actually exist. Perhaps they were in the “to be built” stage when this was created, but haven’t materialized. (To see all the pictures, click here.)

bronze vessel with eight yaks on top

The Shanghai Museum in People’s Square has a very interesting collection of bronze and pottery items. We need to go back earlier in the day because we were less than half-way through at closing time. (To see all the pictures, click here.)

dragon like ceramic statue

Our last vacation day was spent in Qibao Water City, which is an old city that was swallowed up by Shanghai.

crowded pedestrianized lane

It was a mildly crowded day. Not bad.

canal between old style Chinese houses

The weather was lovely. Strangely warm for January. Once we got past the entrance to the city (the crowded picture above), it was pleasant and not crowded. (To see more pictures, click here.)

extremely tiny sculptures in a display case

Here we found the Zhou Miniature Museum which contains the sculptures of a father and daughter. Entrance cost 10 yuan ($1.80 USD or 6 AED). Totally worth it (and more). Many of the items that we had seen at the Shanghai Museum (bronze vessels, bronze axe heads, porcelain sculptures) were recreated here in miniature. One should definitely go to these museums in this order. (More pictures here.)

fat golden Buddha statue

Next, we stopped in at the Qibao Buddhist temple. While sitting on a bench to give my feet a little break, a funeral procession went by – monks followed by family members carrying paper offerings to burn for the dead. Off to the right, out of sight, we could hear the monks singing and then the procession went back by returning to the temple. (To see all the pictures, click here.)


Merry Christmas Everyone

December 25, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not rebog.

red and white Christmas tree







Christmas Balls

January 3, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

shopping mall decorated for Christmas

We didn’t check out every mall this season, but there seemed to be a theme of huge Christmas balls.

shopping mall decorated for Christmas

Below is my favorite tree. The carousel horses were moving around the tree.

Christmas tree decorated in gold and silver surrounded by carousel horses

Each year Christmas is more prevalent in public. It is gaining acceptance, because it is a shopping holiday.


Christmas Eve

December 25, 2013

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Mosque and dark grey clouds

The day began with the idea of going to the beach to watch the sun rise over the ocean, but this was not the appropriate day for that plan.

beach, storm clouds, rain

But the rain could not keep us from having breakfast at Al Khan restaurant – qeema (ground beef and potato), chana (chickpeas/garbanzo beans) and paratha (flat bread).

flatbread, chickpeas, ground beef

Then, a quick drive into Dubai to get to the Burj Khalifa in time for our admission to the observation deck. The tickets were nearly all sold out this week, so timing was inflexible.

two people looking out from the observation deck

It was a particularly clear day, so the view was excellent.

view of the world islands from the Burj Khalifa observation deck

These are the World Islands.

two people

BabyBird and DaddyBird.

mocha, brownie, hot chocolate,  cheese cake, espresso

Then it was time for a chocolate binge.

aquarium filled with fish

Then there was a fair amount of shopping and roaming around the mall.

waterfall with 30 lifesize diver figures

The day ended with our traditional meal with friends at Bu Qtair restaurant. Fish, prawns, paratha and good friends.

dinner table

Photo by DaddyBird

We love meeting with such a mix of people from different countries and cultures. It was so much fun. The world would be a more peaceful place if everyone did this.

dinner table

Photo by Labiba Laith


San Francisco Christmas Stroll

December 24, 2012

Posted by Kanga.

Saturday evening we took a stroll in downtown San Francisco to enjoy the sights.

4 men playing steel drums on a street corner

An excellent steel drum band was providing atmosphere.

animatronic display of figures skating around a Christmas tree

The figures skating around the tree in this window display included a skating dog.

large lighted tree with red star at the top

Union Square was all decked out.

five story building with wreaths in every window

Macy’s had a wreath in every window.

window display with a Christmas tree next to a staircase

Tiffany had tasteful decorations in the windows.

cable car

A San Francisco cable car. I found it interesting that there is the sound of horse hooves clopping. It is the sound of the cable under the surface of the street. It beats against the conduit and sounds like horses.

Maru Sushi restaurant

Then we looked for dinner and chose Maru Sushi. It was quite delicious.

window display of Victorian people with handbags

There’s a bag for everyone in this store.

travel case that contains two dog bowls

Even the dog.

snow man and Christmas tree window display

It was a pleasant, cool, rainy evening. Helped to improve my Christmas spirit.