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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Some like it cold – a different dip

Posted by dan on December 26, 2010

Christmas swim. Video:

Christmas swim. Video:

  • “For the first time in 30 years the Serpentine in Hyde Park was too frozen to allow all the ice to be cleared for the Peter Pan Cup, a 100 metre race, so swimmers had a hot cuppa to celebrate Christmas.
  • “The Berlin Seals” ice swimming club have been taking the winters of the Orankesee for their health since 1979.
  • The Copa Nadal held on a Barcelona beach is a 200 metre race celebrating its 101st anniversary in relatively balmy conditions. Only the civil war has ever interrupted this Christmas dip.”


The “Peter Pan Cup” Christmas Morning Handicap Swim:

Serpentine Swimming Club:


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You better watch out…

Posted by dan on December 25, 2010

The following video was recorded at the Vancouver International Airport during this Christmas season. Wherever you are, you better watch out…

Operation Snowflake – Christmas 2010 / Opération “Flocon” – Noël 2010

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El Gordo – the Spanish Christmas Lottery

Posted by dan on December 22, 2010

El Gordo - Christmas Lottery in Spain. Image: The Telegraph

El Gordo - Christmas Lottery in Spain. Image: The Telegraph

The Spanish Christmas Lottery (Sorteo de Navidad or Lotería de Navidad) is a national lottery game organized every year since 1812 by a branch of the Spanish Public Administration . As measured by the total prize payout, the Christmas Lottery is considered the biggest lottery worldwide, with its first category called El Gordo – the Fat One.

While consumer studies reported that Spaniards were spending less this Christmas, as the country struggles on with austerity measures and 20 per cent unemployment, the average amount each household spent on the lottery has increased this year, from up to 69 euros from 58 euros in 2009.

In what has become a favourite Christmas tradition, the annual draw on December 22 takes around three hours as numbers are sung out by schoolchildren in a televised process that has the nation gripped to its screens. Prizes totalling 2.3 billion euros (£1.9billion) were distributed to several thousand winners across Spain with the top prize awarded to holders of tickets numbered 79250, appearing on 195 tickets.

A lottery shop in the small town of Sort – the Catalan word of luck – in the foothills of the Pyrenees sells more tickets than any outlet in Spain because of the name of the town and the fact it has stocked winning tickets several times in the last decade.



The Telegraph:…El-Gordo-lottery.html

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Wiener Christkindlmarkt – Christmas market in Vienna

Posted by dan on December 22, 2010

The Christmas market in Vienna – called Wiener Christkindlmarkt – is one of the most famous destinations during the winter festive season in Europe. With snow almost guaranteed, the capital city of Austria will not leave you disapointed if you are after a real winter experience. (Although this year Paris turned white as well and Rome had its cold days with fountains freezing.) There are several Christmas markets in Vienna, at Maria Theresien Platz or Karlskirche, but probably the best is at the Rathaus, the Townhall, on the Ring opposite the Burgtheater. Following are some images made yesterday.

A comprehensive listing of all important Christmas Markets in Vienna:


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Paris – Christmas colors

Posted by dan on December 21, 2010

Paris, just as every city in the Western world, is preparing for Christmas. With its markets, Christmas lights and decorations, busy department stores, shopping and fun, Paris is one of the most colorful cities.

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Snapshots – Christmas in Rome and the Vatican

Posted by dan on December 20, 2010

Vatican, Christmas tree at St. Peter's Basilica

Christmas tree at St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican

Christmas is one of the biggest Christian celebrations and people from all over the world flock to Rome and the Vatican during the festive season. Following are images of the Eternal City preparing for Christmas.

Not everybody is as fortunate as most of us reading this blog – many people will spend this Christmas out on the street in every European city. According to every major religion it is a duty to help those in need. See blog post: Clochard – Homeless in Europe

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Christmas season – Champs Elysees

Posted by dan on December 8, 2010

You can feel the Christmas vibe all around Paris, but the place to be, with its lively Christmas market, is on Champs Elysees. Lit up from Place de Concorde all the way to the Arc de Triopmphe, there are shops, buffets, carousels and fun rides, catering for all tastes and budget. Even if you are not a serious Christmas shopper, it is definitely worth to have a stroll down the famous boulevard.

Champs Elysees - Christmas lights, Paris

Champs Elysees - Christmas lights

Snapshots of Champs Elysees – all decorated and lively.

See also blog post: Parc Monceau – a secluded garden in Paris

Suggested hotels in the area:

Hotel Ampere ****
Official website:

Hotel Elysees Parc Monceau ***
Official website:

Hotel Elysee Etoile **
See blog post: Hotel Elysee Etoile – budget hotel at the Arc de Triomph
Official website:

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Clochard – Homeless in Europe

Posted by dan on December 2, 2010

Winter in a tent in Paris

Winter in a tent in Paris

You can see them in every big city, and Paris is not an exception. What is remarkable though is the tolerant French attitude – I’ve seen homeless at both major airports in Paris, in the metro, in the most elegant districts. And, probably as the result of this tolerant attitude, they are not aggressive or pushy, either you notice them or not, either you give something or not, either you care or not.

Winter came early this year and this will be another tough Christmas season for many.

“Six gymnasiums will provide emergency accommodation for the homeless as soon as the temperature falls below 10°C, adding 350 places to the 8,000 available throughout the year. Several other buildings will also be used as shelters.

Officials say that they still need to find another 13,000 places in the Ile de France region.

Each year 100 people die on the streets of the capital, according to city council employee Olga Trostiansky.”


See also: Homeless in Europe (FEANTSA)

Archimède, le clochard (1959)

Archimède, le clochard (1959)

“Bum Archimede wants to spend the winter in prison, but to get their proves not to be that easy.”

Archimède, le clochard (1959) – Film by Gilles Grangier
Starring Jean Gabin , who won the Silver Bear for Best Actor in the 9th Berlin International Film Festival for his role.

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