The days of Christmas are over here in the southwest of France and we’re slowly recovering. We’ve had a relaxed family time at the house following our very traditional celebrations. Christmas Eve (24th) is our most important evening where we slow-cook a goose, light the Christmas tree (we actually use real candles) and walk hand-in-hand around the tree singing old Danish carols. This is the night the angels sing and it’s a very reverent and beautiful evening. Towards the end we get to open our presents too. A few days later we have a traditional Danish Christmas Lunch. The meal consists of many courses of open-faced sandwiches (Smørrebrød) starting with pickled herring (sild) and is a rather more lively affair. This is the day the fish must swim and they do so in (what else) Akvavit = Danish snaps! We usually start the meal at around 1PM and finish a solid 3-4 hours and several bottles of the good stuff later. It’s a fine lunch and requires yet another few days to recover. Skål!

Our celebrations have been intermingled with some pretty ferocious wind storms that have battered the coasts of Denmark, UK and France. My parents’ sturdy old house weathered the winds without incident and the changing light created some spectacular displays in the sky and across the Pyrénées. A rare treat for the photographer, but some hard times for those impacted by the weather. It’s just another reminder that Nature can be both mesmerizingly beautiful and utterly terrifying at the same time.

I’m here for a few more days before I head off to UK with my sister for New Year’s Eve. Sometime in the next week or so I’ll do my usual round-up of our past year of RVing including our favorite campgrounds of the year. Then it’ll be back to the desert, the man and the furry family (which I am thoroughly looking forward to). The photography here is so good I may well be tempted to do another blog post before I delve into to the Queen’s English, but if I don’t click on over to see what I’ve taken so far (the gallery photos are still not coming through on e-mail). À la prochaine, my friends!

Meanwhile -> Back At “The Beast”
I’ve been getting periodic updates (and even a few pics) from the wild man in the desert while I’ve been here. Word has it he’s become quite the local socialite and has met several new boondocking buddies as well as attending a lovely campfire with the likes of  Sassy’s On Da RoadSkip & Jean and Tom & Dianne. Plus, he’s been teasing me with gorgeous desert sunsets and cooking up a storm (can anyone say Bison Picadillo?). Chances are things will get even wilder when a gathering of NüRVers decends onto Anza Borrego in the next few days. There’s been talks of $1 taco’s, outdoor film evenings and even a special flag project. The things these guys get up to when you leave them, eh?

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37 Responses to The Angels Sang & The Fish Swam

  1. Roberta says:

    Sounds wonderfully exciting!

  2. The pictures are perfect! I love the one of bison picadillo!

  3. Ralph says:

    Sounds like you’re having a great time in Europe! Now, don’t pick on Paul. When he was in Florida…we all know that you were misbehaving. So it’s his turn to get in trouble ..when momma ain’t around!

  4. MonaLiza says:

    We almost have the same tradition celebrating on the eve of Christmas except that we have the roasted pig “lechon” as the main course.
    Looks like Paul is attracting a crowd and partying in the desert!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Lovely!!! Paul’s Cuban family do a similar pork dish for Christmas. They typically roast a whole pig (traditionally it was roasted underground, but these days most create a container for it). So yummy!
      Nina

  5. Sue Malone says:

    What a beautiful, traditional Christmastime celebration with your family. Loved reading about it and seeing the photos, and yes, I do come over to the website to see the photos AND to let you know how much I appreciate reading about your doings.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks for the lovely comments Sue! You must be leaving for Florida soon right? Looking forward to your blogs from that trip.
      Nina

  6. William says:

    Your sister looked very scary in her Cookie Monster shirt with those scissors! Very intense. I have had trouble sleeping for a few days. But I’m sure I’ll recover.

    ENJOY!

    • libertatemamo says:

      LOL!! Outstanding! My sister read your comment and she said she’s watching you now….so, you better watch out…:)
      Nina

  7. John and Pam says:

    Sounds like a wonderful celebration. I would love to see the tree all lit with real candles. You definitely have some amazing memories to bring home.

    Have a fun New Years in the UK with your sister.

    Glad to see Paul is having a good time in the desert.

    • libertatemamo says:

      There is nothing like live candles on the Christmas tree. Can’t quite explain it, but the combination of Christmas Eve and the sight of that tree is something uniquely special. I took a pic (in the blog) of the candles to give you an idea, but nothing can replace the “live” experience.
      Nina

  8. Wonderful photos! How on earth would you eat that sandwich? It sure looks good though!

  9. Marcia GB in MA says:

    Sounds wonderful. I love to hear about how Christmas is celebrated around the world. Enjoy the rest of your trip. Happy New Year!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I love learning about other people’s traditions too. These rituals are part of what make our culture & something we can pass on to future generations.
      Nina

  10. Sherry says:

    Your pictures from France are just breath taking. The light is magnificent and so is your eye. I do hope you do another from there before jet setting off for New Year’s on the island. :-) The singing round the tree sounds absolutely wonderful. Wish I could figure out how to adopt that tradition.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks! I’ve really been given sooooo many good photographic opportunities here. It helps that my parent’s house is so well-situated too. Lots of good nature surrounding it.

      Regarding the singing and walking around the Christmas Tree, my understanding is that it’s very Danish thing. In fact I’m not clear that any other culture has incorporated this into their 24th celebrations. We typically sing around 10 different carols, but even a few are lovely.

      Nina

  11. YogiRob says:

    I Thoroughly loved hearing your stories. I’m asking for some advice I have about $130,000 where would I get the best deal on a used diesel pusher ? :) Zen2Uall

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hmmm…I would concentrate on the older high-quality diesel pushers…perhaps a Foretravel or a good (pre 2005) Holiday Rambler or Country Coach? You get ALOT more quality for your money with these rigs and the age is less important in Diesel engines. PPL Motorhomes has a good selection as does MHS (MotorHome Specialists) in Texas. Start there and look around the web for more ideas.
      Nina

  12. Gaelyn says:

    Love the sound of your Danish celebration but not sure I could survive all the food and drink. Even with lousy weather the views you’re sharing are incredible.

    • libertatemamo says:

      LOL…there certainly is a lot of good food involved. Most of it is stuff we never eat the rest of the year either, so it’s a big treat.
      Nina

  13. Anne H says:

    How lovely to have a traditional Christmas! My family seems to have lost all of ours. Although it is kind of fun to watch the kids pick up the responsibility for Christmas dinner, etc.
    I’ve been looking at my holiday decorations with an eye to what might work in the trailer when I can head out more full time (in a year or two).
    Sounds like both you and Paul are enjoying yourselves – even if you are on different continents.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I do like to preserve these traditions. It’s a part of our culture, after all.
      The small decorations we have in the rig (the hearts, the elves) are perfect for compact travel. I know folks who travel with collapsable trees and other such stuff too.
      Nina

  14. Barrie Bochoff says:

    Hej Nina, Tak for alle de dejlige opdateringer det seneste år. Alt det bedste til dig og Paulus i det kommende år.

  15. Bob says:

    Greetings from Maui. Looks like you had a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy your stay.

  16. charlene malone says:

    It was delightful hearing about your Christmas celebration. Thanks.
    Happy New Year from Idaho. Hope to run into you at Quartzsite if you go.

  17. Dianne & Tom Wartman says:

    So glad you are enjoying yourself, Nina. And good that Paul is enjoying the BS neighborhood. We look forward to time with you both in Yuma! Be well!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I think Paul is having quite a good time in the desert. First reports of a happy hour with the NuRVers group yesterday. Sounds like it’s going to be a rocking New Years Eve.
      Nina

  18. William says:

    Your sister looks a lot safer with a smile and a glass in her hand. Nightmares are gone. Life is good.

    I miss Europe. Especially the countryside. Non-GMO food. Enjoy!

  19. Jil says:

    Sounds like your time and traditions with your family went well…the photos both yours and Paul’s are gorgeous…I too love hearing about others traditions…we are learning a few new ones here in Mexico..have a great time with your sister in the UK and safe travels back to the states…

  20. LuAnn says:

    Your photography is just stunning Nina. Glad to hear you have survived the strong winds we had been hearing about. Sounds like your man has been doing some partying while you are away, and doing a fine job with snapping photos of the sunsets as well. Happy New Year to you both! :)

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