Around The World on Christmas

An old friend called me up a few nights ago and asked if I was interested in writing an article for The Times of India. I said, ‘Of course I would love to.’ The catch was that the article was to go for editorial the next day morning. I looked at my bouncing toddler who was actually in the process of bouncing on the sofa and prayed to all the sleep Gods that he falls asleep and lets me work through the night. I guess one of them heard me and my baby slept for most of the night and I wrote this article.

Christmas is just around the corner, there is the crinkle of wrapping paper in the air and people hanging Christmas star’s on the porch. Folks bringing home a Christmas tree however small and mothers discovering baking, some for the very first time. Children excited about secret Santa and waiting in line just to meet the jolly old fellow. The joy of Christmas is somehow infectious, it invites a smile even in the staunchest non believer. It is one season that has found its way into most corners of the world as children wait for Santa to leave them gifts on Christmas morning. The days leading up to Christmas are always laden with excitement and anticipation as people surround themselves with family and friends.

This cold season infuses such warmth that some wish that it was Christmas every day of the year and that is just what La Boutique de Noel has. It is a tiny store in the heart of old Quebec in Canada that keeps the merriment of Christmas alive throughout the year. Discovering the store in Quebec City is such a joy as it lets every single person who has ever yearned to see Santa’s wonderland as a child to return to their age of innocence and wonderment. You can admire the Nutcracker or gaze at the intricately decorated Christmas tree with glee as the child in you would never want to leave the store. This store keeps Christmas alive in Quebec all throughout the year and spreads it to every part of Quebec City in December. A stroll on the cobbled streets of Old Quebec can make Christmas special for any romantic out there.

New York has been on the list of places to visit during Christmas of everyone who has ever watched a Hollywood romcom during Christmas time. The brightly lit streets and classic decorations that are put up every year without fail as the city gears up for the holidays. Each time better than the previous year.

Christmas decoration on a door in NY
Christmas decoration on a door in Little Italy, NY

New Yorkers wait for Macy’s and Bloomingdales to put up their decorations in the window displays as it is firmly a part of the Christmas tradition for the city . The giant Christmas tree at Rockerfeller Center is a symbol of Christmas in New York, as thousands of people flock to the Big Apple to see the decorations every year.

Folks who like some theatre in their lives make a beeline for the Radio City Hall for a performance by the Rockettes come December. Rockettes train for most of the year to put up ` A Christmas Spectacular’ which is treat for t h e eyes as they put up a meticulously cho reographed show with such ease for every day till Christmas. for every day till Christmas.

The streets of New York seem to get quieter and quieter as Christmas quieter as Christmas approaches and that is part of the charm of Christmas in New York. A romantic ride in a horse carriage in Central Park or a more adventurous attempt of ice skating at Byron Park during Christmas Park during Christmas time adds an extra pinch of magic.Singapore dresses itself in colours of red, green and white every Christmas, as trees are decorated in every lobby and every corner of the city .

Downtown Singapore dons on a more festive look as it pre a more festive look as it pre pares itself for two months of celebration. Christmas in Singapore is successively fol lowed by the Chinese New Year. The decorations in every street corner miracu lously change to pink blossoms and the given animal of the New Year. The fountains at Marina Bay , dance to a merrier tune and the Gardens by the Bay omehow manage to look prettier than they are, every day of the year.

The spirit of Christmas manages to snuggle into hearts and life’s of people as snuggle into hearts and life’s of people as the world becomes just a tiny bit better at this time of the year.

Bangalore dresses up for Christmas by taking down some of the Diwali decorations and adding wreaths, ribbons and brightly lit Christmas stars. The iconic landmarks of Brigade and M.G Road light up and add merriment to the spirit of giving. Bakeries add Christmas cakes which are also called as plum cakes to their baking list.You can find many people who want to become part of the merriment wear their Santa hats and give food and blankets to the poor and needy as this season brings out the best of giving in everyone.

In Mumbai, even the tiniest street corner displays a thoughtful nativity scene with baby Jesus in his manger.Churches hold mass as church bells toil in Christmas day .South Bombay dresses up the prettiest during Christmas.Colaba Causeway has a buzz as the market of Knick knacks spruces up and brightens for the holiday season. A cold beer or hot chocolate depending on the mood at Leopold Café or Café Mondegar while just being part of the festivity around is an experience worth having. Puerto Rico has one of the longest celebrations of Christmas as the festivities go on till mid-January . Latin dance and music is part of Puerto Rico’s soul and it takes on a merry tune for Christmas. Feasts are bountifully prepared with roast pig, mufango and a free flow of sangria.The tropical forests and mountains of El Yunque on this beautiful island are a change from snow-capped mountain views that are closely associated with Christmas.

Switzerland is one of the few places on earth that becomes prettier with every season. The cities of Zurich, Lucerne and Interlaken have much to offer for every person who visits at this time of year. The snow covered mountains of the Swiss Alps beckon at a distance as the twinkling lights of the cities dance. A hot cup of Swiss chocolate or Swizz coffee laced with rum can brighten up spirits of any cold traveller. Sharing a pot of fondue and dipping your favourite meats into the silken cheese with some friends or even strangers who you met along the way , gives true meaning to the spirit of Christmas. Around the world, people celebrate this season in their own special ways. Some would travel and witness the beauty of Christmas in faraway places. Some would turn homewards and spend Christmas with their loved ones.Some would snuggle up with hot cocoa and watch a favourite Christmas classic on TV and some would attend mass at Christmas as they light a candle for their prayer. But at the end of the day every Grinch would have a smile on their face.

Malls are decked up as stores stock up on holiday sales as people go about their Christmas shopping. Even the tiniest of shops seems to have a smile as people buy gifts for their loved ones in keeping with the spirit of Christmas.Even airports and bus terminals seem charming with people bustling as they travel to their desired destinations.People are generally more friendly and nicer at this time of the year and are happier to lend a helping hand. What is it with Christmas, that lets a faint stream of joy into your heart that becomes bigger and bigger till it cannot be contained in just one heart but needs to spread to everyone around.

With the presence of several traditional churches and Christian educational institutions in the city , Chennai is known for its carol concerts throughout the month of December. MCC Alumni Carol Concert and Carols by Candlelight of Madras Musical Association, to name a few, are some of the concerts that have been organized for the last few decades in Chennai. Meanwhile, the city , that’s been slowly opening up to the western culture has also started witnessing events like cake mixing ceremonies, Christmas-themed parties and gigs on a large scale. The involvement of students in Christmas-related events has also been on the rise be it a Christmas play , carols, sale or philanthropic activities.

All the songs about Christmas cannot do justice to this holiday season of giving and being joyful. Carollers cannot sing enough of their favourite songs as the season calls for great song and merriment. As the world decks up to celebrate Christmas go ahead and pamper your loved ones. Let the spirit of Christmas touch your heart as it lends magic to every corner of the world. Make this Christmas special by going out there and celebrating with others around you.

Most places that I have mentioned in this article are places I have been to. I have been lucky to have celebrated Christmas at some of these places.

 

Read on Times Of India

Kitesurfing in India: The new Adventure

Traveling Noodles is happy to publish this guest post by Stacy Eva. Stacy is a blogger who writes on travel and lifestyle. Her articles have been featured on eurotravel.com and karryon.com. Happy Reading!

Kite surfing, also known as kite boarding, is a water sport of riding on a surfboard while holding on a specially designed kite, using the wind as a means of propulsion. Once the kite is up, the surfer puts his or her surfing board on the water surface and the kite pulls them. This exciting extreme sport is for which the adventurous and courageous are crazy about. India is a good place to enjoy kite surfing. A few places in this country provide a good water surface for the sport as the weather favors these coastal regions. If you want to have a superb and unforgettable experience of kite surfing in India then these places are perfect for that

Morjim Beach, Goa

Aguada Fort Goa
Aguada Fort Goa

This is the best place for kite surfing in Goa alongside Ashwem and Arambol. It is a great spot and a cheap one too but you have to get your time right for the best and enjoyable experience in kite surfing. The best time for this sport is mostly in the afternoon and sometimes in the evening when the water currents are low. To make it even better, there are kite surfing lessons offered by various institutes such as the GUSTYKITE Goa Kitesurf School, which is suitable for people of all ages. The wind speed in this region is 15-20 knots on average which is ideal for learning kite surfing.

Gorai Beach, Mumbai

Beach @ Mumbai
Beach @ Mumbai

The Gorai beach in Mumbai is another ideal spot for kite surfing. The beach offers favourable wind conditions that are perfect for wind surfing. The Mandwa beach which is approximately 16 Km away from Mumbai is also a good place to enjoy this extreme sport. Another location 150 Km away from Mumbai is the Murud-Janjira Fort, in which the first kite surfing contest was held on 25th May 2013. The Fort is enclosed by the sea on all sides.

Panchgani

Panchgani, Maharashtra
Panchgani, Maharashtra

With an elegant hill station incorporated with hiking spots and amazing natural beauties,  Panchgani has definitely become an adventure hot spot. And if crazy for kite surfing, then Hotel Ravine is the place you would rather be. It has a very large open space, clear landing locations and also perfect wind speeds for surfing. The south-western winds give the appropriate wind strength for kite boarding. The surfing site is a 30 minute drive from the hotel and takes you through impressive routes. The ideal time for this sport is during the afternoon as the wind picks itself from them until sunset. The stations easy accessibility from Mumbai makes it a good site to enjoy surfing especially for the holiday goers.

Bangalore

Beach near Bangalore
Beach near Bangalore

Besides being a major tourist attraction and an important metro city in the south of India. Bangalore city has many beaches which offer kite surfing with various schools also offering lessons along with instructors. This is an ideal place to kite surf for people who plan to take a vacation in Bangalore.

Kovalam beach, Kerala

Kovalam, Kerala
Kovalam, Kerala

The Kovalam beach along with other beaches in Kerala, is one of the best places to experience and definitely enjoy kite surfing in India. The best time to visit the place is during September to May.

With these ideal sites, you are guaranteed to have a splendid Kite surfing experience in India. For those applying for Indian visas, don’t forget to checklist the passport, two identical recent passport sized photographs and an online filled application form.

Images copyright RazorRasu. Featured image from http://all-free-download.com

Stacy Eva

Author Bio: Stacy Eva lives in Birmingham, UK and is an avid reader and blogger. Since her early years she had a passion for writing. Her articles have been published in leading UK newspapers. Her areas of interest are Food, Reviews (Book/Movie), Travel, Fashion, and Lifestyle. As of now she is working as a freelance content manager for Indian visas.