Christmas Boat Parade

In order to get in the Christmas spirit, we attended a local event on Australia’s Sunshine Coast called the Christmas Boat Parade. Local families gathered at the Mooloolaba Harbour at around 6 pm, decked out in their Christmas finery.Christmasy kids

Barbecues (and sparklers) were lit

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The boats began making their first rounds, even before the sun went down. Children waived frantically to every Santa that came by, even the plastic ones…

Plastic santa

Mother nature was the first to show off her lights…Sunset at Mooloolaba DSCF9330 DSCF9325

And then the boats began to light up the night. DSCF9340

These little ones were among my favorites.DSCF9339 DSCF9346 DSCF9352

This one had a mechanical device that allowed Santa (below) to send up a “match” to light the candle. When it reached the top, the flame came on and waved around. Amazing. DSCF9357

Lighted candle 

This one had a rock band on board that provided the soundtrack for the evening’s festivities.DSCF9354

The lights were inspiring and beautiful, and by night’s end I had a better feel for the unique possibilities offered by a summer Christmas.

Word of the day: Parigi

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Parigi (Pa-REE-jee); Paris

Yes, you guessed it, we are in Paris for the weekend. We left at 4:30 this afternoon, after George’s last class. We took a bus from Florence to Pisa, a Ryanair flight from Pisa to Beauvais (an hour north of Paris), a shuttle bus into Paris, and 2 metro lines to our hotel neighborhood. When we came up out of the underground, we had no idea which way to head, so we just picked a direction. It was the wrong way, but it lead us right past a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower, all lit up and sparkling like a jewel. What a lovely welcome to the city of lights.

Eiffel Tower

Who could resist taking this photo? Sometimes, you just have to be a tourist.

We figured out our way to the hotel on Rue Cler, settled in, and then went downstairs to enjoy a glass of wine (for me) and a kir royale (for George) in an outdoor cafe. We love the street we are in, and are so excited to see all the shops open in the morning. This is George’s first ever visit to Paris, and my first in 23 years. We are just buzzing with the excitement of being in this amazing city.

I wonder what tomorrow’s word will be…