Anything But Paella

A Decade of Decidedly Different Christmases

Christmas is the time of year for spending time with family and friends and having fun. At least, that’s the normal routine for many people. Over the last ten years I have been able to celebrate this time of year in a different place every year. As I settle down for my second successive Christmas in Guardamar, something that has not happened for a long time, I thought it was time to reflect on the last decade of decidedly different Christmases.

Whatever you are doing at this time of year, I hope you have a great time and that the new year brings you health, wealth and happiness!!



Having made the jump and left the UK behind, Trish and I had recently arrived in Buenos Aires and found a place to live ahead of our TEFL course. We celebrated drinking beer in sunny plazas and went to the horse races on Boxing Day! Christmas dinner was roast Argentinian beef as it was a fraction of the cost of a turkey. We also visited the famous Cafe Tortoni for an amazing tango show.


After a successful year in Buenos Aires we decided to move north in Argentina to the city of Salta. Going straight there would have been too easy though. Instead we went via the southernmost point of the country – Ushuaia.


After two years in Argentina it was time to head back to Europe. On the way we travelled extensively through Bolivia and Brazil, spending Christmas back in my old haunt of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, right in the centre of Bolivia, and visiting the new Biocentre Guembe, home to the world’s largest butterfly sanctuary.


When I said Europe, I meant Europe, but it’s most easterly point if you exclude Russia! We ended up working in Azerbaijan but headed back to the UK for Christmas and the new year. We met up with friends in London and caught up with family in Lincolnshire. Unfortunately I caught the flu. Man flu I can handle, but this was the full McCoy – not recommended!


Tunisia beckoned next and we spent a wonderful Christmas in Sousse enjoying the sunshine and the company of new friends.


Still living in Tunisia but now living in La Marsa, close to the capital city of Tunis, we headed to Egypt for the festive season. Christmas was spent on a Nile cruise! Little were we to know that the Arab Spring was about to begin and our lives would change dramatically within days of returning to Tunisia.


Now working in Vietnam we hopped over to Thailand for a magical adventure of night markets and beaches.


Finally living in Spain we were finding the winter in Pamplona a bit too wet and cold so we jumped on a plane and travelled around Morocco for a couple of weeks.


We spent Christmas in our flat in Mataró, Catalunya, because we were still recovering from a manic five weeks working in Libya! It was nice to wander around town looking at the window displays, and the Christmas concert given by the local big band was fantastic.


Now living in Guardamar del Segura, a little to the south of Alicante, we spent Christmas morning enjoying cava and nibbles with friends who helped us to settle into the area so quickly. Still feeling restless though, we were soon on our way to Sri Lanka for an amazing start to the new year.

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