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SUNNY CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE

SUNNY CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE

SUNNY CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE

FROM RAIN CAMPING TO PRE CHRISTMAS HIKE

Christmas in Southern Europe combined with camping, does that even fit together? We have once again spent the holidays in a van. Last year on the way to the North Cape, this year in Portugal at the Algarve.

While it’s getting contemplative in Germany and everyone is preparing for Christmas, it’s hard for us to get into the holiday spirit here, despite musical interludes á la “Last Christmas” by Wham. Likewise, the small islands in the middle of the traffic circles with Jesus manger and shining Christmas stars seem rather bizarre thanks to decorated palm trees. The weather with over 20°C and blue skies doesn’t exactly contribute to the contemplation either.

While it’s getting contemplative in Germany and everyone is preparing for Christmas, it’s hard for us to get into the holiday spirit here, despite musical interludes á la “Last Christmas” by Wham. Likewise, the small islands in the middle of the traffic circles with Jesus manger and shining Christmas stars seem rather bizarre thanks to decorated palm trees. The weather with over 20°C and blue skies doesn’t exactly contribute to the contemplation either.

WINTER STORMS AND CONSTANT RAIN OR SUMMER TEMPERATURES AND BLUE SKIES

SUNNY CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE

Winter storms from November to February with heavy rain are just as normal as the blue skies and comparatively high temperatures at this time of year. A real disadvantage of being directly exposed to nature with a van. Everything is wet and even the bedding absorbs moisture from the air. On top of that, there are gusts that swirl everything through the air that is not anchored firmly enough.

Not only once in the week before Christmas we got up at night to see if our awning was still in place. Muk, who is used to always being able to be outside, was absolutely underutilized, even if she had a lot of fun with the puddles that stretched over all the paths during heavy rain. It had taken a week for this bad weather front to leave the south of Portugal. And as if someone had flipped a switch, we suddenly got sunshine and bright blue skies.

SUNNY CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE

After several days in the van and an overconsumption of series, we needed to get moving. We had recently restarted our livestream on Twitch and were full of energy to show something of the surroundings. The rain had first made a huge dash through the bill.

Now we decided for a coastal hike. We picked a nice route with about 17km and started the stream under the motto pre-Christmas hike in Portugal.

Christmas in Southern Europe while hiking along the cost we were sitting at a view point to watch the sea
SUNNY CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE
SUNNY CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE
SUNNY CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE

Now we decided for a coastal hike. We picked a nice route with about 17km and started the stream under the motto pre-Christmas hike in Portugal.

Alex und Kathy live aus Praia do Carvoeiro Klippen auf dem Weg zu einer Bar

THE SPIRIT OF PORTUGUESE CHRISTMAS

What we rediscovered on this trip was the passion for hiking and discovering beautiful places. Unfortunately, we have done this far too rarely the last few months. Private events and the weather situation of the last week had somewhat depressed the mood. But the little hike was exactly what we had been missing.

Unfortunately, what we couldn’t find that day before Christmas was that contemplative feeling. No matter how hard we tried to get Christmassy, we couldn’t. Presumably, others felt the same way, even if they were in Germany. Despite elaborate Christmas decorations in the cab of neighboring campers, it still seemed like vacation in the south. Even wildly flashing poinsettias on the rearview mirrors couldn’t deceive us about that.

So we also did on December 24 what we would have done on any other day. We got up in the morning, drank coffee. Spent the day outside and cleaned up a bit. Made everything kind of cozy, but not Christmasy. Only a string of lights in the middle of the tent could have been considered Christmas decorations. There was neither a Christmas tree, nor gifts lying in any corner. It was a normal day, at least until we decided to go shopping in the late afternoon, when all the work was done.

AND THEN, WHEN WE HAD ACTUALLY NO LONGER LOOKED FOR IT…

Somehow, in a Portuguese supermarket just before closing time, we discovered our contemplation between the wine section of the meat counter and to the left of the vegetable shelf. It was there in the shopping cart next to the coffee liqueur, the vodka, the spray cream and the food we wanted to buy for a fondue.

It may sound strange to mention alcohol and food in the context of contemplation and Christmas spirit, but that’s what it was all about. The planning of a nice evening and the anticipation of spending quality time together. Especially because we had all but ruled out this evening being special in any way. In our minds, we had put a big check mark behind this Christmas and weren’t really bothered about it either. But now we spontaneously felt like having an extensive meal, where you can linger for a long time without anyone cooking it and you’re busy cleaning up afterwards. Plus good music, a special Christmas drink and a good conversation.

A COMBINATION OF CHRISTMAS AND CAMPING

Weihnachten auf dem Campingplatz an der Algarve in Portugal
SUNNY CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE
SUNNY CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE

In fact, this was my first fondue. I don’t know why we didn’t just do it much earlier. It’s terribly uncomplicated but a great way to sit around a table together for a long time. Plus a stunning Christmas drink with liqueur, vodka, cocoa milk, cream and ice cubes – garnished with colorful sprinkles. A really very nice evening just for the two of us and Muk.

SUNNY CHRISTMAS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE

In fact, of all the impossible pictures we took that night, this is the only one you can put on a blog.

CHRISTMAS AND CAMPING IN SOUTHERN EUROPE. WHAT WE LEARNED.

Christmas and camping in Southern Europe are a mixture you have to like. I simply claim that someone who likes this festival extremely traditional and attaches great importance to certain things, will not quite get his money’s worth. Of course, there is still the possibility to go to a restaurant or to put a Christmas tree in the awning. But all that was not so important for us in the end and should not be the basis for a successful Christmas Eve. I’ve had a lot of really bad Christmases in the past. Despite tree, despite snow, despite gifts, despite Christmas decorated apartment …

The question is what one expects from Christmas, or what the real meaning of these days should be. I am not a friend of assigning a special meaning to certain days or a special behavior. Nevertheless, I like moments that one remembers with pleasure again. I like that we still talk about our trip to the North Cape today and then also like to remember back to December 24 in Stockholm. Probably that’s what Christmas is for us. The possibility, regardless of everything you expect, the snow, a perfect Christmas roast, great presents, to be able to say that you had a good time.

So you should think very carefully about what Christmas means to you when planning your next Christmas. The holidays in Southern Europe feel different than in Germany. Christmas in a camper, van or tent is a completely different story than in your own home. But if all that is not so important to you and you also like memories that are special, then we definitely recommend Christmas and camping in Southern Europe.

If you want to see more of us and our full-time vanlife, check us out on Instagram.

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