Seeing Red: Capturing Malta in Cardinal & Crimson

When we moved to the Mediterranean island of Malta last autumn, we imagined that our leisure time would be devoted to exploring the country’s heritage sites, soaking up the sunshine, and strolling by the inviting blue water that encircles the tiny nation. Back then, we couldn’t imagine all the red tape that we’d have to ‘cut through’ inContinue reading “Seeing Red: Capturing Malta in Cardinal & Crimson”

Feeling Festive in Malta: Celebrating a Festa in the City of Bormla

When I first visited Malta nine years ago, my new Maltese friends told me about the islands’ beloved festas — days on which church parishes honor a patron saint in the most celebratory of fashions. These feast days are replete with fireworks, food, parades, and elaborate decorations. Most festas are crammed into the summer months, and my maiden MalteseContinue reading “Feeling Festive in Malta: Celebrating a Festa in the City of Bormla”

A Valley Ablaze: The König-Ludwig-Feuer in Oberammergau, Germany

Paying homage to Bavaria’s beloved King Ludwig II with bonfires, processions, and revelry.

Slap Happy: Dancing the Schuhplattler in Bavaria

One of the joys of exploring Germany’s Bavaria region is seeing the people’s penchant for preserving tradition. In the village of Oberammergau, where we’ve spent much time visiting my parents, it’s not uncommon to spot an older gentleman wearing a loden green, woolen hat, with feather, during a grocery-shopping trip. On holidays, ladies often don vibrant Dirndls (dresses withContinue reading “Slap Happy: Dancing the Schuhplattler in Bavaria”

A Bavarian Horse-Blessing Ceremony

As we sauntered closer to the village of Unterammergau, Germany, horses trotted past us, their highly decorated manes and tails blowing in the late autumn breeze. Not to be outdone by the animals’ distinguished appearances, the horse owners also sported fine Bavarian attire: the men wore grey woolen jackets finished with deer-horn buttons, and darkContinue reading “A Bavarian Horse-Blessing Ceremony”

Tails from a German Horse-Blessing Ceremony

During the last weekend of every October, the village of Unterammergau, Germany honors St. Leonhard, the patron saint of agricultural animals. The event begins with a horse procession through the village of 1,500 people, and culminates in an open-air church service, during which more than one hundred horses are blessed. (Unterammergau is the neighboring villageContinue reading “Tails from a German Horse-Blessing Ceremony”

Perusing the Pumpkin Patch

After ten years of life abroad sans an authentic jack o’lantern, I was delighted to awaken my Halloween spirit by visiting a veritable American pumpkin patch last autumn, following a splendid long weekend in Napa Valley. The California farm’s scruffy scarecrows, colorful gourds, and pumpkins transformed into storybook characters brought to mind some of my favorite HalloweenContinue reading “Perusing the Pumpkin Patch”