Today's travel flashback is Christmas 2005. I was living in northern Italy for the year and unable to go home for Christmas. I spent the Christmas holidays going back and forth between Torino and Bologna, Lake Lugano in Switzerland, Nice and Istanbul. Although I prefer Christmas at home-- the holidays spent working and living in Europe had a very special magic all to their own. Italy and France celebrate the holidays with a spectacle of lights that are unprecedented. The lack of overt consumerism was also a very refreshing and welcome change for this Christmastime spent abroad.