Oh, the top nine insta posts. So succinct, and at least in my case, so pointy.
The highlights this year are decidedly less Scandinavian than last year, but I suppose staying closer to home is okay when it looks like this. For those interested in a slighter closer look at all the things I didn’t get to blogging about (pretty sure I say that every year), click on!
We spent the first day of the year driving with my parents and sister from Colmar, France, back to Munich so that my parents could catch their flight on the 2nd. We had all day for the long drive, so we split it up with a stop in Freiburg (im Breisgau), where my dad visited years ago, and here at the gorgeously blue Bodensee (aka, Lake Constance).
After delivering my parents to the airport, the the rest of us headed back home. A few days later, my sister took off for her grand tour of Europe, and BV and I spent the rest of the month recovering from holiday excitement, and hiding from winter.
Early in the month we were excited to get ourselves back to Braukunst Live!, a very fun event in Munich that showcases craft brewers from around Germany and beyond. The two photos show the stand at Tilmans, one of my favorite breweries out of Munich, and some very unique flavors from Freigeist Bierkultur, out of North Rhine-Westphalia.
We had a great time again, but they had changed the pricing from the previous year. In 2016 we paid the 15 or 20€ for the ticket, and with it we received vouchers for 10 of the breweries. You could redeem those at any stand for one of their selected beers, and then they had various other beers (usually the snazzier or stronger ones), for an additional fee. Since my friend B had been given an extra sheet of the vouchers when we came in, between the three of us, we had 40 beers to sample… not bad!
This year however, there was only one voucher, for the stand from the Munich Hofbräuhaus. (Or were there two free ones? Honestly, I can’t remember. Either way, it wasn’t 10 per person.) The Hofbräuhaus isn’t exactly famous for their craft beer, but I was very excited to see that their partner brewery was Wisconsin’s own Leinenkugel’s… nice! Despite that cool surprise, we weren’t that jazzed to find out that we had to pay at least 1€ per sample this time around. I’d like to go again this year as it is a fun day, but I think it’ll be a harder sell this time around.
Other than that though, February was predictably quiet until Holly rolled back into town at the end of the month. She was running out of her three allowed months in the Schengen zone but we did have time for one more thing that we’d promised to do with her: snowshoeing!
We finally became the last people to take advantage of a cheap Ryanair flight out of Nürnberg and hopped to London to visit my old friend A. and his lovely wife. We soaked up the British sun (at least until the blizzard on our last day), enjoyed a pub or ten, and caught up with our favorite San Franciscans.
Germany in spring is really something else. Everyone is outside seemingly constantly, every Biergarten is overflowing, and even the famously grumpy Franconians can’t help but smile. In the sun. While drinking beer. We followed suit.
As usual, May had several public holidays, and we took off for BV’s birthday trip. After much debate, I convinced him that we shouldn’t do a long weekend this time around, and instead invest in an entire week in South Tyrol.
When I’m right, I’m right.
We ate, we drank. We hiked, we met a cow named Silly Arrow and fed her the good grass. We even managed to get some pictures of the Insta-famous Pragser Wildsee without them being chock-full of said Instagrammers.* If you’ve been there, you know that’s an achievement.
Back in Germany, more of those delightful Pentecost holidays meant it was time for the annual Franconian Beer Festival in the castle moat. Can’t go wrong.
We were also invited to a summer solstice party slash World Cup viewing party at The Villagers homestead. For a midsummer party, jackets and fire pits were very necessary!
Right after Christmas, BV’s parents had suggested that we take a summer holiday together this year. Being that we were coming straight off several weeks with my family (who I love but when you aren’t used to being around that many other people and in a small space for an extended period of time, it’s a lot), we wisely decided to keep it to a long weekend and also not stay in the same apartment.
In fact, we decided to test out a car-free holiday and took the train down a day earlier to hike to the public transit accessible Lenggrieser Hütte.
Pro tip: it’s always a good idea to spend a quiet evening watching paragliders float around the mountaintops before an extended period of family time.
We also hiked up another mountain, ate a lot of Bavarian food, and enjoyed an evening at a riverside festival in Bad Tölz featuring a not-terrible cover band that did a range of hits from German Schlager to Blink-182. As one does.
Towards the end of the month, a friend and I fulfilled our yearly pledge to “finally get to the Annafest this year!” It’s a well-known Kirchweih festival in Franconia, and it was truly lovely to wander through the Kellerwald and see all the Biergärten nestled in the trees. We even got to enjoy some live music with our beer when a giant samba band camped out next to us. They were very good (and were having a great time, particularly their leader), but their set could’ve been sliiiiightly shorter. It was really loud. And really next to us with nowhere to move.
August and September were a whirlwind, as mentioned here, but hey… let’s have a few more pictures anyway, shall we?
A little color from the Gardener’s country wedding…
and a bit more mountains from my birthday weekend hike.
Same goes here. More pictures!
Some contrasting architectural styles from lovely Leipzig…
and that time I made friends with an enormous fluffy dog named Wally in Garmisch.
Oh, and these dramatically-lit cows in South Tyrol.
Alright, alright, back to normal life.
We wandered through the woods in the Oberpfalz after celebrating VillageGuy’s birthday.
And stocked up on Italian goodies as usual at the fall market in Nürnberg.
I decided to take myself to Munich for a day of random wandering through the city, a bit of museum-visiting, and whatever else struck my fancy.
Then it was onto the usual flurry of preparations and cleaning that accompany our annual village Thanksgiving tradition. We were eleven people this year and once again, it was a solid success.
December flew by in a blur of Christmas markets, finishing up some classes, baking cookies with the Villagers, and the general tying of loose ends that pop up at the end of every year.
We had no major plans besides his parents coming to us on Christmas Eve, and going to his dad’s place on the 26th, so we had a very calm few days of quiet here with the cat. We ventured back out for New Year’s Eve, and spent the night at a favorite Nürnberg restaurant (but not without hitting the Feuerzangenbowle first).
Of course in between of all this was a lot of work, a lot of baking and cooking, long walks around the village, and no shortage of silly games with the cat.
We also had some rough days, like when a portable toilet showed up a few weeks ago because our landlords had scheduled plumbing work and not informed us in advance… that was fun. The transmission of BV’s car went out at the beginning of December, and after a fair amount of discussion and weighing the costs of necessary repairs that *should* get us through next year’s inspection (but no guarantees from the mechanic, of course), we’ve decided to try going car-free for awhile.
Regarding last year’s goals, regular readers know that I hit my goal of 50 new recipes. I fell short on my yoga goal however, only having done yoga on 257 days instead of the planned 300. I fell off completely around Thanksgiving, after I was under the weather and realized I had no chance of making it. I’m going to take another crack at it again in 2019, and also branching out on the cooking to keep balanced. Can’t be too healthy.
So while it’s been a decent year and we’ve had enough to keep us fairly busy, it wasn’t without fault. There are some changes on the horizon, so we will see what 2019 will bring. Some plans are in the works and I’m looking forward to it!
As always, thanks for reading and hope you all are looking forward to this next year as much as I am! Cheers!
*I also posted it on Instagram. It’s gorgeous, but people act ridiculous in pursuit of pictures.