It’s a new year, so that means it must be time to look back on all the things I did the year before. Or as I like to call it, “all the blog fodder that I never got around to posting about, and a few things that I did.” But hey, there’s always the long dark of January/February. No guarantees though. Grab yourselves a cup of something warm (or spiked) and let’s get to the recap!
Some readers may remember that BV and I wanted to get away for NYE 2014, but didn’t manage it as I didn’t have my new residence permit in hand yet. In the end though, we realized we had to get out of Dodge for a minute, and decided to go snowshoeing in the mountains for a few days. We revisited Ettal, one of my favorite little nooks of Germany, and had some fairly entertaining conversations (Snowshoeversations One, and Two). I left with a new appreciation for winter sports, and what a few days of fresh air and vitamin D can do for a person in the long dark of January.
Ettal, I love you so hard.
It was a good thing that we went away in January, because I’m pretty sure I went into hibernation until about mid-March. And when I did leave the house, it looked like this…
Winter mornings before 8 o’clock should be banned.
Don’t think anyone could blame me too much for staying inside trapped under a warm Marry die Katze.
Cats > going out in that crap.
Things warmed up quickly (thank goodness), and in mid-March we headed down to see our villager friends, and celebrate another friend’s birthday with an absolutely enormous bonfire. The enormous bonfire was accompanied by an enormous (aka, American-sized) bottle of Captain Morgan for the birthday girl, so I think you can all figure out how that one ended. No, actually you probably can’t, because it ended with us roasting cocktail shrimp over the giant bonfire and watching the new kittens rocket around us in the darkness.
Not pictured: crazy kittens.
Once again we found ourselves yearning for a weekend away. After some debate, we decided a night in Munich in order to try a new burger restaurant was just the ticket for our Easter celebration. Only downside was that both the burger place, AND the magical craft beer hall were my new favorite places… and they are in Munich. So close, and yet so far… and so palace-y!
Of course there are good things here too, and I was reminded of that with an evening at Nürnberg’s own Volksfest, and some more time in the Franconian Switzerland.
The first of May is a holiday here, and I got the idea to invite a friend to go visit Schloss Linderhof with us. She was planning on leaving Germany (which happily, has not come to fruition yet), and had been frustrated by the trickiness of getting to the palace by public transportation. It is doable from here, but it’s basically playing planes, trains, and automobiles. So we cut out the first two parts, and drove down for the day. We enjoyed the colorful tour guide, the equally colorful pint-sized palace, and a slightly damp walk around the sprawling grounds. After that, we headed back into Ettal to see the Kloster, and to revisit the French Onion soup (and other goodies), at a restaurant that we had found on our January visit.
Schloss Linderhof in the rain.
It’s a good thing that May had a lot of holidays, because the month was absolutely action-packed with activities. A long weekend in the middle of the month fell over BV’s birthday, and we packed the car and headed for some hiking in South Tyrol. If you haven’t been there, go put some shit in a bag and go. I fell in love with the place, and not just because of the food… or the lakes… or the mountains…
Chapel over Toblach/Dobbiaco.
Speaking of love, the last two weekends of May were occupied by weddings, so it was lucky that we had gotten some relaxation time in earlier in the month. Both weddings were fun, lovely, not to mention the first German ones I had attended, but two in two weekends is exhausting. Wedding planners must be off their rockers, that’s all I’m sayin’.
Both photos above are from the first wedding we went to, which took place around Nürnberg. The church was one of the coolest little village churches I’ve seen, with interesting details around every corner, and its own defensive wall surrounding it. The newest thing in there is possibly older than all of America, which is always fun. The reception took place at a teeny tiny “castle” in a random village, because every random village here has a teeny tiny “castle,” or so it seems. Wedding in the Marriott Hotel Ballroom C, it is not.* Again, minor differences.
After all the excitement of May, it was back to business as usual. Juuuuust kidding. It was back to business as usual for about two weeks, after which we set off for Italy again (I know, I know), for our ‘official’ summer vacation. A few days of hiking in Cinque Terre (CT posts here, here, and here), mixed up with sight-seeing and beach-laying, and then a few more days spent around Lake Garda was absolutely magnificent. I still have so, so, so many pictures from the week that I’d love to share, but like I said before… no promises. (Bad blogger. Bad.)
Lake Garda, you are pretty.
Our vacation fell in June this year because in July BV was really supposed to get rolling on his thesis project for his Master’s program. The ball got rolling, but it started pretty slowly so at this point, it looks like he’s going to finish a bit later than he had originally planned on. In between work and study, the only thing of note we did in July was drive up to Alzenau with his mom to visit the Bavarian Garden Show for an afternoon.
Why yes, I would like one of these giant chairs to lounge in our garden and read.
August was mostly about work, and working on some other projects around the house. I finally got cracking on the chair project, and spent several hot afternoons in the yard sanding and painting.
After… now just needs paint.
August also brought my birthday, but due to the fact that it fell during the week and sometimes I do have to work, we stayed home for the actual day this year. I dispatched BV to my favorite Asian takeaway place in the city, where he picked up dinner for us, and we spent a quiet night at home. The following weekend we took all the trains and buses humanly possible down to Mittenwald for some hiking, and a slightly late celebration trip. I also got to catch up with one of my old roomies from Prague, who stopped for a night of camping in Nürnberg on her way back from France.
Mittenwalder Hütte, home of crazy noodles.
Fest season kicked into high gear again with an afternoon at the Nürnberg Volksfest (now with Schanzenbräu!), and a few days in Munich. An old friend from college took a break from her Paris trip to fly in for a few days with her husband, so we took them festing and Munich-touring. Things like that make me appreciate Facebook, because it was a pretty good time. Hopefully they thought so as well!
I also wish the Viktualienmarkt was much, much, closer to here.
Side note regarding the above Oktoberfest photo: now normally I try not to post photos of random people because Germans on the whole are a little nuts about privacy laws. But I only took three photos during our trip to the Wiesn this year, and I didn’t even really notice this one until several days later, and then I could not stop laughing at it. So what do we think… do those two know each other? Is he just pining for a cute girl in a Dirndl? Is she actively ignoring her date? Isn’t this picture an exacting snapshot of life in 2015 (minus the Tracht, that is)?
We almost didn’t make it to Oktoberfest though, because a few days before that, BV and I took his brother M for a (difficult and pain-inducing) last hiking trip to the Tegernseer Hütte. The hiking trip was preceded by a night of poker (and whiskey) with the Villagers… not our best-laid plan, in retrospect. That hiking trip was rough, but gorgeous, and most definitely deserves its own post. It’s good to have goals, right?
En route to the Tegernseer Hütte in the mist and gathering dark.
I’m pretty sure I went back into hibernation after a few months of way too much excitement. Beyond that, we did drive up north to spend a night with BV’s grandma, as we had missed her birthday party when we were both sick. Too much excitement, like I said. We also checked out the first exhibition of photos from Instagram in Nürnberg, which was pretty cool to see.
At the end of October, BV declared that he needed a few days away, and since he had to use the last of his holiday days, we headed down to Reit im Winkl for a perfect last (really this time) hike of the year.
After that, November was back to work, a little more work, and trying to plan our Thanksgiving that was so impossible to schedule this year, I started to wonder if people got food poisoning the year before and just didn’t want to tell me. Mostly joking there, but due to a bunch of inconvenient factors, we ended up hosting the fourth annual Thanksgiving dinner in…
Since my last post was a December thus far post (and includes said turkey), feel free to just hop over to that one…
As for the rest of the month, we got our things together for Christmas with one last pleasant day in sunny Nürnberg, which also included some Feuerzangenbowle (of course), and seeing Star Wars with friends.
Hello, old friend.
Lorenzkirche in the sun.
Then it was on to the official Christmas celebrations, which kicked off here with BV’s parents on the 24th. On the 25th, we headed to his dad’s for a duck dinner with his little brother M, as well. As per usual, it was way too much food, but what’s Christmas without entirely overdoing it? No fun, that’s what.
Another positive note: I have proof this year that I do in fact have the capacity to learn, because on New Year’s Day the last two years, I have had to make an emergency run to the Shell station, which wasn’t even open by the time I got there last year. This year, BV and I stocked up for a few days at home in advance, and even remembered an industrial-sized bottle of Coke Light, and chips. We weren’t even planning on going for Greek this year, but better safe than sorry. First we wanted to go away for NYE, but nothing super appealing was still available, there’s not much snow in the mountains so snowshoeing was out, and then we just got tired of talking about it, haha. We had a few invitations but in the end, pajama pants and staying home won out.
So last night here we were, and we had a lovely evening with movies, games, a nice chat with my parents on FaceTime, and an absolutely enormous Raclette feast. We didn’t even get to the dessert course, so you know if we opted out of chocolate, it was a lot of food.
I heart Raclette.
Overall though, it was the perfect way to end the year… and not just because I was wearing pants with an elastic waist. It was relaxed, it was fun, and that’s what we’ve been trying to shoot for over here. Less stress, less worry, (less wearing of pants), and maybe even a little productivity. Sometimes.
To wrap it up, I’d just like to share one last picture, and that’s my top nine pictures of the year from Instagram. I think it’s a pretty good representation of the year, especially reading back over this post. 🙂
Thanks again to all of you for reading, and I hope you all had a safe, fun, and festive slide into the New Year. Happy 2016!
P.S. – Like last year, I’ll throw in a shameless plug for my sister Holly’s blog, which you can find here. More readers may mean more posts, or at the very least, more pictures of crazy shit in Korea.** Go visit her!
*Not that there’s anything wrong with having a wedding in a hotel ballroom. Whatever trips your trigger… not trying to offend anyone here.
**Crazy shit in Korea = pretty much everything in Korea, it seems.