Sunday Snapshots: Bring Back Italy

Nürnberg, 2013

I always make time to get to the Italian Market in the spring and fall, but this picture just reminded me that it used to pop up in summer too. I think it was part of a Venetian weekend in Nürnberg, but I’ll be darned if I can find any information on it now… maybe it no longer exists? Help me if you know! Need more truffle sausage!

Sunday Snapshots: En Route

Oppland, Norway 2017

Normally I consider taking pictures out of car or train windows to be kind of pointless. It’s always blurry, or the window is dirty, or you’re moving too fast to really get anything good. Norway was not normal. When everything is gorgeous, it’s warm enough to have the window open, and you can’t drive that fast anyway… snap away.

Sunday Snapshots: Munich in MKE

Milwaukee, 2013

Milwaukee, 2013

When in Munich…. er…. Milwaukee….

I’m pretty sure the first time I told BV that we also had a Hofbräuhaus in Wisconsin, he didn’t believe me. Good thing we were able to clear that up on our visit a few years ago! Even before moving to Europe, I was a big fan of this place -officially known as the Old German Beer Hall- as it was a rare opportunity to get real-deal German beer,  and I have many fond memories of playing Hammerschlagen with friends after a day of tailgating at summer Brewer games. Many good times were had, but if you are playing for shotskis, I recommend playing with people who are not more than a foot taller than you. Physics gets tricky after a few Maß.

Side note: the bar also has a competition every year for one faithful patron to win a trip to Oktoberfest. Basically, who drinks most, wins. The arm you see in the bottom of the photo belongs to the previous year’s winner, and judging from that day, she was well on pace to take the contest again.

Sunday Snapshots: Village Spring


Franconia, 2014

I’ve often wondered if there is some sort of law in Germany that requires all village-dwellers to plant at least one flowering tree in their garden. So far I have not found any definite proof of my theory, but photos tell a different story. Morning walks to work transform from mundane to idyllic in the spring.



Sunday Snapshots: Spring Skies


Franconia, 2015

One of my favorite things to do in the spring is to walk across the fields to our neighboring village. There you’ll find a hotel with a sweet little Biergarten, very friendly waitstaff, and cats which sometimes have to be kicked off your chair when you want to sit down. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a couple of Feierabend* drinks, and sometimes some dinner as well. And it’s all even better when you get this sunset view on the way home.

*Feierabend – quitting time 🙂 Very Important Word to know.

Sunday Snapshots: Tiny Theaters

7bad windsheim

Up until recently, I spent Thursdays riding many trains to and from some classes in Bad Windsheim. While tiny, it’s fairly famous in Franconia due to its Freilandmuseum, thermal baths, and the prime location near many wine hills and walking trails. The town center is packed with lovely buildings covered in ornate details and the usual Fachwerk houses, but this was one of my favorite buildings in town.

Like the US, most small towns here had their own movie theaters back in the day, but you don’t see too many of them still standing. This is possibly the smallest theater I’ve ever seen, and I hope one day that my German is good enough to stop in and catch a movie if I’m in town again.

2015 Recapped

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Schloss Nymphenburg

Schloss Nymphenburg

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.

nbg volksfest


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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

nbg instagram


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.

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.

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.

Sunday in Pictures

Yesterday was a fairly typical Sunday around here, so I thought I’d share a few pictures.

First off… these red things are all over around our house at the moment. Clean shoes beware!

sunday pics1In the afternoon, we were off to BV’s dad to have a little Sunday lunch. And by “little,” I mean absolutely enormous Schäufele for the guys, and two steaks for me. For some reason, no matter how many times I only manage one steak, two always show up on my plate. No pictures of food today though, instead I thought people may enjoy seeing what stares at us while we eat….

Yes, one is a Wolpertinger. Beware.

Yes, one is a Wolpertinger. Beware.

After they had all stuffed themselves silly with pork, BV and I returned home and decided to try to walk some of it off before the Packer game. We went my usual route around the village and it was a truly gorgeous evening.

sunday pics13

We also made a quick stop at the cut-your-own flowers-and-grab-a-pumpkin stand to see if there were any spaghetti squash, but they were all out. I was a little sad to see how many gladiolas hadn’t gotten picked this year, because they are one of my favorite flowers. They still had great color… I’ll have to go by more often next year to get some.

sunday pics17The sky started to get dark, but it was still lovely.

We got into the village, and took a moment to stop and appreciate one of the fabulous gardens. They redecorate this well often, and the whole area around it is an absolute riot of color. Flowers, garden statuary, lights, they’ve got it all. The downside is that the windows of the house are right there, so I always feel like a creeper when I try to take pictures. Hence the blurriness.

sunday pics18We made a quick stop at the local restaurant for a beer (since we had worked off at least some of the enormous lunch), and after that we headed home for the Packer game. Marry die Katze was a bit out-of-sorts with us for leaving her alone all day, and here she is… doing her best to distract me from Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the crew.

sunday pics19


That was my Sunday… how was yours?