If there is one thing I love above all else, it is an occasion to dress up in a silly outfit and drink with my friends.
I am lucky enough to have some friends living in Southern Germany (the best part of Germany, obviously) and last weekend we met up for a good old-fashioned Bavarian Bier Festival. Picture Oktoberfest in the forest.
Despite the fact that I already own a bright pink Dirndl, I found myself in the Tracht section of a department store and walked out of there with a brand new one (though not without first swapping blouses for one I liked better).
We spent the rest of the day enjoying Festbier by the liter, eating pretzels the size of steering wheels and dancing on tables. Not a bad way to spend a sunny Saturday, if you ask me.
Over a year in the making, Kelly and I finally got to have our Wine on the Rhine weekend.
After arriving in Oberheimbach, a town so small you can practically spit from one side to the other, we quickly found that most things are already closed by 8pm on a Friday. Thus, we enjoyed a very fancy dinner for two, and ate so much that we barely touched our Apfelkuchen dessert.
The next day we rose with the sun (my bad for not closing the sunshade on our window before bed) and after a homemade German breakfast embarked on a 17km hike through the wineries and hills surrounding the town. Though we got rained on (more than once) and my crankiness showed its face (more than once) in the end the views were totally worth it.
We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening enjoying some local wines and the best Schnitzel I have ever tasted, while trying to get the restaurant dog, Arthur, to play with us (to no avail, sadly).
The next morning, a little worse for the wear though still ready for adventure, we decided on a whim to take the train to the next town over, Bacharach, and boy was that a great decision. Our visit happened to coincide with a Renaissance Faire, and we nursed our hangovers with savory crepes and lots of excellent people-watching.
There is something so magical about reuniting with friends, some of whom you haven’t seen in a over a year, and just spending time being a whole lot of ridiculous.
Also, “celebrating” the fact that the school you all earned MBA’s from has gone bankrupt. (I wish I were kidding). Thank God for dual-degree programs!
After returning from Spain, April has been pretty quiet. Which is good, because I have something planned for every weekend in May (and parts of June) so my bank account really needed a chance to get prepared for the onslaught of trips and visitors.
That’s not to say that I haven’t been busy.
I’ve spent every Sunday on a hike with my walking team. We’re training for a 100K charity walk this September. So far, the furthest we’ve walked is 17K so… we have a bit more training yet to do.
I saw one of my favorite bands in concert. There is nothing better in this world than singing along to your favorite songs, live, with the actual people who made them famous.
Kedar and I went to this little Volksfest near his apartment. I got my favorite German festival food, fried cauliflower with garlic sauce, and I won some pom-poms for hitting a few balloons with darts.
My friend Maren came to visit on one of the most beautiful weekends so far this year. We wandered around the city during the day, and spent the night coming up with excuses to not perform at Karaoke night.
Had my first meal on my balcony of the year, and introduced cabbage to my diet (totally in love with Asian-inspired cabbage salads these days, and even made it into filling for Vietnamese spring rolls last night!)
I am crazy jazzed for May and all the cool things I have planned, but April has been pretty great too!
Did you know that Spanish is listed under “languages” on my resume? Bet you didn’t. But after a weekend in Spain with a friend who kept getting confused and answering questions in German (instead of even attempting Spanish or just speaking English, which everyone speaks anyway) I feel confident enough to add “Spanish – Tourist Proficiency” to my list of skills.
After spending Easter in Spain I can also add the following to my list of skills:
- Choosing a vacation destination based on “what is the cheapest flight out of Germany on these dates?”
- Nodding and smiling when someone answers my broken-Spanish question with a rapid-fire Spanish answer.
- Making very detailed lists of recommended restaurants and things to do on a trip, and then not consult that list a single time.
- Managing to visit at least one of the recommended restaurants for dinner (by accident!), though spend the night drinking copious amounts of Spanish wine and not eating many of the actual Tapas.
- Getting sunburnt from spending a few hours rotating between the beach, a cafe in the sun, and back to the beach in Palamos.
- Choosing a restaurant based not on recommendations or menu, but on its name (Fish!)
I may not have gotten an Easter basket or eaten a single chocolate egg, but I still consider Easter 2013 a wild success.
Last weekend I dug out my Under Armour leggins, laced up my adidas, braved freezing temperatures and ran a 10K! If you are a dedicated reader you might remember that I attempted to run a 10K in the fall, but hurt my knee partway through and never finished.
This time, thankfully, I did finish! Certainly not with the most stellar time, but I was not last and escaped with merely some sore legs for the next few days.
The best part of running a race in Germany? Free beer at the end.
At the end of February I took a few days off of work and met Rick in Amsterdam for the day. We arrived around the same time on Thursday morning, but since had (literally) just flown from America, I gave him a few hours to nap and wandered the city on my own. After accidentally walking through the Red Light District I treated myself to a latte and the most delicious sandwich (goat cheese and hummus and honey and zucchini) at a cafe called Staalmeesters. Which does not seem to have a website but by no means does this mean that I do not recommend it!
After seeking out the famous big yellow clog (near Dam Square in front of a souvenir shop, for anyone who is wondering), we spent the afternoon at the Heineken Experience. Of course it was very touristy but you get some free beers during the tour and my dad even bought me a bottle of Heineken with my name on it, which was pretty cool.
We rounded out the day with dinner at Winkel 43 which, if you will recall, I went to the last time I was in Amsterdam. We had actual dinner but really went there for the apple cake. Delish.
The next day I was left to my own devices, as Rick had to go back to America (no rest for the weary!) After staying in the hotel as long as possible (thanks for the free lodging!) I headed out for a day of wandering. I stumbled upon some real gems, notably the Eichholtz Delicatessen, which was utterly overwhelming, and Kitsch Kitchen where I had to really restrain myself from purchasing any household items. I also fell in love with Hopjes (coffee-flavored candies), and would not turn down a bag of them from anyone who visits Holland in the future (!)
Eventually it was time to go home, along with my backpack full of American treats my mom sent along and enough Stroop to last me the 2:45 train ride home.