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.
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!
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.
Sometimes I have little moments where I need to step back and say to myself “Self, your life is really a lot more awesome than you give it credit for.”
Most of the time my life is pretty much the same as it would be living anywhere else: I commute to and from work 5 days a week, I go to the gym and have to force myself to do laundry and don’t vacuum as often as a woman of my age probably should. But when my weekend plans include (for example) going to Munich and not seeing a single touristy thing because I only went to hang out with my friend (and I’ve been there, done that with the tourist stuff anyway) sometimes its easy to forget how cool my life really is.
Here’s a quick recap of the best stuff that happened to me in 2012. Because who doesn’t love a wrap-up in February.
One year ago: I got my nose pierced on a whim on my birthday while on a three-week vacation in India. I would lose it in July sometime during an open-bar-at-a-wedding-induced blackout.
In April I went back to Hannover for a long weekend. I visited all our favorite spots from the year I lived there: sang karaoke, drank entirely too much beer and had a tuna melt from Henry’s.
In May I took myself on my first solo vacation, to Nice. And in June I returned to Freiburg only to have my phone stolen whilst I was sleeping.
In September we had a team-building activity in which we climbed and flew between trees many meters up in the air. I was terrified, hated every second of it, and I will never do it again.
I had many heart-to-hearts with my dear friend Kelly; some were awkward and some were not. I ran seven-tenths of a 10K through a park at night in September before succumbing to wrenching knee pain, and started wearing contact lenses in October.
I’ve already got some crazy things lined up for 2013, we shall see how it pans out!
Well, it happened. Nearly a year and a half after moving to Cologne, snow finally fell. And oh boy, did it fall.
started out with an innocent dusting.
When I left my house in the morning, the skies were blue and I remained doubtful that we would get anything more than rain.
By the time I got on my bike to the office 45 minutes later, the snow was falling and during the 7 minute bike ride from the train station the snow became blindingly thick and increasingly awful. I can now check something off my Bucket List which was never on it: ride a bike in a snowstorm.
a few hours later
Thankfully all this snow meant we were allowed to leave work early, but I’m scared to see what the town is like today. Maybe I will just stay safely at home and continue to enjoy the cream of cauliflower soup I made last night and watch ALL the Christmas movies.
And, its supposed to snow again tomorrow.
feathers, spandex, prepped liver… tomorrow is Karneval.