Off To Italy We Go (Part Three)

The last and final installment of our vacation in Italy is FINALLY hot off the presses. Just a quick little update…I was taking a few classes during the summer and it took over my life! Hence why I haven’t said much since June! My apologies! I’m back at it though and have lined up quite a few fun posts!

Ok…on with it!

Our trip ended with a beautiful Easter Sunday Hike followed by a wonderful dinner of course. Luckily, the Easter bunny found me in Italy. I did send him a note to let him know so I’m glad he got that in time.

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But FIRST…the morning church bells that remind me of all things Europe. When we first moved to Germany, I used to be so annoyed by the early morning bell show that took place right outside my window (were were a road away from the church). But now, somehow, it brings me back really great memories of always knowing what time it was!

 

This was the front of our hotel. For some reason I just feel like decorations in Europe are really different. Granted, a majority of the products are with wood and felt but I just thought these big things outside the hotel were so cool! What weird shapes!

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Off we went on our hike (two VERY hungover people in tow…and no it wasn’t me!). I literally pushed Toblerone up the hill. Talk about a workout! But it was fun. We were walking towards a little restaurant that was a few miles up the mountain. And when I say up..I mean up.

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The views were beautiful and the little bits of snow on the ground reminded us quickly how high up we actually were.

We made it to the restaurant and I met a few friends, furry ones of course! Apparently goats love peanuts. Did you know that?

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On our way back down the mountain towards our hotel after a few drinks we stopped for some more drinking of course and snacks. My father-in-law is always providing the drinks for us. Only the best wine there is! (Note: The two most hungover people with no wine in their hands….:-) Brothers…)

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Back at the hotel we got ready for dinner. I put on my Easter dress and headed down to the dining room.

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Dinner was an array of amazing things. They had plate upon plate of meats, cheese, fruits, salad bar, etc. We also got a lamb or fish dinner and dessert but the main idea was a buffet! I do love me a good buffet!

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The weekend ended with a few drinks at the bar. My favorite? Amaretto liqueur with apple cider. The BEST. Try it sometime, you’ll thank me! Looking forward to going back to this hotel one day. We had such a great time!

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Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxo

Off To Italy We Go (Part Two)

After waking up with a gorgeous view of the Italian Alps we headed down for breakfast. We decided we would head into town to do a little shopping.

While there, we went to The Speck Museum which in English means The BACON museum. Very exciting times! As we walked in this jolly old Italian man who spoke VERY little German and absolutely no English, naturally, greeted us and said to me, “Hello Speck!” and I gave him quite the stare down. Did that man just call me fat? Do I smell like bacon?  Then he said I was like the Coco Chanel of Bacon. I guess if I was going to be any kind of bacon, I would want to be the fancy kind 🙂 He laughed and we both understood it was just all for fun.

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So there we are in a stone basement testing homemade smoked and dried bacon. There was bacon on the ceiling…

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Bacon on the walls…..

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It was indeed the Bacon Museum! There was also cheese down there but that’s not important. We did buy some to smuggle in our suitcases. Totally worth being a rascal!

We walked around the streets and did a bit of people watching. The Italians are such wonderful people. Somehow they are just so relaxed and inviting. I can’t really explain it!

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We went to a little cafe around 11:30 and the scene was something I could definitely get used to. A small cafe with outside seating as well as inside. Every table filled with friends sitting and standing, laughing at jokes, and drinking glass after glass of wine. Oh Italians, you have my heart! Here is a peek from inside the cafe from where I was sitting. It just made you feel like you were part of a bigger story…a big family.

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Back at the hotel after a day of shopping we spent the rest of the afternoon in the spa. I tried out one of the “quiet” rooms to see if I could actually sleep like everyone else does. I just hung out and read a book and listened to the spa-like music that was available.

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After hours in the spa and relaxing we got ready for dinner. I apologize in advance for the bad quality pictures. I only brought my phone with me…which is also a no-no in this type of fancy schmancy place but the things I do for my readers…:-)

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As with every night they start our table off with bread and a special cream cheese spread. On this night it was with Rosemary.

Next up we had a “Gruß aus der Küche” / “A Greeting from the Kitchen which was a sesame breaded shrimp on a marmalade of sorts.

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For an appetizer we had fresh made brioche or bread and with two different items made with tuna fish. The first option (on the left) was actual raw tuna that you find often in restaurants. On the right was a creamed tuna fish fluff that was out of this world good!

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Soup was a tomato cream soup with Parmesan foam and a raw ham chip. (Very salty ham chip…lol)

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Moving right along, We received a breaded shrimp ball in asparagus salad. Sooooo delish!

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Time for a little snack to clean up the palette before the main entree, we had a wild berry sorbet with passion fruit.

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The main entree was veal filet with vegetables and layered potato gratin. I actually opted not to have this because I don’t eat baby anything so veal was out of the question. However, I did order my own amazing shrimps dish (not pictured.)

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And lastly, to close the stomach we had fresh strawberries with a Sour Cream ice cream (Not like sour cream, but like pudding just not so sweet), with what they call Eier liquor drizzled. It’s not like anything I can compare it to here in the states. It’s an Egg-like liquor. Not like egg-nog…thats a thousand times tastier. lol 🙂

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That was our lovely evening and we were serenaded by this sweet girl who played the Harp for quite a long time…and really well if I do say so myself! Please excuse the awkward filming but again…was trying not to be too obvious. Here’s a small snippet nonetheless! (And you can hear the Swabian accent from my in-laws while you’re at it.)

More to come later on our trip!!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxo

 

Off To Italy We Go! (Part One)

I finally have a moment to share with you all our Easter trip to Italy this past April with Toblerone’s family. I was just looking through the pictures again and I am have a serious withdrawl. Looks like we need to plan another trip! (Hear that Toblerone…:-))

We left the house so early it was still dark out. I normally hate mornings that start off like that but we were all just SO excited about this trip that I could have left any time of the day and would have been ok with that! 6 hours of driving on the Autobahn and finally up into the Alps and on very curvy roads. It was a beautiful sunny day for traveling and we arrived in the early afternoon to our hotel, Alpen Tesitin…also known as, Heaven.232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-;79-nu=3255-25;-266-WSNRCG=3-;7-7445632-nu0mrj

 

Since there were six of us (Toblerone and I, his parents, his brother and sister-in-law) we took two cars up. One car (ahem…his parents) took the wrong exit so naturally while we waited I plopped myself down in the lobby and allowed myself to be waited on. A fresh glass of Italian red wine would do the trick!

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We also checked out our room. I just love the way that they make up the beds. I mean…how cute is this?! With our little spa robes and slippers. Just perfect! For those that don’t know, this is a typical Alpine Hotel and the room decorations show it. Really quaint and adorable. This hotel is quite modern but they definitely tried to keep the appeal of the Alpine style.

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Every day they place out a “lunch” snack of sorts. They had a large salad bar (much better than in the states), cold salads, hot soups, and of course….CAKES!!!!!

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Complete heaven…is it not?!?!

As we got settled in, we got ourselves situated. The Germans in the sun, per usual, and I wandering around checking out the “grounds.”

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Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore so I headed down to the pool and eventually into the spa. Yes, you know the kind of spa I’m talking about. The NAKED SPA!!!! My favorite!

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This pool connected to the outside pool with a view. I could sit out there forever just staring at the view. WiFi was limited so it really was great to “disconnect” and just be in the moment. I think we definitely needed this to recharge!

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More on the trip later!! I’ve got lots more to share with you all! 🙂

Until next time, Readers!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

2014: A Crazy Good Year In Review

Another year has gone by…flown by I should say. I guess when you have big life events, time just seems to coast right on through. I’m ok with that and more importantly I’m really looking forward to 2015 being a pretty low key year. More time for acclimating! 🙂

Before I give myself fully to 2015 I wanted to give a proper salute to 2014 by reviewing my favorite memories of the year! I’ve shared many great times between two different countries and strangely enough…Toblerone and I are feeling a bit homesick for Germany. It’s been fun going back through my blog and looking at all the pictures and reliving the moments! Can’t wait to go back there for Easter!!

Here’s a look back into my favorite memories of 2014!!!

1. Father-in-law’s 60th Bday Party – nothing like having a party for the half the town to celebrate your bday! 🙂

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2. Fasnet in our town – nothing like crazy costumes, drinking, music, and parades to get you in the spirit!!! We are so sad to be missing it this year!

Toblerone is in the red rooster costume :-)

3. Being in two places at once (First trip to Italy) – The absolute most memorable trip (besides my engagement in Ireland!) thus far. What a fantastic country Italy is… and being on the country line between Austria and Italy, I was able to knock off an item on my bucket list!

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4. Hiking in the Alps – I say it every year that I won’t go but I’m glad I went this last time. It was a view worth the exhaustion!

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5. Wedding in August – Cape Cod, pink wedding dress, lobster bake…whats not to love?!

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6. Going Away party in Germany – Bittersweet, but a great excuse to wear my drindl and party with the family! It was a warm send-off!

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7. Buying our first American home – We were lucky to find it so quickly and seal the deal a week and a half later! BAM!

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8. Thanksgiving with the family – We loved having Toblerone’s mom and my parents with us on our first hosted Thanksgiving in the US. I just hope we can host many many more!

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9. Christmas Market in Chicago – Hands down my FAVORITE city! The Christmas market gave us that little bit of that special German Christmas magic we were missing!

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10. New Years bowling with the parents – Great end to the year! We decided last minute to do a little NYE bowling while my baby sis lay sick in bed with some kind of crud. We were home by 10:30 and relaxed while watching the ball drop. Was really low key and I didn’t have a hangover the next day! WIN!

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2015 has a lot to live up to and I’m hoping it brings a lot of great changes for us! I’ll be taking my Placement test this coming week for school! Can’t believe I’m really going back!!! Of course we still have hopes for a baby just like every year for the past 6 year. Lets see what miracles will happen!

Wishing you all a wonderful start to the new year! Take a moment to reflect on all the wonderful memories that you made and make a plan to make more this year! Travel, meet up with old friends, make goals, make bucket lists, take a cooking class, join a choir! Do something outside of your box. I think you’ll find a great memory just waiting to be made!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Third Annual Hiking Trip In the Alps

My annual meeting with the Alps happened again. This time we traveled a couple hours away to the Lünersee in Austria. This was actually a tough climb and a lot of steep parts but hey…when in Rome!!

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With our group of 25 people we climbed up the first portion to a lodge (6,495 feet above sea level) for lunch and a few drinks. Note to self…don’t drink beer before you hike another 3 hours! Muscle will not function properly! Lucky for us there was a band there playing all the special German songs in their drindls and lederhosen which our group naturally helped out here and there! 🙂

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After lunch we headed out to our overnight lodge which was a good 3 hour hike. Straight up. It was pretty rough and quite a few people struggled but the thought that carries you through is the beer you get to have once you get there!

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7,824 feet above sea level we arrive at our lodge for the night. Sleeping is literally bunk beds but not the kind you’re thinking of. We are sleeping 5 across…one right after the other. In my room alone we fit about 18 or so. Lucky me…this meant no sleep with all the younger, crazy guys!

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In the evening we were served a 3 course meal (not bad for so far up the mountain. Remember…everything needs to be brought up there!). First course was a flädlesuppe, also known as pancake soup. Then on to Deer meat goulash. I opted for noodles of some sort. And dessert was icecream with pineapples. Not a bad set up! After dinner the music started going, people were singing loud, playing cards, and drinking away. A standard night up in a lodge over 7,000 feet high in the middle of the Alps. Right?

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The next morning…after ZERO sleep, we headed even farther up the mountains behind us and at this point, I started panicking I’m not sure what it is in my old age but as I get older the more afraid of heights I am. I’m not necessarily afraid of heights, let me rephrase. More like my body just starts to turn to jello and I feel wobbly. Like I will lose my balance at any moment and plummet to my death. But nonetheless, I survived…obviously!

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Hiking down is of course a lot less horrible and less work but when you haven’t had a lot of sleep the only thing you think is, GET ME OFF THIS DAMN MOUNTAIN! Or at least…those were my sentiments.

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A killer view like this is worth it though. How often do you see a massive lake high up in the middle of the Alps. It’s one of those gifts that the world gives us. And for a very brief moment nothing else seems to matter. The world has a funny way of putting things into perspective for us.

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

To Be In Two Places At Once

Vacation…yup. It was awesome and MUCH needed. Toblerone and I took 4 days with the idea to travel to the Austrian Alps and to skip across the border to check out Italy! I was pretty pumped to add another country to my list of “countries I’ve visited.”

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We traveled to Stubaital which is a valley that runs through the Austrian Alps. The really really incredibly massive and beautiful Alps. It was actually pretty different from other times that I’ve been. We drove up on top of the mountains and then there were little ski lodges and ski towns up on tops of these massive beauties. It was quite bizarre actually!

We enjoyed the naked spa as usual (heehee) and Tobi skied down a massive glacier. We took a quick little trip over to the Swarovski Museum in Innsbruck, Austria. This was actually probably one of the best museums I have ever been to. I was VERY surprised. I thought it was just going to be a room full of jewelry and such but they turned this place into a massive interactive art museum. Each room used crystals in it’s exhibit completely different than the last. What a really incredibly place! I saw it on Pinterest actually and never imagined I would be close enough to go visit it. And sure enough! I was stoked at first about the unique fountain outside but the inside was the best part!
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Toblerone and I also tried to be as young and fun as we once were so we went to a few bars at night but we really just wanted to go home to bed! My how the times have changed! But we played darts and watched the youngins down their drinks!

Date Night for these old folks!

Date Night for these old folks!

Darts!!!!!

Darts!!!!!


We filled our bellies with yummy 6 course meals…ok more like stuffed ourselves..forgetting completely about the fact that I have to fit in my wedding dress in 4 months. Lord help me! But it was worth it!

Then the last two days we headed to Italy. Granted, we stayed close to Austria so the scenery looks similar but the atmosphere is different. You can somehow feel it. I was so bummed about the service at the hotel in Austria and we crossed the border into Italy and something in the air changed everything. Maybe it was the fact that their stores are open on SUNDAYS!!!

I got to cross off something from my bucket list in the coolest way! I always wanted to be in two places at once and well… 🙂 Right on the border crossing into Italy for the first time in my life I was in Austria and Italy. Two places at once! Totally rad! 232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv7;49=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2--6438-3-239ot1lsi

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We were in a town called Vipiteno, Italy which was just across the border of Austria but what a darling little place! Everyone knows German but prefers to speak Italian of course. It was so fun to watch people switch back and forth between the two languages. And it’s really no joke…Italian is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. I could have listened to them all day long. We got to enjoy a mini wine tasting in one of the liquor stores and had fun looking at all the different foods they had there.

We started off in a little mini cafe/wine bar and to my surprise, we weren’t the only ones drinking wine at 10 in the morning! But the Italians are so cool about it all. They had a glass of wine, an espresso close by, and a water. You can tell they appreciate the good things in life. Food and drinks!
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Our hotel was gorgeous! Sadly we only stayed one night but we were just so in love with this place. So relaxed and there were many people but it was kind of nice.
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Not to mention..the dinner was INCREDIBLE!!! I can’t even put it into words. The dessert was a massive room filled with mini desserts! Omg…I took horrible pictures because I felt like such an American but you can get the idea! It was really really amazing. I over-ate on purpose. No shame!

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Before I left I was able to pay homage to a special part of my step-dad’s family. His mother is from Austria and his Dad from Italy. I made sure to light candles for them all in a church in Austria and in Italy too. It was so special for me to be able to do that in one trip. His family had lived in the US for a long time so after they had died, I don’t think (to my knowledge anyways) that anyone was able to give their souls peace in their homeland. Was pretty special. But magically enough, both churches had incredible views of the Alps and I felt like these two spots couldn’t have been better to do this.

The church in Italy

The church in Italy


Outside the church in Austria

Outside the church in Austria

Inside the church in Austria

Inside the church in Austria

If a trip has to end…then please let all trips end like this one did. On an incredible high note. Money well spent!

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(P.S. In the next week or so I will be posting up hints in the form of pictures to a MASSIVE REVEAL OF A SECRET I’ve been keeping since January! Please follow me on my facebook page to get these hints and be in on the fun!)

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Throwback Thursday

This week the throwback is to a FANTASTIC moment for me! I’ve fed all sorts of animals but never a cow! No better time to do this then in the Alps with wandering cows wearing giant bells around their necks! So in love! And as you can see from my picture…COMPLETELY excited!! 🙂

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Until next time, Readers!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo