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

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

I Found The Foot Fetish Holy Grail!

Maybe I should using the term “fetish” loosely. Pretty sure there are quite a few freaks out there who stumble onto my blog. Considering I get a lot of traffic for my post about naked locker rooms in Germany.

But….let’s get to the fun stuff. You ready for this?! One of my students told me about this really great thing he did with his kids a few weekends ago and I about DIED! Whats that you say? A walk in the woods….without SHOES?!?!?!? Ok..this about blew my mind. For real. Explosion of the brain was happening as he explained it to me.
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In the middle of the black forest is a town called Dornstetten. In this beautiful town is a park…this is called, Barfuss Park (bare foot park). You choose from two different routes, one for 1.4km for 25mins or another route for 2.4km for 60 minutes. This beautiful trail takes you through the thick of the black forest and has many different types of stones, wood, sand, nails, pinecones, even glass and mud to walk through! This for me was the greatest thing ever. Something totally off the wall and random…and the best part, it’s FREE!!!

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First and foremost…ein bier und pommes mit mayo und ketchup! (Did you understand that sentence?! Not so hard, right?!) Then we went on our way! There were really fun little things to see, play with, different stations, etc. This is great for kids as well. P.S…I apologize for how white my legs are. I really did try to make them nice and brown this summer…not in the cards for this Irish girl.

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Toblerone and I had a great time acting like kids. The perma-smile on my face said it all. (I don’t get out much, lol!) No but seriously, I haven’t jumped on a trampoline, walked barefoot, or even played on the monkey bars in YEARS! Since when did I get so old?!?!?

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Toblerone was a great model! I told him I had to take all these pictures just for you guys, and he obliged thankfully! (*****Applause for the Hubs!!*****) Check out that mud pit!! There were several moments of potential full body face plants. The mud was slick and was reallllly hard to walk in. But hilarious since Toblerone slipped every which way!

And now…for those of you that came here looking for some naked feet….live it up!
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We had such a great day and I would totally do it again! All you need is to bring a towel with you to dry off your feet at the wash stations at the end. Was most definitely the perfect way to start off the month of September!! For those of you who are in the area and are interested, please visit their website at: Barfuss Park

What do you think? Would you walk 2.4km barefoot and walk through the squishy mud and cold water???

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

The Annual Hike In The Alps

Fresh off the boat from China…..ok, it’s more like off the plane from America but same difference,…I put on my hot pink socks, laced up my fancy hiking boots, and grabbed my walking sticks for an adventure! It’s that time of year again when the Music Club of Toblerone’s hometown takes an overnight hiking trip to the Alps. Last year, we went on a similar trip just in a different area, which you can see here.

Day 1 – View From our hotel

Once in Austria, the plan was to hike up for a good 4 or 5 hours, get to camp (which is more like a hostel with dinner and drinks!)  and spend the night. Next morning climb back down for another 4 hours or so. All together, I believe it was around 10 miles of a hike but it’s not your average 10 miles…we’re going straight up and then straight down. Literally. So it was grueling and at some points dangerous but really beautiful as usual…and as always…I loved going down MUCH better than up!

Day 2 – Loved these funky trees all over the place!

We stopped along the way to have lunch at a little restaurant and witnessed a wedding high up in the Alps. How darling! Then we trekked on towards our final destination for the night. But somehow, once we relaxed for a few hours, people convinced me to go even further to the top of the mountain where a large cross is. (As in the one Jesus carried or whatever) I Went the extra mile (or 3 more really)  and went to summit but was glad to get back and not move for the rest of the night!

Day 2 – Group shot descending

Throughout the Alps there were small clearings and houses made of logs where farmers would stay only during the summer time. Their cows and other animals would be brought up to this area to feed on the fresh grass and would be fully equipped with bells. Each bell has a certain note so the farmer can constantly hear where his animals are. Intelligent, ay? In order for the farmer to get food, it’s delivered once a week. He then can collect it from the stream/river that they send it on for him or by hiking down to the town. Here’s an example of one of the houses:

Day 2 – Favorite shot – waterfall across the way

Check out the Slideshow for more of our trip!!

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And of course the only way to get completely down is with none other than by Alpine Rollercoaster! I don’t have pictures of this (was too afraid I’d lose my phone!) But here is a video to give you an idea of what it looked like. SO fun!! (This isn’t the exact one but very similar to this)

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

A Stroll Up In The Austrian Alps

I decided to test my athletic endurance and join along in a group outing (Toblerone’s hometown music club…) and hike up the Alps in Austria (This one’s for you dad!) I bought the hiking boots (my first real deal pair) and some of those really fun trekking sticks that I talked about way back when which, honestly, I never thought I would ever get into but considering I was climbing up a somewhat sketchy mountain and interesting terrain I decided a little help couldn’t hurt along the way.

So I was pretty pissed at myself for forgetting to set my pedometer but at least I remembered to bring headphones! Off we went with 16 people and Harley the dog. I jammed out to Dave Matthews, Amos Lee, and Incubus all the way up in the Alps and it was an absolute dream. I picked wild blueberries along the way which somehow got me all nostalgic thinking about that book, “Blueberries For Sal.” Do you people remember that book? Amazing. I need to buy it.

It was incredibly hot and the sun was blaring down on my pale, freckly, Irish skin. There were moments I felt it would never end. Climbing straight up for 3.5 hours is not really what I call exciting. However, as I got into it I really started to enjoy it and couldn’t wait to partake in some beverages once we reached the top. I definitely have a thirst to discover as much as the world as I can in my lifetime and I’ll do whatever it takes to quench that.

From what I understand you can find many little houses/resting places along the way and we stayed at one that was 1,900 meters up (1.18 miles/ 6,233 feet). So after hiking for 3.5 hours my feet felt like they were going to fall off, my skin was like bacon, and I was exhausted. Harley was having a grand old-time making running to the front of the pack then tripping people on his way to the back of the pack and he repeated this the entire time. He did good but was completely exhausted by the time we reached the house.

Here’s a little 360 view of our group and the view at the halfway point! 🙂

We had dinner, lots of drinks….too many drinks I mean….and stories around a large table. Other tables of hikers were singing and dancing. All sorts of merry things going on which is unusual for me but precious at the same time. Do I sound cheesy? Worst night of my life as far as sleeping was concerned. It was SO loud, these small rooms with no insulation left lots of opportunities for the early risers to annoy me to bits! Hangover in full throttle so I decided to leave the bedroom and hang out and watch the sun rise. Couldn’t eat breakfast and walking more than 5 foot steps was about to send me over the edge, literally. How in the world would I make it 3.5 hours down the mountain? Well…I found my cure for hangovers. WORK IT OUT!  As the toxins left my body, I gained some strength back…enough not to puke!

On our way home from Austria…our car decides to overheat…and with 4 cars full of people no one can get it together and come up with a good idea of what to do. The car service like AAA was only good for Germany and we were maybe 20 minutes from the border. DAMMIT! Stupidest idea of the century which guaranteed an immediate death sentence was to have another car pull us. As in we sit in our dead car  and go happily along the autobahn via a string! What in god’s name?!  We were given one burst of luck that got us to a rest area just down the road and there we had an impromptu picnic with Harley as we waited for someone to come get us.

So without further ado…check out the cool pics!!! 🙂 Wish you all could be here!!

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Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Vacation In The Alps: Day Three – Calm Down

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a few days. I’m prepping for my first day of German class. Not looking forward to one year of this nonsense for 5 hours a day, every day. Lame. 

Follow along with our vacation so far by reading day one here and day two here. xoxoxoxo

Day Three

Waking up to a champagne breakfast in bed is exactly how that sounds…PERFECT! You’re out of your minds if you think champagne for breakfast doesn’t give you that kick you need to start your day off right. It’s better than coffee, people. I can only say this because I don’t drink coffee.  Personally, a buzz in the early morning sunshine should be mandatory. Everyone would have a good start to their day! Along with the beverage we had the typical German breakfast complete with different meats, rolls, cheeses, oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, eggs, and much more! Total dream! I know…I sense your jealousy. You’ll get over it.

On this day we had planned to take a gondola ride up to the tallest mountain in that area, called Nebelhornbahn (Nay-bell-Horn-Ban). Reaching as tall as 2,224 meters or 7,116 feet. To set the scene: The sun was hot, dehydrated from champagne, and prepped to take a hike UP the mountain. Hmmm.

Upon arrival, parking became a SERIOUS problem. I knew already that I was going to get annoyed. Not a fan of a bunch of people and although I’m the foreigner here, I still feel like they are everywhere. Bad experiences in the US I suppose. Or maybe it’s my “I’m the only one in the world” complex. The line for the gondola looked to be a few hours wait so I planted my feet firmly in place as Toblerone ran in for the tickets. I quickly realized the Gondola is quite big and could hold a bunch of people so the line dwindled down super fast which was pleasantly surprising. My pale Irish skin was thankful. VERY thankful.

After about 25 people crammed into this Gondola we headed up to the top. Three Gondola rides later filled with sweaty people who ALL seemed to have forgotten their deodorant. I know this is Europe. I’m down with the unshaved armpits however, can they at the VERY least put on a little something to make the world a better place?Asphyxiation is not the way I want to die.  I suppose I shouldn’t complain, afterall…there were no waggling willies this time around!

We reached the top via Gondola. It was my lucky day since Toblerone was still healing from surgery we couldn’t do the whole hiking thing. YEAH! Of course this was pretty high up and falling down was NOT an option. It’s no Everest but I had to keep checking my breathing and oxygen level and checking for symptoms of high altitude sickness. I really need to stop watching the “Climb to Everest” show on Discovery Channel.


All the way up at various stages of the climb were small restaurants and such. At the very top we had a couple super cold beers and took a bunch of pictures – TOURISSSTTTTSS! Here’s what shocked me. We are sitting up on this mountain and people brought their NEW BORN BABIES up. Um, hello. What is appealing to a new born about witnessing this day. Talk about a pain in the ass. You have your stroller, milk, toys, blankets, hats, shoes…omg. I wanted to punch these people. Come back when the kid is at least 5 years old! Anyway, I was kid free and happy about it!

Heading back down the mountain we stopped at a cute little alpine restaurant and had lunch. Nothing better than wurst, senf, and brot. (Weiner, mustard, and bread!)  The sights around us were pretty amazing. Mountain tops as far as the eye can see. Incredible stuff!

Back at the hotel I went for another swim before dinner. Mental note made: next house we are putting in a GIANT indoor pool. That’s all there is to be said about the matter.

On the Menu –

Appetizer: Wasabi dip with chinese crab cracker and vegetables

Soup: Cheese soup

Dinner: Grilled fish in tomato sauce (wildflower garnish on the right) and rice. 

Dessert: Schwarzwalder Kirsh icecream with fruit and strawberry sauce (DELISH!)

We did our usual after dinner. Went out to find a bar and that we did. A glass or two of wine later and we had planned out our winter adventure here. Remind me to find cute wool sweaters and fur boots to wear with warm leggings. Maybe a fur hat too?!

Bed early to rise for “Princess Day”…. 🙂 Day four was my day…didn’t totally turn out to how it should have been but..well…you’ll read about it!

Until next time, Readers!! xoxoxoxo

Let’s Go For A Walk, Shall We??

Every morning, it’s become habit for Harley that he needs to go outside and run and play for an hour or so. After that, he comes inside…drinks a gallon of water and passes out for a few hours. This allows me to get all sorts of things done around the house without him tailing around behind me!

So, as I mentioned before there are many walking trails everywhere…connecting to each town, etc. It’s like an active person’s dream. Notice I said active person…this is not me. However, I’m getting into the swing of things and starting to really enjoy going to explore the world around me. Of course, I bring Harley as my trusty watch dog just in case there are crazy people or wild boars. Not that he would hurt either of those in my defense.

This morning I went on the walk solo (since Harley is visiting his Omi and Opi until Thursday!) and decided to bring along the camera so you all could join me! Here’s a glimpse of it all. I literally walk out of my door, and bang a left straight up the hill into the woods (to grandmother’s house…yes, literally I could walk to Omi’s house.) Keep in mind, these paths are always there, beaten down into perfection, and I never see people on them! Crazy talk.

Do you remember when you were a kid and you found that special tree or built a fort and felt completed isolated yet totally secure at the same time? This brings me back to that magical time and I really do wish I could share it with everyone.

Side Note: Since WordPress is really starting to annoy me with the fact that when I place pictures into my blog and then save, somehow half of them get erased. SO…another slideshow it is! Sorry about that!! :-))

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Until next time, readers!! xoxoxoxxoo