And welcome to Germany! This might be one of the longer posts, simply because I spent almost a year in this beautiful country (my husband much longer than that), so I have quite a bit to say.
I still remember when I decided to pack up my entire life, and make the big move overseas, having no idea what to expect. Everyone thought I was crazy, and if I had a dollar for the amount of people that tried to talk me out of it, well, let's just say I'd have a lot of dollars.
Was it scary? Hell yeah it was. Was it the best decision I'd ever made? Totally.
After being in a long distance relationship for so long, I was all of a sudden living with a guy that I'd only seen twice in person. That "guy" is now my husband, my best friend, and my soul mate.
Maybe one day I'll tell you guys the whole story of how it all went down...
We lived in a little town called Speicher, and the pictures you see here, is basically what our back yard looked like. I spent a lot of time here, going on my walks and runs,and it was most beautiful during the warmer months.
The best part was the fact that the Russian store and the ice cream shop was within walking distance.
Hands down the best ice cream I ever had.
Living in Europe meant it was easy and affordable to travel around to different countries, but we also did quite a bit of traveling around Germany. It was nice because there were quite a few cities that we could just drive to on the weekend that were only 1-2 hours away. Bernkastel was one of them.
It's quite a romantic little town, filled with lots of history and beautifully preserved buildings from a very long time ago. This is where we would come for the wine festival, as well as many other festivals that are always happening year round. Everything here looks like it's straight out of a fairytale.
Frankfurt is another place we went to. Although it still has its very much preserved little German buildings, it's also a more modern city, filled with lots of shopping, restaurants, and whatever else the hustle and bustle of the city has to offer. Did you know Frankfurt is over 2,000 years old?! Whether it be visiting landmarks, museums, or gardens, there is something interesting for everyone.
If you're looking for a bit of a thrill, might I suggest a trip to Phantasialand, which is a theme park located in Brühl, about 20km from Cologne.
This is the most beautiful theme park I've ever been too, and one of the themed rides was even opened by Michael Jackson!
Pretty cool, right?
Now let's talk about one of my favorite cities in Germany, and a place we frequented quite a few times: Cologne (Köln). This is the 4th largest city in all of Germany. It's filled with high Gothic architecture, and it's got this absolutely magnificent cathedral right in the heart of the city. You can't miss it. It's huge! And the inside of it is just breathtaking. I felt like a tiny ant in comparison next to it.
Cologne's streets are filled with many restaurants and shopping spots, and it's the perfect place to people watch.
It's also got a pretty nice zoo, so if you're looking for a family friendly adventure, you don't have to look far.
This city really has something for everyone. Young or old.
We even found a delicious all you can eat Korean BBQ spot, that we made sure to visit every chance we got.
As I mentioned earlier, there are many different festivals that are always happening around Germany.
One of our favorites was the Pig Festival, aka Pig Fest.
This festival takes place every year in August in a little town called Wittlich, which isn't too far from Bitburg and Spangdahlem.
They set up a ferris wheel, other carnival rides, game booths, beer and food stands...
There are performances, and people dressed up in traditional German clothing, and of course, the main attraction- the roasted pigs.
Over 100 pigs are roasted in a 4 day period!
You're basically eating all sorts of pork dishes and drinking beer all day.
Don't worry, if you're not a fan of Bitburger beer (it's pretty gross), they also had banana beer, cherry beer, mango beer, ect.
Our personal favorite was the pork sandwich. It was basically a bunch of juicy, tender, freshly roasted pork in between a delicious bun and topped with a special mustard.
So simple, but oh so good!
The holidays are a magical time in Germany. You really feel the holiday spirit everywhere. One of my favorite things to do during the holidays here was visiting the Christmas markets. This one that we went to was once again, in Cologne, and it was extra special because I got to experience it on my birthday.
The Christmas market is set up with lots of vendors selling all sorts of artsy and unique things. They can be quite pricey though, so bring extra Euro if you're planning on doing any actual shopping.
We just enjoyed looking at everything and eating vendor food.
It is pretty cold during this time, so dress extra warm, and grab yourself some Glühwein aka Mulled wine, which is a traditional drink here during the cold months.
It's basically a hot or warm spiced wine that you can enjoy while walking around.
The last place I want to mention is a town called Trier, which we often went to because it was only about 30 minutes away and near the Luxembourg border. I don't know why I don't have any photos from here. I will have to do some digging, and I will update if I find more.
This is were we came often for our shopping and sightseeing dates. Oh, and to eat shnitzel of course!
This town may be little, but it contains quite a few well preserved Roman structures, that are always fascinating to look at.
It is also said that the Holy Robe of Christ is located here in one of the churches, as well as one of the Holy Nails that was used to crucify Jesus.
How crazy is that!?
Most important of all, our little town of Speicher is the place where we officially said "I DO" and tied the knot. Our original plan was to have a little romantic wedding in Greece, but since Military life is full of random "surprises", we had no choice but to have a rushed small and humble courthouse wedding here. I didn't have a dress. I didn't have a makeup or hair artist. We didn't have our family...
As soon as the ceremony was over, we came home, he put on his uniform, and went straight to work. That was it.
It worked out quite well in the end, because instead of spending thousands of dollars on a fancy wedding, we were able to travel the world instead, and that in itself, was worth it.