Saturday, August 23, 2014

Italy and San Marino Weekend Trip - Day 3

Sunday morning, the last day of our trip, we woke up to an alarm right around 8. We had packed everything but the tent up the night before so it didn't take too long to get checked out and on the road. We crossed the border from San Marino to Italy one last time and were a little bit sad to be driving away from warmth and sunshine.

Bye Bye San Marino Camping 

We still had one more chance to enjoy the sunshine, however, with a stopover at Lake Garda. We cooked lunch with our handy dandy travel range and then stretched ourselves out under the sun,lulled into a mid afternoon nap by the sound of the waves.

The beautiful Lago di Garda

After a quick dip of the feet in the water we were off to explore the old town a little bit. Gelato was, of course, a must, along with a bit of window shopping and picture taking.

On the border with Austria we stopped for coffee and a chance to stretch our legs, after which I curled up for a little nap in the car until the German border and our stop for gas. 

Due to some traffic jams we were quite late getting back into Munich.  We definitely made the most of our long weekend trip though and I can't wait for more adventures coming soon.  

I'll give you a hint - my next adventure involves a northward flight and the lands of the vikings :) 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Italy and San Marino Weekend Trip - Day 2

Saturday morning we made a nice breakfast in the camp and then set out for a bit more adventuring in San Marino.  I went to the tourist office and got a San Marino stamp put in my passport, one of the very few souvenirs I bought on the trip.

Displaying IMG_20140816_103025.jpg

We had the bikes with us and decided to do some more biking in the hills of San Marino. I was quite proud of myself for biking much better than the day before and it felt good to conquer some hills and see the views which rewarded us at the top.  We even crossed the Italy/San Marino border on our bikes and took more pictures, of course :)
Border crossing, bike edition :)

We were getting really hungry by the end of our bike tour, but unfortunately we weren't having much luck finding a quick place to eat nearby. Since it was a bit past lunchtime a lot of cafes had their kitchens closed for the afternoon.  So we did what every tourist hates to do and ended up grabbing something at McDonalds. At least we had a nice view ;)

We had one final adventure in the city center and then in the evening we rested a bit at the camp site, ate some watermellon, wrote a postcard to my mama, and had some good laughs.

Once it was dark we headed back to Rimini and the beach for the some nighttime exploring.  The night life on the promenade and near the beach was exciting.  Mario bought me a pretty purple bracelet from one of the street vendors and we enjoyed some late-night gelato. Back at camp we showered and called it a day, cuddled up in our sleeping bags and hiding from the nighttime cold.

Italy and San Marino Weekend Trip - Day 1

With Mario working a full time internship this summer, we didn't have a lot of time for far away adventuring.  We made the best of a public holiday this Friday, however, and headed down south to the sunshine and beaches of Italy and San Marino.

Our alarms went off just before 3 AM on Friday and we were on the road by 3:40. We don't mess around when it comes to extreme vacationing and with nearly 700 kilometers (435 miles) to cover on Friday, we wanted to make the most of the day.

Our first stop of the day was Rimini, Italy, where we got our first look at the beach and had a nice walk in the sand, despite how crowded the beach area was.  We walked along the promenade a bit as well as towards the old town to get a bit more of an impression of Rimini.

Someone's happy to be at the beach!


Rimini Harbor

Lighthouse near the harbor

Having already crossed the Austrian and Italian borders that day, we still had one more border crossing left for the day - San Marino!!! San Marino was Mario's 50th country and my 32nd.  As usual, lots of pictures at the border were necessary.

Our first view of the San Marino border!
Standing between two countries

There is only one campground in San Marino, but we took our chances and showed up without a reservation and just like all of those times during our 2012 camping adventure, there was a place available for our tent - a quite nice place even!

A pic of our camping spot from the second night there.  Complete with the watermelon rind which Mario mounted on top of that stick 

After setting up camp we inquired about the route to the city center and, having been told that it was only about 5 kilometers away, we headed out by bike.  Little did we know, however, that these 5 kilometers were ENTIRELY up hill.  And I don't mean just a little incline. I mean intensely steep monstrosities with not a single flat break to be seen. Needless to say, by the time we got to the cable which would take us the rest of the way to the top, my mood was a little sour.  The ride back down should have been fun, in principle, although I am also rather afraid of extreme downhill paths.

When you consider that the entire city center is a fortress built atop a giant hill, those steep roads leading to and from it are completely necessary and totally worth it for the views up top.  We were rendered speechless by the beauty of this tiny republic.

View from the top!

Typical small street with shops

Central square of the fortress

Can't get enough of that view!

Path to one of the three towers of the fortress

Now THAT is some beautiful gelato!
After our afternoon in the city we came back to the campground to shower and relax a bit before heading back to the city to eat a nice dinner.  This time, thankfully, we drove the car to the city, so no extreme biking had to be done. We ate the most delicious pizza, salad, and wine I have ever had! They aren't kidding when they say that Italian portions are big! We were stuffed to the brim and I couldn't finish my food even with Mario's help.  The dinner itself was thanks to my host mom who, finding out about my trip, gave me some money with the instructions "Dinner for two in San Marino". She is seriously the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful person! I have the best host family in all of Germany!

Note the cool pizza oven in the background

After dinner we walked around a bit more to see the city at night and fell asleep almost immediately upon returning to the campground.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Salzburg Day Trip (Sunday, August 2nd)

A 5:45 alarm the morning after Bergfest wasn't exactly pleasant, but spending the train ride to Munich snoozing helped a bit.  Meeting up with our travel buddies for the day, we grabbed a coffee and some bread before boarding the train to Salzburg. The train ride was filled with some information from our tour guide and chatting among our group.  One guy in our group told us that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend at the end of their Eurotrip and we gave our two cents worth about the most romantic/most cliche/most memorable places he should pop the question.  Kayli added him on Facebook, so hopefully we'll see how the big proposal turned out.
Salzburg from the train

Next stop, Salzburg!
Once we arrived in Salzburg we made our way into the city with our group and had a nice walking tour of the city. By the time it came to an end, however, we all really wanted something to eat. Or, in the words of Mr. G, "If I don't get sausage, beer, and chocolate in the next 5 minutes I'm going to start committing crimes".  Needless to say, we ate our way happily through Salzburg that day.
Displaying IMG_20140803_124632-1.jpg
Obligatory Salzburg bridge picture

Salzburg streets
So many yums!
Displaying IMG_20140803_144224.jpg
View from the Catacombs

We visited the Mozart's birth house and drank coffee in a cute outdoor cafe, another two musts of Salzburg. Kayli was nearly thrown out of the Mozart house for attempting to sneakily take pictures...schwoops!

Mozart's birth house
Displaying IMG_20140803_161919.jpg

The sun was shining down on us and all and all it couldn't have been a more beautiful day!

Au pair friends in Salzburg
On the train ride home we all wrote our favorite things from the day on postcards and then everyone got a postcard with everyone's memories on them.  Such a nice way to remember the trip!

Once we got back to Munich we headed to a Biergarten in the city and eventually all parted ways.  Even though I had been in Salzburg two times before, I think this trip takes the cake! Thanks Mr. G for inviting us on this awesome adventure!!!

Monday, August 4, 2014


It's official! I have a dirndl! This traditional German (especially Bavarian) dress is a must-have for anyone planning to stay in southern Germany for a while.  I had a bit of an idea in my head of the type of dirndl I wanted, but when Kayli and I went dirndl shopping a couple of weeks ago there was one that just stuck out to me as the one I had to have.

On Friday my little munchkin and I dressed up in them and took some sweet pics!

I got my first chance to wear it out somewhere on Saturday night at Hilpoltstein's annual Burgfest! The last time I was at Burgfest was two whole  years ago! And in many ways that feels like a lifetime ago! My first Burgfest in 2012 was loads of fun, but I remember feeling so shy and overwhelmed, meeting so many people whom I could only kinda sorta understand in a town I was visiting for the first time.  In those two years since that first Hilpoltstein weekend I've been back dozens of times and gotten to know many of Mario's friends.  Not to mention I can hold my own in German these days :) We didn't plan on staying super late at the fest, but in the end we stayed until it was starting to close down and then some.  Definitely a fun night even if we did have to wake up to catch a 5:45 train the next morning...but more on that soon!!!

Sommerfest Band Performance

Oh my poor, sad, neglected blog! I've hardly had time for this hobby of mine in the past month, as I have begun my online teaching certification classes, taken on a short-term job "teaching" English to the most adorable little 2 year you ever did see a couple of mornings per week, and gone on a number of weekend trips and adventures.  I am trying my best, however, to slowly and surely get back into it and backtrack on the recent events of interest.

To begin with, I'd like to share the exciting news that the band I joined had our first performance! Last Sunday, July 27th we played for the church's Sommerfest!  My host mom and host sister even came to watch and I felt so loved! We had a few minor glitches, but I think they went more or less unnoticed by our audience.  I had a bit of nerves which probably affected by voice somewhat, but overall it all went well!

Right now there are videos of two of our songs on Youtube. Hopefully there will be more up within the next couple of weeks.

I suppose I'll let the videos do the rest of the talking!

"Herr รถffne du mir die Augen/Open the eyes of my heart Lord"

"Whom Shall I Fear"