Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Paperwork and German bureaucracy are the only spooky and scary things filling up my Halloween day, but let me tell you - those are two things frightening enough to send anyone running away screaming in fear. 

In honor of Halloween, however, I wanted to share a few pictures of the pumpkin munchkin and I carved.  She picked out the design and was super enthusiastic about scraping the pumpkin's insides out, but left a lot of the actual carving to yours truly.  It was a fun evening together and she was darn proud of that jack o lantern! 

Pumpkin guts!

Our masterpiece ;)

All lit up!
Roasted pumpkin seeds made an appearance in the Brotzeitbox for a couple of days 
She's just the cutest little thing you ever did see!

Daily Diaries Link - up 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Scandinavia Trip - Day 6

When we arrived in Stockholm at 6 AM on Sunday morning, I was surprisingly awake considering that we had spent the entire previous night on a bus. We found our way to an ATM, ticket machine, and the metro system before heading in the direction of our hostel. Since we already knew that reception at the hostel didn't open until 8 we settled for some McDonalds coffee and a little waiting. Once we had changed our clothes and dropped off our bags at the hostel, we made our way into the city for our first of 3 walking tours that day. Yep, that's right, six hours of walking tours with action packed breaks in between. Let's just say Sunday evening we found ourselves two wiped out girls! 

Parade leading up to the changing of the royal guards

Changing of the guards

At one of the best viewing spots in Stockholm 

Walking tour number 3 of the day

One big perk of this hostel was the free pasta,  coffee, and tea for all guests which we of course took advantage of. Over dinner that night we met a nice little crowd of new friends and ended up staying up much later than we expected to considering our exhausting day.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Scandinavia Trip - Day 5

Day number 5 of our trip! We woke up in Oslo after sleeping in a little bit, knowing that we had a long day ahead. After checking out of the hostel and storing our luggage, we headed down to the Opera house. This Opera house is one of the most impressive buildings in Oslo not only because of it's design and location on the harbor, but also because it is built in such a way that allows visitors to walk out on the roof. It was spectacular! 

Oslo Opera House
View of the harbor near the Opera house

Inside of the lobby
Next up on our agenda was the Oslo Free Tour. Now, many of you may be familiar with the free tour concept. In many of Europe's major cities, young people work for tips, leading guided tours of the city's main sights while sharing cultural and historical insights. Many of the visitors to these tours are also young people, traveling on a budget, who give what they can in appreciation of the guide's work. It's really quite a cool concept. Oslo's walking tour, however, is a whole different ball game. It isn't run by a small organization of young people, but rather seemingly by one single guy who runs that show however he sees fit. 
Let me paint you a little picture! We show up at the designated meeting spot and shortly before the posted starting time a man appears in baggy pants and a sweater with a large black cloth draped over his head. When he asks us if we're here for the free tour we reply with a hesitant yes. "I can see you, but you can't see me," he tells us. Kayli and I exchange a look that is worth a thousand words as discreetly as possible as he explains that he is a street artist and therefore doesn't want to be recognized.  As the tour continues and he recounts the stories of his numerous arrests for various petty crimes, we begin to wonder about the real reason why his face may need to be concealed.  All in all the tour was okay.  It was definitely interesting to learn a bit about the underground culture of Oslo and to understand what some of the street art in the city means, but if you're looking for the more traditional tour of the city's historic landmarks with a guide who doesn't make you feel at least slightly uncomfortable throughout the duration of the tour, this tour isn't for you.  

At one point on the tour he took us up on a roof to look at the city from above a bit
Probably the coolest graffiti we saw

The rest of the day we tried to spend as normally as possible, visiting a few more of Oslo's parks and making sure we hadn't missed any must-see spots before moving onto our next Scandinavian destination. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Oktoberfest 2014

I know that I'm still behind on posting about my Scandinavia trip (unfortunately blogging tends to take the back seat when life gets super busy), but I wanted to dedicate a post to recounting my experiences at Munich's most well-know event - the Oktoberfest!

My first trip to the Oktoberfest or Wiesn was on Saturday, September 20th - opening day, when some friends braved the crowds to get a spot at the table and I was able to join them a bit later in the day.  That first day was my most extreme Wiesn experience.  I wore my dirndl and got to experience the atmosphere of the tent from traditional Bavarian music to dancing on the benches and singing along to the "Schlager" hits.  It was 8 hours of awesome, but I was definitely glad to be in bed by shortly after 11 that night.

First Oktoberfest visit!
The next day I found myself at the Oktoberfest once again, but only in the evening.  Mario and I ate k√§sekrainer and climbed up the Bavaria statue to enjoy a view of the fest at night.

Monday I found myself at the fest for the third day in a row with my host kiddo.  We ate Zuckerwatte (cotten candy) twice the size of kiddo's head and drank some delicious hot chocolate.  We took a ride on the Ferris Wheel and kiddo got to bring home an adorable little stuffed monkey.  

My next visits to the Wiesn weren't until the next weekend, but I packed the weekend full with a visit on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday evening. What can I say? Different friends kept asking to go and I could just somehow never say no. 

Oktoberfest girls night

When your friend comes from France specifically for the Wiesn you just have to meet up there....and take goofy selfies!
Sixth visit to the Oktoberfest!

My seventh and eighth visits came early in the next week, but coincidentally on the same day! Both visits that day were more child-oriented though, so no bier was consumed and therefore, according to Mario, those visits don't count.  But I disagree because I still did plenty of Oktoberfesty things like wear a dirndl, eat delicious sausages and roasted nuts and ride some classic rides. 

My 9th and final visit to the Oktoberfest came on Sunday, the last day of the festivities. It felt a lot like bringing it around full circle, as like on opening day, I found myself once again in a tent with three other friends.  We sat next to a nice couple from California and had a nice chat with them. I couldn't stay very long because I had to scurry off to babysitting, but it was a great final Oktoberfest hurrah none the less.  

Here's to more Oktoberfest fun next year! Prost!