Oktoberfest Through Instagram

Yesterday I went to Oktoberfest 2013 and a festive occasion it was!  We happened to go on the second day of Oktoberfest, so you know it was packed!  Even on a Sunday.  This time we were smart and got a hotel for two nights and just took a cab in the morning (9:00) to the festplatz.  6 million people a year attend this event and growing.  The fact that we go early helps.  We again found a table just by arriving early and we didn't have to reserve in advance... like months in advance.  Brandon and I walked around the fest for a bit to show our two friends who came to visit, what it was like.  Then we decided on our breakfast.  They chose bratwurst and a roll, but I chose a chocolate covered banana.  Wasn't feeling the greasy food so early in the morning, but chocolate, hell yea.  Now bring on the beer!

We decided on the Paulaner tent because Brandon loves the beer.  Because we arrived early we were all able to snag a seat along with some Germans we met from Munich who were also on the local Soccer team.  We also met some cool Australians.  The next 5 hours were spent at this table doing God knows what.  We drank, ate huge pretzels, and got stepped on as people were getting up and down from the tables.  Every so often a very inebriated person would stand on their table and chug their entire beer as even more inebriated spectators cheered them on.  Below they look on as the Oom-pah band begins their set.

I usually don't drink beer, like ever, so it was rare form for me to be enjoying this massive Oktoberfest beer.  Last year we partied in the wine tent.  This year I gave in!  But I was drinking Radlers all night which is a mixture of beer and lemonade.  Germans also have Colawiezen which is a mixture of cola and beer.  They are pretty refreshing!  Can you believe these beers are up to about 9.80 Euro this year?  They are gradually going up in price every year and the waitresses and waiters don't give back any change so they can make a killing!

Brandon was doing this "funny" thing where he refused to smile in any of my pictures.  What a funny guy huh? He hates his picture being taken so he loves to ruin all of mine!

After 5 hours of sitting, I was getting antsy so we left our precious seats (at this point people were ridiculous anyways) and we headed outside for some food and rides.  Can't believe I did rides this year.   I love haunted houses so I made everyone ride the one here.  It sucked by the way.

And for some crazy reason, the boys decided to ride this:


I found out later it was the highest transportable free fall drop at 80 Meters.  No thank you.  Especially after eating and drinking all day.

If you'd like to check out my first year at Oktoberfest and the mistakes I made as a newbie, you can go here.  Also, if you'd like to know what to look for when buying a dirndl,  you can go here.  The fest goes on for three more weeks!

The Simplicity of Black and White Decor

I recently teamed up with the wonderful people from FurnitureFashion.com to join on as a contributing writer.  I'm so excited to begin collaberating with them!  They are a "modern interior design blog offering inspirational home decorating ideas and pictures."  I mean, have you checked out their website?  It's filled with beautiful pictures and content that will inspire you to want to redecorate your home or try a new and innovative product.  They also have a pretty awesome Facebook page that willl give you updates right to your newsfeed.  I think this outlet will allow me to combine my love for traditional furniture with modern furniture.

For my first  article, The Simplicity of Black and White Decor, I discuss how you can use these basic colors to create a modern look in your bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom, or sunroom.  You can check it out here.  And my bio page with all my contributions so far (just one) can be found here.  Take a look.  I have to warn you though, you may be drawn in for hours with the massive amount of inspiration already available on Furniture Fashion!


What inspires you at Furniture Fashion?

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My First Year in Europe

It was exactly a year ago today that Brandon and I  picked up and left all of our friends and family and made the long flight from New York to Germany.  Our journey was long.  We had a flight and then a super long and unnecessary bus ride to our new home in Bavaria.  I remember sitting on the bus and being taken through the forrest on winding road after road thinking, are we really doing this?  I thought, are we moving to a place in middle of the woods?  That's what it seemed like at the time.  Germany was a shock for us, but I was determined to find my place here with new friends, work, hobbies, and later school.  

Looking back on that first experience, I indeed felt like a foreigner in someone else's country.  But now that a whole year has gone by, I'm happy to say I've found all of the things I was looking for above and more.  I can honestly say that Brandon and I don't want to leave Germany.  We have two more years here (and hopefully more), but the time goes by so quick.  I am greatly aware of myself, people, and time.  I know that my time here is short and that's why I take advantage of every opportunity that is offered to me.  Looking back at this first year, we have indeed done a lot.  I'm going to focus only on the travel we have accomplished as that was the initial goal of this blog.

We've been so many places through Germany, but there are still so many more to go.

1) Christmas market in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber.  This was my favorite Christmas market, look at that town.  I also went to 9 other amazing Christmas markets last year!
2) This is a picture from one of my flea market adventures in Nurnberg, I've been to so many other great fleas in Europe as well that you can check out on my Flea Guide Tab.
3) Regensburg, this has been a city that I go to quite often.  It's one of my favorite German cities!
4) Neuschwanstein Castle.  I have plans to go back and see the inside of the Hohenschwangau Castle.
5) Two weeks after we arrived in Germany, we attended Oktoberfest!  Can't wait to go again at the end of the month!
6) Cologne.  Not many of my readers know about this trip because it was posted before I changed the name of my blog and revamped everything in April.  It's definitely worth checking out!

Of course, I've had so many more experiences in between but these were my most memorable Germany trips.

Can't forget about Trier, which was one of the stops on my family trip in July.

Amsterdam below!  This was also a trip that a lot of my readers might not know about either, but Amsterdam is probably my favorite destination so far.  There is so much to do there, I will go back!

Belgium below!  I've been to four places within Belgium.  Never thought I'd visit so many places in such a small country but something keeps bringing me back.

1) Bastogne.  This was one of the three stops in Belgium on my family trip in July.  There was a lot of history to this post.
2) Tongeren Flea Market.  Another stop on my family trip in July.  I was obsessed with this market.
3) Brussels.   Another trip that I think was missed by a lot of readers due to revamping my blog.
4) Arlon.  Our home stay for four days on my family trip in July.

Poland below!  I went to Boleslawiecs, Poland for one day to buy some great Polish Pottery.

The Czech Republic below!  I've visited three places so far in the Czech Republic and it is one of my favorite places to visit that is close enough for me to visit often.

1) Prague.  I love Prague, I was surprised by its beauty and everything it had to offer.  One of my favorite places to visit hands down. And another great trip that was hidden from readers.  So check it out.
2) Karlovy Vary.  This was a neat looking Eastern European gem that I had visited for my one year wedding anniversary.
3) Kutna Hora.  I just had to see The Bone Church and eat the yummy food at the medieval restaurant.

We have visited two places in Italy so far and I will be taking my next class in Naples at the end of this month!

1) Venice.  This is one of those must see cities.  We visited for our honeymoon and Brandon's birthday.
2) Bari.  Just another stop on our honeymoon cruise!

Greece below!  I visit four cities in Greece during our honeymoon cruise.  Greece is so beautiful.

1) Santorini.  Santorini was my favorite stop in Greece, it's such a breathtaking place.
2) Olympia.  Find out the history of the Olympic Games!
3) Athens.  The capital of Greece and an iconic and huge city.
4) Corfu. The beaches here are amazing.

Croatia below. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and it was my favorite stop on our honeymoon cruise.

Luxembourg below.  Small country but has a lot of history.  Another stop on my family trip.

And lastly, France!  I visited two places in France so far.  What a beautiful country!

1) Paris.  I had to see this iconic city.  And also need to go back for a second round.
2) Strasbourg.  Lovely little christmas town.  This was my favorite stop on my family trip.

Spots filled on the world map:


Visited 15 countries (6.66%)

So there's my first year living in Europe.  We've gotten around.  I can't wait to see what next year's recap looks like.  Thanks to everyone who has been following along and leaving such nice comments!
Oh I wanted to add, I want to turn my blog into a book just for personal use.  Does anyone know a good website to use for this?

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Nurnberg Trempelmarkt

The Nurnberg Trempelmarkt only happens twice a year and it is HUGE.  It wraps around the old town and has everything.  It's usually held in May and September.  I went last May and wrote about my finds and the yummy spargel soup I made from the market here.  But when I went to the flea market in May I didn't take any pictures of the actual market.  This time I did.  I'll show you my flea finds via my iPhone and my loot down at the bottom. 

My friend and I hopped into my car early in the morning and headed to Nurnberg.  I should also mention that we kind of wanted to be out of Nurnberg by noon because there were some rallies that were scheduled to be going on during that time.  Though the flea market wasn't a direct destination of the rallies, it was in the general area. 

The first items that I noticed were a variation of different vintage typewriters.  There were so many cool colors and styles.  I thought about buying one.  But I couldn't think of a place to put one right now so I moved on.

Check out this jade colored decanter.  It really caught my eye, but my husband already bought us one in black from Iraq. 

The beautiful mostly Bavarian, ceramic and porcelain tea cups and dishes of various types and colors.

Do you see the creepy doll head?

I loved this little gold side table!

I don't know what it is about this owl decoration but I thought it was beautiful.  The price tag on it was 375 Euro so it must be made out of something magical but I could never justify paying that price for a fake owl.

This chair below is gorgeous!  White, blue and, gold.  I should have asked how much it was but in reality I didn't want to carry it to the car through the streets of Nurnberg.  The car was parked pretty far away so I just moved on.

I liked this blue vintage perfume bottle!

Now that you got to see some of the fabulous items at the Nurnberg Trempelmarkt, I'll show you what I came home with.

I bought some new paintbrushes that a guy was selling for a Euro each. They will definitely be used.  Here is a "gold" key that I purchased because I thought it was neat for 2 Euro.  Pull on each end and it opens up to be a cork screw!

I bought this mini blue tea cup because it perfectly matches the large tea cup and saucer I bought a couple of months before.  It's the same maker as well, H & C Heinrich from Bavaria.   What are the odds I thought?  There were a bunch of other colors too.

Then I saw this wonderful Bavarian hand-painted wooden box.  If you ever go antique shopping in Bavaria you will notice this style of painting on furniture everywhere.  I was excited to take home this little piece of Bavarian furniture and what's even better was the history attached to it.  The young man selling it said his grandmother had given it to him as a boy.  There are stamps all throughout the box with his name on it.  How do I know this is his name?  He showed me his family crest tattooed on his arm!  How fun.  He told me to make sure I take care of it.  Of course I will.

After buying that box, I saw another one that I wanted.  I saw this wooden box disguised as a book with a round map of the world on it.  I had to have it.  My friend tried to talk me out of it because I had already bought a box just minutes before (and she didn't want to carry it).  But I kept going back and just bought it.  It's travel themed!  Later on Brandon said it was a cigar box and that he wanted it.

Before we left, we also stopped at the farmers market and picked up some goodies like fresh raspberries and cheese stuffed olives.  Random, I know, but delish! 

If you are ever making a trip to Nurnberg, try to make it during the second weekend in May or September when the flea is held.  It won't disappoint.

Did you see anything you would buy?

"The Bone Church"

The Sedlec Ossuary or more commonly known as "The Bone Church" was the destination I chose for a spontaneous trip to The Czech Republic last weekend.  Brandon and I had initially thought we'd be pub crawling in Prague which sounds equally awesome, but we decided to do something a little less conventional and hit up Kutna Hora, Czech Republic for the night.

The Bone Church is located in Sedlec which is a suburb of Kutna Hora and it had been a place I was extremely interested in visiting since I had heard about it here and there.  We stayed in a hotel called Hotel U Kata which was right in town and only 60 USD for the night.  They even had a restaurant, bar, and a spa and pool.  This is a very cheap town to visit and find activities.  Though the actual town of Kutna Hora isn't very good looking, there is a lot of history, a lot of churches to visit, and good food, yes I said I have found good food in Czech, but I'll get to that later.  It's also only an hour from Prague so you could visit as a day trip from Prague.

The Bone Church cemetery was a destination where a lot of people from Czech wanted to be buried because of the abbot, Henry, who had sprinkled some sacred soil from Golgotha on the burial grounds in the 1200's.  As a result, the cemetery had reached it's maximum capacity.  This combined with the overwhelming deaths from the Black Plaque resulted in an overflow of bodies.  In the 1400's the church was built in the middle of the cemetery and by 1870 the actual organization of bones and designs that fill the church were constructed.  It is an immediate chilling reminder of the human form and its inevitable conclusion.

The church isn't that big, but it is filled with so many bone-filled designs. There is even a huge bone chandelier in the center of the church.  How many bones are in the church?  Over 40,000!

Below, the coat of arms of the Schwarzenberg family

The cemetery around the church

Below, the Gothic exterior of the the back side of the church and the front side

There are really a lot of churches to visit in this area.  Below, Cathedral of Our Lady, is another example which is only a block away from this one.  You can also purchase some fine Bohemian crystal from one of the many shops that line the streets by the church.

Unfortunately we didn't swing  by and visit the huge Santa Barbara Cathedral in Kutna Hora, but I suggest you take a look.  A picture of the church below:


What else did we do in Kutna Hora?  I had searched to find what the best restaurant in Kutna Hora was and it directed me to this place, Dacicky Pivnice, which was only a few blocks from our hotel.  What drew me in to this restaurant was the medieval vibe it boasted and everyone else in our party was excited as well.  I was hopeful but not expecting much, considering I hadn't had too many great experience with Czech food.  But we were all pleasantly surprised with the menu, decor, and friendliness of the staff.  

They boasted a menu of traditional Czech and Bohemian foods such as meat on swords, goulash in a pot over a candle, potato pancakes, cheese spreads, and many other delicious dishes.  Their beer and wine list was extensive and they even had mead.  We literally spent the next three hours at this restaurant having dinner, drinking, and having a great time.  We even went back later in the night to drink again.  Everyone in our party agreed that they would make the 3 hour  drive just to go back to this restaurant, it was so much fun.

Kutna Hora was a great little trip for us and definitely off the beaten path.  Would you visit The Bone Church or would you be too freaked out?

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