Thursday, April 28, 2011


A lot is happening and oh so fast.  So I have some news to share with you guys.

First of all, Ludwig and I officiated our marriage with the German government, hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on with all the paperwork and bureaucracy.  We celebrated with the family and sparkling wine :)

Second of all, I signed up for language courses in Munich!!!  It was a bit spontaneous the way everything happened–I start this Monday, May 2nd.   All the courses start in the beginning of the month, go figure, and to wait until June is too long, plus it becomes significantly more expensive in the summer months.  I was very happy that I could get in on such a short notice and that the section I wanted was not full.  It will be Monday-Friday 8:30 am-12:45 pm, four week intensive course, OMG!  So I also need to buy a monthly train pass to go to Munich, so much so much to do, maybe I should also buy a new notebook and an outfit, I feel like a school girl all over again, exciting exciting.  I will bike to the train-station in the mornings when the weather is good, otherwise Ludwig will drive me.  

All of this happened yesterday and I was really overwhelmed running around saying, 'this is so exciting...I am so nervous', it was quite a challenge for Ludwig to calm me down, hahah.   

This is not really a news but we are going to Austria this weekend.  We got it as a Christmas present from Ludwig's sister to stay two nights at a hotel of our choice from the approved list.  So we booked the hotel before all the language school shenanigans, which means we return on Monday and go strait to the Goethe Institute (my language school).  Good thing, nothing really happens on the first day, I just need to check in before 5 pm.

On another random note, I have been looking for a yoga mat since I got here.  In US they are everywhere, and can be as cheep as $10.  I've been to several athletic stores here, with a wide selection of everything, but yoga mats.  I looked at buying it at amazon, but the shipping is basically the cost of the mat itself.  Finally after looking and looking I just bough the most expensive yoga mat I have EVER owned–€30, please don't judge me.  Apparently this yoga mat is magical with microfiber carpeting, non-slide bottom and a velcro-tie-thingy.  I MUST do yoga everyday now!
Fancy yoga mat!
We washed our car, that was exciting, OMG! jk, I was just watching Ludwig wash the car :)
Ludwig does not mess around!

I ate yogurt made with 10% fat, it was VERY good!

I made Caprese salad with cucumbers.  Fresh mozzarella is super cheep here and I want to eat this salad EVERY day.

 Tomorrow is the Royal Wedding and I am watching it live!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

55K bike ride to Dachau

On Monday morning Ludwig, his mother and I went on a bike ride to Dachau.  We biked though bike paths and rural streets.  It was quite a confusing route, I would not be able to repeat it on my own, that is for sure.
We left at 8:30 in the morning.
We got to the top of the hill, once again huffing and puffing, to see the Dachau Garden and Palace.  The garden was very well groomed and so beautiful.  The weather was a bit chilly and there was a lot of wind during the bike ride.
Dachau Garden.
Dachau Palace, constructed around 1100.
One of my new year's resolutions was to start taking more pictures.  I usually hate taking pictures because I feel like I ruin the moment or annoy people by constantly asking them to look at the camera or worst asking them to take several pictures of me, because I cannot ever get it on the first try.  I feel like I am getting better at documenting my travels but it is still hard.  I hope I can keep up this picture taking for the rest of my life :) because I love looking back at old photos and regret when I have nothing to show from a trip or a party.
Ludwig and his parents.  Wolfgang, Ludwig's father, decided not to bike with us and get to Dachau on his motorcycle, hence the leather pants and jacket ;)

The flower beds looked almost fake they were so organized.
The little of Dachau that I got to see was so beautiful and it is so sad to think that it has such tragic history.  We did not visit concentration camp site and I am glad we did not.  I get really overwhelmed and depressed with such visits and then I cannot sleep and have nightmares.
On the way back we stopped by Amper See/Amper Lake.

We made another stop, this time at Ludwig's uncle's house, for some tea and I made another cat friend.  She caught a mouse that day and was relaxing after her hunt.
Cara the cat!
The total bike ride was about 55K/34mi, very relaxed, I think I was expecting a road race, but it was more like a tour, which I prefer.  I think for the first time I did not feel completely dead after an all day affair like this.  The next biking tour planned is to the Andechs monastery, hopefully we will go in two or three weeks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


The next day after our Alpine adventure, we decided to venture out into Munich, especially that it would be the only day that things are open since everything would be shut down on Easter Sunday and Monday.  To think of it, I have never been to Munich when it was not a holiday.  The two previous times were Christmas and New Year holidays and now it is Easter.  Of course the city was PACKED, but it was a lot of fun anyways.  

First thing we did was to climb to the top of Old Peter.  St. Peter's Church is the oldest church in the inner city of Munich.  It was build even before Munich was founded in 1158.  Remember the all over body sourness from the hiking, well on top of that I had to climb, I don't know how many narrow, claustrophobic, filled with tourist, steps.  The view from the top was well worth it.  We did not stay there long at all because it was getting more and more packed every minute.  

Alter Peter/Old Peter tower and the views from the top.

At 11 am and noon the Rathaus-Glockenspiel chimes and reenacts two stories from the 16th century.  It is a huge tourist attraction and of course I got to see it.
Rathaus-Glockenspiel in the Marienplatz.

Then, of course it was time for a little local snack.  I had bratwurstsemmel, easy enough–a sausage on a bun.  Ludwig had a leberkässemmel.  Okay now I have to explain what it is exactly.  Leber means liver and käse means cheese, but there is no cheese or liver in it at all, go figure.  It is basically a meatloaf made completely out of sausage meat on a semmel/bun.  
We went to a real butcher at the Viktualienmarkt to get those warm snacks.
After walking around Ludwig decided to take me to a Dallmayr, a luxury delicatessen store dating back to 17th century.  They have everything–caviar, coffee, truffles, bread, cakes, meat, vegetables...EVERYTHING.  It is a fascinating place, especially for a person like me, who loves fancy things and fancy foods.  Of course we could barely walk through the store because once again it was packed.  But I could not leave without one purchase, a little desert.  It was of course divine and I shared it with Ludwig.
Dallmayr pastry.

Then we walked and walked and walked.  Thankfully, we wandered into more remote areas of Munich free of crowds and noise.  It is the most perfect spring over here, not too hot or cold, all you want to do is stay outside.
After walking for many hours we got very hungry and the next thing on the agenda was to go to Biergarten Chinesischer Turm/Beergarden at the Chinese Tower in the English garden.  
Potato salad, cabbage salad, roasted potatoes, bratwurst, pork knuckle and of course a mass beer.
English Garden (1.4 sq mi) in the center of Munich.  It is larger then the Central Park in NYC but smaller then Richmond Park in London.  
We spend a few hours in the park walking around, laying on the grass and people watching.  My feet were so swollen from all the walking that I was glad we could just lay down somewhere.

Our last stop was another beergarden, a bit outside the city centre called Hirschgarten.  There we got a pretzel with obatzda (camembert cheese, cream cheese, butter and paprika spread) with a side of radler (sprite and lagerbeer mixture–very refreshing).  Real beergardens are completely self-served and it is customary to be able to bring your own food and they only ask that you buy the beer there.  Usually, only one, maximum two kinds of beers are served.  At this beergarden they served only Augustiner lagerbeer and you could also mix it with sprite to make a radler.
Pretzel, obatzta and radler at Hirschgarten.

I really liked these beergardens, they are so relaxed and you can stay there forever, bring your own food, have large gatherings, and you are outside.  I think when we go there next time we will prepare our own foods and snacks and just buy the beer.

It was a great 12 hour day spend completely outside.  We took the train home biked from the train station to the house and by that time I was completely done, dead, barely moving, or having any ability to make complete sentences.

Next time I want experience Munich on a regular day without the holiday crowds and before it gets too hot in the summer.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blomberg and Zwiesel

So here is the promised recap of my first Alp adventure.

We took off at 8 am!

The trip was about two hours long and we took a more scenic route.
We stopped by a  little church and there I made a furry cat friend.
Some scenic views from the car ride.
It was so beautiful and peaceful to drive on the country roads and the weather was perfect.
At the trailhead.
The hike started out with it seemed like forever hill, but I think it was only 1.2-1.5 miles long.   I was sweating, huffing and puffing,  and we definitely stopped a few times just to catch a breath.
I think this was the only flat portion of the hike on the way up, so pretty.

We got to the top of the first peak–Blomberg.  It was a bit touristy, they even had a restaurant up top with waiters and waitresses wearing traditional Bavarian dress. 

At the top we enjoyed our little brotzeit (German for a little snack with brot(bread)) and a lager beer.

The best part of the hike was the ice-cream I got at the top of the Blomberg mountain.  I never ever had ice-cream on a hiking trip so that was a completely new experience.  What can be better? I don't know.
After another hour of uphill hiking we got to the second peak–Zwiesel.  There we relaxed on the grass and enjoyed the views.
Top of Zwiesel 1348m (4400 feet).
On the way down I got overwhelmed with the beauty of the Alps and started singing and dancing The Sound of Music, as promised ;)

The Sound of Music still shots :)

On the drive home we stopped at Bad Tölz, a small Bavarian town.  There were tons of tourist and we were exhausted so we stayed there just for a little bit to look at the city center.
This whole hike took us about 5 hours to complete.  It was not technical or challenging for anyone that is remotely experienced in hiking.  Unfortunately for me, after sitting on my butt for about three months this was a pretty challenging hike.  My whole body was SO sore, EVERYTHING hurt.  I felt tortured by exercise.  Don't get me wrong, I loved every painful second of it, it was just a little sad to realize just how much fitness I have lost since Christmas.  With all the biking, running and hiking I am doing these days I hope to regain it in the next couple of months.  So far I have been sore every single day I have been here, hahah.  And if the weather is nice tomorrow, there is a big bike ride planed to Dachau with Ludwig and both of his parents.

Today we went to Church (Das Kloster Fürstenfeld/Fürstenfeld Abbey) for Easter and it was my first German Catholic mass.  I understood very little and Ludwig tried to translate a few things during the service.  I was very happy we went.  After church we had Easter lunch with white asparagus soup and roasted chicken.  After, I took a four hour nap because I was still so so tired from all the excersise and traveling we have been doing.  Today is my true day of rest and reflection and I love it.  

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

German hobbies :)

As Ludwig says it, 'one of favorite German hobbies is recycling'.  Yes, Germans LOVE recycling, they love it so much they made a hobby out of it.  This morning I got a full experience of this hobby in all its glory and saw real Germans having a bit too much fun at the recycling site.

So here is the rundown.  In Germany you have to pay per trashcan-volume for your garbage, which by the way is only picked up once in two weeks.  So to pay less you recycle, which is free.  To even further minimize your garbage volume, most people compost their plant waste.
Ludwig is a recycling machine! 
There were SO many categories it was just overwhelming, we even had to ask for directions (action– shot bottom right corner).  
It seemed like there was a category for everything, even things that did not belong anywhere, ha.  It was quite overwhelming for me to take all of this in.
Our recycling trip is not over yet.  Next stop–'Tengelmann', a little grocery store that advertised a discount for Augustiner Lagerbier.  First thing first, you have to time your parking with a simple time meter inside of your car.  I just have no words for this one.  It is so proper it almost makes me want to do something to break this 'perfect' rule.
 Parking is no joke in Germany.
Now we are recycling the accumulated beer bottles.  You can put the whole case of twenty 0.5L bottles of beer into this machine, you also can feed it single bottles.  We got €3.34 for 23 bottles and the plastic beer case.  A case of beer like that, depending on the brand, can cost between €6-15.

Recycling beer bottle machine.
Then we went on a shopping spree for groceries and bunch of other random stuff.  The stores were packed because everyone is preparing for Easter.  Everything will be closed on Good Friday, Holy Sunday and Monday.  To reward myself for doing all the proper German things I decided I needed a decadent pastry.  It was ridiculous expensive, I think over €3, but it was so worth it.  I picked the one with a yellow dome and split it with Ludwig and his father for after-dinner-desert.
It was made of mango custard cream, with pistachio cookie bottom.  It was heavenly and had a taste and texture similar to ice-cream.  
Just looking at these pastries makes my mouth salivate.  Sometimes I go into these shops just to look, and then I feel satisfied with the sensory abundance and do not feel the need to eat those decadent treasures anymore.

Tomorrow it is my first hiking trip in the Alps.  I will try to document it as much as I can with the footage of me rolling around in the grass singing 'the hills are alive'.  You will not want to miss this :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


One of the exciting things about moving somewhere new is all the new food you get to buy, taste and prepare.   I am sure there will be many posts just focusing on food.  It seems that people are pretty obsessed with nutella-like products here.  There are dosens of off-brand or other brand names that make similar or basically exactly the same product.
'Almond nutella'

 So for breakfast I decided to indulge in such a decandant toping for my oatmeal.

Banana-oatmel with ground flax, 'nutella' and pears
plus a little cappuccino
Today I am going on my third training run for my first 10K of the season; the plan is to run 4.5 miles.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My first week in Bavaria

I am starting my new blog with my first week in Bavaria, which by the way has been amazing. 

Some highlights.....

I got to be with my husband on his birthday :)

Running through beautiful countryside
Watching neighbor's cows

That is a salt block in the forest for the deer to lick so they can get enough electrolytes...nerd :)

A walk through Gertshofen, a nearby town

Spring is definitely in the air!

As for the name of the blog, well my friends helped me come up with it during a little margarita session in Houston :) ......enough said!
Okay Krista don't be mad, here is take two ;)

I hope to use this blog to share my new adventures in Germany and everything else in between.