What We Ate in Berlin


We spent way too much money eating out in Italy. But could you blame us? Italy is known for its food, and especially being in Bologna, it was very hard to resist. But I don’t regret it, even if my clothes were getting increasingly tighter… So, leaving Italy and returning to Germany, we knew we had to cut back on expenses, and cook more meals ourselves, or find cheap street food. We ended up doing a lot more of the latter, because the street food turned out to be delicious in Berlin.

Mauerpark Flea Market

On Sundays, there is a huge flea market in Mauerpark, which is in the northern district of Prenzlauer Berg. It is really popular with tourists, and even though it had been raining moments before we got there and there were huge puddles everywhere, it was still packed. We didn’t do any shopping, but we heard there was good street food, so we wanted to check it out. There were lots of food stands and outdoor bars, and it had a general music-festival vibe to it; I kind of felt like I was at SXSW in Austin, Texas. But it happens every Sunday in Berlin! We checked out as many food stands as we could before making our decision on what to eat.


A magician performing for people at the amphitheater in Mauerpark. There is usually karaoke held here, but it was cancelled due to the rain (I think).



We ended up going to this stand that had fresh pizzas come out of the oven every ten minutes. Whenever there was a fresh batch, a lined formed immediately.


We got a white pizza with potato on top. And of course a weissbier to wash it down.

We weren’t planning on getting dessert, but we couldn’t walk past this booth selling made-to-order waffles on a stick without getting one. And they were only 2 euro. We chose white chocolate to be poured on top of it. It was VERY tasty.


Das Gift

The night of the World Cup final game, we wanted to go to a bar and catch some of the action, but not be surrounded by hoards of people (something like 200,000 people were watching the match at Brandenburg Gate). We walked from our apartment to Kreuzberg and beyond to Neukölln and decided on Das Gift, a bar owned by Barry Burns (of post-rock band Mogwai) and his wife. The menu is primarily Scottish food, and we ordered a mini haggis plate, which was only 5 euro. We got the vegetarian version, which sounds weird since haggis is primarily meat-parts, but it was really good.


You know a bar is going to be good if they have Dolly on the menu.

Mini haggis plate, vegetarian style (

Mini haggis plate, vegetarian style (instead of meat, it was kidney beans, lentils, root vegetables, and cereals, packed into a man-made casing and cooked, according to Das Gift’s Tumblr. It was on top of a potato and turnip mash with a sauce made from whiskey.)

The plate was a little small for the two of us, so we ordered the Scottish cheese plate after, but I didn’t get a picture. After the game was over and Germany won, there was craziness in the streets with people yelling and all cars honking, but nothing out of hand. It was pretty fun.


Right after Germany won.

I hope this video works:




Falafel has been so easy to come by in most of the big cities we’ve visited. The Turkish population is large in Berlin, and before even arriving we were looking forward to trying some of the popular places.

The first place we tried was called Maroush, and the rave reviews online were justified. Our falafel sandwiches were only 2.50 euro.



Another place we tried was called Tadim, and I got a falafel sandwich, while Jeremy got a lahmacun, a Turkish pizza with doner meat on it, rolled into a burrito.


My falafel sandwich from Tadim.


Jeremy’s lahmacun.

One night, we were in a long line to eat at Burgermeister in Kreuzberg. But after waiting 15 minutes or so and not getting much closer to the front of the line, we decided to walk around and find another falafel to eat (we might be addicted).

Burgermeister in Kreuzberg.

The very popular Burgermeister in Kreuzberg.

We had read so many “best cheap eats in Berlin”-type articles online that all mentioned the same places, so we wanted to venture out on our own and discover something different. We ended up finding the best falafel we had eaten in Berlin so far, and they were wrapped like burritos.



I don’t have a picture of the inside of the burritos, but just trust me, they were delicious. And we finished them off with some baclava, which was the best I’ve ever had.


Street Food Thursday

A couple friends from Georgia, Kyle and Antje, now live in Berlin, and we met up with them at something called Street Food Thursday, held at Markthalle Neun. The big space is filled to the brim with food stands that include all sorts of food types. We met soon after it opened so we could hopefully get seats at the communal tables, and it was already packed by the time we got there.


IMG_8036 It was SO hard to decide what to get, but I ended up with a ramen burger with kimchi on the side, and Jeremy got an empanada and a tofu sandwich with steamed buns.



The packed Markthalle Neun.





Our dessert, a freshly baked peanut butter cookie with homemade ice cream on top.

After dinner, we walked around Kreuzberg a bit and enjoyed catching up with Kyle and Antje, who we hadn’t seen in years.

Oberbaum Bridge at magic hour.

Oberbaum Bridge at magic hour.





Street Food Thursday was a big highlight of our week, and just another example of what makes Berlin such a great city.

Running in Berlin


Still excited about my new hat.

As huge as Berlin is, there is a lot of green space. And, like Bavaria, there are pedestrian and biking paths everywhere. Even though it would have been easy to run on streets since there are always sidewalks, and the blocks are huuuge, I wanted to stay near a park where I could run in car-free places. So we chose an Airbnb apartment near Treptower Park. All I had to do was run a block, cross a bridge, and miles of beautiful paths were at my disposal.


Nice view of the Molecule Man statue.


Seen on my run.

Seen on my run.

A club/bar that had techno music pumping 24 hours a day.

An outdoor club/bar that had techno music pumping 24 hours a day.

Hostel on a boat.

Hostel on a boat.

Once I was in the park, there were paths that ran along the Spree River, and also paths that ventured into the woods. I stayed on the dirt paths that went along the river for miles and miles.


I love these Weeping Willows.

We returned to rent a boat from this place later in the week.

We returned to rent a boat from this place later in the week.


Pedestrian paths for days.

Pedestrian paths for days.

Dirt path along the river.

Dirt path along the river.

The Spree River is massive.

The Spree River is massive.

I’ve been averaging three runs a week, and lots of walking on days I don’t run. I’ve been experimenting with listening to podcasts while running, and the first one I downloaded is called Motion Traxx. It’s actually just a techno-type mix that has a constant beat of 170 bpm. There are a lot of different ones you can download with different themes or bpm. I know I need to speed my cadence up, and so I made sure to keep on the beat the whole time while running. It made a big difference with my form, and I ended up running faster than usual, which is good since I need to start working on my endurance and speed again. I felt like I had so much energy, which was probably also thanks to the good night’s sleep I got the night before. I haven’t been sleeping great lately, and it makes such a big difference in energy levels.

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My two other runs felt pretty good too, and I just really enjoyed running in the park.

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I was hoping to join a sight running tour in Berlin, and I found one that runs part of the Berlin Marathon route. I contacted Mike’s SightRunning and was hoping to be able to squeeze into another group’s tour, since it was pretty expensive to take a private one just by myself. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but I saw so many great reviews of Mike and he was very nice and responsive in our emails, I would recommend contacting him if you’re ever in Berlin and want to take a guided running tour!

Hello (again) Germany!

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Goodbye, Bologna!

After we spent a couple weeks in Germany in June, visiting Munich and housesitting in a small Bavarian village, we basically fell in love with Germany. I’ve always liked it, but have never spent that much time there. When we were deciding what to do with our two weeks between Bologna and our five-week housesitting assignment that starts today (!!) in Paris, our initial thought was to stay in Italy. But after being in Italy a month, we decided to head to a city we both have been to in the past, but not spent enough time in: Berlin! We figured we could spend a week in Berlin, and then spend a week in a city conveniently between Berlin and Paris: Amsterdam. We found reasonable plane tickets from Bologna to Berlin, and booked them.

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There were even meat and cheese stands in the Bologna airport.

There were even meat and cheese stands in the Bologna airport.

We had seven hours to spare at the airport and then our plane ended up being pretty late, so it was a long day.


The Supermoon over Gemany.

The Supermoon over Gemany.

We arrived in Berlin at around 10:30pm, had to figure out how to get from the airport to the location our Airbnb host was at to pick up the keys, get back on the metro and find our way to our apartment in the Friechrichshain neighborhood, and made it at about midnight. Long day.

Our Airbnb apartment in Berlin.

Our Airbnb apartment in Berlin.

We spent the next week exploring, and if there is anything we were unprepared for, it was how HUGE Berlin is. I’ve seen online that it’s five, eight, or nine times the size of Paris. When we’d look at a map and decide to walk somewhere (our preferred mode of transportation) and thinking it would be a 45-minute walk, it would end up way longer. But it’s never a bad thing to get more walking in, and we took the (very efficient) metro when necessary.

Exploring the Wedding neighborhood.

Exploring the Wedding neighborhood.

Our neighborhood, Friechrichshain.

Our neighborhood, Friechrichshain.

We spent a lot of time exploring Kreuzberg, the neighborhood next to ours. Even after two full days walking for hours around the area, we still hadn’t seen it all. Kreuzberg is a really cool place, with lots of bars, shops, restaurants, and street art. I guess if I had to compare it to anything, it would be the Mission District in San Francisco.



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There are photobooths all around the city.

There are photobooths all around the city.

Within walking distance of our apartment was the East Side Gallery, a section of the Berlin Wall that is now an open-air art gallery.


Probably the most recognized piece of the East Side Gallery.

I used to be super into Pink Floyd, so naturally this one was my favorite piece.

I used to be super into Pink Floyd, so naturally this one was my favorite piece.

Stopping to rest along the River Spree.

Stopping to rest along the Spree River.


The really neat Oberbaum Bridge is behind me in the distance.

More art from the East Side Gallery.

More art from the East Side Gallery.


Another highlight from our week was renting a rowboat in Treptower Park, which was really close to our apartment. It was only 8 euro, and we don’t usually spend money on things like that, but it sounded so fun, and it was. We brought some German beer and mini bottles of prosecco, and leisurely rowed around the Spree River.

Europe has such good mini bottles of prosecco.

Europe has such good mini bottles of prosecco.


Kind of blurry, but I loved these teepees you could rent, floating on the water.

Kind of blurry, but I loved these teepees you could rent, floating on the water.

You could also take rides in this little plane.

You could also take rides in this little plane.

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We found an awesome market in Kreuzberg the Sunday after we arrived. All the stands had artisans selling their homemade jewelry or art or anything else, and Jeremy got me a new necklace since the only other one I packed broke.



A few more random pictures:

Memorial of the Murdered Jews

Memorial of the Murdered Jews, in central Berlin

Golden hour with the Molecule Man statue behind me.

Golden hour with the Molecule Man statue behind me.

More street art.

More street art.

A pretty river crossing in Kreuzberg.

A pretty river crossing in Kreuzberg.

Doing laundry in our neighborhood (and using free Wifi).

The bar at the laundromat in our neighborhood (and using free Wifi while we waited).

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie, the most notable crossing path between East and West Berlin divided by the Berlin Wall (the McDonald’s looks a little out of place).

Soviet War Memorial in the park near our apartment.

Soviet War Memorial in the park near our apartment.

Northern Germany is so different than Bavaria, it feels like a different country altogether. Berlin is such a great city, and I could see us spending a lot more time there sometime in the future.

Next up: running in Berlin!

Our Fourth Housesitting Assignment: Iffeldorf, Germany


Oops, it’s been a while. We’re in Sarzana, Italy with my parents and we haven’t had strong internet for the past week and a half, so it was tough to post. We are hopping on a train today to spend the night in Pisa, then on to Rome tomorrow, which I’m pretty excited about since I’ve never been. I wanted to finish up our time in Bavaria, since it was so memorable.

We weren’t sure about taking this housesitting since it was for two whole weeks and it was during the time my parents were going to be in Europe. It turned out to be a really great decision though, especially since my parents ended up driving us to Munich, and then we met back up with them after the assignment was over. Our host in Germany also let us use her automatic car, which made a big difference, since we were able to explore a lot of Bavaria. Besides the incredible hike we went on complete with beer and pretzels near the top of the mountain and some beautiful runs on the trails near the house we were sitting, there were multiple other highlights as well.

Visiting Linderhof Palace


Linderhof Palace, according to Wikipedia, is the “smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed.” King Ludwig II seems to be quite the interesting character, and Jeremy and I decided to pay to take a tour of the palace, something we rarely do as budget travelers. Ludwig took over the throne in Bavaria at 18, and he built elaborate castles (we visited another one of his castles, Neuschwanstein) before he was mysteriously found dead in a lake at age 41. He also had a strong fascination with Wagner, which influenced parts of the palace we toured.



We couldn’t take any pictures of the inside of the palace (even though Jeremy tried to sneak one and got caught!), but you can see some of the rooms online. The most interesting room to us was the dining room, where there was a table that Ludwig would eat at alone and the table had a pulley system (called “Tischlein deck dich”), so the table would lower into the staff’s quarters and they would make up the table and put food on it, and raise it back up to where Ludwig was sitting. There was also a big mirror in front of the table, so that Ludwig was dining with himself every time he ate. The tour guide didn’t say this, but on Wikipedia it says that the staff had to make up the table for four people, and Ludwig would have imaginary conversations with them while he ate.


I was excited to see a palm tree.

Another really interesting part of the palace was the grotto, which Ludwig had built for him. People would put on Wagner operas for him in this man-made grotto, and he would sit in this big clam shell and they pushed him around in the water. He was the only spectator of the opera.


Day Tripping: Salzburg, Austria

I really wanted to visit Austria since I’d never been, and we decided to visit Salzburg (even though Innsbruck was a little closer) for the day, where Sound of Music was filmed. It was about a two-hour drive, and it wasn’t bad. We had to buy a permit to drive in Austria, but nobody checked it. It was a little nerve-wracking to drive in Salzburg, as it is in any city really, but luckily I only got massively honked at by a line of cars once. And we missed the turn for the parking lot two times and kept circling around the city in our big old Volvo station wagon, and ended up pulling into the parking lot of Augustiner Bräu monastery/brewery. It was perfect. We had to wait a little while for them to start serving beer, so we walked around town a bit.





You know a city is magical if they have unicorn statues around.

You know a city is magical if they have unicorn statues around.


I'm such a sucker for plants that look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book.

I’m such a sucker for plants that look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book.



DSC_4475 We headed back to the brewery to get some food and delicious beer, straight from the barrels.




You can’t really see them because they’re white, but there was a guy serving shaved radishes with salt and we got some. They were really good.


The halls were filled with food stands.

Anniversary Dinner

Jeremy and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary by exploring Starnberger See, a big lake nearby with lots of cute towns around it. This is also the lake where King Ludwig was found dead. We ate dinner at a nice restaurant in our little town, outside overlooking the local lakes.

Starnberger See.

Starnberger See. The water was crystal clear.



Finally got to wear the one nice dress I packed.

Kloster Andechs

Our housesitting host gave us some suggestions on things to do around Iffeldorf, and visiting Kloster Andechs was high on her list, with good reason. It is another monastery that brews beer, and it’s location on the top of a hill makes for really nice views while you sit outside and enjoy a liter of beer. You can also hike up there from a neighboring town which takes about an hour, but both times we went it was late so we just drove up to it.


Fishes on sticks.


The monastery.



DSC_4568  We had such a good time in Bavaria, I do feel like I could live there. The cats we were taking care of didn’t warm up to us too much, but they were still nice to have around for the most part.



My dream chocolate bar.



Making friends.



The biggest birdhouse I’ve ever seen.

You ain't kidding.

You ain’t kidding.

Our last meal at the train station before heading to Verona. Goodbye Germany! For now...

Our last meal at the train station before heading to Verona. Goodbye Germany! For now…

Does anyone have any tips on places to eat or whatnot in Rome?

Running in Germany


I have been enjoying some really great runs here in Bavaria. There are about six lakes right near the house we’re sitting that have paths all around them, and go on forever. One thing I’ve noticed about Germany (and Switzerland) is how accessible everything is for hikers/bikers/runners. There are paths everywhere, away from the road, and there are tons of people utilizing them. I didn’t really expect to be trail running while here, but it has turned into a really good thing. The paths are easier on my knees, there are hills so I can work on my form going up those, there are no cars around (except for one small portion of one trail, which I didn’t realize and almost got side swiped), there are cows everywhere, beautiful scenery, etc.

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My runs have been in the 4-6 mile range, and all of them have felt pretty good. A couple days this week were REALLY hot and humid (like 90 degrees, which I haven’t felt in years), and that was really a struggle. The day after we went hiking in the Alps was also tough; my legs felt like lead. But I have noticed progress in the past two weeks we’ve been here; at the beginning even my easy pace felt hard, but now I feel like I’m back to my old self… sort of. Yesterday I got up early (like 5 am early, I’ve been having sleeping problems from the heat), and got out on the trails before anyone else did. I broke lots of spider webs, so I knew I was the first one out. I really wanted to just run for a while and see where it took me, and that’s exactly what happened. I ended up doing 7.5 miles at a 10 min/mile pace, which was just fine by me. The weather was perfect, some bikers and hikers were out by the time I was finishing up, but overall I pretty much had the whole place to myself.






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IMG_6006 IMG_0083 I’m trying to work on getting my endurance back, without doing too much too soon. My knee has been fine, and fingers crossed it stays that way. Our travel plans are a little up in the air at the moment due to monetary concerns, but I’ve got my eye on a half marathon in September here in Europe that I really want to do. I would be bummed to go home before doing at least one race abroad. After that, assuming we’re home, I’m going to sign up for the Santa Barbara International Half Marathon on November 8, which I ran last year. I think that’ll be a nice welcome home for me. My goal is still to break two hours in the half marathon, and hopefully that’ll happen soon.

Still trying to be proactive about my knee - icing it with

Still trying to be proactive about my knee – icing it with frozen raspberries.

It’s going to be a bit tougher getting my runs in after we leave Germany since we’ll be going to bigger cities. It’s been so great having these paths right outside our door. We’re heading to Italy on Sunday and will be there for a good bit, and it’s already really hot there. So, I have to work on getting out of the house early, which will help with the traffic situation too. I’ve been looking up routes that I can run, and I try to book our accommodations close to parks so that I have easy access away from busy streets.

It’s been a lot harder staying in shape while traveling than I was anticipating, but I’ll save that for another post.

Happy Friday the Thirteenth! Jeremy and I are off to a monastery on a hill that brews delicious beer (we know it’s delicious because we went yesterday, too).

Hiking in the Bavarian Alps


Friday will go down as a huge highlight in our travel adventures. This post will be pretty picture-heavy (but when are they not, honestly), because words can’t really describe how incredible the day was (iPhone pictures don’t really do it justice, either). Jeremy and I are having a nice time housesitting in a small village south of Munich, and our host left us a car (an automatic, hallelujah) so we’ve been able to do some exploring. I had no idea how much there is to do around these parts, and how beautiful Bavaria is. We decided to venture south, almost to the Austrian border, to do some hiking. The main reason we chose this spot is because I found out there was an alpine coaster that I knew we had to ride.

We drove the autobahn (where there is NO speed limit), and that was an experience in itself. We got up to about 110 miles per hour, and there were still people zooming past us. It was crazy. Once we got to the village of Oberammergau, we took a chairlift halfway up the mountain. It went on for ten minutes at least, and the views were beautiful.

Chairlift out-of-focus selfie.

Chairlift out-of-focus selfie.




Got a good view of the alpine coaster track that we’d be riding in a few hours.

There was a playground with a zipline where the chairlift let off.

There was a playground with a zipline where the chairlift let off.

We picked a spot on the map to start hiking to, without really knowing how long it would take or where it would take us.




The trail turned into a road, where it got really steep.

I decided to run up the hill so it wouldn't take as long.

I decided to run up the hill so it wouldn’t take as long.

The road turned back into a trail, and that’s when the views started getting REALLY good.







Shortly after we took these pictures, we came across an alpine hut that served food and beer. I realized only the day after that it was actually on this list of places I wanted to visit. It is called August-Schuster-Haus, and has been around since the early 1800s. We opted for some weissbier (wheat beer, so refreshing) and a pretzel, which was fresh and still warm. My mouth is watering just thinking about the beer and pretzel, my god they were delicious. The Germans do it right.


The inside of the alpine hut.

The inside of the alpine hut.



Imagine having this view at your place of work.


It was hard to leave, but we eventually started making our way to the top again, which is when the trail started getting pretty steep, and the experience level turned to red triangles instead of green. After just having a half liter of beer on an empty stomach in a very high altitude, this could have been a bad idea. But we were feeling great (thanks, beer) and had lots of energy to climb our way up without falling down the side of the mountain.


Almost to the top – we had to use the rope on the left side of the picture to climb the rocks.

When we made it, we took some time in silence to stare in disbelief at the view (and then take lots of pictures, naturally), which is what the few other people that were there were doing too.


There were crosses with plaques at the peaks of many mountains we saw.


Made it to the cross.


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I’m happy to report that this entire day was filled with heights that could have filled me with fear, but never once did I feel scared (could have been liquid courage). Maybe I’m not as scared of heights as I thought, only rickety bridges.

Making our way back down to the alpine coaster was all downhill, and we ran a lot of it since it seemed harder to go slowly.

Frolicking down the mountain.

Frolicking down the mountain.

We made it to the alpine coaster, and it was so fun. It went on forever, and it went SO FAST.

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Here’s a video from the alpine coaster website, let’s see if it works.

We may have to do the whole day over again before we leave!

How I Discovered My Fear of Heights

DSC_4272 After a day spent wandering around Munich, my parents, Jeremy and I piled back into our little VW to head south to reach Neuschwanstein Castle, which Disney modeled the Sleeping Beauty Castle after (apparently). Acting as navigator once again, I wanted to get us there by taking the Romantic Road, a route that would lead us through charming Bavarian towns and worthy places to stop. We had no time constraints, so we figured we would just start driving and see where it took us.


When it was approaching lunchtime, we started looking around for places to eat. The villages we drove through looked absolutely dead; all stores were closed. It seemed like it might have just been lunchtime closures at first (something we had grown accustomed to in France), but after a while it did seem like something was going on. We finally landed in one town, and started to see people in traditional lederhosen heading in a direction where we could hear some music, and knew we had to follow. We parked the car, and followed the smell of bratwurst to an outdoor festival. There was beer, bratwurst, cake, and music, and we sat down to indulge in the village’s holiday celebration. We asked two people at our table what the holiday was, and in their limited English explained that it was Ascension Day, celebrating Jesus’ ascension into Heaven. It is also sometimes called Father’s Day, which I had seen signs for, but didn’t realize what it was referring to. I don’t eat meat except for fish, and my dad hasn’t eaten red meat in, say, 40 years or so, but when you find yourself in the midst of a Bavarian village celebration and they are only serving homemade bratwurst, you eat a homemade bratwurst. We all had one, and they were delicious.


My mom and I had a really hard time deciding between all the different homemade cakes, but finally settled for these two, a chocolate/banana slice and an apricot slice.


Out of focus picture means I was too impatient to get it right before digging in.

As it often happens here in Bavaria, it was sunny when we arrived but storm clouds began approaching rapidly, and the band packed up their instruments. The rain started falling as we were walking back to our car; it was perfect timing, really. We got back in, and continued our journey south.

Pretty little village.

Pretty little village.


These storm clouds don’t mess around.

Our next stop was the Wieskirche in Steingaden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It doesn’t look like much walking up to it, but once you step inside, the rococo-designed church that dates back to the 1740s is really something.

The Wieskirche in Steingaden.

The Wieskirche in Steingaden.




Hi, dad!

Hi, dad!


After leaving Steingaden, we didn’t have much further to drive until reaching Neuschwanstein Castle. We stopped at a gas station, where Jeremy and I had our first truly rude experience in Europe (after over two months, I’d say that’s pretty good). I wanted to ease our hurt feelings with huge fried balls of dough covered in chocolate, a Bavarian specialty, but I refrained.


Pulling up to Schwangau, we got our first glimpse of the castle.


We hiked up to it, but there were busses or horse-drawn carriages that you could take up the steep hill instead. It took about thirty minutes of climbing (with beautiful views along the way), but we finally made it.



Getting closer…



Made it!



After walking around a bit outside (tickets to tour the castle were sold out), we wanted to find a bridge I had read about online, called Marienbrücke, where you could get a really good view of the castle from above. It was a bit more hiking, but we found it, and now my stomach turns just thinking about it. I had no idea how high up it was going to be, and what a dinky little bridge it was going to be. I was paralyzed with fear as soon as we approached it.

I have never been afraid of heights, and consider myself a pretty brave person. Growing up, I remember being nervous about doing things for the first time (like riding a roller coaster, but who isn’t?), but after being talked into doing it (usually by my brother), I loved it and wasn’t afraid after that. I don’t know if it’s because the older I’m getting, the more of a wus I’m becoming, but this bridge scared the hell out of me. It didn’t help that it had started raining, it was windy, and there were huge storm clouds ahead. The bridge is made of wooden panels you walk across, that move when you step on them. I couldn’t fathom how everybody was nonchalantly walking across, like it was nothing. I was gripping the handle so tight and wouldn’t budge, and I wasn’t even on the bridge yet. Jeremy came and got me and finally convinced me to walk across, and I basically had a panic attack as I did, and couldn’t look at anything except the unstable wooden panels beneath my feet. I didn’t even look at the castle. All I could think about was a lightning bolt hitting the bridge, and falling to my death. I didn’t get any pictures because of my debilitating fear, but luckily Jeremy and my dad did.


Neuschwanstein Castle from Marienbrücke bridge.

I tried to find a picture online of the bridge and how high it was to make people understand my fears, but I couldn’t find a good one. You guys will just have to believe me.


 After going back across the bridge, I really wanted a picture of me and Jeremy on it with the castle behind and knew I’d regret if I didn’t get one, but obviously I wasn’t going to walk out onto the middle of the bridge like the thousands of other lunatics that do daily (the castle gets 6,000 visitors a day on average), so I shuffled out just a few feet, and grabbed onto Jeremy for dear life. It’s one of my favorite pictures from our adventures so far.


I feel like a real sissy now, especially seeing how many people just walked across it no problem. I’m hoping this was just a fluke, and that my bravery returns.

Anybody else afraid of heights? (Please say yes.)

Merrymaking in Munich

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What a great city. It was the first time in Munich for all of us (me, Jeremy, and my parents), and nobody was quite sure what to expect. Jeremy and I are housesitting in Bavaria, and luckily my parents decided to drive us since they didn’t have any other plans. We left Honfleur around noon, and knew we had a long day of driving ahead of us. I was the navigator, and relied on a map that looked like this (we didn’t go through Frankfurt, but it was a good representation of the German map I was relying on):

Is this a cruel joke, Germany?

Is this a cruel joke, Germany?

Good thing I had some chocolate for navigation energy (essential on a long road trip).


We finally rolled into the city around 10pm and arrived at mine and Jeremy’s Airbnb (a few blocks away from my parents’ hotel), where this was waiting for us:


I normally don’t drink much beer and usually stick to red wine in California and of course in France, but WHOA the beer in Germany is SO GOOD. I haven’t had wine since we left France, and every beer I’ve had here has been more delicious than the next.

The day after we arrived it was Jeremy’s birthday (28 on the 28th!), and we started the day by finding some breakfast. Our apartment was just a couple blocks from the train station, and we were both craving a BIG cup of coffee (which we hadn’t had since we left America, really). Munich definitely has a more American feel when it comes to restaurants and coffee shops, and we found some really good coffee in large to-go cups. Ah, the comforts of home. The train station has a very impressive selection of restaurants on every level, and each one looked really good, but when we walked by a Mexican place serving breakfast burritos, we knew we had found the perfect birthday breakfast. I know it seems weird to eat Mexican food in Germany, but we could see the burritos and the ingredients and the tortillas looked good. And how can you mess up a tortilla stuffed with cheese and eggs? It turned out to be a good decision, and the burritos were delicious (they even had guacamole and really good salsa inside).




After breakfast, we walked all over the city, and marveled at the impressive architecture that seemed to surprise us at every turn.

My mom and her new friend.

My mom and her new friend.




Does this not remind you of “It’s a Small World”? I had it stuck in my head while we were walking around, and then an oompah band played it at a beer hall (or what sounded like it at least…), so I guess it’s not just me.





I’ll never get over how cute these little vehicles are.

I thought we escaped the tempting treats when we left France. Oh, how wrong I was.

I thought we escaped the tempting treats when we left France. Oh, how wrong I was.

The birthday boy!

The birthday boy!

Guess Munich knew he was coming.

Guess Munich knew he was coming.

For dinner, we went to Hofbräuhaus, the most well-known beer hall in Munich. It’s kind of a requirement for every visitor to go at least once, so we knew it was going to be crowded. Luckily, it holds thousands of people, and the efficiency of service is down to a science. We sat ourselves, and didn’t have to wait long to get served liters of beer and traditional German food. With the oompah band playing and everybody drinking and talking and occasionally singing along, it is pretty much impossible to not have a good time at a beer hall.



Originally built in 1589!






My Spätzle with fried onions on top, my mom’s Wiener Schnitzel in the background. And lots of bread in between.


Apple Strudel, a Bavarian specialty.

We waddled our stuffed selves back to our respective accommodations, and I took some pictures along the way.


We will own one of these someday.

We will own one of these someday.


The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) in Marienplatz.

The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) in Marienplatz.

The next you see me, I might be wearing one of these.

The next time you see me, I might be wearing one of these.

The next couple days were filled with a drive south on the Romantic Road to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle (more on that later), and more eating, walking around, and beer drinking.

We found a place near our apartment called Veggie Döner and oh my god it was delicious. The seitan (basically vegetarian 'meat' made out of wheat gluten) was cooked on a spit like regular kebab meat, and shaved off and put in a tortilla with lots of other good stuff. And there were other Turkish goodies that looked delicious also.

We found a place near our apartment called Veggie Döner and oh my god it was delicious. The seitan (basically vegetarian ‘meat’ made out of wheat gluten) was cooked on a spit like regular kebab meat, and shaved off and put in a tortilla with lots of other good stuff. And there were other Turkish goodies that looked really tasty also.

I want another one.

I want another one.

Visiting the Chinesischer Turm biergarten in the English Garden with a pretzel bigger than my head (and that's saying a lot because I have a huge head).

Visiting the Chinesischer Turm biergarten in the English Garden with a pretzel bigger than my head (and that’s saying a lot because I have a huge head).

A fresh seafood sandwich from one of the many restaurants in the Viktualienmarkt, a food market that is open every day in the center of Munich.

A fresh seafood sandwich from one of the many restaurants in the impressive Viktualienmarkt, a food market that is open every day in the center of Munich.

The Englischer Garten (English Garden) is beautiful and humungous (and bigger than Central Park) and starts in the city center. I wanted to run here, but didn't make it. One day!

The Englischer Garten (English Garden) is beautiful and massive (bigger than Central Park) and starts in the city center. I wanted to run here, but didn’t make it. One day!

We stumbled across a puppet show in the underground mall we also found accidentally. Germany is pretty cool.

We stumbled across a puppet show in the underground mall we also found accidentally. Germany is pretty cool.

Like I said, we really really loved Munich, and are now enjoying the beauty of the Bavarian countryside in the house we’re looking after. Happy June!