Weekend Adventures (and 2 posts in 1 day!)

I am so excited to announce that I am 1 step closer to becoming a MERMAID!!! 015aa39f5f381debcb8e08802f305efb391b73ca98

I was FINALLY able to complete my open water diver certification course! I started it at the beginning of June but one of the days was cancelled and I wasn’t able to make it up until this past weekend due to so much traveling (not a bad thing since we loved our trips but we did miss out on some dive opportunities unfortunately). But I am so excited that I’m done and we can plan some great diving trips for next year…Greece or Croatia maybe??

The other weekend highlight was an amazing street food festival. I went with some friends and we tried some great food. They had pulled pork bbq sandwiches that really reminded me of home! They also had the best blueberry mojitos! It was a great time, Glenn would have loved all the food. Hopefully he will be here for one of the ones in the future 🙂

Blauberry Mojito
Blaubeer Mojito

I also got our next trip planned – Prague we’re coming for you!!

Happy monday everyone, have a great week!

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So many day trips!

My mom came to visit for 2 weeks and during her trip we squeezed in as many day trips (and 2 overnight trips) as possible. We made it to 3 countries (4 if you include germany), 2 castles, 1 waterfall, and a chocolate factory. Plus lots of other exciting adventures. Here were the places we hit:

Salzburg Austria

Sound of Music Tour FTW
Sound of Music Tour FTW
Sound of Music Gazebo
Sound of Music Gazebo

Munich Germany – We spent some time walking around the Marienplatz and went to Dashau Concentration Camp on our way back to Stuttgart

"Work sets you free" gate entering Dashau
„Work sets you free“ gate entering Dashau

Ludwigsburg Castle and Hohenzollern Castle (sorry no picture of Hohenzollern)

Ludwigsburg Castle
Ludwigsburg Castle

Ritter Sport Chocolate Factory

Chocolate for days
Chocolate for days

We drove to Switzerland to see „the Niagra Falls of Europe“ aka Rhein Falls. Definitely smaller than Niagra Falls but still beautiful and a great day trip. We hit Hohenzollern on the way back home!

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We also drove to France for a day to check out the small town of Soufflenheim. It is a town of potters and they all have their own small shops filled to the brim with their pottery. On the way home we stopped at an outlet mall that reminded me of the ones in the states, if anyone reading this is in Europe- Roppenheim Outlets are amazing and you should definitely check them out!

Of course we spent a little bit of time in downtown Stuttgart and eating some typical German foods. I have really grown to like Doner and Rotewurst (a type of Bratwurst) so I wanted my mom to try them as well. She liked them just as much as I do! It was a great trip and so nice to have her here for a few weeks.

Anyone have any favorite german foods that I should try or amazing day trips?

CRUISE recap!!

Hi friends!

We are back from our cruise and we had a great time! It took us a few days to get used to the cruise lifestyle (ie 1000’s of people at all times, lots of kids running around, and figuring out the schedules of the gym, restaurants, etc) but once we did we really enjoyed it. We departed from Barcelona so we flew down a few days early to check it out. It was amazing! We didn’t have a set agenda there so we could just relax and take it all in without feeling rushed. We spent some time figuring out the city on foot and got in some great beach time!

The "fishtank" rooftop pool at our hotel
The „fishtank“ rooftop pool at our hotel
View from the top of the hotel
View from the top of the hotel

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Our cruise went from Barcelona to Naples with a day at sea in between. That worked out really well for us because it gave us a day to relax before we got to Italy. Our Italy itinerary was jam packed- our travel itinerary was a 13 page word document that I created so we could make sure we had all the info we needed with minimal use of the internet. (I should note – we didn’t use any of the boats excursions since they were expensive, but we did find ways to get to all of the cities from the ports by train it just took more research). Once in Naples we took the train south to Pompeii. Pompeii was on our „must see“ list but we weren’t super interested in Naples itself so it worked out really well.

Inside pompeii
Inside Pompeii
Another one from Pompeii
Another one from Pompeii

The second stop was Rome, this was our busiest day. We had  a pretty long list of „must sees“ here and the train ride from the port into Rome was about an hour. We ended up skipping the Trevi Fountain because it is under construction and we had to cut something to make it back in time. We were on the last shuttle from the train back to the boat at the end of the day, but the long day was definitely worth it! We did a guided tour of the Roman Forum and Colosseum, our tour guide was an archaeologist who does tours on the side and she was amazing. The tour also allowed us to skip the line into the Colosseum (which was probably an hour wait) so that saved us a lot of time. (We found the tour on Viator in case anyone is looking for good tour sites.) We bought some souvenirs here too, we found a great artisan market while we were walking around where we met an artist and bought one of his oil on canvas paintings.  I also found a beautiful handmade leather purse in a small shop (which helped us to alter our travel plans for the next day).

Roman Colosseum
Roman Colosseum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Pantheon in Rome
Pantheon in Rome

Stop number 3 was in Livorno, about 20 minutes (by train) to Pisa. You could also continue on the train for another hour to Florence. We initially planned to go into Florence to visit a very well know leather market (not as necessary after finding the purse in Rome), but after the long day in Rome plus the sweltering heat (at least 90 degrees every day + direct sunlight) we changed our minds and decided to just check out Pisa and then make our way back to the boat for the rest of the afternoon.

Torre Pendente (Leaning Tower)
Torre Pendente (Leaning Tower)

The last 2 stops were Cannes, France and then Palma de Mallorca, Spain. We spent the day in Cannes at the beach which was walkable from the port, but unfortunately there were no celebrity sightings. We didn’t get into Mallorca until 2 pm the last day and had to be back on the boat by 6 so we made the executive decision to just stay on the boat that day and relax by the pool.

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Private beach in Cannes

Overall we had a great vacation, but it will probably be a while before we want to go on another cruise. It was definitely a good way to see a lot of places in a short period of time and much easier to plan since I didn’t have to figure out hotels for each night or transportation between each city, but it did make for a much busier vacation. We would really like to go back to Rome at some point because there was so much else to see and Venice is another Italian city we want to see while we’re here but a day in each of the others seemed like enough time for us.

If anyone is traveling to any of those cities or contemplating a similar cruise and wants to see our travel itinerary let me know, I am happy to share!

Happy Humpday!

Anne

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Get ready for these pictures, this place was beautiful!

Last weekend we drove to Slovenia (about 6 hours south west) for a 3 day weekend. We stayed at Garden Village which is a glamping (glamorous camping!) site. They have tree houses, large tents and pier tents. We stayed in a pier tent which meant we had our own little dock on a river and shared a communal bathroom. They also had a large infinity pool, 5 star restaurant and a couple group hang out areas throughout the property. They are a green facility so they grow all of their own fruits and veges in their garden. We were only a 5 minute walk to Lake Bled and all the shops and restaurants. Our tent came with an air mattress and had outlets and a mini fridge, it was the perfect combination of camping and hotel for me.

Our pier tent
Our pier tent
This is a picture of the tree houses
This is a picture of the tree houses

Here is a picture of Lake Bled (there is an island in the middle that you can get to by boat, kayak, SUP or swimming). We paddle boarded around the island on Friday morning.

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We also did 2 hikes while we were there, a longer one on Saturday in a National Park that had some pretty challenging parts. We had to cut that hike short because it started to thunderstorm. On Sunday morning we did a shorter hike in Vintgar Gorge (picture below), it was amazing. It felt like we were in a travel magazine of the most beautiful places!

Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge

Slovenia wasn’t a place we had initially planned to travel to but after hearing such great things about it and finding Garden Village online we added it to our „must travel list“. We will be traveling through Spain and Italy next week so we get to cross some other places off that list soon!

Recovery mode

We are definitely in recovery mode from our race on Saturday. There has been a lot of foam rolling, stretching, and NSAIDS at our house. We had a great race and our muscles can feel it! We both agreed mid race that it was one of the hardest things we had ever done. The race included 6000 feet of elevation over 35.6 km, we finished right around the 5 hour mark. That put us in the middle of the pack as far as the entire field went. The male winner of our race finished in 2:35, and the female winner was in at 3:06!

It rained for the entire week leading up to the race (and for the first 13ish miles on race day) which meant there was a lot of mud and some of the downhill trails turned into miniature streams. The course was technically difficult single track on both the major downhills and on one of the larger ascents but the rest of the course was on mostly forest roads and larger trails. I wish I had taken more pictures during the race but the combo of rain and not wanting to waste time getting my camera out during the race meant that I didn’t end up taking any. The aid stations were amazing (one of my favorite things about trail races), they had tons of fruit, different carbs, warm broth, and multiple drink options.

I think part of the reason the race went so well was our gear, I stayed relatively warm and dry even though it was raining and cold for most of the race. We had to carry at least a rain jacket and an extra long sleeve shirt and pants but I ended up having an extra jacket in my pack as well which was great for once the rain stopped but it was still cold. I changed my shirt 3 times during the race which was probably unnecessary but made me way more comfortable, so probably still worth it. Knowing other runners are running twice the distance you’re doing is also a big motivator since you know even though your legs are getting tired they have so much further to go!

Here are some before and after pictures I took:

At the start line
At the start line
After the finish
After the finish
Shoes after the race (they are Salomon's and they were amazing!)
Shoes after the race (they are Salomon’s and they were amazing!)
This is the mountain we ran over!
This is the mountain we ran over!

Its almost race time!

We are gearing up for our race this weekend- 35 km up the side of one of the tallest mountains in Germany! Today was my last run pre- race since I like to give my legs a little break so they feel fresh on race day. I did an easy 5 mile run but was able to do my last mile at 7:30 pace and it felt great. I’m really excited to start doing some faster running after this race and not have to worry about having sore legs for long runs.

This is the elevation profile for the race (note – its in meters….so 6000 ft of elevation!). At least the end is downhill, but my legs will probably be so dead at that point that downhill will be really difficult too.

We some how overlooked the fact that there is a MUST carry list for this race and it includes a lot of things…this is from the Zugspitz race website:

It is mandatory to carry the following equipment during the entire competition:
• trail running shoes with a tread that is suitable for running in alpine terrain
• Foul-weather gear for protection from the elements (as a minimum water-proof rain coat)
• Warm clothing (long-sleeved shirt and running pants) as insulating layers underneath the rain gear (in case of bad weather conditions which may set in suddenly in high mountain territory)
• Gloves and a warm hat
• Functioning headlamp and replacement batteries (does not apply to BASETRAIL XL or BASETRAIL)
• X-Mug to get drinks at the food stations
• Water tank containing at least 1.5 liters (BASETRAIL XL and BASETRAIL 1l)
• Emergency gear (first aid kit, rescue blanket)
• Trail Book with outline and detail maps, and altitude profile of the whole course
• Back pack
• Mobile phone with Medical Crew Number saved in its address book to be able to make emergency calls (it must be made sure that the phone can make calls from within Austria as well)
Also recommended.: GPS device, trekking poles, sun screen, fatty cream against chafing, additional supply of own food and beverages, blister tapes
The race organizers will perform random checks prior to the race start and at various check points on whether the aforementioned mandatory equipment/clothing is indeed being carried along. If mandatory equipment were to be missing, the participant in question will be disqualified from the race.

That adds up to a fair amount of weight and it also meant we both had to buy new packs because our camel backs won’t hold that much stuff. We bought these ones at a local store. They should work well for the race and be good for day hikes/long bike rides too. Jack Wolfskin is a big brand here similar to Northface or Patagonia.

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I also baked these last night and if you’ve never made brownies with nutella you definitely should try these out!

http://www.findingsilverlinings.net/2013/02/28/chewy-nutella-brownies/

They are amazing! You don’t get a lot of the hazelnut flavor but the nutella makes them stay super gooey and delicious.

I will make sure to post lots of pics from the race after we make it through the course. Here’s a scary fact for you (also from the Zugspitz website) : The winner of the distance we are running is expected to finish in 3 hours and 50 minutes!!!! So we will probably be somewhere in the 5 – 6 hour range (HOPEFULLY!).

I hope you’re having a great day!

Monday Things

Hi friends! Nothing too new to report here. Glenn gets back from the states soon and we have a few things planned, but until then it’s just life as usual. I signed up for a scuba certification course that starts this weekend so I have been working on my „homework“ for the class. At the end I will be a certified open water diver which will make it easier for us to dive anytime we want since Glenn is already certified. The certification lasts for your lifetime so its a pretty great investment even if you’re only planning on diving a few times because the cost of the course would be equal to the pre-dive safety course required by all companies if you were going to dive on vacation. We are hoping we can get some diving in when were on our cruise in July!

Hopefully I will have some more DIY furniture to show you soon, I am planning to start using the workshop on one of the bases after we take a safety class next week. Having access to lots of tools and a work space should make bigger projects easier.

I (finally!) finished this DIY project last week. It took a while to find a frame big enough because a lot of stores didn’t sell them and ordering online takes quite a while to get here.

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I followed this tutorial to turn our first dance lyrics into custom wall art:

http://blog.scoutandnimble.com/turn-your-wedding-song-into-a-work-of-art-a-tutorial/

The only thing I changed was taking the canvas off the wooden frame because it was not completely square so it wouldn’t fit into the picture frame. It made it easier to hang anyway since if you leave the canvas on the frame you can’t get the picture frame backing on.

Have a great week!

Anne