Weekend Adventures: Stuttgart, Germany

When I was younger, my grandpa would write me letters, and parts of them would be in German--just for fun. I'm sure he would have been excited to hear about this next trip if he were still alive today. On Friday, we took an hour and 15 minute flight from London Heathrow to Stuttgart, Germany to visit my friends Elise and Truett, who I know from working on the college yearbook. They're doing something similar to us, but they've been living abroad for a little longer. We're so lucky to have had this experience with them (and finally meet their three adorable little boys!)

The day started as soon as we touched down at the Stuttgart airport at 11:30 am. We headed to their house for a yummy lunch of goulash (this isn't the exact recipe, but one I found that looks pretty good.) Then, we headed to the Porshe Museum where Christopher deepened his desire for one (I told him if he started saving right now, he might be able to get one during his mid-life crisis down the road….)

We also checked out a German grocery store. I don't know why, but I'm obsessed with looking at the different foods and brands at supermarkets around the world. I had a little tour guide to show me around the store (and we were on a mission to find the candy aisle, obvs.)

His compass brought us right to the chocolate.
That night, we went to a cute restaurant and ate Flammkuchen, which is a German-style pizza! I went big and ordered one with sausage and sauerkraut (when in Germany…) It was delicious. We also ordered a pitcher of German beer. Here, they clink the bottom of their glasses, look everyone in the eyes, and say, "Prost!" when toasting.

I wonder how the Germans would say, "Go Bulldogs!"?
The next day, we left the kids at home with a babysitter and visited the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial. It was something no one "wants" to see but something that should be done. Our tour guide put it into perspective: while we're never going to understand why or how someone could do this, it's our responsibility to educate ourselves so that we can prevent it from happening again. She said that after the camp was liberated in April of 1945, the US armed forces made all of the residents in the town of Dachau pay a visit the camp to see what was really going on. The stories and images were extremely emotional and impactful. There are no words for a lot of the things we heard and saw.

The Results Are In! Looks Like We're Going To....

Thanks to all of you who helped us choose our anniversary trip destination in last week's poll. We had over 60 votes, and it looks like we have a winner:

We're looking forward to Italy! It came in first place with 24 votes. Greece followed closely behind with 17. Iceland came in third with 13, and Dubai got 6. We also got two write-ins, one suggesting Ireland and the other suggesting Lafayette, Louisiana (Dad, was that you? :P)

So, now comes the fun part of planning. Actually, I take that back-- I hate planning. I wish we could just crowdsource the whole trip, but that would require me doing even more research. Instead, if you've got any recommendations of where to go or what to do, please share in the comments below! Basically, my only requirement is that we eat carbs for every meal, which shouldn't be a problem hopefully.

Of course, we're still planning on going to Greece, Dubai, and Iceland at some point in our lives (and yes, Dad, I'm coming to see you soon, too!)

Crowdsourcing Fun: Help Us Plan Our Anniversary Trip!

After months of debating where we should celebrate our first wedding anniversary, Christopher and I are at a standstill. Every day, we change our mind. One minute, we fantasize about drinking wine and eating delicious pasta in Italy, the next, we see ourselves sipping on cocktails while lounging on the beach somewhere exotic like Dubai. It's gotten to the point that we want to just relinquish our power to decide and instead put it in your hands :)

And that's what we're going to do today. Will you help us choose where to go in April? Here's where we're thinking (but of course if you feel passionate about someplace else not on the list, please let us know!)

What we love about this idea: Pasta, bread, wine, romance.

What we love about this idea: Islands, scenic landscapes, gyros, warmth.

12 Days of Christmas Fun

Happy 2015! Hope you had a great holiday. It's been a busy few weeks over here in Oxford, so I figured I'd give you the Cliff's Notes version of what happened over Christmas.

My last post touched on our Christmas dinner with our neighbors Greg and Aleks, so I'll start the next day.

1. Christopher's family arrived, and we moved into a beautiful four-bedroom house for the week. It had a normal-size fridge. Needless to say, we were in heaven.

2. We trekked to the Cotswolds and had a private car tour from a local. We saw Shakespeare's home, Anne Hathaway's cottage, and went into an active church so old and original that it didn't even have electricity.

3. While the rest of the group headed to London and visited the Tower of London, I stayed back, did a little last-minute Christmas shopping, and worked on a few projects.

A Traditional Christmas Dinner... England-Style!

Our lovely neighbors did it again--another amazing meal from Chef Greg and hostess Aleks. The four of us celebrated the holidays a little early this year, and Greg whipped up a traditional English Christmas dinner this past weekend. It was delicious and really fun!

Afternoon Tea: A Comedy of Errors

Last weekend, two of my best friends from New York came to visit us in Oxford. I wanted to make sure Chelsy (my former roommate) and Rosa (my Pretty Little Liars watching buddy) got the full English experience, so on Sunday afternoon, we went to afternoon tea in Woodstock (a tiny village in the Cotswolds.)

After a day of playing in Blenheim Palace, we headed to the MacDonald Bear Hotel to check out their comfy-looking Churchill Lounge, but ended up in the hotel's empty downstairs bar, drawn in by the roaring fireplace. #perfect

But our elegant and relaxing tea soon spiraled into a comedy of errors. Don't worry--it wasn't a complete disaster. The whole experience left us in stitches and made for one of our most memorable moments yet.

Here are the highlights:

The tranquil room immediately changed on us--After we secured a quiet and warm little table in the corner near the fireplace, the fire went out and the tables around us started filling up with rowdy people getting drinks from the bar.

Our food didn't come on a sandwich tier--When you think of traditional afternoon tea, the first thing that comes to mind is the pretty little display the food comes out on. Instead, our waitress just kind of shoved plates of scones and sandwiches on our table. Sad faces all around. What are our followers on Instagram going to think? :(

Whatever. We didn't get sandwich tiers but we're still smiling.

Our waitress mixed up the teas--She placed a pot of tea in front of each of us and put another pot in the center of the table saying it was hot water. Poor Rosa started pouring her tea while talking to us and didn't realize she had poured a whole thing of water in her cup! Then, after she got rid of the water and began pouring her real tea, the lid fell into the pot! We tried to figure out how that even happened--none of us could even fit our lid in our pots if we tried. Rosa has mad skills.... As I was feeling sorry for her that her lid was compromised, we both realized we had the wrong tea. So, we traded, and I was now assigned to the pot with no lid. Womp womp....

What It's Like to Attend a High Table Dinner in Oxford

This was definitely an experience of a lifetime! Christopher's boss invited us to a High Table dinner at Trinity College. I'd heard about these events from a few people I'd spoken with: "Oh, it's a must if you can go to one." So, I was obviously excited when I heard we had the opportunity to attend.

What it is: a very old tradition that takes place at some prestigious universities (including Oxford and Cambridge) where students and fellows of the college eat a fancy dinner together. The fellows and their guests (that's us!) sit at a high table--literally, it's raised on a platform--while the students sit at large family-style tables perpendicular to the High Table. (Think Hogwarts' Great Hall.) Everyone dresses formally and the fellows wear their academic robes.

Standing in front of a portrait of the founder of Trinity College.
The dinner begins after those at the High Table walk in. A loud bang happens and all the students stand up immediately. A prayer is said in Latin and then the food and drinks start coming out.