Tag Archives: vacation

Lounging on the Champ de Mars

14 Jun

We arrived in Paris later in the evening, and instead of rushing out to sightsee, we decided to explore the neighborhood where we were staying. We found a little Arab restaurant, picked up some falafel and shawarma, and headed back to our apartment to make a plan for the following day.

We both agreed the Eiffel Tower had to be our first stop. It’s easily the most recognizable landmark in Paris, drawing in millions of tourists from around the world. So we woke up the next morning, stopped at a café for a coffee and croissant and were on our way.

Eiffel.Tower.2

Eiffel.Tower.

The Eiffel Tower is as majestic as you’d imagine it to be. I first spotted the tip, peering above a line of trees, and it validated for me that I was definitely in Paris. We finally turned a corner, and there she was in full glory, rising above the city. I could have stared at her for hours.

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Eiffel.Tower.5Below the Eiffel Tower lies the Champ de Mars, a large public green space. We joined the other visitors, lounging in the grass, taking in the view. Luckily it was a beautiful day, perfect for relaxing in the sun. I loved watching other people as they took touristy pictures, conducted impromptu picnics and enjoyed the Paris scenery. As we were lying in the grass, a street performer nearby started playing his accordion, and it all felt oh so French.

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Eiffel.Tower.7After an hour or so, we walked northwest toward the Eiffel Tower to take it in up close. It’s a unique structure, one of both elegant beauty and magnificent strength. We made our way under, and then crossed the Pont d’Iéna bridge over the Seine river to see it from the Esplanade du Trocadéro. No matter which angle you view, the tower is stunning. I loved that during our time in Paris, I always caught glimpses of her from different places in the city.

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Eiffel.Tower.12When I make it back someday, I’ll definitely be spending time at the Champ de Mars again, taking in this special landmark.

Up next: Some of the churches we visited in Paris.

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Vacation memories

12 Jun

It’s hard to believe two weeks ago today I was on my way to the South of France. Vacations always fly by quickly, but it seems the weeks that follow go just as quick. Reality returns with a strong vengeance and gives you a good slap in the face. No worries folks, I’m hanging in there. And I have some great pictures and memories to keep me smiling for a while.

With that being said, let’s do a quick recap. After a delayed flight to Germany, I finally arrived in Düsseldorf, and we were on our way to Sebastian’s hometown of Warendorf to spend the day with his parents. Since Sebastian lives in Berlin, the opposite side of the country, I hardly ever see his family when I visit. In fact, I hadn’t seen his parents in two years (talk about pressure to make a good impression). We had an awesome visit though – from lunch with his Mom to cheering on Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final with his Dad, it was an awesome (and very full) day.

strawberrycake{strawberry cake in the garden}

garden{Mrs. B’s backyard}

soccergame{BVB fan club of Warendorf}

cookies{Borussia Dortmund themed cookies}

Due to my delayed flight, our time in Germany was shortened, and the next day we were already on our way to spend a week in France. This was my first trip there, and I absolutely loved it. From the architecture to the food to the people, it really was a lovely country. I’ll be spending the next couple weeks recapping the trip, so stay tuned!

Up next: our morning at the Eiffel Tower and lounging on the Champ de Mars.

The sunshine state

24 Jan

It’s a little funny writing about Florida, especially since we’re experiencing the coldest temperatures yet this winter, but it’s also nice to think back to our week in the sunshine state. Even though Sebastian and I had originally planned to ski in Breckenridge over New Year’s, we decided to travel to Orlando instead. Winter was wearing us down a bit, and we both thought some warmer weather would do some good.

Our trip started out a little rocky, as I came down with the flu the night before our flight. Fortunately, I was able to fly the next morning, but it made for a quiet New Year’s Eve. Once we landed in Orlando, we drove to Melbourne to spend the afternoon on the beach. I spent most of the day sleeping instead. In fact, I may or may not have slept through midnight and woke up five minutes after the ball dropped. Despite being sick, it was nice spending time at the ocean. And it was even nicer waking up to a beautiful sunrise on New Year’s Day.

ocean1

ocean2

Basti

We spent the morning walking along the beach, and then took a longer drive along the coast before heading back to Orlando. We stayed at the Parc Soleil Suites, which was awesome for lounging on a beach chair. Nothing better than lying by the pool, soaking up the Florida sunshine. We called it an early night because the next day we were heading to Disney World, and I planned for it to be a full day.

hotel

We spent the morning at Epcot and had a blast. This was my third trip to the park and Sebastian’s first. Our favorite ride was the Test Track presented by Chevrolet, and it was a ton of fun walking around the World Showcase. Of course we had to make a stop in “Germany,” and even had lunch in “Italy.”

disney

epcot

nemo

Italy

Later in the afternoon we headed for Magic Kingdom, and boy was it crowded. I’m talking wall-to-wall people. We still had a nice time, but the kingdom wasn’t quite as magical as I remembered as a kid. The wait time for most rides was two hours, so we skipped them and explored the park instead. I got my picture in front of Cinderella Castle, and then after feeling like sardines for too long, we decided it was time to go home.

swiss family

us

castle

On day three we drove to Wekiwa Springs State Park, which has, you guessed it, a natural spring. I wasn’t brave enough to go in, but Sebastian enjoyed swimming in the clear, cool water. The spring also had a wildlife center, which had recently obtained a baby American Alligator. It was the only one I saw the whole trip so I was super excited.

wekiwa

swimming

We spent our final evening at Universal CityWalk and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. It was touristy, as I expected it would be, but the food was actually good. And I loved the Forrest Gump movie trivia. Sebastian was a little confused when I answered every question correctly, but who doesn’t love Forrest Gump?

It rained on our last day, which was appropriate since we were heading home to cold weather. We were glad to have chosen sunshine over snowy ski slopes. The vacation was much-needed, and we arrived back feeling relaxed and recharged. Another great trip in the books. Thanks, Florida!

My favorite time of year

18 Dec

The house is decorated, the gifts are wrapped, and I’m eagerly waiting the coming days. This truly is my favorite time of year, and not just because it’s Christmas. The holiday season is a time spent with family and friends, and after the tragic events of last week, there is nothing I want more than to hug those closest to me.

My little brother comes home tomorrow (yippee!), and we’ve already made plans to see “Monsters Inc.” and go tubing together. A few other holiday plans include hanging out with my best friends, attending some awesome Christmas parties, a Kent State roomie reunion and of course Christmas day with my family (my favorite day!).

The best, however, comes after Christmas when Sebastian arrives back in the states (8 days and counting). Even better is that we’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve in Florida! I’m so excited to take another trip together and spend time with my German over the holidays.

There’s so much to look forward to, I can hardly contain my excitement. So if a random girl gives you a big smile and a Christmas greeting, it’s probably me. Merry Christmas! xoxo

P.S. Any recommendations for things to do in Orlando are definitely welcome! And don’t worry, we already have Disney World covered :-)

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Berlinstagrams

1 Oct

Another trip to Germany has come and gone. Yesterday I arrived back in the States with so many wonderful memories. I don’t know how it’s possible, but each time gets better and better. And luckily, I won’t have to wait too long for the next visit since Sebastian will be here in November.

I have many stories to share, but until I get caught up on sleep, I’ll just share a few pictures for now. These are the Instagram photos I captured during the trip. I call them Berlinstagrams. Enjoy!

{one of the best burger shops in town}

{views from the Berlin Cathedral}

{a giant map of Berlin}

{yummy food at Transit}

{hanging out on the runway at Tempelhof Park}

{museum island at dusk}

{chicken dinner}

{Berlin Zoo}

{fun. concert}

{miss this guy}

P.S. Happy October! It’s amazing how fast this year is flying by.

My heart is in Germany

17 Sep

AAAAAAHHHHH! I just checked my countdown, and there are only four days until I head to Germany! I couldn’t be more excited to visit this beautiful country again. I realize my love for this place is a little biased (because it’s home to a pretty cool guy), but in all honesty, even if I had never met Sebastian I think I would have fallen in love with Germany.

I still remember my very first visit, and how I instantly loved being there. In some cities it was like traveling back in time with their old city centers and amazing architecture. And then in others, it was like visiting a city in America. I really appreciated the mix of old and new and how it fit together flawlessly.

Sebastian had already broken my stereotypical image of Germans before I visited, and it changed even more as I began talking with and meeting other German people. Before I went, I had always pictured stern-looking, serious people. I laugh thinking about it now. For the most part, everyone is super friendly and not serious at all. In fact, my boyfriend is the goofiest guy I’ve ever met – and I love him for it.

If the people and atmosphere didn’t make me fall in love, maybe it was the food or the language or the beer. Whatever it was, a part of my heart will always be in Germany.

Did I mention I CAN’T WAIT?!?! Four days!!!

Life could be a lot worse

22 Jun

This was the phrase I heard over and over from Sebastian during our vacation in La Romana. And he was right – life could have been a lot worse. Our stay in the Dominican Republic was relaxing, romantic and so much fun.

We stayed at an all-inclusive resort in La Romana, about two hours from Santo Domingo. Staying at this type of resort wasn’t the best way to explore the country, however our main goal was to relax, and that’s exactly what we did.

{pictures taken during the car ride to the resort}

We spent a good part of the first day exploring the resort. The complex included three pools, tropical gardens, eight restaurants, several activity areas and a beautiful beach. Our favorite spot quickly became the infinity pool with the swim-up bar. After breakfast each day, we lived at that pool. We swam, drank mojitos, took naps and completely forgot the “real world” existed.

The best part was having time to do what we wanted. Sebastian played volleyball and ate burgers from the beach grill. I read by the pool and took walks along the beach. And we both loved swimming in the Caribbean Sea together.

When the pool closed for the day, we’d head back to our room to get ready for dinner. Each night we tried a different restaurant. Our favorite was The Jungle, a restaurant on the beach serving traditional Dominican food. We tried goat, rice and beans, fried chicken, plantains and shrimp. It was amazing.

The resort provided an entertainment show each night, but we never went. Instead we walked along the pier, listened to live Jazz music in the lobby or spent time talking and laughing. Those are the moments I love the most when we’re together.

On our last morning, we woke up early to watch the sun rise and take one last walk along the beach. We were sad to go, but both agreed we wouldn’t mind coming back.

Interested in visiting the Dominican Republic? We both highly recommend Dreams La Romana Resort.

Our next trip will be in September. I’m visiting Germany for Oktoberfest in Munich! Can’t wait!

Get your running shoes on

6 Jun

During the past few weeks, I took a little blogging hiatus and a workout hiatus as well. What can I say? I was enjoying spending time with my boyfriend and our glorious vacation in the Dominican Republic (more to come on that later). There wasn’t much time for blogging or running.

Now that I’m back to work (sad face) and Sebastian is back in Germany (super sad face) it’s time to get back to my normal routine. So this week I started running again, and I honestly can’t believe how much I missed it. I decided to get back into shape this spring, and for the first time in a long time, I crave running again. It’s a great feeling.

I came home from work tonight, put on my Asics and ran a solid three miles. And to add to it, I just realized today is National Running Day. What a  nice little way to celebrate the holiday and my renewed love for running.

Cheers to a good run and all those endorphins. What do you love about running?

image via

Vacation bound

17 May

Sebastian will be back in the States one week from today! I can’t even contain my excitement. And one week from Sunday, we’ll be lying on a beach in the beautiful Dominican Republic. Commence happy dance!

We are both definitely ready for a vacation, and four glorious days of sunshine is exactly what we need. I’ve been to the Caribbean several times, even the Dominican Republic, but this will be Sebastian’s first trip. I’m sure he’ll love it – just as much as I loved the Mediterranean.

We’re both looking forward to this:

and this:

oh and this too:

Vacation, here we come!

images via http://www.dreamsresorts.com/drelr/

I Amsterdam and a little Berlin too

4 Jan

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2012 and my trip to Europe has come and gone. It was another wonderful trip though, and I’m already looking forward to the next one (fingers crossed for Oktoberfest this year).

We started our vacation in Amsterdam. I was flying there to save money, and we figured we might as well make the most of it. Sebastian had been to the city before, but it had been almost ten years, and we were both excited to explore. If you’ve never been, it really is a charming city with all the lovely canals and diversity among its residents. We spent the first day getting to know the city and the majority of time walking around. Our hotel was located in the Red Light District. The stories are true, and the girls really do stand in the windows – wearing nothing but lingerie. Once you get past that though, I have to say it is one of the nicer and more livelier areas. And home to a Burger Bar, where I had one of the best burgers and the most AMAZING Belgian Fries – freshly cut, cooked twice, fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, delicious.

{charming canals}

After spending the day exploring, we took a candlelight cruise through the canals. We sipped red wine, ate a variety of Dutch cheeses and watched the city float by. It was a very relaxing and romantic evening.

The following day we went to the several museums including the Rembrandt House and the Heineken brewery tour. The Rembrandt House was fantastic. It’s so cool to be in a building more than 500 years old and stand in rooms where Rembrandt lived and created art. The Heineken Experience, as they call it, was also a lot of fun. The tour is very interactive and of course there is drinking involved. We spent a lot of time laughing together (as we did for most of the trip).

{Basti enjoying the Heineken Experience}

We finished the second night by trying Lieve, a Belgian restaurant – after reading a review on another blog (thanks Glocal Girl) – and it didn’t disappoint.  We chose the Living Room style dining with three courses. During the dinner, we tried potato sushi, steak tartare, grilled steak of Boeuf Blonde, deer and wild boar stew, mini chestnut cakes and an apple cinnamon parfait – amazing.

The final day in Amsterdam we spent the morning at the Anne Frank House. I read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was a young girl, and it was incredible to be in the room where she actually wrote. I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like to experience what she did, and I’m thankful the museum was created so we don’t forget those times. After that we went to our favorite breakfast spot in the city, Bagels & Beans, and spent the rest of the day sightseeing. This included a stop at the famous I AMsterdam sign and of course another meal at the Burger Bar. That night we flew to Berlin for the next part of our trip.

{me and the I AMsterdam sign}

We spent four days in Berlin and it absolutely flew by. I had already visited Berlin before, and Sebastian is frequently there for work, so it was nice to relax and not feel pressure to see the city. We stayed at a hotel that offered apartment-style rooms, which means we had a kitchen. Almost every morning we  went to the grocery store, bought food for the day, and came back to our little kitchen to make breakfast together. I can’t express how nice it is to do day-to-day activities with Sebastian. These are rarities for us and it’s nice to enjoy them.

{the Brandenburg Gate – looking stunning as usual}

Of course we didn’t spend all the time relaxing. We ate at some great restaurants, visited with a friend and did some sightseeing, including the Checkpoint Charlie museum, Brandenburg Gate, the Museum Island and the Reichstag building. We returned to the Brandenburg Gate on New Year’s Eve (along with one million other people) and it was crazy. The Germans sure know how to party, and it’s definitely a night I won’t soon forget. New Year’s Day was our last day together and the following morning it was back to the States.

{Happy New Year!}

I already miss Sebastian, but it’s a new year, and I’m excited to see where it will take us. Cheers!