Pensacola, Pensacola, Here We Cooooooome

it finally happened.  after months of prodding, guilting, and possibly some crying, hubs finally relented and took me to the beach this weekend.  and oh, what a weekend it was!

we made the 6 hour drive from atlanta to pensacola beach on thursday after work.  here i am getting jazzed for the car ride, because typically 4 hours is my whiney limit.  but i did okay this time!  i wore this obnoxious shirt so hubs wouldn’t lose me in any alabama gas stations.

roadtripselfie

i continue to be horrified by hubs’s taste in car ride candy.  i am a reese’s pieces girl myself.

peachringsvom

we stayed at the holiday inn express, because all of the rooms have oceanfront balconies, and also hubs had enough points to make our 3 night stay completely free.  free is my favorite.

my point-and-shoot camera died a slow, jerky death upon our arrival, so all of these pictures are iphone pictures, and possibly not of the best quality?  that being said, here is the moon over the ocean!

moonoverocean

we checked in at about 11:00 p.m. central time, and wanted to go out to get a celebratory beverage.  the only place open was one of the top 5 sketchiest bars i have ever been to, called sandshaker lounge & package.  emphasis on the “& package”.  that should tell you everything you need to know.

hubs and i had a round of beer, and then when he went back for seconds, this happened:

hubs: what do you want to drink this time?
me: i’ll take another blue moon.
hubs: okay i’ll get you a bushwacker.
me: so, just to reiterate, i want a blue moon.
hubs: bushwacker it is!

(5 minutes later, hubs sets down my not-blue-moon)

bushwacker

hubs: i’m so sorry.
me: don’t apologize, you knew what i wanted.
hubs: no, i am REALLY SORRY about this drink.  i think it’s the worst drink i’ve ever had.
me: well what does it taste like?
hubs: dishwater…dirty dishwater.

and you know what you guys?  it totally did taste like dirty dishwater.  and i drank hubs’s beer and he drank the bushwacker, and all was right with the world.

anyway.

the next morning, we ate the free hotel breakfast (toast w/ peanut butter and banana slices, oh yes), and then did some shopping, mostly at circle K to stock up on beach suppiles.  and by beach supplies, i mean booze.  specifically, this booze.  it hit the spot.

limearite

we spent most of friday beaching, beveraging, and have a damn good time.  we rented one of those 2 person wooden beach chairs, and if you were situated just so, you could close your eyes and pretend like you were in maui instead.  sort of.

then we did early bird dinner at pegleg pete’s which i neglected to photograph?  probably because i was famished.  we came back to the hotel and fell asleep on accident, and then woke up at 9:30 and scrambled to go back out, as adults do.

our hotel was less than a mile from all of the big restaurants on pensacola beach, but in between us and the food was jimmy buffett’s margaritaville hotel, which we may have walked to on more than one occasion for a real margarita.  the hotel was nice!  way nicer than i would’ve thought.  if we go back, we would maybe stay here instead?  tbd.

on our walk from margaritaville to second dinner at flounder’s late friday night, we stumbled upon this sign that totally made my night.

dogwalkerssign

and then we went to flounder’s and had a diesel fuel, which is supposed to be lethal, and while it did taste good, it did not knock me on my ass, so i was slightly disappointed.  but their chowder was delicious.

annieanddieselfuel

also, worth noting, i am not on drugs in this picture.  the flash was bright and i was fighting the urge to give the stink-eye to the girl at the table behind us who kept squawking “HATERS!!” throughout dinner.  i think she liked the diesel fuels?

on saturday we paid the $1.25 fee to walk to the end of the world’s longest pier* and watch about 200 shirtless men fish.  it was okay.

pensacolapier

onthepier

this was taken from the end of the pier.  the closer hotel is margaritaville, and the other one is our HIE, for reference.

pensacolahotels

pensacolabeachfromthepier

we also partook in a few frozen drinks from bamboo willie’s, which is just like wet willie’s, but with redeemable bushwackers.  and an electric lemonade that i didn’t totally hate.

electriclemonade

and then we had more beach time, followed by more napping.  my two favorite activities of all time.

we capped off our weekend with dinner at crabs! we got ’em.  we ate some oysters and watched a hermit crab race, and had more delicious drinks.  and then we were too tired from all the beach time to do anything else notable.  so we were vegetables for the rest of the night.

oysters

on sunday morning we got up, regretfully packed our belongings, and headed back to atlanta on what would become a 6 hour rain-soaked car ride.

overall it was amazing to get away, even for just a short 2 days.  it is always good to spend some quality time with each other and away from the hubbub of our daily lives.  additionally, i may have tipsily told hubs he could buy a big green egg if he takes me to new york later this summer, so there may be more travel in our future yet.  we will see!

pensacolapanarama

*unverified and probably not true.

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how to keep pollen off of a screened in porch, and other things

every spring in atlanta, when the pollen descends from the trees and into our lives, we are ostracized from our screened in porch during the time of year when it would be most enjoyable.  so this year, we took matters into our own hands and (desperately) tried to keep the effing pollen out of our porch.  behold!

pollenscreenedinporch

we bought a $10 roll of clear poly (not quite clear, as you can see) and stapled all the way around our porch to create a barrier against the pollen.  we also used masking tape to keep the seams sealed.  and you know what?  so far so good!  I think this keeps the pollen at bay! 

though, we do not exactly enjoy the porch while it is dressed up as one of dexter’s victims, and it is creepy as hell to sit at the table and eat dinner while surrounded by plastic.  but at least we won’t have to clean up the pollen before we can use the porch again.

pollenscreenedinporch2

and we look super classy, our neighbors are not skeeved out at all.

though after we had done this, we realized we could have just removed all of the cushion before the pollen came, and then rinsed the pollen away once it was done.  oh well.

some other things we’ve done around the house in the name of spring and general getting stuff done-ness:

i bought this mirror a few months ago at goodwill.  it was bright gold.  and hubs took one look at it and declared that it was “the penis mirror”.  and i showed it to my sisters, and they may have agreed with him.  but that didn’t keep me from painting it blue and hanging it in our upstairs hallway.

inappropriatemirror

[those are my painting clothes, I promise I don’t go out in public wearing soccer shorts.  also, full disclosure, I have never played soccer.]

the print is new and by an artist named elizabeth mayville.  I found it on etsy and I am obsessed.  the table is a homegoods find, and now that I look at it, I feel like it’s super off-white and needs to be painted…maybe next year.

and YES that is a futon in the next room don’t judge me!

one last major crazy thing I took care of on sunday night was painting our stairwell!  it is, mmmmm, 95% done?  but the last 5% is going to be the WORST.  uggggghhhhhhh.

paintedstairwell

i’m sorry the light is so bad but hubs turned off the lights downstairs right as i took this picture.

painting the stairwell finally connects the downstairs, which has been painted since before we moved in 2.5 years ago, and the upstairs hallway that I painted recently.  except, you know, now I have to figure out how to finish it without getting paint on the ceiling.  because I have NO IDEA what color paint goes on the ceiling in our house, so i have nothing to touch it up with.  god help us.

i will say that painting with an extender pole filled me with so much glee.  to be able to reach a point on the wall that was 3 times my height was strangely exhilirating.  okay so hubs may have done the VERY tippy top of the wall, but 90% of the 95% of the stairwell was done by yours truly.

throughout these home improvement endeavors, buster has continued to have no physical boundaries whatsoever.  he also needs a haircut so very badly.

bustergreenchair

finally, i cannot conclude this post without showing you the most amazing thing that happened at an irish pub this weekend.  my good friend (we will call her melamine) looked into her beer and saw someone winking back at her.

smilingbeer

most people see jesus in their food.  we get creepy smiley faces.  sounds about right.

green smoothie tips & tricks: learn from my mistakes

hubs and i ponied up a few weeks ago and bought the rolls royce of blenders, a vitamix.  it is INSANE.  we’ve made at least one smoothie per day in the month that we’ve had it, and i am loving it.

i’m also shocked that hubs loves it too.  this morning he had to leave for work early and asked me to make our daily smoothies before he left.  i resisted until hubs said “that’s fine, i guess i’ll just get some solid foods to eat for breakfast…” and then made a sad face.  so i made us some smoothies.

we learned pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t work in a smoothie, so today i am going to share my knowledge with you so you don’t have to make the same mistakes we’ve made.

greensmoothie

here’s how we load up our blender.  this makes 2 big smoothies.  probably 4 small ones but who wants a small smoothie for breakfast?  you’ll be starving by 9 a.m.

how to fill up your blender (in this order)

1. water
fill the pitcher with water until the water level is just above the blade.  you don’t need much.

2. veggies
2 large carrots, and either 2 celery stalks or 1/2 of a cucumber.  celery and cucumber have stronger tastes when in a smoothie.  use them wisely.

3. citrus
1 whole navel orange and 1 whole lime or lemon
[we like to cut the peel off of the orange with a knife to leave the healthy rind.  we peel the lime/lemon old-school style.]

4. frozen fruit
3 cups of any frozen fruit
[in my opinion, a variety of mango/pineapple/peaches/strawberries works the best.  frozen bananas work well too but the taste is strong.  if you add blueberries, your smoothie will turn brown.  it will be delicious but will also look disgusting.]

4. seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds
[flax seeds prevent cancer, or something, and chia seeds help grab toxins in your gut and flush them out. awesome!]

5. green stuff
2 cups of spinach, kale, or both
[parsley is also good for the gut, you can add that in too.  spinach is the most neutral taste-wise.]

6. ice
2 cups of ice
[if you’re blending the night before, leave this out – it’ll just melt.  i like the crunchy texture that the ice gives the smoothie but hubs differs.  it’s up to you.]

now i am not saying this is a miracle breakfast, but for what it’s worth, my caffeine headaches have disappeared since we started drinking these on a daily basis.  HMMM…!!!

a few quick no-no’s that i have learned in my short time with these smoothies:

  • bell peppers: strong, spicy taste. don’t do it!
  • apples: the make the smoothie frothy which i…don’t appreciate.
  • bananas: if you add bananas, you won’t be able to taste any of the wonderful tropical frozen fruits. and i also don’t like the taste of bananas. oh snap!
  • sweetener (honey, stevia, etc.): i don’t think these smoothies need sweetener, it just competes with all of the natural sweetness of the fruits.  skip it.
  • dairy (yogurt, ice cream, etc.): you don’t need it.  these smoothies are, well, smooth without it.  and i’m also a little suspicious of dairy and its intentions in general, so…
  • dates: we’ve been adding 1 or 2 dates, but i’m not sure they’re necessary.  they are high in sugar content and i’m not sure you can actually taste them.  to be continued.

I can’t mention green eating and smoothies without also giving a shoutout to my favorite show (that will probably get cancelled soon) happy endings.  this clip is from my favorite episode of all time, in which alex and penny go on a cleanse.

and that is all of the wisdom i have for you on green smoothies.  so far so good!

Summer Travels

So how about that summer?

Right?

I struggle to even call it summer because when you work full-time and don’t have kids, the extent of summer is lighter traffic during your commute, and also the pool is open.

We did manage to squeeze quite a bit of travel into the past 3 months, so this will be my quick bullet point list of where we went and how much we ate while we were there.

Omaha

A week after our amazing, epic and life-changing excursion to Europe, hubs was shipped to Omaha for work for two months.  Two months!  He got to come home for one weekend in the middle of it, and I cashed in the last of my skymiles to fly up and see him 3 weeks in, because Ben & Jerry’s and Two Buck Chuck can only quell your loneliness for so long.  It was a dark time.

To my surprise, Omaha was surprisingly charming!  Granted, they have the worst weather combination in the universe: scorching hot summers and epically cold winters.  The timing for hubs’s work trip couldn’t have been better though, as both the college world series AND the Olympic swim trials were both going on while he was there, so he had plenty of entertainment.  And the weekend I visited, Taste of Omaha was going on, and we also went to the zoo and stalked Warren Buffett.  Good times were had by all.  Although not good enough to merit staying permanently, as hubs’s company begged him to do.  No dice, company!

(Omaha sign, white tiger at the Omaha Zoo, a tribute to Chef Boyardee)

Asheville

By the time July rolled around, it was time to celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary.  We originally planned to go to Maine to eat lobster and sight see, but those plans were abandoned when I got pitiful and used up all my miles.  So instead we opted to drive the 3 hours up to Asheville, North Carolina.  THE FOOD WAS INCREDIBLE.  We were there for less than 48 hours, but we managed to eat at Tupelo Honey Cafe twice.  Word for the wise: They bring you biscuits, jam and tupelo honey AFTER you order your food.  You will have to roll yourself home Violet-Beauregard-style if you order anything besides an entree.  It was delicious and I will never forget it.

Also, Asheville, you have so many young, attractive hippies.  And also so much beer.  We stayed at Hotel Indigo which is mere blocks away from all there is to see and do in Asheville.  I may or may not have picked it out based on the fact that the cast of the Hunger Games stayed there while filming the first movie.  We spent a day at the Biltmore, which was redonk.  It was like Downton Abbey but in the Appalachian Mountains and on crack.  It’s crazy expensive so google around for coupon codes if you plan to visit.  I made up the price of the ticket by fully exploiting the wine tasting portion of the day.  They make about 30 wines and I tried every. single. one.

(the Biltmore, a glass of Bordeaux, the patio at Asheville Brewing Co.)

Savannah

I’m not sure if this counts as travel, since hubs is from Savannah and my in-laws still live there, but we took a weekend visit while hubs’s sister and her 3 kids were in town.  Fried scallops, hush puppies and low country boil were consumed.  Margaritas were had on the beach at Tybee Island.  Sweet Melissa’s pizza was eaten at 2:00 a.m.  If you need a killer small business idea, start a 24 hour pizza-by-the-slice restaurant in a party town, but maybe name it something that doesn’t make pervy men giggle.

I also peer-pressured my father-in-law into busting out his Margaritaville machine which had been collecting dust since Christmas.  He whipped up some pina coladas for us but mostly me, and my mother-in-law said she had never seen me giggle so much.  Mission accomplished?  Most importantly, we spent a lot of time with 3 of our nephews, the oldest of which will tell blackmail-quality stories about his mom for hours on end, and the youngest of which is going through a boob-punching phase.  It was a special weekend.

(Sweet Melissa’s, low country boil, Tybee Island)

California

This past February, we experienced The Greatest Loss Of Our Time when two of our best friends moved out to California.  Jerks.  We flew out to visit them over Labor Day weekend, and had the most amazing time seeing the middle of California in all its glory.  We flew into LAX, had lunch in Santa Monica, dinner in Visalia (where they live), and then woke up bright and early to watch the Georgia/Buffalo game, which started at 9 a.m. pacific time.  We also made it out to the beach for a night, staying in Pismo Beach, partying in San Luis Obispo, and breakfasting in Avila Beach.  We swung through Paso Robles wine country on the way back, where our friends revealed that they are secret ballers who are VIPs at a winery with a code and a gate for private tastings.

Hubs loves the weather on the coast of California like I love Cheez Its, which is to say, a lot.  The fact that it was August and in the low 50’s by 9 p.m. gave him a serious hankering to also relocate to the west coast.  Our friends may have wined and dined us into submission, which sounds suggestive, but is true.  I am not typically a crier but I quietly sobbed after they dropped us back off at the airport, though hubs doesn’t like to feel feelings and kept trying to distract me with questions like “don’t you miss Buster?” and “are you wearing tights as pants?” (They were leggings and it was LA and my shirt covered my butt so don’t judge).

(Paso Robles, Irish coffee, a sign in a garden in a winery)

For the next 3 months, the only travel we’ll be doing is to-and-from Georgia Tech for tailgating and football.  We have 4 home games in a row in September.  Whoever made that schedule needs to be punched in the face.  One the plus side, hot dogs and beer before noon are totally acceptable for all Saturdays this month, so I’ll allow it.

Happy fall!

Beer & Waffles: A Love Story

Here we go with another travel recap.  I feel like I can’t write about anything else until I’m done with these things, and since I’ve had at least 3 people tell me how lazy I’ve been at blogging lately, let’s just get ‘er done.

On our second-to-last full day in Europe, we headed to the Paris Gare du Nord train station to buy 4 tickets to Brussels.  Based on research we’d done online beforehand, we thought we’d be able to buy discount passes in person, but, we were SO wrong.  Buy your tickets in advance, people.  Lesson learned.

The Brussels Grand Place looked a lot like Munich’s town square, including the old churches and, just, old buildings in general.  We started our day with breakfast, which mostly included a first but definitely not last round of Belgian waffles.

Belgian waffles are different than regular old American waffles because they have chunks of sugar in them.  It’s a totally worthwhile diabetic nightmare.  If you happen to have a friend who is obsessed with perfecting their version of Belgian waffles stateside, then you should count your blessings (ahem, Greg).

One of the buildings in the square has a pretty obvious architectural flaw.  You can see that two different architects each worked on different sides of the building before meeting in the middle, though the results weren’t exactly symmetrical.

One of our first tasks of the day was to track down the Mannekin Pis, aka The Peeing Boy.  Go here to read more about it.  It’s basically a statue of a boy peeing, and it is usually clothed in one of several hundred costumes, although it was naked the day we were in Brussels.  Just our luck.

We brought back many seemingly inappropriate Peeing Boy souveniers for our friends and family.  I’ll assume that they were grateful.

We also tracked down the Jeanneke Pis, which is the female version of the above statue, which was put up by a restaurant to attract tourist traffic.  It’s at the end of a quiet alley, and is honestly kind of creepy.

On the same quiet alley, we found the Delirium Cafe, which might just be our Favorite Bar Of All Time.  It’s actually made up of multiple bars on the same block, but we headed to the basement beer bar, which holds a Guinness record for having more than 2,000 beers on the menu.  The menu is the size of a phone book.

It was dark, cool and cozy, and we got to try beers that we’ll probably never have the luxury of tasting again. I’m holding a Delirium Tremens in the photo below, which is admittedly not rare, but, when in Rome.

From Delirium we went to get the best frites I’ve ever tasted, probably because we were pretty drunk.  I’ve never power-eaten french fries like that in my life, and I hope I never do again.  Come to think of it, I don’t remember if we ate actual lunch?  Can anyone confirm?

With bellies full of frites, we caught a cab to Cantillon, a brewery in Brussels that was founded in 1900 and is still run by the original family today.  They make lambic beers (aka sour & sometimes fruity) that are spontaneously fermented by yeast in the air, rather than by yeast that is manually added directly to the beer.

There is a self-guided tour through a rickety wood building that ends with a tasting. The brewery itself is really hard to find.  We found the street address in a Rick Steves’ book, and gave that to our cabbie, and made it just fine, but if you just tell them to take you to Cantillon, you probably won’t get very far.  You can walk from Grand Place, but the neighborhood it’s in is pretty shady, so I don’t recommend it unless you have a posse.

SInce we’ve been home, we’ve had a couple of bottles of Lindeman’s lambic that is readily available here in the states, but it pales in comparison.  Cantillon is so good and tasty, so if you ever get the chance to try it, please do, or I will curse you for the rest of your days.

After Cantillon, we grabbed one more drink (of water) in the town square before heading back to the train station and catching an evening train to Paris.

Oh and I also bought this pillow in Brussels.  I have no explanation.

Paris Part 2: Stinky Cheese Edition

(Travel recaps, continued!  I’m almost done, I swear).

On Thursday morning, we got up and took the 40 minute train ride to Versailles, where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and probably lots of other people lived in the 1700’s.  It was huge, opulent, and crowded as all get out.  Prime elbow-sticking-out time, I tell you.  The line was long but moved quickly, and the cost to enter was included in our museum passes.

We all grabbed audio tour walkie talkies, which became irrelevant once we were trapped inside the hall of mirrors with 8,000 of our closest friends.  The hall of mirrors was pretty striking, and included – you guessed it – a shit ton of mirrors.

And of course, Marie Antoinette’s famous bedroom (this is one of those pictures where you keep moving, stick your camera up in the air, and hope for the best).  I haven’t seen the Sophia Coppola movie yet, but it’s on the Netflix queue for the next time hubs goes out of town, yessssss.

We went out the back of the palace to the gardens that go on for miles and miles and miles…I wonder if Bon Iver has been there.

The back of the palace itself is not too shabby either, I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing.

There was a LOT of ground to explore, so we made our way back towards what we thought included the farm area that M.A. used to use as her getaway, but I guess we got lost/tired/hungry and never got to any of these places.  But they look fun I guess.

We took the train back to Paris around the midday point, and all of us decided that it would be nice to have some time away from the group. First, we headed to the apartment to regroup, where I finally accepted the fact that the small wheel of seemingly harmless Camembert cheese I bought the day before was making our apartment uninhabitable with its odor.  Cammie had to go.

Sorry again, everyone.

Hubs and I then went off on our own to explore Notre Dame (he is Catholic, after all).  Honestly, compared to the various churches we visited in Salzburg, the inside of Notre Dame was pretty underwhelming.  But the outside was ridiculous.

Here is Notre Dame’s badonkadonk:

I have photos of the inside, but to its credit, Notre Dame is massive and my photos are limited in scope, so you’d probably get a better idea of its structure if you google imaged it.  I will give them a shout out for being hip with the times though, because they had TVs for people who had to sit behind the pillars.  So modern of them.

Our museum pass included entry to the top of Notre Dame, but, predictably, that line was also crazy long, and the guy behind us, in what I’ll assume was an attempt to shorten said line, was clearing out his sinuses in a way that I wouldn’t believe unless I had heard it myself.  So.  Freaking.  Disgusting.  So we bailed in favor of wine and crepes, which I forgot to document, since we were alcohol-famished.

With only a handful of minutes left on our 2-day museum pass, we milked it for every last penny and went to the Pantheon.

While entering, the guy at the door recognized us as Americans (I can’t imagine how), and informed us that the original version of the Statue of Liberty was downstairs in the crypt, but that we only had 15 minutes to find it.

We passed a giant pendulum before heading down a creepy winding staircase, then literally jogged around the crypt, looking for a statue that we never found.  We did find the graves of Marie and Pierre Curie, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and dozens of others, but I didn’t take any pictures, out of respect/time.  Although now that I read the Wikipedia page on it, I’m realizing that a lot of them are buried without their hearts, and some of them were just hearts in urns…this disturbs me.

Hubs and I exited the Pantheon, then trudged through the rain towards home, I mean the Eiffel Tower.

Once home, we re-accepted the others into our tree of trust, and headed out for a most fantastic dinner at Cafe du Marche, which was 2 blocks from our apartment.  The owner keeps the entrees cheap enough for the locals to eat there nightly, so for only €10, you can get roasted duck, truffle cream pasta (which changed my life), and about a dozen other glorious things.  Plus crazy strong mojitos and a waiter with a crazy strong personality (in a good way).

Dessert was your standard life-changing assortment of creme brulee and cannolis.  We may have ordered more dessert than there were people at our table.

We headed from dinner back out to the Eiffel Tower to watch it light up, as it does on the hour every night.  It was so great to be so close to the tower that we could easily visit it in the evenings.  Although it’s not easy to photograph.  I did my best.

Next up: Jean Claude van Damme’s homeland, aka Brussels.  Stay tuned!

Frühlingsfest in Munich: Sweet Caroline Edition

As previously mentioned, I recently took a trip to Europe with my husband and two of our friends.  We flew from Atlanta to Munich on a Thursday night, and then the madness began.

After our red eye flight landed early Friday morning, we dropped off our luggage and set off to kill about 5 hours until check-in.  This was mostly spent drinking (coffee, beer, what have you), eating (pretzels with butter in them, called “Butterring”), and checking our email using the free wifi at the Apple store.  Fun fact: German keyboards do not have the “@” symbol on them.  Try emailing your parents without it.

We made a stop at the famous Hofbrauhaus for a few beers.  Contrary to what I’d read about it, we found a table fairly easily and got what we needed, thanks to a friend that joined us from northern Germany.  I’d like to take this moment to call out the fact that our friend Greg, who is supposedly a small-town midwestern boy, has friends in both Germany AND Paris.  I am suspicious that he may not be who he says he is.

We finally checked into our hotel, which was cozy, to say the least.  This is literally the entire hotel room.  I’ve cropped out nothing.  On the plus side, it was super cheap.

After napping to soften the blow of getting no sleep on an overnight flight, we rallied and headed to Theresenweisen, the Oktoberfest grounds.  It was a rain-soaked ghosttown.

I almost regretted making the trip to Munich for Fruhlingsfest, until we found the beer tent.  People!  Music!  Beer and meat and potato salad!  We were home.

We walked in an were seated at a picnic table that we shared with various people throughout the evening.  Some spoke English, some didn’t, but everybody was friendly and we did lots of “Prost!”ing.

We observed the thousands of people wearing lederhosen and singing traditional German songs while standing on tables and clinking their glasses.  After hearing one song that mostly consisted of people shouting “Joanna!”, we tried to think of what American song inspired people to sing along in a similar fashion, and came up with “Sweet Caroline”.

And then the band played “Sweet Caroline”, and everyone in the tent knew all of the words.  It was super surreal.

We ordered a bottle of prosecco…I hereby declare this a “mistake”.

After hours (I’m not sure how many) of drinking and celebrating, the tent shut down and we headed out to ride the bumper cars and take a ride in the ferris wheel sans hubs (heights are no friend of his).  Drunk bumper cars might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

The next morning, we got up and headed back to “The ‘Weisen” for the big flea market that occurs on the first Saturday of every Fruhlingsfest.  Maybe I should’ve thought a little bit harder about what a flea market usually entails, but it was basically just hundreds of German people selling their junk.  It was crowded and stressful, so we didn’t stick around.

The grounds were swarming with people on Saturday morning, and due to the ruckus the night before, none of us had the stomach for any more rides or roller coasters, so we headed out, unsure if we’d return to the festival again before departing for Paris.

Spoiler alert: we didn’t.  Did we miss out?  Maybe.  But we had so much fun on Friday night that we felt like we’d experienced the festival in all its glory, and we didn’t want to taint those memories with a second, less epic experience.

We spent the rest of Saturday exploring Munich, perusing the Viktualienmarkt for fresh gouda, bread, and fruit,

strolling through the Englischer Gardens, Munich’s version of Central Park,

watching surfers tackle the artificial waves in the river,

and having a beer at the Chinese beer garden.

Followed by a traditional German dinner at Ratskeller, aka “Rat Killer”, which is weirdly in the basement of the giant, gorgeous old churchy building in the center of the Marienplatz.

We got up Sunday morning and headed to Salzburg, home of Mozart and the Sound of Music, but mostly just Mozart.  I’d say 99.9% Mozart and 0.1% Sound of Music.  They really love their Mozart there.

Stay tuned.