Utrecht, The Netherlands

Whilst visiting our friends in Leiden, we decided to take a day trip to Utrecht. I have wanted to check out Utrecht ever since Will was there for a conference a few years ago. He spoke so highly of the city and really enjoyed his time there, so it was great to finally see it for myself!

As soon as we got to Utrecht we made a beeline for a park; it was time to have our lunch. Once we got there, the sun came out and a band started playing some music for a free concert. Perfect timing! We spent most of our time at that park just enjoying the weather and the music — and watching our little ones enjoy it too!

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One day I’ll teach this boy to smile for the camera!

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Between the perfect summer weather, free park concerts, terraces on the canal, and beautiful architecture, it was a wonderful day! I’m really glad Liam and I were able to spend a day in Utrecht.

Leiden, Holland

A couple of months ago Liam and I took another mother-son trip, this time to Leiden. Will was heading over to the States for his youngest brother’s wedding, so Liam and I flew over to Holland to see our friends. We couldn’t afford for all of us to go to the US (money and jet-lag), but this way we wouldn’t be alone the whole time Will was away. I went into this trip with a lot of confidence considering how well Liam did in Wuppertal the previous month. Unfortunately, Liam didn’t realise he had set a precedent and decided to handle the trip a bit differently. And by “differently” I mean he whined and cried the whole time. Oh that boy, always spicing things up for me. Precious lamb (not).

Anyway, despite the personality change in my cute travel partner, I’m glad we got to see our friends, to befriend their beautiful baby girl, and to explore their new home city! Leiden is such a beautiful place. It is so green and peaceful. I enjoyed being able to explore it a bit. It was also nice for us to chill with our babies and let them play together, and to catch up on each others lives as new parents!

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Thank you, Trisha and Corey (and Olivia), for being such wonderful hosts and friends!

Münster, Germany

While Liam and I were visiting the Allens in Wuppertal last month we took a day trip up to Münster for their Saturday market. Now, you guys know I love a good market so I was very keen!

As soon as Liam and Eloise woke up from their morning naps we all packed up our things and hopped in the car. Once there, we strapped our kids up – Eloise in the stroller and Liam in the Ergo – and made our way to the market.

The market itself was great! They had flowers and meats and vegetables and honies. But, what I think was really cool about this market was the massive amount of food trucks they had. I love a good food truck!

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After the market we parked ourselves at the Pinkus’ Müller for some lunch and a bit of a break. Afterwards, we slowly made our way back to the car to head back home.

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I was hoping Liam would get sleepy and fall asleep in the Ergo for his afternoon nap. Nope. This boy had too much to see. This boy loves being outside and observing everything. I was so proud of how he did. However, the real star of the day was my back. It carried that boy like a boss AND didn’t even complain afterwards! Thank you, back :)

I really enjoyed walking around Münster. It’s a really beautiful city.

Fun fact: After the war the Old Town was rebuilt exactly as it looked before the war.

Fun fact numero dos: it’s the bicycle capital of Germany.

I think both of those things heavily contribute to the attractiveness of Münster. I would definitely go back if I lived closer… and try out every single food truck!

Wuppertal, Germany

Liam and I survived our mother-son trip to Germany last month!

I was really nervous about how Liam would sleep in a new place BUT Liam was a freakin’ super star and slept like a champ! Hallelujah!! It might help that Germany is only one time zone away. Still, thank you, Liam.

So, anyway, Germany was amazing! I had been wanting to visit Andrea and Garrick since they moved out there last year. Going when I did turned out to be great timing because it was their one year anniversary for living there; so I got to babysit and let them have a night out to celebrate. I had also been itching to do some travel and explore a new place or two and dust off the cobwebs on photography skills.

Andrea and Garrick, and Eloise, were amazing. With the face-to-face chat between us two new moms, Liam having toys and a buddy to play with – even though he made her cry more times than I’d like to admit, the warmer weather, doing our nails and applying face masks, Garrick’s baseball chat, and the Allen’s amazing hospitality, it was an amazing trip!

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I had so much fun hanging out with Andrea and Garrick (and Eloise!). This was a much needed trip for me and I was so glad to have been able to get some good quality time in with my friends :) I can’t wait until next time!

 

Babymooning in Amsterdam

Will is currently headed to a conference in Sweden for the weekend (read: Liam and I will be in our pj’s binging on “Suits” all weekend. We may, or may not, leave the flat–I haven’t decided).

So, I thought I’d reminisce about our babymoon back in March.

Last Christmas Will surprised me with tickets to Amsterdam for our babymoon! He booked the flights and AirBnB room for March so it gave me plenty of time to figure out what I wanted to see and do. By the time March rolled around I was sooooooooooo ready to get my third-trimester-belly over there!

Our first morning there had a bit of a rough start. As soon as we had started walking my back was hurting. I think I lasted 10 minutes before I had to sit down somewhere. On top of that it was cold and windy and I had somehow thought that leaving Scotland, aka “the land of cold and windy”, meant I was flying to the tropics…. because that was the type of logical thinking I was having at nearly eight months of being pregnant?? So, about 12 minutes into our first day I nearly broke down that I was cold and hurting and I was ruining our holiday. BUT enter in Will, the one with a properly functioning brain, and he made it all better by finding us a cafe so we could get warm and sit and press reset. That man of mine sure does know how to be wonderful to me!

After our little reset we were able to tackle Amsterdam that weekend! We saw Anne Frank’s safe house (one of my favourite museums to this day), went to an outdoor market, ate freshly made stroopwafels, checked out more of the amazing museums, walked through the red light district, and walked hand-in-hand along the rivers! We even got to meet up with friends who had just moved from Edinburgh to the Netherlands.

Bump and blarf buddies!! (Blarf = blanket scarf).

The artist at work.

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I don't have the words to express how lucky I am to call this man my partner and best friend. I am too blessed.

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Gorgeous last day in Amsterdam!!

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It was such a great trip for both of us. My belly didn’t get too much in the way of seeing the city. As long I was fed and had ample opportunities to sit and rest I was willing and able to walk all day. And truthfully, Amsterdam is a very walk-able city and easy to get around.  We’d love to go back someday… maybe in the spring/summertime? ;)

Paris On Film

I miss Paris. The food. The markets. The old shutters and wrought iron balconies. The SUN. The HEAT! Oh man I miss it all!

We were hoping to go this summer but are unable to for obvious reasons – good reasons (cough Liam cough cough) but still. So, to tide me over, here are the film pictures I took last summer.

Maybe next summer?!

Venice

WILL COMES HOME TODAY!!!! WILL COMES HOME TODAY!!!!! WILL COMES HOMES TODAY!!!!! WILL COMES HOME TODAY!!!! WILL COMES HOME TODAY!!!!!

This is my mantra this morning. It was my mantra when my alarm went off at 6am so I can call him before he headed off and it will be my mantra as I’m vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom and putting a ham in the slow cooker and baking! Lots of baking today!

But on to business: Venice!

I’m STILL pinching myself that we were just there two and a half weeks ago! Oh it was amazing!

For starters, we traveled to Venice together. That was huge for me because I had been doing a lot of traveling by myself lately and I was getting tired of it. I prefer my 5am explorations for bus stops to include my husband. It’s just better that way.

Second, our hotel was awesome. We weren’t sure what kind of hotel the Groupon deal would land us in but I’m pretty sure we hit the jackpot! We stayed at the Hotel Pausania and couldn’t have been more pleased. Everyone was really kind and helpful and we loved it’s location. It’s a short walk from where the airport bus drops you off but in a quiet area. We weren’t surrounded by other hotels which means we weren’t surrounded by tourists. There were a ton of local bars and restaurants by us too. And, it was only a short walk from the hotel to the main piazza (San Marco).

Third, we didn’t break the bank. So many people write about how Venice is expensive because they have to import everything and that made me nervous. We got an amazing deal from Groupon (which we saved on our flights and hotel) and we were smart about food.

And fourth, Will and I were both on the same page with exploring. That’s all we wanted to do. And we all know that’s huge because I’m not a walker. But I was so entranced by the city that walking was all  I wanted to do. And Will and I both loved getting lost in Venice. Not that you could because it’s so small, but it was fun trying!

When you guys go to Venice (because it’s an absolute must!) you have to check out Bistrot Ai Do Draghi. It’s a cute little bar we found trying to get out of the rain that was such a gem! The snacks they provided were all homemade and delicious! And really good wine as well :)

Our last day in Venice was super cool. First of all, we experienced acqua alta (“high tide”) where everything was covered in water. People were walking in water up to their shins! It’s was crazy. The hotel was prepared for it and had the furniture up on platforms the night before. Will and I were on the second floor so it didn’t affect us until we went down for breakfast the next day. We were not prepared so we stayed in the hotel that morning but the tide had gone back down and everything went back to normal by the late morning. Which, I was grateful for because I did not want to walk around in sopping, wet clothes. It also smelled rancid. But that was life in Venice and it was cool to experience it. Another bonus for our last day was that the sun came out! <insert angels singing>

Oh he’s so handsome!! (I can’t believe he comes home today!!!!!!!)

Oh Venice!

In my head Venice was this magical floating city and that’s exactly what it is. There’s no other city in the world like it. It felt like a time capsule that transported me to another time or another world. It really did feel magical to me. I mean, there are opera singers floating down the canals and aqua-colored water and delicious food everywhere… if that doesn’t scream magical I don’t know what does!

Heidelberg

Will update: Will crushed his final test for his language course this week. And of course “crushed” is his word because that’s what Will does. He doesn’t just pass a test or beat the competition… he CRUSHES it! AND, we’re in the single digits of days left until Will comes home. SINGLE. DIGITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With Will coming home in eight days (eight days!!!!) I have a blog goal of getting caught up and to start writing in more present-tense. That means I need to blog about the rest of Germany (which is this post), Bristol, a couple of cafes, Venice (<– which was awesome!), and develop the roll of film in my Minolta. So, let’s start with Heidelberg.

Right after New Year’s, Will and I took a day trip up to Heidelberg. It’s just north of Stuttgart (which is north of Tübingen) and described as a “larger version of Tübingen”. I wanted to go there because my dad was stationed there about 40+ years ago and every time he talks about it a huge smile comes across his face as he remembers his time there. So, being this close to a city that means so much to my dad, I had to go.

Nutella crepes will forever make me the happiest little tourist ever!!

I looked up a place to eat before going to Heidelberg and number one on Trip Advisor was Schnitzelbank. You guys, this place did not fail to deliver. It was absolutely amazing! We were told to book a reservation because it’s small and fills up fast, but luckily we got there early enough to get the last table. It has a really cozy and friendly atmosphere and the staff are so kind. But, the star of the show was the food. Will and I got the schnitzel (duh!) and the spaetzle. Both were the best we had ever had. Every bite was fantastic! If I lived in Heidelberg I would have a standing reservation for dinner there every night. No joke, that food was amazing.

The best part (after the food) was being able to Skype with my dad the next day and actually know what he was talking about when he mentioned going to the castle or hanging out at the river or walking along the streets in the Alstadt! I didn’t feel like we were an ocean apart. I felt like he was right next to us telling us about buying french fries off of a street vendor or how everyone would go to this certain part of the river on sunny days. I loved it.

I’m so glad Will and I took the opportunity to go :)

Auf Wiedersehen Twenty Thirteen

You guys, less than two weeks until Will comes home.

Less. Than. Two. Weeks. I may be freakin’ out a little bit on the inside!

So, about our time in Germany and New Year’s Eve.

Will and I aren’t big planners but when we travel we like to have an idea of what we should see and do in a place and have a “top 3” list. But for Germany there was no plan; we were both just so happy to be together that we didn’t care that we didn’t make any plans.

I will admit that before leading up to Christmas I was a little frustrated that Will wasn’t coming to Edinburgh and I was the one who had to make the trek. It would have been so much easier if he came to me and it would have been nice to have him home for Christmas. But, honestly, I don’t think I could have let him leave again: not that it’s been any easier for me to be the one leaving! Saying goodbye either way has been hard for both of us. As soon as I got there I instantly knew we made the right call with me going to him. If he had come to Edinburgh there would have been so much to do and people to see that we would have spent waaaaay too much time and money trying to fit everything in. It would have been packed. Packed with good things like seeing friends, but packed none the less. With me in Tübingen we were able to have a nice lazy holiday! Something I know I was really craving.

Since Tübingen is so small, and I pretty much saw everything when I visited in November, there wasn’t much left to do. We cooked together a lot, I read all three Hunger Games books, we stayed up late, slept in late, went to a couple of pubs, watched movies, baked sugar cookies, took walks, and went on a day trip to Heidelberg (that’s for another post). It was a supremely lazy holiday!

For New Year’s Eve we met up with one of his friends at a local pub then went to another friend’s for dinner and fireworks. Now, my picture’s for fireworks don’t really do the whole experience justice because there were a ton of trees around, but hopefully the video will give you an idea as to how crazy the fireworks were! Seriously, there were fireworks going off all over the place! It was amazing!

Pretty cool, right?!

I’m such a fan of New Year’s Eve. I really do love it. And as I’m getting older I’m feeling more and more sentimental towards it. Maybe it was our being apart this year that has intensified these feelings but it feels like the one of the more important things Will and I do in our marriage. It’s simple, and almost implied that we’re together on this holiday (much like we should be for every holiday), but it means so much to me to make sure we’re together specifically for those last and first minutes.

It felt a little easier to breathe on this trip than on the last because we had so much time together. So much time to hold hands, tell stories, make future plans, and talk about the year we’ve just been through and plan for the year ahead.

I don’t know about you, but 2013 was pretty good. Will passed his 1 year review boards for his PhD, I took on a new role at work, we started going to a new church, we both started to feel settled in Edinburgh, we officially have lived in our flat for longer than anywhere else we lived in together, we saw more of Scotland (and England), we saw more of Europe, we got to play host to our awesome friends and family who came to visit, we celebrated four wonderful years of marriage, Will got several reviews published (!!), I started a new decade (hello 30!), and we made new friends all while strengthening old friends here! Great, eh?!

And now, looking ahead onto 2014, there’s so much to look forward to!

Auf wiedersehen twenty thirteen! Hallo twenty fourteen!!