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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!! Well...almost :)

Before I get into new years wishes and all that good stuff, i came across something in the grocery store this morning and i just had to share it with everyone.

I decided to go to the grocery store early this morning (well, early for me) to get a few things for our new years day brunch. It was unusually quiet today and I found myself wandering around the aisles enjoying the quiet. And if you know me at all, you know that I can be in a grocery store for HOURS just wandering around looking at food. Weird, I know. Anyway, I found myself wandering down the candy aisle (me in the candy aisle?? never!!) when I saw the most disturbing candy Ive ever seen. Foam Shrimp and Bananas. Yup, read it again. Foam Shrimp and Bananas. By "foam" they mean a marshmallow type candy, kind of like a circus peanut. Bananas and strawberries I can understand. Maybe I can even accept a bag of foam shrimp all by itself. Its weird but who am I to judge. But bananas AND shrimp?? What?? Couldn't they have come up with a better combo than that?? I wonder if the foam shrimp actually taste like gross.

Heres a picture for your viewing pleasure

Ok, back to my New Years greeting. Happy New Year to you all, I hope you have a fun and safe night of celebrating. Brian and I are keeping it fairly quiet this year. We are going out to dinner with some friends and some of their friends, and then out for a drink or two after that. Should be a good time, but nothing crazy. Certainly not like our past NYE parties...I feel a bit lost without having one this year! I miss you all!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

ps - if you get a random drunk dial from brian and I at 8 pm, please remember we are at least 5 hours ahead of you guys, its not that were lushes :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Recap - pt 3

Christmas Recap - pt 3

December 26, 2008

We decided to stick around Salzburg for our last day of vacation (we had kicked around the idea of going skiing all day on one of the many surrounding mountains). Feeling a bit lathargic from all of the heavy austrian food (and beer) we had been eating, we decided to get the blood pumping with a nice hike in the morning. And by "we decided" I mean Brian decided to go for a hike and drag me with him :) In front of our hotel there was a big hill, and we had seen on some of the maps that you could hike up to the top. Right off the bat I was dying, huffing and puffing the whole way up. Brian faired slightly better, and was practically running all the way to the top. We got really lucky and the clouds that brought snow on christmas day, cleared out and we had an amazing blue sky all day on friday. After our hike to the top of the hill we decided to make our way across town to the Augustiner Brewery.

The Augustiner Brewery is run by a group of monks, and they make a very fine brew. Unfortunately it was closed by the time we got over there, and so we had to find something to do for a couple of hours before it opened. In brians delight, this meant taking another hike. The fortress is connected along a big ridge that runs the length of Old Town in the city. We had already hiked up to the fortress, and brian was anxious to hike up the other side. It wasnt nearly as bad as the hike that we made in the morning, but it was more than enough exercise for me for one week. We managed to get panoramic views of the city from all angles on friday! Again, we got some amazing shots of the city (take a look at the link in the original recap posting). And again, without sounding too greedy, it was almost too sunny. At one point we were even using our sunglasses as filter for the camera, in order to get a better shot.

The brewery finally opened and we made our way bank to enjoy the monks brew. There are communal tables and we met some really interesting locals...which we couldnt really talk to because we dont speak their language and they dont speak ours...but those are just details. Its a great place to see some very interesting people...I saw some *amazing* hairdos, let me tell you.

We made our way back into the old town for dinner to a traditional pub we had found the other day. It was a great way to end the trip!

I hope you guys enjoy the pictures - and I hope you had a great holiday with your friends and family!!

Christmas Recap - pt 2

Christmas Recap - pt 2

Christmas Day - December 25, 2008

For Christmas Day, we wanted to do something a little bit special, a little bit snowy, and a little bit out of town (since everything in town was closed all day!). We booked a Sleigh Ride tour with Panorama tours. Basically what it involved was a 2 hour bus ride up into the mountains (specifically, the alps) to a small town. here we were to have lunch, a little walk about and finish with a 2 hour sleigh ride. The reason we chose Salzburg for our christmas trip is because we figured it would be nice and snowy, and super christmasy. Well, it was christmasy but Salzburg itself was not that snowy. Once we got to Ramsau, the town where the sleigh ride was to take place, it was very snowy. They had a lot of snow on the ground and there was more coming down. It ended up snowing the whole time that we were there!

Once we walked around the (very small) town and had a light lunch (of goulash and bread dumplings) it was finally time for our sleigh ride. We lucked out and got a great sleigh driver, Hans, who was funny and talkative, and really made the ride great! We started off going through the woods and then continued through the country side, passing small clusters of houses and farms. Cross country skiing is a big sport in Ramsau, so we passed a lot of the locals out on their skiis for a christmas day outting. The sleigh ride was amazing (brandy schnapps helped keep us warm), and in danger of sounding cliche and sappy, it was truly out of a story book. There was snow falling the whole time, it was really magical. The best decision we made the whole trip!

By the time it was time to head back to Salzburg the roads were covered with a couple inches of snow. I wasnt sure the bus driver was going to be able to make it down the hairpin turns down the steep mountain, but we made it back alive! Dinner and drinks in town wrapped up the day, a very successful christmas day indeed!

Christmas Recap

Merry Christmas (a little bit belated!)

I hope you all had a nice holiday. We had an AMAZING time in Salzburg. In order to make the posts a little more bearable for you, the reader, im going to split up the posts one for each day. So, lets start with Christmas Eve.

December 24, 2008

We managed to get our flight to Salzburg without any problems or delays. We were able to check into our hotel early as well, which was a big help. We were settled just after noon, and so made our way to Old Town to do a little site seeing and to see the christmas markets! Now, I have been to Salzburg once before while studying abroad in Italy. It was in my top 3 trips that I took while there, so clearly I was excited to be back. Brian had never been, but I am happy to report it is now one of his favorite cities ever. We made our way across the river to the Old Town, which has most of the main sites to see, and hit up the christmas markets first. Since it was christmas eve a lot of the shops and markets were closing early, so we hit those up first. We went inside the Dom, which might be my favorite church in all of europe, and had a look around. After we bought a few christmas ornaments from the market and indulged in a couple of glasses of Gluhein (mulled wine), Brian was eager to explore the Fortress.

From the pictures youll be able to see the fortress, as it sits high above the city. Its quite an impressive building, and offers the most amazing views of the city. Its quite a steep hike to the top, there is a railway to the top but of course we had to walk it. Once we got to the top we explored the fortress - they have a pub and a restaurant, and many many places to view the city and the alps. check out the pictures, they are amazing. we spent a couple of hours at the fortress, brian was like a kid in a candy shop up there, it was totally up his alley. The sun started to go down and the wind started to pick up, so we made our way back down into town. We had reservations at our hotel for a traditional Austrin Christmas Eve dinner. Overall it was fine, although a couple of the dishes were rather interesting. All in all, a great start to our vacation!

above is the link for the pictures...there are a lot, just warning you :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

weekend wrap up

happy holidays!!

i hope you all had a nice weekend, and hopefully many of you are done digging out of the snow! no snow here, but hopefully Salzburg will be covered in snow when we get there on Wed. Keep your fingers crossed!

this week i finally went to Harrods for the first time. fantastic. its all decorated for christmas and even though i went 5 days before christmas the crowds werent that bad once you left the first floor. i soon discovered why. the clothes there are amazing, no doubt, but definately WAY out of my price range...maybe i should stick to Topshop :) as amazing as the clothes were, i have to say i was most impressed by (and in awe of, since i walked around the entire time with my mouth open wide) was the food hall. they have EVERYTHING you can imagine, all broken up into their own seperate rooms. they have a patisserie, a chocolate shop, a candy shop, a GELATO BAR, sushi bar, several cafes and restaurants, fruit and veggie shop, a full Krispie Kreme shop...the list goes on and on. it was awesome.

brian and i went to a german christmas fair on saturday. there is a big fair set up in hyde park for the christmas season. they have a ferris wheel, rides for kids and adults, and a big german "village" with food, mulled wine, beer and shops. it was pretty cool. we had the obligitory german sausage, beer and mulled wine and then walked around a bit. since it was the saturday before christmas the place was a bit of a mad house, so we left as soon as we saw all the sites, but it was a lot of fun. a little weird to be at a christmas festival and it was 55* out...but hey, im not complaining.

We leave EARLY Wed morning for Salzburg. We have a few things on out itinerary including a traditional Austrian christmas eve dinner, a sleigh ride in the alps on christmas day, and perhaps some snow shoeing or cross country skiing. im sure ill have tons of pictures and stories to post once we return, so check back here next week!

have a wonderful and safe holiday!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Hello! i hope you all had a nice weekend!
the weather was super gross the entire weekend, so we spent most of it holed up inside the apt watching tv and movies...all around a good time.

we finally booked a trip for christmas! since we wont be going home for christmas we wanted to go somewhere snowy and super traditional christmas (me, not so crazy about the snow part, but its way better than rain). we finally decided on Salzburg for our mini vacation. i have been once before, but brian has never been. we are leaving christmas eve and will be back on saturday. salzburg is supposed to be traditionally decked out for the season - christmas markets, special dinners and carols...the whole nine yards! we have a special christmas eve dinner planned and a sleigh ride for christmas day. needless to say, we are VERY excited!

i went to the royal opera house yesterday for one of their lunch time recitals. the royal opera house has a 2 year program for recent graduates (im taking opera singer\musician\dancer graduates, not your average business grad) - they spend the mornings in class, and in the afternoon they have to perform recitals for the public. their lunch time recitals are on mondays at 1pm, tickets are first come first serve and totally free. the singer was amazing, singing opera will always be a mistery to me. it was really fun, and something i will definately keep on my calendar!

i hope you guys have some fun plans for the holidays!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

christmas tree

so heres a story for you...
since december started we noticed that the street markets and some flower shops had begun selling christmas trees. now brian has always had a fake tree, and i have always had a real tree for christmas. luckily (and this is the only time youll hear me say this) we dont have enough storage space to keep a fake tree, so brian agreed that we would get a real tree for christmas. while poking around the street markets we noticed that all of the "christmas trees" were really sad looking - sparse, uneven branches, usually no more than 4 or 5 feet tall...think charlie brown christmas tree but worse. and it seems like the brits are fine with these trees. now i dont know if this is because they dont farm massive national lampoon size christmas trees here in the UK, or if they just dont really care about what their christmas tree looks like. but we, were not settling for a charlie brown christmas tree.

a little online research revealed a christmas tree farm that sells their christmas trees in several locations in london. it seemed like they had a good selection judging from the pictures online, and there happened to be a selling location fairly close to our neighborhood. so sunday morning brian went to get us a christmas tree. a couple of hours after he left i hear someone struggling to get in the front door. assuming it was him with a tree i ran out to help. he had found a tree (a great tree!) but then had to walk 2 miles back to our apt with it, because the buses and cabs wouldnt pick him up with this big tree. as he says, he was that asshole walking down the busy street with a 6' christmas tree on his back knocking over everyone. god bless him. we got the tree inside and he was covered in sap - on his hands, neck, jacket, everywhere - and we had a little bit of a hard time getting the tree in the stand. but once it was up it was beautiful! make sure to cimpliment brian on the wonderful christmas tree he got the next time you talk to him :)

pictures of the decorated and undecorated tree


HORRAY!!!!! I finally got my computer back! sorry i havent been posting, my computer caught a nasty trogan virus last week and had to get a complete overhaul of the system. but now shes back, with a fancy virus system and better than ever!

last week brians brother gavin was staying with us after he finished his peace corp assignment in morocco. brian was able to take off one day and we did a little site seeing, they went to a rugby game at wembley stadium and all around we had a great week! the weather was unusually nice...not really that warm, but it has been quite sunny....which is very unusual.

our was good, watched WallE a few times (and highly recommend it) and spent a lot of time working on the apt (We are very domesiticated these days). Saturday night we went out for my friend Jess's birthday. we went to an area called Shoreditch and its just south of where we live. think lower east side. we went to a couple bars and had a great time.

This week has been busy trying to get my computer up and running. now that its back i can resume looking for jobs and things to do. i cant believe christmas is coming up so quick! we are trying to take a short holiday christmas weekend, but havent booked anything yet. it would be nice to spend christmas someplace really snowy, but it turns out most of europe will be rainy, so im scouring the alps trying to find someplace to stay for a few nights. What are your plans for christmas? new years?

hope you guys have had a nice couple of weeks, id love to hear from you!!