Our time in Pisa has finally come to an end. It’s not a bad city, I promise. There really is more to it than just the tower. But it just wasn’t the right place for us. Although sometimes we need to struggle in order to really see what it is that’s wrong and what needs to be changed or fixed. There are a lot of things not quite working in our life right now, but it probably would’ve taken us a lot longer to realize it without this stressful month.
When my parents told me then wanted to go to Italy when they came to visit, I started making a mental list of all the places I thought they should see to get a good feel for the country. It’s a very regional country with distinct differences from north to south, region to region, city to city. So as I got down to actually planning out the trip, Florence easily made the cut.
I’ve been struggling to write blog posts over the past few weeks. I had some scheduled to go up while we were traveling with my parents, and I’ve been doing a decent amount of paid writing, but with my two sites, I’m blocked. So I thought maybe if I got all of this out of my head and dismissed my normal attempt at being chronological, it might help. Andy and I are a little more than halfway through our month in Pisa, and it’s not going so well.
Nuremberg and Bamberg might not be on everyone’s travel wish list, but they are really interesting Bavarian towns. Andy and I had a great time exploring them in September, despite the rain, and I’d highly recommend spending a few days there if you’re taking a longer trip around Bavaria. We spent three nights in Nuremberg and took a day trip to Bamberg, and here’s how much we spent.
Of course it was raining. It seems like it always rains in Germany, and this summer especially was colder and rainier than normal. We were in Nuremberg for a long weekend for WEBMU, which stands for Whiny Expat Bloggers Meet Up, an annual gathering of expat bloggers in Germany. Andy went a few years ago while I was on my round the world trip, but we haven’t been able to make it since then. I was excited to see a new city, and even a day trip to nearby Bamberg, but of course that rain followed us around most of the weekend.
It’s been about a year and a half since Andy quit his job and became a freelancer. A year and a half since began our Beyond Vacation life. A lot has happened in that year and a half, but like most things, they have happened gradually enough that we don’t always notice how far we’ve come until we look back on how much we’ve accomplished. My 400th post seems like as good a time as any for reflection.
One of the many things I like about living in Europe is that there’s so much history all around me. The US has plenty of history, but there are buildings here that are older than the US, buildings that were built before Columbus ever even thought about sailing west across the Atlantic. And to me, the best reminders of that history are castles.
Recently I spent a couple of days in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland and nearby Interlaken. I was visiting my friend Gigi (and her adorable dog Luna) for a fun girls weekend and, as a bonus, I got to see a little more of Switzerland. I could never live in these small towns – sometimes Freiburg feels too small for me – but I certainly don’t mind visiting now and then to relax and enjoy the gorgeous scenery.
Being only 45 minutes by train from the Swiss border, I seem to find myself in Switzerland a few times a year. And now that my good friend Gigi lives in Lauterbrunnen, a little over three hours from Freiburg, I have an even better excuse to go down there. So a few weeks ago, I packed a bag and spent a couple nights in the Alps. I’m not really much of an outdoorsy person, but the Bernese Oberland region, where Gigi lives, is just gorgeous.
This spring I visited Munich twice. The first time was by myself and just for two nights. About a month later, Andy and I both went to Munich, and we spent four nights there. I didn’t really track my spending during the first visit, but I did track it while Andy and I were there together. Munich is not a cheap city, but it’s well worth a visit if you’re coming to Germany.