Nuremberg, Salt Mines and Residenz Palace

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Nuremberg
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So picturesque

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St. Sebaldus Kirche

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Always bundled up!
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The German architecture was so pretty!
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Christmas Markets from above!

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So perfect!!
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St. Lorenz Kirche

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Night time was prettiest at the markets
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Gorgeous Bavarian Alps
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Ready for the Salt Mines!!!
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Duke’s little outfit… lol
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Learning how the salt is mined
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Warm-up break! They were needed often in Germany!
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Because, well, it’s Germany!!
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Winter wonderland on the drive back to the hotel

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The cutest restaurant, the NICEST staff ever and absolutely delicious food – makings of a great evening 😉
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Back in Munich for our last day!
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Residenz Palace grandeur!

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TWINS!!!

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That is a tapestry. Speechless.

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The Electorate’s bedroom
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The hall of mirrors
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Loved the Ratskellar!
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Our last dinner as a group
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Back at it one last time!

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Such a prefect night to end our trip…
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You were good to us, Christmas Markets! 🙂

 

This is the final compilation of pictures and stories from our trip. I included the last three days we were in Germany and tried to pick our tops moments (SO hard!)

On our fourth day, were able to see the Nuremberg and visit the big Christmas Market there. It is such a pretty city – a little more quaint than Munich (at least Old Town is), and the history there is pretty significant considering some of the Nazi buildings are still standing.

The markets themselves were so pretty and I love the picture where you are able to look down on the square because it kind of gives you perspective of how big the market was! And that was only one of the three!! We ate gingerbread, listened to the live Christmas band, (tried to stay warm!!!!), walked, walked and walked some more, and found some of the sweetest handmade gifts…

The next day we got to drive into the Bavarian Alps of Germany – SUUUPPER close to Salzburg, Austria – and take a tour of the Salt Mines there! It was such a beautiful day and the snow in the mountains was, again, just too pretty ❤ The Mines themselves were so fun to tour – our guide had such a thick accent so we were already amused, but then there were these slides we would slide down (hence the jumpers they give you to wear), the fast little train ride Duke was laughing on, and of course the explanation of how the salt is mined – all hundreds of feet inside a MOUNTAIN! Definitely a one-of-a-kind experience!! We ended the night with a late dinner with friends at a amazing restaurant back in Munich.

On our last day in Munich, we toured the Residenz Palace – the castle of the ruling Bavarian families since the 1300’s. Most of it had been rebuilt since WWII, but there were still lots of the original art and furniture. It was really spectacular! It’s hard to believe the electorates and their families lived in such grandeur. I mean, the tapestries and the art alone were so amazingly over the top, but as we heard and read more about how they had strict “visiting” times and how every day the schedule was exactly the same, it was really eye opening. It was such a different time in history, and it was so interesting to have a little peek into what it was like. (It also makes me glad we live in the 21st Century! lol)

Back to the Christmas Markets we went to finish off the evening, and found some of our favorite finds of the trip!!! So happy 🙂 Duke was such a trooper during the entire trip – absolutely no set schedule, naps in the carrier/stroller/bus/ wherever, freezing cold weather, trains, buses, walking – he is such a good little traveler and drank up everything around the entire time. Just love him!

I hope everyone had a MERRY CHRISTMAS back home! Love you all ❤

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Neuschwanstein Castle

 

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Early morning bus rides haha
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Winter wonderland!
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Neuschwanstein Castle in the distance

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On our way up to the castle!

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Made it to the top

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The only picture we were able to sneak inside the castle 
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The kitchen 

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Warming up in the chalet with friends 😉

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Love him! ❤

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The third day we were in Germany we got to see Neuschwanstein Castle! We took a bus and when we were close enough where we could spot the castle high up in the mountains, we honestly thought it was a different castle or something! It looked super small since it was so so high up!

The snow covering the trees and ground made for such a dreamy day. I may be from Minnesota and I may have sworn off anything that has to do with the cold, but I must admit I forgot about all that everytime we saw snow in the mountains. It’s just so beautiful! I think I realized that as long as I don’t have to drive in the snow, I’m all about it!! Haha It was pretty cold out – in the upper 20’s fahrenheit – so we got some hot cocoa while we waited for the carriage to take us up the mountain to the castle.

When we got to the top, we started the tour of the inside of Neuschwanstein. The rooms that we were allowed to see were incredibly extravagant. The wood carvings in the walls in Ludwig’s bedroom and the paintings EVERYWHERE… then there was the hallway that he made to look like the inside of a cave with stalactites and everything!! The furniture was so detailed and flawless, I couldn’t imagine living in a place so perfect. Unfortunately, less than a third of the rooms in the castle were finished before Ludwig died. And of the ones that were, they only show a handful on the tour 😦 And there were no pictures allowed inside, so that was really sad. We had such an unforgettable time taking the horse and carriage up the mountain and eating in a little chalet at the base of the castle though, so it made up for the disappointment 😉

I’ll put up more pictures tomorrow!

Munich, Germany!

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Bundled up on the metro
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Marienplatz PACKED for the Christmas Markets
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We’re in meat country now!
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Happy campers 🙂

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German “french fries”
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Hofbrauhaus

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Duke’s buddy, Charolette
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Part of the group
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Part of the Nymphenburg Palace
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Such beautiful grounds….
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Our little boy ❤
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How pretty are all the vines?!
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Back at the Christmas Markets!
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Our first Gluten! And we got to keep the mugs 🙂
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A little sleet falling in Marienplatz
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Krampus. Scariest Christmas tradition ever!!!
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They walked through the crowded streets so suddenly you’d look up and see this! Ahhh!
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Sweets!

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Christmas carolers singing above the square
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Warm-up pitstop!
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Duke is almost 8 months!

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So many goodies at the markets…
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Enjoying the carolers before heading back to the hotel

 

Our Christmas present to each other this year was a week long trip to Germany!!! We spend most of our time in Munich, but were also able to see the Neuschwanstein Castle, Nuremberg and the Salzbergwerk salt mines in the Bavarian Alps.

Munich is such a great city. Honestly, the people, the food, the culture – it was so up our alley! We loved the food SO MUCH! The sausage, the sauerkraut, the potatoes… everything you dream of and more! haha And of course there’s beer and gluwein. The gluwein is basically heated wine with flavor, but it tastes like cinnamon apple cider! Sooo good!!

The first evening in Munich we visited the Christmas Markets and decided to try out all the street fare we could. We had sausage, their version of fresh fries (fries with mayo, ketchup and mustard), gluwein and some chocolate covered mousse. It was all so yummy.

And it was so good to have a break from the food in Naples. The food in Italy been a little disappointing considering how much we were looking forward to it 😦 It just doesn’t have much flavor – not anything like the spice American Italian has. But German food – now THERES some flavor!!! Italians know how to do caffe – I’ll give them that! 😉

It was so funny throughout the trip because people constantly tried to speak German with us. Even on the plane, the woman serving beverages was speaking to everyone in English until she came to me! haha Almost every German we ran across could speak English though if we asked them to – and very well! That was a huge contrast to Italy as well. Not many people in Italy, or Naples at least, know English. And it’s pretty rare that Danny or I are taken as Italians… for obvious reasons. Haha (We did say “Danke”, “Bitte”, “Guten tag”, “Ja”, “Nein” and whatever else we knew as much as possible while we were in Germany! So fun!)

On another day, we did a bus tour of the city of Munich and were able to see Nymphenburg summer palace. Pictures usually don’t do things justice, but in this instance that is MOST DEFINITELY the case. It was soon big!!! It was added to over the years, but we were laughing at the fact that the main part of the palace was built as a gift from Ferdinand Maria to his wife after she had their first son. That’s some gift! I mean, where’s my palace, Danny?! 😉

Well, that’s it for today, but I’m preparing another post up that I’ll put up tomorrow with more pictures from the trip! So stay tuned… 🙂

Tuscany

Bundled up! ❤

Lucia’s empty early morning streets…

Little travel buddy! ❤

All the chocolate!

So glad we can see these places together ❤
Standing on an an ancient Roman wall…
Pit stop ❤
Italy has the best cappuccino – The end.
Haha, not in France, but still needed a pic 😉
Lucia’s BEAUTIFUL main plaza 
PISA!

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Inside the cathedral in Pisa

Foggy San Gimignano 
SO picturesque 

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Christmassy in Siena

Chocolate fondue fountain

Siena Cathedral. Kinda eerie, right?!
The DETAIL!!
Keeping each other warm ❤

Last night in Montecatini Terme

After Florence, we headed up to Lucca, Pisa, San Gimignano and Siena- or the region of Tuscany! Something I never realized before traveling in central Italy is that Tuscany is not a city, but a region or “county.” Sorry if that’s a no brainer, but I honestly was clueless!! I had always thought Florence was a place, not a bunch of different places. So anyways, over Thanksgiving weekend, we hit several smaller towns/cities besides Florence in central Italy.

Seriously, it was so nice to have a guide for part of the time because you could really learn the history behind all the small towns. Lucca was gorgeous and the whole city was surrounded by the original Roman wall. It was pretty incredible!

One thing that was so amazing about Pisa were the other structures the made up the rest of the church grounds. Of course the leaning tower of Pisa is just the bell tower, but the church and the baptistry were so beautiful – inside and outside.

Sam Gimignano was so so so pretty. It was early in the morning when we got there, so the fog was really thick, but it had such a cool feel with the moisture lingering in the air. I loved the medieval feel of Siena. The churches were not as colorful and the stones everywhere – the buildings, the streets, the walls – had so much character. It is crazy to think about how many eras those stones had seen. How many millions of people over hundreds of years have touched them… Such an incredible thought.

We finished our trip with Siena which was such a bustling city. There were some of the sweetest cafes there though and we had to duck into one to warm up with some lasagne. The cathedral in Siena is probably the most detailed one I’ve seen yet! Seriously breathtaking.

Anyways! That wraps up our latest trip!! Not a moment too soon – we leave for Germany on Saturday!!!!!! 😀

Florence

Matching! ❤
Probably the most iconic duomo in Italy
The detail is unreal

Flattering angel, Duke, very flattering haha
Just tucked into one of the hundreds of cobblestone streets

Ponte Vecchio

Pit stop!
Glorious pastries 
Duke thinks that bite’s for him LOL

Florence is known for its leather
Tuckered out… ❤

Christmas lights!!!! 

Our hotel! 
That was a lonnnnng day, guys… lol

 

We recently drove up to Tuscany and visited a few beautiful towns/cities in the north central part of Italy. Florence was very busy and crowded, but the architecture and the streets were so beautiful! The two churches we visited there were so iconic and really took your breath away – the details on EVERY. SINGLE. PART. of the outsides of the buildings were just astonishing. Honestly though, the insides of the churches felt so cold and empty – the outsides looked grand, spectacular, really, the insides felt so hopeless. It really made me think about how we as Christians, are the church. Not a building. Not a place. The Holy Spirit within us has given us the privilege to “meet with God” through prayer at ANY place. Not just inside a beautifully decorated building, but on a rainy street under an umbrella; in a kitchen baking; soothing a crying baby – anywhere! It is such a privilege and it was great to be reminded of this precious truth.

The hotel we stayed at was so so pretty. I loved the lit up streets with tons of little shops… We shopped and ate, stayed up so late, but there was so much to take in! 🙂 We will definitely go back!!

 

 

Busy Days + Thanksgiving!

Shopping buddy!

Little pals
“Mom, just pick one already!”
The boys
Our s’more ornament collection (Thanks Dad!)
Wide eyed and bushy tailed!
Always snacking
Matching! ❤
Using those chubby fingers!!
Mama’s little angel
The most wonderful time of the year!
Working on a little nursery project!

 

Duke’s bedroom!
Thanksgiving spread…

Duke looks so ready! 😛
First family Thanksgiving!

Post-meal snuggle coma ❤

 

What a fantastically busy few weeks it’s been! Loving the cool weather and the time to reflect on the blessings this year has held. So grateful for our family’s addition: Duke. He is the center of our lives and brings so much laughter and joy. I’m grateful for the opportunity to live in Italy, for the smooth move and the travels we’ve already been able to do. And for family, as far away as they may be this holiday season –  I love and miss each one and wish we could all be together again.

We’ve been picking away at the house and decorating, been going on lots of little family outings and Duke and I have been hanging out with friends during the day. I love my little shopping buddy! He is such a little flirt with all the Italian ladies and they love to talk to him and squeeze his chubby cheeks – he totally soaks it in. So funny!

Thanksgiving Day we enjoyed a little Thanksgiving meal as a family – Duke even got in on it! Then we got up super early to drive up to Tuscany the day after Thanksgiving, and oh my goodness, I cannot wait to share the pictures from our weekend! It was so beautiful!!!

Moving in!

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A big mess has never looked so good!
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Duke’s happy we got all the cozy stuff back 😉
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I love my new island!!
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Mommy’s lil guy
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His new favorite thing the do…
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When you need to haul everything out to the car
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“‘Scuse me, ma’am, I have a return.”
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Duke sleeps the longest and hardest in mom and dad’s bed, COVERED in coziness ❤

So, so, so happy. Friday we received our household goods (aka: OUR STUFF!!!). It was such an awesome feeling to see our things being hauled into our empty apartment. It felt like Christmas opening up our boxes – I forgot how many great things we packed! Now that we have arranged and rearranged the rooms a few times, it’s looking so homey and cozy… I’m in love ❤ I’ll show you guys pictures when I get things cleaned up a bit!

God has been so good this week. We prayed that we would get our household goods before the four day weekend so that we could unpack and set things up while Danny had a chunk of time off work. He answered that prayer and another prayer that Duke would start sleeping through the night. It’s so funny – before I had kids, when I heard people talking about their kids’ sleep schedules, I just didn’t understand the SIGNIFICANCE those schedules really are! Now that I am mom myself, I. understand. But Duke has now had two good nights back to back and both Danny and I feel like new people! Well, that may also be because we now have our wonderful mattress back!!

We’ve made a few more IKEA runs the past few weeks and if you follow my Instagram you have seen just how tedious it is to put large boxes/rugs/chairs into a little hatchback! haha, its always a puzzle trying to get everything to fit! I realized I’ve been taking lots of videos and not as many pictures lately, which are harder to share on here, obviously, so I’m going to do my best to take more pictures to put on here. Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!!

Foodie Favorites: Quick Chicken Noodle Curry

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This. Just wait till you try it – so fantastic! What I love about this recipe is its FULL of flavor, but only takes 20 minutes to make. I usually serve it with artisan bread or homemade soft pretzels. So easy and so darn delicious.

 

Chicken Noodle Curry

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 large onion, diced

2 red bell peppers, diced

1 large carrot, cut into 2 inch thin strips

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt to taste

2 15 oz cans of coconut milk

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I cook it before hand)

1 package ramen noodles

cilantro

lime

 

Heat coconut oil in a large pot and add diced vegetables. After they are tender (8-10 minutes), add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add curry and cayenne pepper, stirring constantly for about 1 more minute.

Pour coconut milk and chicken broth into veggie mixture, heating to a simmer. Add cooked chicken and ramen noodles, stirring frequently until noodles are al dente.

Serve with cilantro and lime slices.

 

Enjoy! ❤