Wild Junket » Germany http://www.wildjunket.com An adventure travel blog that brings you on a rollercoaster ride around the world Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:30:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Ice Run Updates http://www.wildjunket.com/2012/12/28/ice-run-updates/ http://www.wildjunket.com/2012/12/28/ice-run-updates/#comments Fri, 28 Dec 2012 18:35:13 +0000 http://www.wildjunket.com/?p=13023 As the year comes to an end, we have reached the first half of our Ice Run journey through the coldest parts of Europe. Over the past few weeks, we have ridden a reindeer sleigh and met Santa Claus in Finland, caught the Northern Lights and visited Sweden’s original ICEHOTEL as well as tried our [...]

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As the year comes to an end, we have reached the first half of our Ice Run journey through the coldest parts of Europe. Over the past few weeks, we have ridden a reindeer sleigh and met Santa Claus in Finland, caught the Northern Lights and visited Sweden’s original ICEHOTEL as well as tried our luck at ice-fishing and snowmobiling. It’s been a fantastic journey so far as we challenged ourselves to the cold and go crazy on wacky winter activities. Over the festive season, we also celebrated Christmas in true Norwegian style, and got to know their traditions during this magical time of the year.

But our trip has only just begun. For the second part of the Ice Run we have teamed up with HostelBookers to try out some of the finest hostels in Sweden, Germany and Switzerland (such as the Skanstulls Vandrarhem hostel in Stockholm, the Die Wohngemeinschaft hostel in Cologne or the Hostellerie Geroldswil in Zurich).

HostelBookers logo

We will be spending New Year’s eve in Stockholm where we expect to bring in 2013 with a bang. Shortly after that we will be heading south to Germany, where we plan to traverse the country on some of the best scenic train routes of the country. These routes include the Rhine Valley Line, which takes us through Koblenz and Mainz, passing alongside the river Rhine; as well as the Black Forest route from Offenburg to Konstanz. By the second week of January we will already be in Switzerland were we will catch the famous Glacier Express as well as the Golden Pass scenic train journeys while we drink in views of the backcountry.

Don’t forget to follow our journey through our Ice Run blog posts or on Twitter with the hashtag #WJIceRun! Meanwhile, happy holidays!

Disclaimer: Our trip was made possible by Eurail.com and Hostelbookers, but all opinions expressed are our own.

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Daily Travel Snapshot: Saxony, Germany http://www.wildjunket.com/2011/07/10/daily-travel-snapshot-saxony-germany/ http://www.wildjunket.com/2011/07/10/daily-travel-snapshot-saxony-germany/#comments Sun, 10 Jul 2011 01:30:10 +0000 http://www.wildjunket.com/?p=6633 The snow-covered Elbe Sandstone Mountains in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, East Germany.

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The snow-covered Elbe Sandstone Mountains in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, East Germany.

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The Best Cities to Party in Europe http://www.wildjunket.com/2011/04/03/the-best-cities-to-party-in-europe/ http://www.wildjunket.com/2011/04/03/the-best-cities-to-party-in-europe/#comments Sun, 03 Apr 2011 13:55:25 +0000 http://www.wildjunket.com/2011/04/03/the-best-cities-to-party-in-europe/ in a club in Berlin, GermanyDancing shoes? Check. Party hat? Check. Time to hit the city and paint the town red. For many young travelers, a vivid nightlife can just be as important as monuments, beaches or attractions. You can often soak up the undercurrent of a city through its nightlife. This week’s post brings us around Europe to suss out [...]

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Dancing shoes? Check. Party hat? Check. Time to hit the city and paint the town red. For many young travelers, a vivid nightlife can just be as important as monuments, beaches or attractions. You can often soak up the undercurrent of a city through its nightlife. This week’s post brings us around Europe to suss out the best places to let your hair back and party till dawn.

Berlin

As the modern arts metropolis of Germany, Berlin is exploding with a revolutionary arts scene, futuristic architecture and most importantly, palpitating nightlife. In this cosmopolitan hub, nightlife is constantly evolving, perfect for those looking for refreshing spins. The electronic music scene in the city is huge, with music events taking place every other weekend. One of the most famous clubs at the moment is Berghain/Panorama Bar (Am Wriezener Bahnhof).

in a club in Berlin, Germany

Amsterdam

Lauded as Europe’s party HQ, Amsterdam is the capital of hedonistic pleasures. The Dutch city is best known for its coffee shops, where items on the menus range from hash brownie to mushroom and marijuana joints. The red light district, located in one of the most prominent parts of the city, provides an eye-opening experience for the uninitiated. Amsterdam is one of my favorite European cities, not just for the night life but also for the variety of museums and attractions. Besides, flights to Amsterdam are easily available from most parts of Europe and US. As far as clubs go, I’d highly recommend is Bitterzoet (Spuistraat 2).

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Barcelona

The Capital of Cool is Spain’s hippest party zone, home to the country’s trendiest clubs, beach bars and champagne lounges. As with everywhere else in Spain, the action starts late in Barcelona; expect clubs to open their doors only around midnight and the parties to end at dawn. For those who want to avoid the tourist crowd and overpriced drinks, steer clear to the swanky beach clubs. If you’re looking for some indie alternative music,  I’d recommend Marula Café in the Barrio Gotico (Escudellers 49).

Prague

Next to Germany, the Czech Republic is touted as one of the most famous beer capitals of the world. With prices lower than most of the other Western European cities on the list, Prague is definitely one of my personal favorites. The city is dotted with traditional Czech-style taverns and beer halls. Besides the national brand of beer, Pilsner, they often serve big portions of pork knuckles, roasted duck leg and a plethora of cured meat.

Clock tower in Prague Town Square

Munich

As a major tourist destination in Germany, Munich has plenty to offer besides attractive architecture, traditional fare and characteristic culture. As a university city, Munich boasts of a night life that’s excellent all year around, and not just during the Oktoberfest. My recommendations: Ed Moses (Prinzregentenstraße 2) and Crux (Ledererstraße 3). To rub shoulders with celebrities, check out the snazzy club, P1 (Prinzregentenstraße 1).

Fireworks on NYE in Munich

Budapest

In recent years, Budapest has acquired quite a reputation for its nightlife. Famous for its ancient baths and spas, Budapest has blended their infamous nightlife with spas to come up with a brand new concept:  “sparties”. At the Ruda Spa (Dobrentei ter 9), one of the most beautiful thermal baths in Budapest, groove to the beats of the city’s best DJs and amazing acoustics and light effects. Recover the night at one of the many Budapest apartments on offer.


 

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Photoblog: Carnival Celebrations All Around the World http://www.wildjunket.com/2011/02/26/photoblog-carnival-celebrations-all-around-the-world/ http://www.wildjunket.com/2011/02/26/photoblog-carnival-celebrations-all-around-the-world/#comments Fri, 25 Feb 2011 18:47:10 +0000 http://www.wildjunket.com/2011/02/26/photoblog-carnival-celebrations-all-around-the-world/ 4339695183_cc0900bc78_zIt’s that time of the year again! Flamboyant costumes, larger-than-life parades and colorful street parties: Carnival is an annual festive season celebrated in various corners of the world. What started out as a Roman Catholic festival is now a massive party. One of my favorite events of the year (next to Christmas), the Carnival stretches [...]

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It’s that time of the year again! Flamboyant costumes, larger-than-life parades and colorful street parties: Carnival is an annual festive season celebrated in various corners of the world. What started out as a Roman Catholic festival is now a massive party.

One of my favorite events of the year (next to Christmas), the Carnival stretches over a whole week or more, as revelers take to the streets and party till dawn. Some refer to it as the 5th season of the year and it’s easy to see why. Today’s guest post by Miss Moci from Only-Apartments brings us to the best places in the world to celebrate the festivities.

Venice, Italy

The Carnevale di Venezia is the oldest Carnival celebration recorded in history with a long tradition. Each March, the streets and canals of Venice are flooded with people dressed in exquisite velvet robes and elaborated masks. Traditionally, the masks gave people of all social statuses the opportunity to celebrate together. Today, the mask has become Venice’s trademark – a symbol of mystery and sensuality.  If you’re planning a trip to Venice for the Carnival be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Samba dancers, street parades, and raucous percussions: The Brazilian Carnival is without a doubt the world’s most famous Carnival celebration and has taken on incredible proportions. During this time of the year, Brazil sees the greatest influx of tourists and they account for over 80% of the year’s beer consumption. Although the Carnival originated from Europe, celebrations in Brazil have since taken on many characteristics of the African and South American culture.

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Cologne, Germany

The Carnival in Cologne is by far the most famous one in Germany. The season officially starts on November 11th, but the most important festivities are at the end of February and the beginning of March with everything ending on Ash Wednesday. In the elaborated street parades, Carnival participants throw out candies to the crowd, while screaming, “Kölle Alaaf!”, some form of battle call. Another highlight of these street parades are the Roten Funken, acrobatic dancers similar to cheerleaders.

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Sitges, Spain

As a popular European destination for gays throughout the whole year, Sitges (near Barcelona) is best known for having the most spectacular Carnival celebrations in Spain. Every year, up to 250,000 people visit Sitges to join in the Carnival. The celebrations start on a Thursday with a parade that welcomes King Carnestoltes (the king of Carnival). The two biggest events are Rua de la Disbauxa (Parade of Debauchery) and Rua de l’Extermini, which is the closing parade.

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Photo credits: David Pin, Wikipedia, carnaval2010.org, oncealifetime.com and Daniel Jove

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This guest post was written by Miss Moci from Only-Apartments. She contributes regularly to WildJunket with her  tips on traveling in Europe.

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5 Great Cities for Castle-Hopping http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/05/07/5-great-cities-for-castle-hopping/ http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/05/07/5-great-cities-for-castle-hopping/#comments Fri, 07 May 2010 14:15:03 +0000 http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/05/07/5-great-cities-for-castle-hopping/ Latona Fountain by HarshLight.Europe is a phalanx of royal castles and sprawling royal gardens, filled with aristocratic air and lavish imperial furnishings. For the castle lovers, it’s a treasure trove of historic palaces and stone castles. Each one of them has a story to tell and centuries of history behind them. The hardcore historic buffs can even splurge [...]

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Europe is a phalanx of royal castles and sprawling royal gardens, filled with aristocratic air and lavish imperial furnishings. For the castle lovers, it’s a treasure trove of historic palaces and stone castles. Each one of them has a story to tell and centuries of history behind them. The hardcore historic buffs can even splurge on luxurious castle hotel stays that allow them to peek into the lives of royal kings and queens. Here are some excellent cities to base yourself at and explore the surrounding castles:

1. Paris

The world knows it as the City of Romance, drawing in couples from all over the world with an attested romantic appeal. Its landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Musee du Lourve and Les Champs Elysees have given it a worldwide reputation. To witness the grandeur of its castles and lush royal gardens, you will have to venture to the outskirts. One of the most famous castles in the world – the Chateau de Versailles – is just 30 minutes by train from the city center. The Chateau de Breteil is 30km from Paris, famed for its sprawling gardens.

Latona Fountain by HarshLight.Flickr photo by HarshLight

2. Dublin

Blanketed with greenery and meadows, the suburbs of Dublin are scattered with royal castles, most of within short driving distance from the bustling city center. Take the Dublin Castle for example, what used to be the fortified seat of British ruling is now a majestic medieval castle opened to the public. Spoil yourself by checking in to extravagant castle hotels such as the Clontarf Castle and Malahide Castle.

DUBLIN CASTLE by infomatique.   Flickr photo by Infomatique

3. Munich

Although there aren’t any castles in the city of Munich, it is just kilometers away from world famous castles. The region of Bavaria is home to several world class castles, one of which is the fairy-tale castle of Neuschwanstein. It was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle and is the film setting for many movies. Other gorgeous royal palaces in the vicinity include the Linderhorf Palace and the Herrenchiemsee Palace.

Neuschwanstein by gerdragon.Flickr photo by Gerdragon

4. London

The capital of the world is packed to the brim with historical marvels, state-of-the-art museums and the trendiest people. Even within the city center, you’ll be dazzled by the age-old monuments and aristocratic castles. The Tower of London and Buckingham Palace receive millions of visits each year, wooing the crowd with its invaluable British royal jewelry collections. A 30-minute train ride away from London city center is the formidable Windsor Castle that radiates an equally majestic glow with its labyrinth of chambers and decks.

UK - Windsor - Windsor Castle: St. George's Chapel by wallyg.

Flickr photo by wallyg

5. Edinburgh

The city’s landmark, the Edinburgh Castle, has to be the most well-known castle in the world. Poised on a castle rock overlooking the entire city, the castle-fortress offers an impressive panorama of the city and its surrounding greenery. Get a chance to admire the Scottish Crown Jewels, St Margaret’s Chapel and the Stone of Destiny – all playing an important role in Scottish monarchy. For more castle action, head out to nearby Stirling to check out the Stirling Castle.

Edinburgh Castle from Princess Street Gardens by g.naharro.

Flickr photo by g.naharro

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Food Galore in Germany http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/02/22/food-galore-in-germany/ http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/02/22/food-galore-in-germany/#comments Mon, 22 Feb 2010 11:33:18 +0000 http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/02/22/food-galore-in-germany/ tn_IMG_0508A winter in Germany meant endless flow of mulled wine, sauerkraut (sour cabbages) and bratwurst (a type of sausage). The last leg of our trip through Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic found us clanging beer glasses in Munich. After having my first larger-than-life pork knuckle in Berlin in 2006, I was ready to chow [...]

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A winter in Germany meant endless flow of mulled wine, sauerkraut (sour cabbages) and bratwurst (a type of sausage). The last leg of our trip through Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic found us clanging beer glasses in Munich. After having my first larger-than-life pork knuckle in Berlin in 2006, I was ready to chow down more meaty delicacies in this trip. Travel to Munich is often framed by sustenance, and thanks to our buddy Heiko, we had an official introduction into the German culinary world.

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Bratwurst (Grilled Sausage)

One of the most popular street food in Germany is the bratwurst. Grilled beef or pork sausages served with sauerkraut and mustard, or simply in a bread roll, are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. You’ll see them grilled over sizzling barbeque stands, especially at Karlsplatz in the city center of Munich. A version of it gaining popularity by the day is currywurst – sausage draped with tomato-flavored curry sauce.

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Sauerbraten (Roast Beef Stew)

The German pot roast is a lathery stew of tender beef, marinated in a constellation of condiments like vinegar and various types of spices. Traditionally served with red cabbage and potato dumplings (Kartoffelklöße) or boiled potatoes. Having been listed as one of the national dishes of Germany, the sauerbraten is often the main star in restaurants’ menus.

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Schweinshaxe (Pork Knuckle)

Often the size of an adult human head, the pork knuckle is roasted or boiled to extreme tenderness, keeping a golden-crisp skin that is so brittle it shatters when your teeth sink into it.  Especially popular in Bavaria, the region is also home to some of the best schweinshaxe in the country. The best one we had so far – at Hofbraeuhaus (read more below).

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Rinderroulade (Beef Roll)

A typical dish in Saxony (a region in East Germany), this beef roulade packs different flavors into one single dish. Quality thin beef slices are rolled around bacon, onions, pickles, and mustard, then roasted with red wine to produce a sultry taste. Not to be missed! (Click here for its recipe.)

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Hasenpfeffe (Rabbit Stew)

I am a stew-lover, can’t leave without trying this popular dish. Using smaller parts of a rabbit which are often too small to be roasted, they are braised with onions and wine, the marinade thickened with the rabbit’s blood. (Click here for its recipe.)

Schnitzel (Breaded Cutlet)

Although a schnitzel is more of an Austrian dish, it’s extremely popular in Germany, and found throughout Munich.  The Wiener Schnitzel, a cutlet coated in breadcrumbs with cheese and ham sandwiched within, is served with green salad and potatoes.  Even the Germans love it, you’ll hafta taste it for yourself to know why.

Photo by Wikipedia

Where to Eat in Munich:

Hofbraeuhaus is  Munich’s largest and most famous beer brewery: with over hundreds of costume-adorning waitresses and large pints of homegrown beers served alongside tantalizing local dishes. The atmosphere itself is worth a peek – clanging glasses, raving laughter and an echoing hall of beer drinkers.

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There are many other beer breweries and even beer tours to bring you pub-hopping and food-tasting in Munich. Here’s a useful list on best pubs and restaurants to check out.

Where to Stay in Munich:

Munich hotels are concentrated around the city center, mainly along Karlsplatz and around the main train station. There are plenty of options, ranging from budget hostels to high-end hotels in the area.

We stayed at Hotel Jedermann, an affordable three-star hotel along Bayerstrasse Road, next to the train station and within 5 minutes’ walk to the center. With room rates starting from 50euros/room, it offers value for money.

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A White German Christmas in Dresden http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/01/07/a-white-german-christmas-in-dresden/ http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/01/07/a-white-german-christmas-in-dresden/#comments Wed, 06 Jan 2010 23:08:46 +0000 http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/01/07/a-white-german-christmas-in-dresden/ tn_IMG_0239This Christmas, we reveled tradition, the German style. We left sunny Spain behind and headed North to spend the festive season with our dear friend Heiko in his village near Dresden, East Germany. Frozen lakes, withered trees and white powdery snow blanketing the rolling hills: it was just what we needed to get into the [...]

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This Christmas, we reveled tradition, the German style. We left sunny Spain behind and headed North to spend the festive season with our dear friend Heiko in his village near Dresden, East Germany. Frozen lakes, withered trees and white powdery snow blanketing the rolling hills: it was just what we needed to get into the Christmas mood. After spending most of the year traveling through tropical countries, bumming on beaches and climbing hot volcanoes, this was actually somewhat different. A perfect setting for Christmas. 

We arrived at Heiko’s home in the village of Langenwolmsdorf (1hr from Dresden) amidst the heavy snow, only to wake up the next day to a view of white-coated surroundings.

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Waking up to the sun shining on our faces, and a huge spread of breakfast before us – salami, pate, cheese and nutella, we just couldn’t stop smiling. Heiko lives in a gorgeous townhouse, with part of it used as a Ferienwohnung, a B&B run by his own family. It’s got a gorgeous view, with the highly underrated but stunning National Park Sashcon Sweiz just 10 minutes away.

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German Christmas Traditions

The days before Christmas were spent tasting typical Christmas delights, knocking on Heiko’s family doors and visiting the Christmas market. It was very exciting to be part of their celebrations, especially getting the chance to experience their traditions and practices.

Flaming up Glühwein

Glühwein – mulled wine boiled with cloves and sugar then dripped with rum – is definitely their favorite winter drink, especially at Christmas. One of their typical Christmas practices involves boiling  a huge tub of mulled wine at home, placing a gigantic cone of sugar on top and then drenching it completely with rum before setting it on fire. Oh switch off the lights for the best effect. The result: gorgeous blue flames dancing in the darkness.

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Christmas Cake: Stollen

The German Stollen is a loaf-shaped fruitcake littered with nuts, raisins, candied citrus peel, spices, and dusted with icing sugar. During the days leading up to Christmas, the Germans love to have it for tea break. The form of the stollen is said to represent Baby Jesus in swaddling clothes. Dresden has the most famous Christmas stollen, as the first was made here. Here’s a recipe to make a simple German stollen.

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Decorating with Traditional Handicraft

tn_IMG_0476 Traditional German handicrafts are especially popular during Christmas, as the Germans light up their homes with intricately carved wooden crafts.

From nutcrackers, wooden smokers, wooden figures, straw ornaments to candle-lit pyramids, you’ll find them at every Christmas market.

We headed to the village’s famous handicraft store Ratags that had thousands of hand-crafted art pieces on display and even artists’ workshop where you could try your hand at crafting.

 

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Visiting the Christmas Market

Germany’s Christmas markets are some of the best in the world, sprawling over city squares, with brightly lit giant Christmas trees and ferris wheels. We headed out to Dresden city’s Christmas market, the oldest in the whole of Germany. Rows and rows of stalls selling mulled wine and bratwurst (German sausages), handicraft and candy – you could spend hours lost in the labyrinth. Whether you’re looking for exquisite Welsh Gold or hand-made trinkets, you’re sure to find perfect Christmas gifts here in the market.

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It’s the best place to make your child’s Christmas dreams come true, I couldn’t imagine any kid not screaming with excitement here.

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Happy New Year from Munich! http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/01/03/happy-new-year-from-munich/ http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/01/03/happy-new-year-from-munich/#comments Sat, 02 Jan 2010 20:41:00 +0000 http://www.wildjunket.com/2010/01/03/happy-new-year-from-munich/ Fireworks on NYE in MunichWe’re on the road again this festive season, bringing in the new year in Munich, Germany! The city was really rockin’ it with blazing fireworks, a roaring crowd and rattling firecrackers. By 10pm, throngs of party people were already gathered at Marienplatz in front of the New Town Hall, firing up the sky with glitzy [...]

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We’re on the road again this festive season, bringing in the new year in Munich, Germany! The city was really rockin’ it with blazing fireworks, a roaring crowd and rattling firecrackers. By 10pm, throngs of party people were already gathered at Marienplatz in front of the New Town Hall, firing up the sky with glitzy fireworks. Friends huddled in tight groups with a bottle of champagne in hand, and fire sparks on the other.

By midnight, the square was completely full and the entire sky was lit up so brightly with booming lights that your eyes would hurt looking in the sky. While I was carefully trying to avoid getting hurt (seriously), we managed to snap a couple of shots of the fireworks in front of the Neus Rathaus.

Fireworks on NYE in Munich

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While we’ve been busy out and about, I haven’t forgotten to say my thanks and think about what I’ll like to achieve in the coming year. 2009 was a year of extreme for me, I’ve had so much good stuff happening to me it’s hard to believe how lucky I am.

A Look Back at 2009

2009 was definitely a big year for me. Alberto asked if I would marry him, and I said yes! How did he propose – He wrote beautiful words that came straight from his heart.

It was also an unbelievable year in my professional life: I jumped into travel writing full on, now I’m actually writing full-time – a dream that I’d always had but never imagined would materialize. I’ve never been happier, loving the freedom and flexibility to do what I like most in life.

Our travels in 2009 led us to some of the most astounding places in the world– we started the year off travelling in the Top End of Australia and cruising the coast of Melbourne. We spent some time with my family while living in Singapore. By summer, we’d left for our epic journey to Latin America – uncovering amazing spots like the Salt Flats of Bolivia, the giant sand dunes of Huacachina, the wildlife wonderland of Galapagos and an active volcano in Guatemala. We ended the year with sojourns to Morocco, Northern Spain, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria.

Through the year, I’d lost some friends but also made some new ones whom I know will be sticking around for awhile. We’d also made one of the most important decisions in our lives: to make Granada our permanent home. Moving back to Europe wasn’t an easy decision but I’m thankful for it.

My New Year Resolutions

2010 is definitely going to be packed with lots of  travels and surprises: with a new life ahead in Granada, a full-time writing career and our unplanned wedding in summer (we’ll have to see), I just can’t wait to see what’s in stall for me. Who knows? We’ll just have to wait to find out.

A list of my resolutions to allow me to focus and strive hard to make the coming year an equally blissful one!

  1. Working hard at improving my writing and getting more articles published in dream publications
  2. Furnishing our new home in Spain and giving it our own touch
  3. Travelling to Iceland, Croatia, Russia and Mongolia (hopefully)
  4. To be happy (most importantly)

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