2015 in Review

As the year wraps up, it's only natural to look back and reflect. In our case, 2015 was kind of a big year, it was the first one we spent completely in Germany. We traveled. A lot. It was the Year of the Bucket List. But there are still so many places we want to go to! As we head into 2016, we are in for some even bigger changes and adventures. I won't try to get too nostaligic here, but I always think it's a good exercise to look back, remember what happened, and be thankful for all the good times. Sometimes, I even forget some of the stuff we did. And this is one of the reasons I am glad we blog about it all. Even if no one reads it, at least we have a running journal of the things we did and experienced.

We started off the year by going to the Czech Republic for a weekend and taking a bath in beer, and then spending some time in Pilsen

Beer bath in Chodovar PLana

In March, we took another bucket list trip to Sweden where we got to tour the Poseidon factory (they make regulators and other dive gear), and then spent 3 days in the Arctic Circle on a dog sled tour. Between the dog sledding, the snow and cold, and seeing a spectacular display of the northern lights, this trip was definitely near the top of my ''Favorite Things in 2015'' list.

Northern Lights over our cabin

Dog sledding

taking a quick rest in the snow

At the end of March, we headed to the Netherlands where we met up with some sorority sisters and their families. We went to see the Keukenhof tulip festival in Leiden, but also spent some time sight seeing in Amsterdam - going on a canal cruise and visiting the Anne Frank house.

 Keukenhof Tulip Festival in Leiden

Keukenhof Tulip Festival in Leiden

For Easter, we headed to Austria for some diving in an lake surrounded by the Alps. I can't imagine a better view to surface to.

May was one busy month for us! We started off the month by heading to Iceland for 5 days to go diving. We did a couple dives in the ocean, one in the lake in Thingvellir National Park, and two in the world famous Silfra Ravine. Without a doubt, Silfra was some of the absolute best cold water diving we have ever done. Oh, and Iceland totally rocked too!

In the middle of May, we headed back to Austria to check another item off our diving bucket list: Grünersee! Good thing we did because they no longer allow diving there. 

Bridge under water in Grunersee, Austria

Towards the end of the month, we headed to Paris to meet up with some friends from the US. We saw the Eifel Tower, Notre Dame, catacombs, and went Champagne tasting in Eperney.

 

Aaron and I in front of the Eiffel tower, it was windy!

 

And most importantly, in May, we found out that we were expecting our first baby! Good thing we planned all those dive trips for early in the year ;)

Our summer was pretty relaxed compared to our spring. My sister visited in the beginning of the month, and we took her to see some traditional German sights: Neuschwanstein, Eagle's Nest, and Munich. It was brutally hot later in June, but we did manage to go on a Rhein river cruise for the day and see some pretty castles.

 Sisters at Neuschwanstein

Sisters at Neuschwanstein

Castle Ruins along the Rhein River

In July, we went to Barcelona for a long weekend. It was hot there too, but nearly everywhere was air conditioned, even the hotel room. The tapas were amazing, Monserrat was beautiful, but the most impressive thing we saw was, hands-down, Sagrada Familia. The colors, the lighting, the intricate carving - it blew us away and, months later, I am still in awe over this place. If there is ONE thing you see in Barcelona, make it Sagrada Familia.

Interior of Sagrada Familia. Pictures do not do this place justice!

August was another quiet month for us, mostly because at the beginning on September, we were headed back to the US for two weeks. It was our first time back together and it was so nice to see friends and family. We even made it to our favorite place in the whole world - the Upper Peninsula - for our college fraternity and sorority reunions.

Two weeks after we got back from Michigan, we were on our way to London for a weekend with some friends. It was a quick 48 hours in the city, but the weather was lovely and we got to see and do a lot in the short amount of time.

In October, we headed to Krakow for a long weekend, where to gorged ourselves on pierogi, sauerkraut, paczki, and other Polish delicacies. We had the most humbling experience when we visited Auschwitz and Birkenau. We loved Poland and can't wait to make it back there.

Famous gate over the ENTRANCE to Auschwitz

We had originally planned to take a weekend trip to Venice in November, but Deutsche Bahn foiled that plan. But, we did visit the Steiff Museum and Schloss Lichtenstein

 
 

December was all about the Christmas Markets! I had a good friend from college come and visit for a week, and we wanted to show her how Germany celebrates and prepares for Christmas. It was her first time trying Glühwein, and I think she liked it. I was stuck with the non-alcoholic variety this winter, but fear not, I stocked up on bottles from the grocery store for later this winter :)

Phew, I didn't realize how busy we were in 2015! We managed to completely exhaust our 30 days of vacation, something I thought would be much harder to do. As we wrap up 2015, and await the start of 2016 just a few hours away, we are excited and anxious to see what the year holds. We are looking forward into welcoming our little Acorn into our lives and introducing him or her to our European adventures. 

We would like to thank all of our readers for following along with our adventures in 2015. May you all have a happy and healthy 2016 full of adventures!