Thursday, April 28, 2016

Part Two of Alex and Dan Visit to Frankfurt!!!

Hi all!

Batch two of the photos from my fabulous weekend with Alex and Dan all takes place in Heidelberg.  We clamored up the steep stone stairway behind quaint, gorgeous, Germanic, timberworked houses (also its worth noting, the houses vacillated between inviting little fairy-tale like homes and conversely ginormous ornate mansions).  The climb was a sharp incline but luckily not too many stairs, whew, the one saving grace of the deal.

Once at the top, we made our way into the castle grounds.  We paid the entry fee and were permitted into the courtyard as well as to wander all around the outside of the towering structure, on all sides.  We snapped loads of photos of the castle itself and of the sweeping panoramic views below us, the hills, the lazy river, the homes nestled into the mountains, all laid out beneath us.  The sun was now shining, the air crisp, the sky vivid and blue.  It almost seemed like the perfect day had been given to us as a reward of sorts for the earlier dreary drizzling morning.  We all agreed, we could not have asked for a better day in Heidelberg.

In search of dinner, we made our way slowly down the curving hill back into the old town center.  we passed sweet little homes as we walked, all impossibly inviting and lovely.  We decided on Hans im Gluck for dinner (here is the website link if you are interested).  The inside of the restaurant is memorable, super unique.  Its akin to being inside a forest of birch bark trees.  The inside is cozy, refreshing and eye-catching.  And the food is AWESOME to boot.  I would vouch even more for the vegetarian burgers as opposed to the traditional beef ones.  Some of the best vegetarian burgers I have ever eaten in my life, I had her.  Incredibly flavorful, just super tasty.  I would absolutely come back here.

   After dinner, we meandered down the teeming-with-tourists main shopping street for a few minutes.  Alex and Dan stopped for an after dinner gelato, I stopped for an after dinner green tea.  Then we headed back to the train station.  Noticing we were pressed for time, we hopped on one of the trams passing through the center of town, for a quicker delivery to the train station.  We all looked at one another nervously as we hadn't had time to purchase tickets beforehand, worried we would get caught.  We didn't.  Whew.  We caught the 6:30pm train back to Frankfurt.  

   That evening, we met two of my best friends, Somayeh and Travis, in the city center for drinks, laughs and fun conversation.  We headed to the bar, Good Times for Good People (one of my favorites).  This ended up being a great time!  We all laughed a LOT!  For the first 10 minutes or so, much of the side splitting laughter was at the expense of me, as my friends good naturedly made fun of a few of my more laughable quirks and habits.  
We all stood in a circle, chatting animatedly.  I loved this.  It was short because Alex and Dan had to be up early the next morning, but very sweet.

We left around 10pm and headed back to my place for bed.  Poor Alex and Dan were probably pretty tired, having pulled an all-nighter less then 24 hours before.  

The next morning, we all awoke at the crack of dawn.  I busied myself making pancakes while they showered and got ready.  After a quick breakfast, we hopped on the train to the Frankfurt main station where I bid them farewell.  They were off to Amsterdam!

My heart sunk a bit as I hugged each of them, feeling comfort and joy within their embraces.  I loved every minute of the weekend with them!  SUCH a blast!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Visit to Germany by Two Outstanding Boston Friends!

Hi All,

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a visit from two amazing friends, Alex and Dan.  This was AWESOME!  How blessed was I, to have the incredible adventures that I did with my Mom a few weeks ago, and then this visit from two best friends just a couple of weeks later?  I was thrilled, to say the least.

Alex and I became friends roughly at the end of 2009.  We met via our work.  She had just been hired at Atlantic Charter, the hell hole of an insurance company we were both unlucky enough to have to work at for a paycheck ha-ha.  It was generally a mind numbing and toxic work environment but we have both agreed something very great came out of working there (our friendship/meeting).  Upon first meeting her, I asked if she might like to have lunch with me that day?  I knew what it was like to be brand new and have no one to eat with, plus something about her struck me as someone I would like.  I was totally right. 

We ate together that day and become friends from there on out.  Alex and I especially bonded over the plethora of emails volleyed back and forth between each other throughout the workday.  Our favorite was the game "would you rather."  These email chains kept smiles on our faces and our sanity intact while working alongside one another at this dull daytime job.

After Alex and I had established our friendship for a number of months, we thought it might be fun to try a double date with her boyfriend, Dan and my fiance, Adam.  The four of us went out and jackpot, a mutually awesome foursome friendship was born.  From there on out, the four of us hung out ALL THE TIME!  We went out for dinners and drinks, we played mini golf and went to a shooting range to shoot up some zombies.  We met each others families, we attended one anothers weddings.  We were invited to parties at Alex's parents house, we watched TV series together, we even came up with the idea of a movie draft together which had us holed up in Barnes and Noble for two years in a row on January 1st surrounded by lists of movies for the upcoming year, slices of cake and warm drinks.  All of us could talk and laugh easily for hours.  We had such a blast together.

A group trip to NYC we all took together, plus two other great friends came along as well, Leanne and Kent.

Sadly the awesomeness of our foursome friendship ended (when my romantic relationship with Adam did) which I love to think back on with a big smile on my face, but I am still incredibly close with Alex. 
We talk on the phone roughly once a week.  I consider her one of my very closest friends.  She is someone whom I can tell things to, someone I feel understood by, someone who I always have great fun spending time with, she makes me laugh, feel supported, her advice is thoughtful, wise and insightful, she is loyal, reliable and kind, she has the best sense of humor.  She is just an awesome friend, one I am lucky to have had for the past going-on-7-years now.  And a friend I hope to have well into the future as well.
Dan is equally awesome.  He is easy going and great fun to spend time with.  He is hilarious, easy to talk to, warm and kind.  He too is a loyal, reliable and wonderful friend.  They are just great people.  I am so glad they are a part of my life.

Back on to the details of their visit.  Alex and Dan arrived on a Friday, having been up most of the night unable to sleep on their red eye flight the night before.  However they insisted on sticking it out, pushing through and staying up for the remainder of the day.  I was impressed.  I would have keeled over asleep if I were in their shoes but they shouldered through and even seemed perky doing so!

I gave them a personal walking tour of Frankfurt.  We walked literally all over the city.  From the main Hoptbahnhof (train station), along the Zeil (famous shopping strip in the city), through the ultra famous and super charming, Germanic, Romerberg square.  We walked along the Main river and crossed one of the bridges stopping for photos, we stopped for tea and cake at my favorite cafe, Sugar Mama.  We explored the old, traditionally German looking part of Frankfurt, Alt Sachsenhausen.  We walked the cafe clustered and happening Berger strasse, where we had dinner at another one of my top eatery choices, Ginko (I had a fabulous veggie burger for dinner).  And finally, we went back to my flat where Alex and Dan fell into bed in their room across the hall from mine.  Fabulous day in Frankfurt with fantastic friends.

The next day, we headed off to Heidelberg.  I have been to this city a handful of times now and I don't love it any less.  It still remains one of my favorite cities in Germany, out of the many I have been blessed enough to visit thus far in my time here (Nuremberg, Rudesheim, Wurzberg, Rothenberg, Berlin, Cochem, Limberg, Mainz, Michelstadt, Frieberg, the list goes on).  There is just something infinitely inviting and charming about Heidelberg.  It could be that it reminds me ever-so-slightly of New England, back where I am from, with its rolling mountains covered in forests of trees, the river running serenely through the city, gorgeous and eye-catching houses nestled into the hillsides.  A gigantic crumbling castle sits atop the hillside overlooking the entire city below.  Heidelberg is the most day tripped to city in all of Germany, and I believe its one of the oldest university towns in the country.  Its historic, scenic, natural, charming and just totally lovely.  I wish I had known about Heidelberg before settling in Frankfurt.  Heidelberg is way more up my alley.

Anyway, we spent the day exploring Heidelberg.  We walked all over the old town, we meandered along the river, we explored the castle grounds, we had two mouthwatering meals (one in an old railroad car, converted into a diner and another in a trendy burger place).  It was an absolutely great day.  I loved every minute of it.

That evening, we met two of my best friends, Somayeh and Travis for drinks at one of my favorite bars here in the city, Good Times for Good People.  It was short but super sweet.  There was LOADS of laughing (much of it in the beginning at my expense ;-p all playful and good natured though, of course).  I was so glad they were all able to meet one another.  Some of my dearest friends from both sides of the world.  How cool.

The next morning, I awoke with Alex and Dan at essentially the crack of dawn to whip up some pancakes for all of us before going along with them to the train station for their departure to Amsterdam, the next leg of their adventure.

I was sad to see them go, my heart sinking a bit as I hugged each of them goodbye.  The weekend was just stellar.  I was waiting for their visit for months.  It was everything I hoped it would be.  And now we have all sorts of new, added memories to our friendship :-D I love this.

So until next time...

Sweet treats at Sugar Mama!!!

And now, on to Heidelberg (the following day)!!!!

Starting the day off with breakfast at a diner housed inside of an old train car!

Of course, literally within 5 minutes of Alex and Dan caving to buy an umbrella (as it had been drizzling hard all morning, even sometimes downright raining), the rain stopped, the sun came out, the clouds parted.  You get the idea.  The irony ;-p

Stay tuned for Part Two of the photos from my weekend with Alex & Dan!!!!

Will be posted in 2-3 days!