Happy Germany Anniversary to me! It almost doesn’t seem real that I have lived in Germany for two years now. Especially when the original plan was for a quick 8-month stint in Stuttgart before heading back to Savannah. Goes to show – you never quite know how things are going to turn out.
Now, however, because of military rules and regulations – barring any surprises – I will be on a plane headed back to the States for good come September 30. I try not to concentrate on that, because it makes me sad. While I miss my family and friends back home, I adore everything about living in Germany. Not just the opportunity to travel and see new things, but also my job, my co-workers and the overall life John and I have built over here. Add to that, I HATE change – so you can see that by Labor Day, there is probably going to be a very noticeable shift in my mood. (It’s perfectly okay to feel bad for John during that time!)
BUT! Instead of concentrating on that, I am focusing on all the time we still have left over here – 240 days, in fact. And my plan is to fill those days with as many new experiences as I can before it is time to say good-bye. On one of the blogs I read regularly, the writer was just arriving in Europe and was only going to be here for three years, which equals to 1,095 days. So she made a list of 109 things she wanted to do in that time period. Liking the idea so much (and loving lists even more), I have made up my own: 24 Experiences in 240 Days.
In no particular order:
1. Drink Champagne in the Champagne Region of France. How this has not happened yet, I have NO idea. I love Champagne and Reims, the unofficial capital of the Champagne region, is a mere 4.5 hours away! It’s ridiculous, but soon to be remedied come April (if the schedule pans out!) Sure, Reims itself holds an important part of history but that’s not my focus. It’s all about the Moet & Chandon and all the other bubbly goodness.
2. Drive between the quaint towns in Tuscany. My hope in this experience is that the drivers in the Tuscany region are unlike the drivers in the rest of Italy – because the normal experience of driving in Italy is not a pleasant one. Seriously, Italian drivers are insane. Keeping to one lane? Nope. Speed limits? More like suggestions. But I feel that the quaint villages among the rolling hills will more than make up for any crazy drivers we come across along the way.
3. Swim in the Krka National Park waterfall. There are a lot of places I want to see in Croatia, and at the top of the list is Krka National Park, filled with (I hear) amazing waterfalls that culminates in a large swim area at the base of one of the waterfalls. Sounds amazing, right?
4. Watch the Heidelberg Castle Illumination. The Heidelberg Castle is definitely one of the coolest I have seen, but sadly has a bad history of being struck by lightning and then catching on fire. To commemorate this history, the castle is set alight by fireworks several times each summer. It’s never worked out before – but I had found a day it works, and I plan on being there!
5. Buy (and don’t drink) wine from the places we visit. More specifically, the Hungarian Red Wines, the Mosel Valley Wines and of course, any trip we make to Tuscany/Italy that will involve wine. I SHOULD have a quality wine collection by now – but it didn’t make sense to me to ration them out. With the clock ticking, it does now!
6. Buy a wine barrel table. If I manage to keep all this wine, we’re going to need a cool place to put it. John and I have wanted one of these since the first time we saw them at a bazaar. One will be ordered shortly!
7. Sleep in an igloo. I’m slightly cheating, since we are going to actually do this in March (thanks German Groupon!), but I always thought this sounded cool, so I have to pinch myself when I realize we are actually going to do this!
8. Run a race. Ok – another cheat, because both John and I will be running this in April! While I’m only slightly excited about the marathon, I can’t wait to experience this with my husband. And see Hamburg, of course!
9. Go someplace new – even for a day – every month. We almost missed this in January. But the very last day we made it to Lake Titisee in the Black Forest. It was beautiful – snowy, cold and a great day trip!
10. Visit Normandy.
11. Buy the Starbucks Czech Republic mug. This may seem silly, but I collect Starbucks mugs, and I am still upset about the fact that I only bought the Prague one when we were there two years ago. But, a return trip is planned in May, and this will be one of my first purchases!
12. Eat tapas and drink sangria in Spain. Although I run the risk of ruining tapas and sangria forever!
13. Visit Mont St. Michel. Look at the picture. This place looks amazing – and can easily be visited with a combined trip to Normandy.
14. Island hop in Croatia. So much to do in Croatia – including enjoying the crystal waters on a boat between islands!
15. Buy Polish Pottery in Poland. So the blue and white pottery isn’t necessarily my style, but in doing the research there are some really pretty patterns that stray from the norm. That’s what I am going to buy.
16. Buy a set of dishes in Italy. John and I always said we would go back to Nove, Italy before we left. This is a must do – I want a set of these dishes before heading back to the States!
17. Take a boat ride on Lake Bled. A weekend getaway to a stunning location in Slovenia? Yes, please!
18. Visit Disneyland Paris. I love Disney, so clearly I can’t miss this! (And, it is only 40 minutes from Reims, so two birds!)
19. Watch the sunset in Santorini. See the picture below. No more needs to be said.
20. Drive the Fairy Tale road in Germany. The land of the Brothers Grimm just happens run along the same route that will take me to Hannover, where my Paternal family originated. It’s perfect!
21. Drink Chianti in Chianti. This cool weather has made me big into red wine, and more specifically, Chianti. I must visit the birthplace of this delicious wine!
22. Have a Sacher Torte in Vienna. I’ve been to Vienna twice and Salzburg once and still have not tried this famed dessert. In May, that will no longer be the case.
23. Enjoy the view from the Berchtesgaden. This was actually built as a birthday gift to Hitler. Luckily, he wasn’t a fan so he didn’t visit it often, which spared the house and location from destruction during WWII. Now, the views are definitely worth the trip.
24. Take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Stuttgart. Normally I loathe the idea of riding a bus versus walking or using the metro, but seeing as I feel I know Stuttgart pretty well, I want a quick (100 minute, to be exact) trip around town just in case I have missed anything. So sign me up!