What I'll miss, and what I won't

This is our last week in Germany, and while I've been busy packing I have been thinking about all the things I will miss about Germany, and all the things I won't. I decided to sit down and make a list.

What I'll miss:
  • "Hey honey want to go to Paris (or Amsterdam, London, Rome, Prague, etc) for the weekend?"
  • The desserts! (Although my waistline won't miss them!)
  • The markets
  • Made from scratch, whole grain bread
  • Burger King (okay I need to explain this one. The Burger Kings and McDonalds in Germany are immaculately clean, the workers are in clean uniforms, and they have the best salads I've ever had at a fast food restaurant. Also, McDonald's has a bistro section called The McCafe that sells awesome desserts and coffee.)
  • Apfelschorle, it's a carbonated apple juice that is simply delicious! And it is not made/sold in the USA.
  •  Being able to find carbonated water literally everywhere. Drinking flat water is just so, well, flat. 
  • Dogs are welcome everywhere except restaurants and grocery stores, and even then the businesses have little water dishes and food dishes set outside for the dogs.
What I will not miss about living in Germany:
  • Kehrwoche and Grosse Kehrwoche.  It's the cleaning week that each household in the building share, in our case we have the Kehrwoche every 3 weeks and the Große Kehrwoche (large cleaning week in which you sweep the sidewalk, clean off the snow, and clean the entryway) every 8 weeks. For some reason we have had the Große Kehrwoche six times since we've lived here. We have no idea why.
  • EVERYTHING is closed on Sunday.
  • People will just stare at you for no reason. On the train, in a restaurant or store, they just stare at you. 
  • Driving on the Autobahn. Everyone thinks "0o0o0o0o no speed limit awesome!". No, not awesome. You'll be cruising along at a decent speed then... WHAM! traffic is at a standstill because some idiot lost control and caused a wreck. 
  • Staus (traffic jams) I have been stuck in some ridiculous traffic jams in major cities, and the ones here are the worst I have ever seen. Chris works with a guy who lives only 20 minutes from work when there is little to no traffic, but when he leaves work it takes him 2 hours to get home!
  • The Germans are ridiculously anal about rules (this could also be a swabian thing too though). It borders on crazy. The best example I can think of are the crosswalks. If the "don't walk" light is on, but there are absolutely no cars coming for 10 kilometers, they will stand there and wait for the "walk" light to change. If you walk when the light isn't telling you to, you will get looks of death from all those waiting. 
  •  Not working! I am a workaholic, and I've been getting a little stir crazy not having a job these past 5 months. It will be great to get back to the daily grind, stress and coffee (I know, that probably borders on insane, but I love work stress).
Thanks for reading!



My favorite place to shop in Germany has to be Müller. This place is amazing! It's like a department store cosmetic counter, Target, and Dollar Store all rolled into one. The one near our place has three levels. The bottom floor has office/school supplies, pet food, candy, and toys. The next floor has all your personal hygiene stuff like shampoo, soaps, face wash and lotions, as well as make-up kiosks such as Chanel, Lancôme, Clinique, Shiseido, and Dior. The top floor is books and CDs. I think it's neat how I can buy Chanel lipstick, a Milka candy bar, Nivea lotion, and the latest music album all in one place! Sometimes when I get bored, I'll just wander around the store for a while. This store has filled the void from the lack of Target stores!


New Year's in Paris

The New Year's holiday found us in Paris, France. Let me start off by saying that the French are not as "rude" as people always say. If you are nice, polite, and attempt to speak a little french (even if it just from your tourist phrase book) they will be nice to you. In fact, I thought that the Italians in Rome were more rude than the French.

We took another bus trip, and aside from the group of Marines who thought it'd be fun to get wasted at 5:00 in the morning, it was a relatively enjoyable drive! We left Stuttgart at 5:00 am on New Year's Eve, and got to Paris around 3:00 pm. The tour company had planned a New Year's Eve dinner and cabaret show for us before heading down to the main New Year's celebrations.

Chris singing "New York, New York"
The restaurant opened early at 6:00 pm (most dinners start around 8:00) for us. and we tightly squeezed two busloads of people in the small building. The meal was a four course meal with wine, it wasn't as phenomenal as the tour guide made it sound like it was going to be. I think the main reason for this was because we had so many people at one time. Afterwards, a cabaret singer did a little show for us. Chris and I were sitting at a table right by the stage, and he got picked to a little number with her!
After the meal, we walked around Montmartre, which is a very artistic, Bohemian area. Many artists had studios in this community such as Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh to name a few.

Chris and I were very determined to stray away from our tour group as much as possible, one thing we did learn in France, is they are not too keen on large groups of loud Americans.
The Eiffel Tower Sparkling

Just before midnight Chris and I ventured down by to the Eiffel Tower. At the beginning of each hour, the Eiffel Tower would "sparkle", thousands and thousands of lights on the Eiffel Tower blinked really fast to give it this effect, it was so beautiful!  We were a little disappointed though, we thought they set off fireworks on the Eiffel Tower, but apparently that is only on Bastille Day (we were a little more disappointed when we saw London's amazing display on the news the next day!).
Bonne Année!

My favorite picture I took
The next day the tour bus took us to the Eiffel Tower, it really is an amazing sight! We rode in a little elevator to the second floor and were able to get some really amazing pictures. The only thing about the Eiffel Tower is, once you're up there for about 20 minutes, it starts to get a little boring! There were so many people too! After battling the crowd for 20 minutes, Chris and I went back down and explored the area a little. My favorite was watching the Turkish guys selling "illegal" Eiffel Towers running from the Police. The Police drive around in S.W.A.T. looking vehicles hop out really fast, and chase the guys!

Notre Dame de Paris
We then took a city tour in the tour bus and saw some of the great attractions in Paris; the Arc de Triomphe, the Palais Garnier, and the Panthéon. We ended up at the Notre Dame de Paris. If you ever get the chance to see this, you must. It is such a beautiful piece of architectural artwork. You could stare at the outside for hours and still spot something you'd never seen before.

That evening Chris and I broke away from the group again, and ate at an amazing restaurant. The French can take any boring piece of meat or vegetable and turn it into something simply amazing with the sauces they use. This was a three course meal. To start, we  ordered mussels in a delicious garlic sauce. Chris got the beef for the main meal, and I got the salmon. We sampled each-others meals and both were to die for. Dessert was an amazing caramel crème brûlée, I don't think I've ever had anything so amazing!
The last day of our trip we spent the morning at the Musée du Louvre. We arrived fairly early in the morning, so it wasn't too busy. That however, did not last. Soon throngs of Japanese tourists swarmed the place and made it difficult to enjoy any of the exhibits. In all our travels, the only time we've really ever dealt with rude people is from the Japanese tourists. They will walk right into you, push you, stand in front of you while you're trying to take a picture, it was ridiculous! Aside from that, the Louvre has some really amazing artwork and history and was very interesting to see.

All in all Paris was an amazing city, and we had such a great time. I would love to go back again and spend more time at places we weren't able to during this trip (like Louis Vuitton... just off the top of my head).

Au revoir!!
In front of the Louvre

Palais Garnier
Venus de Milo

Second floor of the Eiffel Tower
The Mona Lisa