Oct 19, 2010

Ibiza, Spain

As you may recall, Brian left for a work trip on the same Monday that Mac and Joe left. That same week, early on Friday morning, he came back to Frankfurt to re-pack his bags so that we could go to Ibiza that evening! I'm so thankful that my husband is a great, stress-free traveler.

Our trip started out with a fun story. Our small camera died after a long, fruitful life at Oktoberfest. We ordered a new camera on Sunday, but we really weren't sure if it would arrive by Friday for our trip. Every day I checked the mail, but no camera. Then on Friday, the mail was late - they weren't going to have it sorted until 2, which was when we were supposed to leave for the airport. But while I was at the mail room, I saw a small Newegg box sitting on top of a huge pile of mail. It was our camera!! I was so excited, so I snagged it and ran up to Brian's office with the great news. We opened it and checked the instructions - it needed 1 hour and 55 minutes to charge, and we were going to leave for the airport in 2 hours! Perfect! What a great way to start the trip.

For this trip, we decided to try flying Ryan Air, a cheaper airline out of a small airport about an hour away from Frankfurt. So we left work a little early to make our 6pm flight. We were really happy with how our flight went! We even got to sit in the emergency exit row, which makes Brian's flying experience so much more enjoyable :) We arrived at our hotel in time to grab a quick dinner and drink from the bar and then crash for the night.

After walking around our hotel's property the next day, we found an area that was a little nicer and a little more quiet, so Brian had us transferred! We loved our new room. So after moving rooms, we decided to walk around St. Antoni de Portmany, the town where we were staying. We found this really great path along the coast. It was so gorgeous, and it was fun to soak up the sun!

View from the path

Unfortunately with the room change and everything, we had missed breakfast at our hotel, so we stopped at a little cafe to have a nice brunch. After eating, we continued to explore the city.

View of St. Antoni from the marina

As we were exploring, we came across some really great postcards and came up with the idea of finding our favorite and then going to that beach! We found an awesome one and bought it to use as a GPS on Sunday :) We thought that would be way more fun than hanging out on our hotel's yacht.

Haha - just kidding - we wish that was our hotel's yacht! Eh, oh well - beach time! We went back to our hotel to grab a snack and head to the nearby beach for the afternoon. The beach we found was small and really different from any other beach we've been to. We really liked it a lot - the terrain reminded me of the hill country outside of Austin. I know the next picture isn't the best (I took it - ha!) but it shows what I mean about how it looked kind of like Texas.

A better picture of our beach (taken by B of course - love my personal photographer :) )

We spent the afternoon lounging on the beach, drinking Spanish sangria - yum. After plenty of sun, we headed back to our hotel to get cleaned up for dinner. It was an all-inclusive hotel with a delicious buffet and grill, so we ate most of our meals there.

Bar area of the hotel - we loved the architecture

We were ready for dinner before it opened, so we went outside to enjoy more sun and happy hour!

Earlier in the day, when we were walking back from downtown, we found some neat restaurants that had great views of the water. So after dinner, we walked back to our favorite one called Buddha Bar where we enjoyed the sunset.

The next day was scooter day! Renting scooters is one of our favorite ways to experience beachy places. Each time we've done it, we've had a great time and discovered views and little spots that we would not have seen otherwise. Our first goal, as I mentioned earlier, was to find a beach that we had identified with a post card. The only map we had was not the best, and this beach was not on it, so we just went by directions given by locals. Brian has such a great sense of direction, too, so that really helps! We had no trouble at all getting there, and it was beautiful.

GPS - yep, we're there!

As my long sleeve in the picture indicates, Sunday was quite windy. It made it kind of chilly and the waves were going crazy, so it wasn't the best laying out weather. But that was okay, because we wanted to scoot around more of the island, so we hadn't planned on spending a ton of time lounging on the beach.

The whole week before this vacation, I had been checking the weather, and it had predicted rain throughout the weekend. So we definitely didn't mind the wind - the blue skies were great!

So after we found the postcard beach, we decided to visit a variety of beaches in that area. Back on the scooter to explore some more!

I think one of the many reasons I love renting a scooter with Brian is that it gives us a reason to quote Dumb and Dumber all day. I know it sounds like it would get old, but we crack up all day. We also enjoy looking like complete goobers in our helmets and making funny faces as we pass people on the roads.

"I get 70 miles to the gallon on this hog"

The next beach we found

There were some cute little beach-side restaurants, so we got a pizza at this one. I loved the white canopies.

And we got a cappuccino at this one

While sipping on our cappuccino's, this little puppy paid us a visit! He was SO cute. I couldn't get him to look at the camera though. Just trust me, his face was precious.

Full beach view from the coffee place

After this beach, we started cruising on the scooter again and suddenly realized we were getting close to running out of gas! At that point, we also realized that there were only 3 places to get gas on the entire island, and we were not very close to any of them. Whoops. All we could do was head to the closest one and pray that we didn't run out on our way there! It really was a miracle - we pulled into the gas station and we're pretty sure that if we had sat there for another minute, the scooter would have died. We were very excited to have a full tank and to continue with our beach hunt.

This beach was next. We didn't stay for very long, but we really liked the rocks out in the water. I also liked how Ibiza has wooden boardwalks on all of their beaches!

This next beach was really fun. To get to it, you either had to hike or ride down this long rocky path. A path I'm convinced we're the only ones ever to scooter on. But Brian handled it like a pro! The beach was so secluded and felt very local. There was a little shack serving yummy sangria and a family playing bocce ball.

After that beach, we headed back to return the scooter and to enjoy happy hour at our hotel. This time we got our drinks to go so that we could sit on our balcony. It was a nice balcony and a great place for Bri to smoke his pipe!

After dinner, we made our way back to Buddha Bar for another nice sunset.

Both nights, after watching the sunset, I was hungry for ice cream. Brian's so great - he never craves sweets, but he always goes along with the idea of finding dessert for me. In fact, I think he enjoys the hunt sometimes. The first night we found a little grocery store that sold Magnum ice cream bars, so we enjoyed one both nights on our walk back to our hotel.

Another funny note - Brian and I are not big "clubbers". But Ibiza had adds for what appeared to be some crazy clubs. This one in particular we saw a lot, so I took Bri's picture next to it while he acted out what he thought the club-goers should look like. He makes me laugh.

The next day was our last in Ibiza, and it was a little cloudy, so we spent the day exploring the town and coastline some more. We found some great spots to enjoy coffee and watch the clouds roll over the island. Then when we got hungry, I insisted that we find a restaurant to get paella. It's my favorite Spanish dish, and we had not had it yet! We found this little place near the marina that served wonderful paella.

As you can see, I was so excited, I forgot to take a picture of it before I chowed down.

View from the restaurant

Satisfied with our little vacation, we started to walk back toward our hotel to spend the last couple of hours relaxing there until it was time to go to the airport.

As we got closer to the hotel, the sun came out! It really warmed things up, so we continued our walk to a beautiful point on the island where we had great views all around us. We spent quite a bit of time out there - I read my book, and Brian explored around the rocks.

St. Antoni from the point

Then, sadly, it was time to fly back to Frankfurt. We had a great time in Ibiza - it was a wonderful vacation, and it was nice to enjoy the last little bit of summer!

Oct 12, 2010

Rewind that's Worth It

Johnmark and Holly made this video about their visit, and it's so great! I just had to share it. Thank you guys so much for this special gift!

Oct 7, 2010

Mckenzie and Joe Visit!

I think the cheesiest and most appropriate way to begin this post is with a quote from one of my friends and co-workers who sat at our table at Oktoberfest: "It seemed like all four of you have been friends forever! I know you and Mckenzie grew up together, but the four of you - you just fit together." Cue sappy music, but seriously, I think she's totally right. Mckenzie and Joe came in town for 8 days, and I was so excited about their visit for tons of reasons. But Brian and I had never met Joe, so I couldn't wait to meet and spend good quality time with someone who is extremely important to one of my best friends! And as my co-worker observed, we just loved Joe! We had the best time with him and Mckenzie.

We picked them up at the airport on Friday and so the fun began! Within 20 minutes of arriving at our apartment, Joe and Brian were drinkin' a cold one and talking about real estate. That night, Brian and I asked the innocent question, "You guys like pork, right?" Mckenzie and Joe had no idea at that time how much pork they would be eating over the next week! It became a joke toward the end of their visit.

The first night :)

That night, we learned that Joe loves sauerkraut. I think he ate more than I've ever seen one person eat in a meal! We were happy to see he was taking in the German culture so well!

Saturday was Tour Frankfurt day! We had decent weather, so we walked downtown to see the sights.

And apple wine (which none of us like, for the record).
You just have to try it when you visit. Harmless initiation of sorts :)

We also found these guys playing these long horns. I did a quick google search of "long German horn" and found out that these are called Alphorns.

These guys were playing just around the corner from the Alphorn guys. I guess it was weird music display day in Frankfurt. All of the music was really nice, though!

Stopping for a bratwurst - pork meal number 3.
This was after a lunch of wienerschnitzel. We love Germany!

On Sunday, we took Mac and Joe to the airport to pick up their rental car - they had Brussels and Amsterdam to visit over the next few days! They came back to us on Wednesday evening, though, and we enjoyed a nice relaxing evening at the apartment. I made a roast (not pork :) ), and Brian and I enjoyed stories about their trip.

Thursday! Time for Munich and Oktoberfest!! We left around 9:30 Thursday morning, so we expected to arrive in Munich around 2pm. Possible road block - traffic. Brian proved to be quite the trailblazer, though! He started out by dodging at least 3 hours of parking lot traffic by doing a quick "backing out" maneuver on the autobahn. Don't worry, Moms, he was perfectly safe and a hero. We would have gone crazy just sitting there. He drove us through gorgeous German countryside and gave us a nice tour! The leaves were really changing colors, so it was a really beautiful drive. The detour did delay our arrival till about 4pm, but we enjoyed the ride!

After checking into our hotel room (singular - yes, Joe had to learn to love us fast), we made our way downtown to the Marienplatz where we enjoyed a late lunch of PORK! At this point, Joe had coined the term J-Schnitz for his favorite pork meal, Jagerschnitzel.

Next, dirndl and lederhosen shopping! Oh, and I forgot to mention this great story. When Mckenzie and Joe came back on Wednesday night, Brian and I had this whole speech prepared to convince them to buy dirndls and lederhosen with us. Mac and Joe played it off well and acted like they were up for it. Then as I was finishing up the preparations for dinner, they disappeared and then popped out of their room looking like Hansel and Gretel! They had already purchased their Oktoberfest gear before coming to Germany - Brian and I were impressed! So back to Munich - Brian and I needed our German attire! Were we successful? You'll have to continue reading (or scrolling through pics) to find out!

After some shopping, we made our way to the Oktoberfest fair grounds to take a look around. And to ride the crazy-high swings!

Preparing for the ride


I love this picture that Brian took!

It was later in the evening and it was a week night, so we were able to get into the Hofbrau Tent without any problems. It was very evident that everyone there had a fun night, and it got us really excited about Saturday night!

Friday was Joe's birthday, so we decided to celebrate at the Hofbrauhaus. We started off at a bar next door, which had great goulash soup and more importantly, delicious beer and pretzels!

I know what you're thinking - those beers are huge! Funny story, I tried to order a small beer, but our waitress laughed in my face and said, "This is Bavaria. There's only one size of beer." Yes ma'am! I'll take a liter at noon, then. Yikes!

Hofbrauhaus was so much fun! We consumed more pork and enjoyed an evening of, well, beer. When we first arrived, finding a table didn't look promising. It was already packed! But then, there it was, the perfect table for four! It was in an area that looked like it might be reserved, so Joe and Brian quickly made friends with all of our neighbors to ensure we could stay at the table.

Then, I'm not quite sure how Brian discovered it, but he found a way to get upstairs where there was a table right next to the stage where the oompah band would play!

Delighted with the feast!

Friday night was a pretty crazy night, but we had a ton of fun :)

Saturday was Oktoberfest day! And...

Dirndl and Lederhosen Day!

How can you not be excited to hang out with this?

Everything's more fun when you're in dirndls and lederhosen. Even a breakfast of pastries at the train station.

Love these lederhosen lads

We started the day off with a walk around town. We needed to pace ourselves for the day :) We found a cute open market area with the Oktoberfest pole!

Enjoying the nice chilly fall weather at the market

We continued our walk past the Marienplatz...

And then back to the Hofbrauhaus for pictures!

While we were there, this guy came up to me speaking German, but when I asked if he spoke English, we found out he was a fellow Texan! Small world! He said he was speaking German because he thought I was "a real German girl". haha! Dirndl win for me!

Mac and Joe in front of Hofbrau

Continuing the walk with a bratwurst - must have PORK

We walked to the Chinese garden, a really beautiful, huge park. It was so peaceful, and the leaves were just starting to change colors.

We found the Chinese tower in the middle of the park, and there was quite a crowd! There was also a really cool horse-drawn carriage. Seeing everyone enjoying a brew, we caved in and had our first beer for the day while listening to some live oompah music to get us geared up for Oktoberfest!

The carriage

And one of the horses - they were really well dressed! Brian was cracking me up by pretending to be the voice of the horse, "HUH? WHAT? I CANT HEAR A THING!"

Hangin' out in the park

After the park, we made our way to the train to head toward the festival grounds! Munich was very prepared for us..."Which way?"

"Oh, that way!"
When we made it to the fair grounds, our next step was finding our tickets! My friend, Heather, had bought them for us, and we were supposed to meet her "in front of the tent at 4:30." The problem was, the tent had about 10 different entrances and it was completely surrounded by tons of people. And, Heather's phone wasn't working. Think, think - how will we find her? We had Joe, Mac, and I - all under 5'6" and were getting lost in the crowd - or we had Bri - our 6'4" periscope! So we sent Bri out as a scout, and about 10 minutes later, he found her! Tickets, check! We were ready to get inside that tent!

Yay, we made it!

Each of our tickets got us 2 liters of beer per person and half of a chicken! What a deal! And yay - no pork!!! Plus, the rest of the group at our tables (Heather had reserved 2 tables) were awesome! They came from all over and were a blast to hang out with. Everyone was in dirndls and lederhosen - so festive! There were two guys who had brought hilarious hats, and Joe came up with the genius idea to combine the two for one amazing look!

Look closely and notice the curly brown ponytail

If that wasn't enough, let's go ahead and hike up those lederhosen :) Perfect!

Cuties sans hats :)

The tent was actually really pretty inside with all of the lights! Just don't look on the ground - eek.

For a second, I lost Brian...

Aw, there he is! I love that smile!

We had one crazy fun night!

And as if the tent wasn't enough fun, next we went back out to the fair and found the craziest, spin-iest ride there was and decided that we had to ride it! I love roller coasters, so I was really pumped about this idea! And the ride turned out to be one of the best fair-ground rides I've ever experienced! We had a blast.

On Sunday, it was time to drive back to Frankfurt. We were all so sad to leave Munich! Brian was our fearless driver all the way back to Frankfurt, once again doing a great job of dodging traffic. When we got back, Brian and I offered to take Mckenzie and Joe out for one last German dinner of pork :) We ended up eating pizza at a new restaurant that's close to our apartment. We didn't want to be near any type of schnitzel!

Monday morning was a sad time - I drove Mckenzie, Joe, AND Brian all to the airport to catch their flights. Brian had to go on a work trip that morning, so he got to hang out with Mac and Joe a little longer at the airport. That drive home was so sad for me! I didn't want their visit to be over.

A couple of days after they had left, Joe sent Brian and me an email with some Oktoberfest stats from the year (we went on the last weekend, so stats were finalized with our help :) ). This article is so funny and I would highly encourage you to read it. We like to think we helped contribute to the 7 million liters of beer consumed at Oktoberfest this year, the most ever consumed at Oktoberfest! And we're happy to report that we were not contributors to some of the more pathetic stats - our favorite one was the 37 children lost :) Or maybe the tuba.

Thank you, Mckenzie and Joe, for coming to visit! We had a blast with you!!