Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fastnacht, Vienna, and Our First Trip Back to the US

Wow, has it really been 3 months since my last post? That's longer that I had thought originally.

Things are going well here. It's still cold though. High of 50 most days. And of course we are getting our fair share of our April showers. If April showers really bring May flowers, then we are going to have an amazingly gorgeous May. The tulips are all blooming and Germans are big on gardening, so they are everywhere! Some farmers have these patches of land that they plant flowers in, like tulips, and anyone can go, clip whatever flowers they want, and leave the money for them in a locked box on the signpost. (You may remember the flowers Felix gave me at the airport when he picked me up back in October from my first post.) I'm eager to go and pick some. There is a flower patch about a mile down the street with gorgeous, bright tulips that I eye every time I drive past them, but with all of the travel we did in March, we've been watching our spending a lot this month. Hopefully there will still be some lovely blooms left by early May.

Back in February, I experienced my first Fastnacht! It was definitely an experience! Imagine a hybrid holiday combining Thanksgiving (the HUGE parade), Halloween (the costumes and candy), and Mardi Gras (the ridiculousness and booze). That is Fastnacht. This must be why Germans don't really care about Halloween, because they already have a holiday for dressing up in costumes. I won't really go into too much detail here because I have TONS of pictures to go with it. It will have to wait for a later post (another 3 months maybe? haha). But I will go ahead and post the only pictures I have on the computer right now.


 Freezing while waiting for the parade to start! We had on SOOO many layers and it wasn't enough!

I enjoyed my first Fastnacht, but I understood after the fact why Dr. Ridder warned us ahead of time to stay home and watch the parade on tv!

In early March, our friend Matt came to visit from KY! It was so nice to have a friend in Germany! He arrived on Thursday morning super early, so Felix worked from home and I went to language school while Matt napped and showered. Of course we fed him a traditional German breakfast of brotchen (basically hard rolls) with various meats, cheeses, and spreads first. Thankfully his body wasn't bothered by jet lag at all. This was good because we left the next afternoon after Felix was done working for Munich. We arrived pretty late and spent the next day exploring the city and left that night for Vienna. We spent a few days in Vienna before starting the trip back to Germany. Before we crossed over into Germany, we stopped for a few hours to explore Salzburg. All in all, it was a fantastic trip! Matt got to experience Mainz and Felix's aunt and uncle before heading back to the US. Once again, all of this requires a separate post, but here is a picture from Salzburg.

We spent the next week cleaning the apartment, catching up on work, and catching up on school before packing for our 2 week stint in the US. It was a whirlwind visit that including a wedding and all of my annual doctor exams. It's fun cramming those into 2 weeks. (okay, not really) We took one evening for a date night, but we were so exhausted all we could manage was a round of putt-putt and a movie on the couch at home. It was lovely. :)