Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer Recap

It's now been several weeks since my last post. The reason for this is that I was back in Atlanta visiting family!

Thanks to the wonderful vacation time of university professors, we spent three glorious weeks basking in the blazing southern sun and humidity. As anyone who has ever lived in England knows, even the summers here are chilly. For once I didn't complain as I walked through the sticky heat of Georgia. The moisture in the air was almost tangible, but I'll take it!

To soak in as much Vitamin D as possible, we went to Panama City Beach. Plus, we wanted to show my Spanish husband the "Redneck Riviera" as my father so jokingly commented about one hundred times. This would be his first trip to the Gulf of Mexico and I had a feeling the crystal blue water was sure to impress. We were blessed with all sunny days at the beach. With temperatures reaching into the 90s, I occasionally checked the weather back in England. Mid 60s. Bless them.

While we were at home, we celebrated the engagement of my brother and his fiancĂ©e! Yes, that's right, my younger brother is getting married. And the proposal happened during our trip to Munich. I was about to write about that post next, but we went home and I slacked on my updates. Long story short, he proposed in the English Garden in Munich while they were out on a morning walk. The next thing they did was attend Mass in Kirche St. Peter, or St. Peter's Church for us non-German speakers. Following their service, we met up with them in the Marienplatz to celebrate. I came prepared with "Happy Engagement" banners I had brought just for the occasion. As we were taking pictures, the Glockenspiel began to chime. Perfect timing. 

We spent the rest of the day happily exploring the city, visiting the Residenz (palace of the Bavarian kings), eating gingerbread hearts at the Summer Festival on the Oktoberfest grounds, Skyping families from a rooftop university bar, and toasting a celebratory dinner. 

The Residenz
Following the audio guides at the Residenz.
Summer Festival
Don't be fooled these beautiful cookies will knock your teeth out.

Our final day together in Munich was the day excursion to Neuschwanstein Castle, the beloved fairy-tale build of King Ludwig II. A trip to this castle, which claims to have been the inspiration for Disney's iconic castle, is worthwhile when visiting Bavaria. It's a long walk to the top of the mountain to reach the castle, but it's worth it for the tour and views over the valley. Once within the castle, it is easy to see way Ludwig chose to build where he did. 

Siblings that travel and eat Bretzel together, stay together.
It was great to celebrate their engagement with them when it happened, and great to celebrate at the party when we came home. It was an opportunity to see and catch up with family and friends all at once. When living abroad, you often miss family gatherings like birthdays, weddings, and Thanksgivings, so everytime you can attend an event while you are home, you appreciate it even more.

We also celebrated the 4th of July while in the U.S. This was my husband's (I'll refer to him as 'J') first Independence Day. It also happened to be my first 4th in my hometown of Marietta, or at least the first time since I was old enough to start having memories. Growing up, my family spent all of our Independence Days at the beach at my grandparents' house. Once I become a college student, I spent all my summers working summer jobs in other cities or studying abroad. I have also missed several 4ths while living in Spain. So this 4th we didn't travel, we just went to our local town square, watched live bands perform, had drinks in a parking lot in lawn chairs, and saw the fireworks. Very American-style.

All in all, our three week vacation (or holidays as the Brits call them) went by too fast. I remember booking the tickets and thinking three weeks was an exorbitant amount of time for a trip. (See, that's my American mentality kicking in.) Thankfully, my European husband convinced me otherwise and I was glad to have the extra time to see friends and catch up on everybody's lives. We're currently back in the U.K. for a few days before heading to Spain to see J's family. The adventure continues!

Crystal blue water of the Gulf.

Summer holidays!

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