Through My Eyes: December 2014

Salzburg Christmas

Merry Christmas from Salzburg!

December. Christmas is around the corner and the year is drawing to an end. For many, it’s time to pop the holiday party hors-d’oeuvres into the oven and bust out the eggnog (man, I would give anything to have eggnog in Spain!), and get awkwardly too tipsy at the company holiday party.

I spent more time traveling than working this month, and it was both hectic and exciting. Here’s what December looked like through my eyes:

Berlin

For my first visit to Germany, I chose Berlin. I’m still not sure why I thought it wise to visit in the cold of December, but nevertheless, that’s what happened. It was cold, the coldest weather I had experienced since the previous winter in NYC. And as luck would have it, it rained the entire day that my friend and I went sightseeing.

Despite the weather, Berlin is trendy, artsy, and full of history and I loved it. I find German history to be very interesting, albeit tragic, so viewing the Berlin Wall and visiting the Holocaust Memorial were must-sees.

Berlin Wall

“My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love” by Dmitri Vrubel on the Berlin Wall

A trip to Berlin isn’t complete without a tour of the street art in Berlin’s hip Kreuzberg neighborhood. The ideas that street artists are conceiving these days are so creative! Once the tour guide showed us Josef Foos’ cute little street yogis above some of the street signs in the neighborhood, I stopped at every crossing to look for more. It’s amazing what you can find when you take a second to look more closely at your surroundings!

Berlin Street Yogi

Street Yogis can be found all over the Kreuzberg neighborhood in Berlin

I didn’t get to experience the cool music and underground scene that I’ve heard is awesome in Berlin. The weekend trip left more to be discovered, but I think I’ll wait for warmer weather to do that!

Christmas at school

The weeks leading up to the final days of school before winter break were almost solely spent preparing for the Christmas performance that each class was to take part in. My students performed “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” among other songs, and were dressed so cutely in little top hats and bow ties. When they performed on stage in front of their parents, warm feelings of pride enveloped my body. So this is what being a teacher feels like.

Christmas show at school

Santa came to visit the kids at school!

I dressed as Santa Claus for my students, handing out stickers and rubber band bracelets that I brought from the US when I moved here. The kids loved it, and I loved putting little toothless grins on their faces. It was my last day working with third and fourth grade; I’m really going to miss them!

A Very Euro Christmas

Instead of heading home for the holidays, I took the two weeks I had off from work as an opportunity to explore as much of Europe as possible. I went to Munich, Salzburg, Český Krumlov, Prague, Brussels, and Bruges. It was a very busy two weeks including Christmas markets, glühwein (mulled wine), sausages, goulash, beer, and toes as cold as icicles.

Christmas in this part of the world is a completely different experience. With the Christmas Markets, carol singers, open air ice skating rinks, and bright strings of lights, I felt like Christmas began in Europe. It was just so cute. Highlights in each city included:

Neuschwanstein Castle outside of Munich

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle outside of Munich, Germany is straight out of a fairy tale!

Spending Christmas amidst the beautiful mountains surrounding Salzburg

Salzburg

Christmas day in Salzburg, Austria

Wandering the tiny streets of the cute little Czech town of Český Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov

The snow dusted roofs in the small Czech town of Cesky Krumlov

Freezing my toes off exploring Prague and stopping along the way for unfiltered beer

Prague

You’d never be able to tell from this photo how utterly cold it was in Prague, Czech Republic. Still, it was a beauty!

Tasting all things Belgian in Brussels and ringing in the new year including Belgian waffles, fries and chocolate

Brussels

Town Hall in the Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, is absolutely stunning at night.

Climbing to the clocktower in Bruges first thing in the morning to take in the city view

Bruges

A quiet, rainy morning in Bruges, Belgium

Through my eyes, these cities were undoubtedly some of the best to explore during Christmastime, but I’d love to return to all, especially Prague (where I froze the most) in the spring or summer to see the cities really come to life with warmth.

Looking Ahead

With 2015 already underway, I’m excited about what this year could bring. I can’t wait to spend more time exploring more of Madrid while I’m not actively traveling and more of Spain itself in January and February. Then it’s back to chipping away at my little European Bucket List! Who knows what surprises may unfold? That’s the fun part!

3 Comments

  1. January 19, 2015 / 11:43 am

    We certainly felt the cold when we returned to UK for Christmas. You’ve visited some of our favourite places in Europe here, Lavi. Now we really want to make a glorious return to them.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted…Bubble FootballMy Profile

    • January 23, 2015 / 11:54 am

      I imagine the UK was very cold over Christmas! You should absolutely make a return to these places! I’m already trying to plan when I can return to Prague for some warmer weather!
      Lavi recently posted…Neuschwanstein Castle: A Bavarian FairytaleMy Profile

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