Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas & New Years: Around the World in Two Weeks

Last year's holiday trip to Germany and Florida left us exhausted. We had cut Christmas a day short, spent a quick six hours in London and flew out to the US on a 6AM flight.  It was nice seeing everyone but the whole thing felt rushed.

We decided to do it differently this year. So instead of two cities, this year we went to four!

Actually it was one of the best holidays I can remember. Dom and I keep calling it our "epic Christmas trip". We took a full two weeks this time, left Germany the day after Christmas and flew to the US directly from Germany. We also added new years in San Francisco with friends and finished it off with two nights in Sonoma. Solid.

First up: Stuttgart. The Christmas festivities were very similar to last year of course. Traditions are ever-so-important to Dom and his entire family. I joke but I really do enjoy Christmas with his family. There's something charming about Christmas in Germany and his family knows how to enjoy it to the fullest. Maybe it's the markets that serve sausage and hot mulled wine or the Christmas carols we sing while his cousin plays piano or the tree with real candles or the beautiful meal carefully prepared by Oma (Grandma). Something about it all just feels good.

Dom & his Mom

Christmas Dinner

We added a new Christmas Eve tradition of walking through the vineyards behind Dom's place.
A view worth admiring! 

Next up: Wake up call of 4:45AM, taxi, hour-long train ride to Frankfurt, 3 hour wait at the airport (sometimes he just doesn't listen), 8-hour flight to the US, hour+ drive to Cincinnati. Phew! Our time in Cincinnati with my family was really fun.  My two brothers were also in town with their girlfriend & fiance and together with my parents, the eight of us (all under one roof!) had a great time together. We opened gifts, played poker, boardgames, pool & Dance Dance Revolution, drove around the city, visited my university, threw a bridal shower, grabbed an icecream with my grandpa, visited with old friends, even met up with London-based friends, and Dom completed a self-declared Man v. Food tour, Cincinnati edition.  Unfortunately, I only have a few pictures to show for it all.

The blushing bride-to-be

Last leg: California. We flew out to San Francisco and stayed with friends for three nights. We celebrated New Years until the wee hours with them and their friends, spent a day at Alcatraz, walked along the Pacific coast and cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge (and had to be rescued in a rented pickup truck by our friends...oops!) You couldn't ask for better hosts...thanks Jess & Tony!

We then rented a car of our own and headed out to wine country to spend two final nights relaxing in Sonoma. What a beautiful part of the country. We drove up and down the countryside, ate good food and drank nice wine and that's about all.

Between San Francisco and Sonoma, I think it's fair to say Dom and I both fell in love with the area.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!


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