Germany! In addition to being wonderful, it’s a country important to our family, since it’s Soner’s home. His brother Hakan was getting married in September, so we made a two-week adventure out of it.
I am not an extremely seasoned international traveler. I still get anxious that I’ll do something wrong at the airport, and I still can’t decide if I like to lay around sipping cappuccinos or rush off on a high speed train to discover some hole in the wall art gallery or festival.
So we weren’t totally sure what would be on the agenda, other than another of the brothers Acar would be married soon and we were so excited to welcome Sandra into the family. They are an unconventional couple and their wedding would be the same! Off to Winnenden.
Most of our time in Winnenden was spent hanging out and taking it slow. Although Hakan visits Florida at least once a year, we haven’t been to Germany since 2008 (holy smokes). Hakan and Sandra live in a cute flat outside Winnenden, with orchards just at the end of their street that are meant for wandering. And that we did (along with sampling some of the fruit).
I got to join Sandra on a day trip to Aalen to shop and have coffee with her parents, and then for another day shopping in Stuttgart!
Stuttgart’s City Library was absolutely incredible. Jacksonville, get on it! We need one like this!
The wedding was the Friday after we arrived and it was GORGEOUS. The venue was in the hills above Winnenden with beautiful grounds and a killer view. Hakan and Sandra kept the formalities brief (more time for eating, drinking, and being merry – the way we all really like weddings).
I photographed parts of the day as a gift – yeah, I still got it! – and everyone had a wonderful time. Meeting Soner’s family I’d heard so much about, meeting Sandra’s family and friends, dancing and singing the night away – all of it was fantastic!
Since we wanted to give the newlyweds some time alone (we were temporarily living with them, after all), we decided to dip down to Munich for a few days. What a great city! We did a TON of walking, visited museums and parks, and ate a ton of gelato.
One of my favorite things in Munich was the city cemetery. Established in the early 1500’s as a plague cemetery, it’s now a city park. Munich leaves the cemetery just overgrown enough to be artful, and the gorgeous canopy and gravel paths just make it so peaceful.
On one of our days in Munich, Soner dragged me around the Deutsches Museum. I was sore and tired and maybe a little grumpy, but even then, the museum was incredible. I really do love technology museums, but this one has a lot more fun and whimsy to it than some other ones I’ve been to in Germany.
Our final day in the Munich area, we spent in a little lakeside town called Schliersee. This was probably my favorite day of the entire trip! Not a ton of photos, but we spent the day wandering, eating gelato and pastries, mostly. We did take the cable car up to Seilbahn Schliersbergalm, where we had a simple lunch and then discovered the excellent hillside toboggan ride. A plastic track with no sides, it goes about 950 meters and all you have is a little handbrake. We definitely ended up with some scrapes and bruises after falling out, but it didn’t stop us from going a second time!
One of our last days in Germany, we went back to Esslingen – where we visited in 2008. I love Esslingen so much – it’s such a sleepy little place and it’s so picturesque! Soner has said more than once that he could see us living here.
I’ll leave this post on a high note – the biggest schnitzel I have ever seen, at Onkel Otto’s, in the woods outside of Stuttgart.