Saturday, November 30, 2013

Our Swiss Getaway

Switzerland was LOVELY.

I have never been around such beautiful scenery that ranged as small as the details on the houses as the enormous Alps that surrounded us.  Though it was a short 4 1/2 hour drive, there were differences in culture, which surprised me because we often think Europe is just one big country.

For one, the food.  Good LAWD, German food is way better and considerably cheaper.  You know, I've always known that Switzerland wasn't famous for being an affordable place to visit..well they ain't KIDDIN'.  I would say the average meal, very in a roll and a sausage..ran you about $36.  Not to mention, Francs aren't cheap.  The food was just kind of "blah", too.  I know they are famous for chocolate, cheese (which, we had both) but it really isn't anything to be "wow-ed" about.  Here's a picture of a meal I ate at the top of the Alps.  Traditional Swiss mac n' cheese with potatoes, bacon, and a good ole' dollop of APPLE SAUCE.  Who does that?

One of the stranger experiences of the trip is on our last night we weren't starving, just looking for a quick bite to eat.  We literally stayed in the smallest village (pictures to come), leaving this cute little bistro.  We thought, why not?  We walk in, we were greeted in some sort of language and we respond "Hello" and alllllll eyes slowly turned towards us.  We sat ourselves, which is normal in Europe, and it was literally the most uncomfortable dining experience.  It was so unwelcoming and I couldn't really give you a specific answer besides, it just was.  It's almost like we walked into this sacred "local hangout".  The cuteness of this "Bistro", which by my book, was TOTALLY NOT A BISTRO.  It should've said, "We have heated up sausages and hard bread".  Anyways, live and learn!

Before I ramble are a few shots.

Our hotel lobby!

This little town, not sure of the name, is a non-driving city.  You can't have a car, or rather, it can't be here.  This looks like it's at the base of a mountain.  No.  It's ON the side of a mountain, maybe 5,000 feet-ish?  How fun is that?  Mike doesn't agree.  Anyway, it's cute!

Our plan was to ski but "unfortunately" (see what I did there?) it was closed and open only on weekends.  It's not that I didn't have the desire..I'm not ready to die just yet.  I don't really feel the SWISS ALPS should be my first ski attempt.  They do have beginner routes but…I mean, how beginner can they be?  Maybe another time!  Instead, we ate (my applesauce mac n' cheese) which was more up my alley despite the weirdness.

Before I wrap it up, Mother Nature decided to surprise us with another cold gift.  I figured, well, it wouldn't be the Alps if it didn't……

A little different of a view from the day before, huh?

It was just magnificent!  So happy we had this opportunity.  

Next post, Christmas markets!  Love to all!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Germany's famous Black Forest

Our weekend trip!

We always knew that we wanted to take a trip to the Black Forest before we left, primarily to get a famous "CooCoo clock" they are known for.  The Black Forest covers a substantial amount of land, somewhere in the realm of 2,300 sq. miles.  We visited the city of Triberg, specifically, which is home to the "House of 1000 clocks".  No, there weren't 1,000 BUT it was still so overwhelming to just chose one but then you see the price and think "Can I just break a piece off of one?"

Getting to the actual city was fairly easy and probably ranks as the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen.  The drive looked a little like this (although, pictures don't do it any justice at all)..

That's a random castle we passed!  Best shot I could get.

The problem came as we were trying to find our hotel.  Seems easy, right?  Wrong.  It seems that Google Maps doesn't entirely aline with Germany.  Who knew?  We sure do now!  We probably looked for over an hour, weaving through mountains, in and out of tunnels.  The frustration was building, Danny was throwing up from car sickness in the back, Shep's on the other side of the backseat looking at me like "Um, we've got a problem."  So, we decided to stay somewhere else & it all ended up working out. seems as if a GPS is on our list of upcoming purchases.

Triberg was so cute and quaint.  I really loved this little city!  One unexpected thing happened (besides getting lost and Danny puking), our cold, white friend visited us!

We decided to visit the famous Triberg Waterfalls.  Don't feel too bad for Shep..he was LOVING IT.  Oh, and just ask my handy "map-man" how lost he got us trying to find this waterfall.  

We had a great, relaxing time.  If you ever happen to be in Germany, I would say the Black Forest is a must-see.  The fresh air, sweet atmosphere, and beautiful sights is enough to pull anyone in! 

This coming weekend we are going on a boat/restaurant on the Rhine river.  Hoping to have a few pictures of that!  If not, I'll blog after our weekend in Switzerland.

Till next time...Chao!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hey there!

The Sandberg clan is doing well, finally starting to feel adjusted and living more like people versus traveling nomads.  You really do start to appreciate the 'small' things in not carrying groceries up & down hills back to your new apartment..on the third floor.  

We had to get a temporary car (which we knew was going to happen) since our car won't arrive till December.  Our current car is much nicer than our beater we drove for a while in Korea.  In Germany, beaters really don't exist.  Your car has to go through an intense inspection, even getting a colored sticker/number that signifies where your car can be driven.  What?  Yes, if you are driving anything less than a green 4 (highest), you can't even drive into downtown!  I guess that's why the air must be so fresh here..

We headed down to the local farmer's market here.  They hold them every Wednesday and Saturday.  It was so much fun!  The food was delicious and it was so nice to snatch up some insanely fresh and homemade jams, honeys, fruits, and vegetables.  Let's not forget the bratwurst and bread we bought.  We both are already craving another one!  Where the market is here is the same spot where the Christmas Markets will be held soon.  

We had a great time and want to try to make this a Saturday "norm".

Our upcoming plans for the November 8th weekend is to head to the Black Forest in Triberg Germany.  We want to hit up the House of 1000 clocks, FULL of handmade coocoo clocks.  And who knows, if I'm delirious enough..I might even buy one.  :)  Here's a picture of Triberg..hoping the fall colors are still in tact!

We were doing some thinking..and because we won't have any of our "stuff" for Thanksgiving, we decided to have a "Swiss" Interlaken!  Going to stay there for 2 nights and then head over to Zurich for a night.  Pumped up!

The pups have their traveling passports so they are attending next month's extravaganzas!

December holds France for the Sandberg duo, followed by a trip to Prague in January, and Luxembourg/Belgium in February.  Yippy skippy!

Have a great week!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A little love from Germany

The Sandberg's have made it 
(& if you were to know of the journey we'd be glad)

Long, long story short, didn't make the first flight & ended up leaving the next day do to a broken kennel.  I'll leave it at that :).  The important thing is, we are all 4 here & doing so, so well.

The flight was 11 hours & 40 minutes and it was very enjoyable.  Food was excellent, service was great, and we didn't crash (always a bonus).  We flew Lufthansa, the very well-known German carrier & were impressed!  Plus, they took great care of my babies.

Not sure if I mentioned this in my previous posts but the Army changed Mike's duty station last minute to Wiesbaden, also known as "Beverly Hill's" of Germany.  Instead of us being in Bavaria, we are now around 45 from the France border.

The dogs are LOVING IT!!

The city is quaint & SO beautiful.  Germany decided to grace us with a blue sky today so we took full advantage and headed downtown (about a 10 minute walk from base).

It really is a beautiful city.  I was surprised how well kept the architecture is and how 'true' they stay to the roots of their history.

We were just kind of wingin' it today, browsing the cute streets and seeing what the downtown area has to offer.  On Saturday's, they have local farmer's markets where they sell fresh fruits & vegetables.  We want to check that out this weekend!  Here is a picture I snapped today of a small cart.

We also stumbled across a meat market & let's just say..we didn't come out empty handed.  We couldn't buy too much considering we have a small kitchenette but we bought stuff to munch on, on some homemade crackers.  I will keep you posted on the delicious-ness of that!

Was trying to find the "perfect" place to eat today.  We kind of wanted a little of everything so choosing was HARD.  We finally settled at this charming little outdoor style restaurant. Mike ordered Jagerschnitzel (fried pork chops in an amazing mushroom cream sauce) and I got a mushroom ricotta stuffed tortellini.  We felt we chose right ;).  The number to right is obviously the price in Euro.  It wasn't too outrageous.

It is safe to say, we are so happy to be here.  Even if it is going to be under a year..we love European lifestyle.  This week is the official "in-process" time for Mike to get integrated into work, we can get on the waiting list for an apartment..that type of thing.  

Just wanted to do a quick post and let everyone know we are here and well!

Chat with you soon.


Friday, October 4, 2013

And the "traveling twosome" just keeps on travelin'!


This Saturday makes our very last Saturday in KOREA.  Wow, wow, wow..where has the time gone.  There are times where I sit back & think about how long it has been since our feet have touched U.S. soil or seen family.  Sometimes, it is bittersweet but I always am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity we've been given.  If I think back, nearly our first year of marriage was spent apart & with Mike in Afghanistan, our second year we spent transitioning back to "married life" from being apart for so long, accompanied with our new life in Korea.  Korea has given Mike and I three anniversaries together and so many unique memories that I would never trade.  So, in many ways, as much as we are ready to leave, Korea will always have a special place with us.

We are set to fly out October 10th (Thursday) and will be very busy this week preparing for everything that it takes to fly two people and two dogs out of a country and immigrating to another.  I frequently ask myself, "Who lives their lives like we do?"  Ha!

So, before I take a trip down memory lane during our tour here..I wanted to announce a new "traveling" adventure the Sandberg clan is about to embark on.  About a month ago, Mike put in his long application/packet to become an Army Aviator and fly helicopters.  Last week, he found out he was SELECTED for flight school!  This is amazing, big news and ones only the best of the best get.  I'm sure your next question is...what about Germany?  We are still going to go to Germany, but just for not as long (probably under a year).  Mike doesn't have an exact class date right now (especially things with this whole "no-budget-United States of America", the civilian workers who process things like this aren't even working).  Until then, we will live our lives normally in Europe until he is told to report to flight Alabama.  We will be there for about a year and a half, give or take.  VERY BIG NEWS right there for Mike.  I am so proud of him and all of his hard work!

Last night, we went to his farewell BBQ & for him to receive his awards he has earned while serving here.  It was so touching and so many people were bummed to see him go!  Here are a few pictures I got:

The man talking is Mike's dear friend Jamie.  He is the Maintenance Test Pilot for the company and they have formed a strong bond over motorcycles, helicopters, and just sharing laughs.  He is over the moon for Mike to become a pilot :o)

Memory Lane time!!

One of my first..spicy..disgusting meals I had in Korea.  Still remember that with the awful pineapple "juice" that resembled Pepto!

First snow!!

One of my very favorite views on our drive home

The breathtaking cherry blossoms!

Our cozy Korean "cottage"

Very first New Year's in country at an indoor theme park!

Our awesome handmade grandfather clock!

Teaching my students how to properly roast marshmallows :)

Our trip through Europe!!!

Our trip through Asia!!!

I could write & show thousands of pictures we've captured while we've been here.  Throughout these three years we have grown individually, professionally, and as a couple.  We have seen 9 different countries, eaten new (and weird) foods, seen how other cultures live their everyday lives, we've had unforgettable moments, we've had difficult moments, but in all that we've seen and done..we have always LIVED and that alone feels liberating and worth it all.  And I write this blog feeling so very satisfied on what we have accomplished.  We've opened our minds, looked around us, and realized that the world really is small.

I hope you've enjoyed the blog while we've been here.  It really has been comical and therapeutic to write it!  As we approach our "European Extravaganza", I write this not sad, but happy knowing that one great chapter is ending and the next one will begin.  

Talk to ya on the other side!

B -- M