August 23, 2014

Cozy Up Your Workspace

With school back in session working for the weekend brings on a whole new meaning again. I forgot how exhausting my little first grade peaches are. This year I have 8 more of them than I did last year! Wowza!

Friday nights are meant for sleeping deep into Saturday afternoons mornings, that. is. for sure!

To unwind today I paid a trip to 2nd Street Market for lunch. I grabbed a gyro from Azra's, closed my eyes, and pretended I was back on the Mediterranean.

I also bought some fresh flowers for my classroom. I like to make my classroom as homey as possible. It makes the kids more comfortable and it's easy to work in a space surrounded by things I enjoy.

One of my (the kids' too!) favorite spots is our reading area with the cute little comfy chairs from IKEA.

(this photo is from over the summer--a classroom still in progress!)

I also like to have photos hanging around my desk area and use sticky 9 magnets of my favorite instagram photos to cozy up my space. 

How do you make your workspace more enjoyable?

August 16, 2014

Munich Day 2: Marienplatz, Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial, Paulaner Brauhaus

I loved the cities we stayed in long enough to snuggle down into a hotel bed and wake up the next morning with the freedom to roam and wander without an agenda.

I got up on day 2 of Munich and started with the usual hotel breakfast. Afterward I set out around the corner and down the street from my hotel to Munich's main square, Marienplatz. This is where the big glockenspiel clock tower is located on the gothic style New Town Hall.

It houses figurines that date back to 1908 but I never stuck around to watch it chime on the hour. I was in the square for the shopping!

Our weather for the entire trip was spot on and we didn't experience much delay or have to cancel plans because of anything too serious. But it was rainy at times and a few times the days got a little cooler than I'd imagined they'd be. I popped into the biggest forever 21 I'd ever seen and then H&M for a couple long-sleeved items to get me through the rest of the trip.

As I kept walking beyond the shops I came to a bunch of fresh open markets and did some perusing. You will never be in short supply of meats and sausages in Germany! I browsed awhile for some souvenirs and then had to swiftly head back to the hotel for an afternoon excursion.

Once back at the hotel I gathered with most of the group and we left on foot to the train station. I hadn't left any time for lunch while I exploring earlier so I grabbed a sausage from a stand in the station. The roll was rubbish but the pork itself was quite good.

After a few bumbling stops on the train we hopped off and loaded onto a city bus. Here I started preparing myself for our final destination, Dachau.

Germany's first concentration camp was Dachau and was originally a camp for political prisoners. The grounds are now preserved as an educational memorial site. The visit was hard emotionally but one that was necessary and I'm thankful for the opportunity to have been.

This original rod iron entrance that you still enter through today says, arbeit macht frei, "work liberates" or "work will set you free". I'm not going to go into detail about what I saw, but if you have the chance to visit history like this I urge you to go. The Holocaust must be remembered so that it's never to be repeated.

After returning from Dachau I decided to walk back to Marienplatz and pick up a few souvenirs I'd spotted on my morning walk. Insetad of a cheesy souvenior shop I went to a restaurant branch of the beer hall we were at the night before and was able to buy a liter and half liter glass for 9 euros total! (He originally told me 15 for both which was still a steal!) I also grabbed some fresh raspberries from one of the many fresh produce stands to snack on during my walk back to the hotel. 

For the evening we had a group dinner at Paulaner Brauhaus, another German microbrewery and beer hall. It wasn't as big as the Augustiner, but we had the place to ourselves. 

For group meals we are all brought the same, predetermined meal. We started with a salad which was refreshing since we'd been eating a lot of meat.

The main dish was of course pork and some kind of potato ball that had a sticky consistency and stuffed with something inside--not my favorite.

 Dessert was a sweet roll in a cold, creamy sauce. It was no French pastry, but still delicious.

We of course washed everything down with liters of beer and some futbol! I believe team USA played (and disappointed) against Belgium. 


After the game the group dispersed and I walked back to the hotel with a few people. The next day was a travel day to Austria!

August 4, 2014

Rothenburg & Munich Day 1

It's getting back to school crazy around here, but I'm back to finish up my recaps!

After our one night stay in Heidelberg we were back on the bus and off to Munich or M√ľnchen for all you Germans. Along the way we had an afternoon stop in the quaint and adorable city of Rothenburg. 

The ancient walled city is reminiscent of its medieval days with cobblestone streets and small colorful buildings. The clouds dried up just long enough for Jess and I to climb the tower of the town hall. The passageway that led out onto the top had the steepest steps of anything I climbed on the whole trip. 

At the top you stand exposed on a very small circular landing. It's a neat view because you can see the wall and towers that surround the city. Perfect for Middle Age fortification! 

For the rest of our time we walked the quiet streets and gardens. 

I also popped into one of the famous Christmas shops. Nutcrackers originated in Germany and are a popular souvenir. I really wanted one but the wooden, handcrafted beauties were very pricey. I should've splurged! 

Before leaving town our group met up for lunch and had the German specialty--pork and sauerkraut. I embraced the sauerkraut and actually liked it mixed in! I have always despised sauerkraut and thought it tasted vile. This meal however with a little mustard on the side--muah! 

Now the real German fun begins...We finally arrived in Munich after driving on a bit. Following the World Cup was huge throughout our whole trip and we were lucky enough to be in probably the biggest beer drinking city in the world to watch Germany beat Algeria. It was quite a thrilling experience.

After checking into our hotel our group headed not to the famous Hofbrauhaus, but another massive beer hall, The Augustiner. 

This place was packed well into the hundreds, maybe even a thousand full (HB holds 1300!) I sat with some friends down in the bricked basement for most of the game and enjoyed Bavarian soft pretzels and liters of delicious beer.

It was really cool to watch the bartenders tap a new keg of their self made beer using a hammer to tap the spout into the wooden barrel. 

Feeling like champs Megan and I headed upstairs to where all the action was as the end of the game neared. We joined up with more friends from our group to take in the ruckus. When Germany finally sealed the deal the crowd went wild! 

It was one of my favorite nights of the trip and a one of a kind experience I'll certainly always remember! 


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