Travel: Tübingen, Germany

lifestyle, travel, where to wander

If you have not yet heard, Ryan is away in Germany and I am holding down the fort in Edinburgh. By the time I return from our trip this week we will be halfway through Ryan’s programme in Tübingen! To celebrate the big victory, I think Ryan will treat himself to a sprinkle donut from Dunkin Donuts/a new book and I’ll be slamming some banana chips with almond butter/a new nail polish colour. Oh the little things.

A few weeks ago, I made a quick visit to Tübingen. It is a very charming, traditional German village in the southwestern part of the country. It was one of the few villages to not be destroyed during the war, meaning that its medieval old town has been preserved and a great place to see original architecture and city layout for the time period. The city is buzzing with students, something like one in three people are students. It is surrounded with dense woods, parks, trails, rivers and hills, did I mention hills?   

Once again, Airbnb provided the perfect accommodation in short notice. It was a relief to not have to spend our weekend in Ryan’s dorm and be able to sip our coffees, cook our meals, watch soccer matches and snuggle, obviously.  It was such a treat to catch up with my guy, see where he is living, hear him speak German and get a taste of his semester abroad-abroad.

[The highlights of this trip] Wandering narrow cobblestones roads. Getting our shoes muddy in the forest. Taking in hilltop views of blue sky and rolling green hills. Perusing markets and admiring the variety of produce. Being fascinated with all the different types of muesli, Haribo’s and Ritter Sport chocolate – Germans know what they are doing. Went on a mad hunt for the best sauerkraut ended up with some delicious falafel. Cravings are weird sometimes ya know?

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This week, my Oma and I will go meet Ryan for our long-awaited train trip. We will be using Eurail for the first time- traveling from Germany, through Austria, Slovenia and Croatia!

 

Thank you for your prayers and kind emails to both of us during this time apart. Friends, you have been so good getting me out of the house and making plans with me, it means a lot.

Thanks for sharing life with us! x

 

R+A

Travel: Highlands Road Trip

food & drink, lifestyle, travel, where to wander

The Allen’s came to town and we are still not sure how to put into words what their trip meant to us. Matt and Shannon traveled long hours from Denver, took time away from their jobs and made their first trip without their sweet son, Jude. The big and small sacrifices they made for this trip to happen were not lost on us. There were moments where I noticed our two worlds merging – excitedly showing off our new life in Scotland alongside the familiar faces of old friends from home. They blessed us with a suitcase of our favourite brand-name snacks from the States, poured blessings on us through prayer and it was extra nice of them to bring along some Colorado sunshine.

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IMG_9300Day One: Buchanan Bust Station, Glasgow. Bacon rolls. Train to Edinburgh. Water of Leith. Inverleith Park. Vinyl shops. Stockbridge. Coffee @ Cairngorm. New College.  Royal Mile. Grassmarket. Grayfriar’s Church. The Meadows. Dinner + whisky.

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sCOtland2016-010Day Two: We started a morning tradition with the Allen’s of having a ‘slow brekkie’ or slow breakfast. This included sipping countless cups of coffee, in our pajamas, listening to Matt’s playlists and frying up some delicious food. Our day in Edinburgh was full and mixed the best of city + hills. Holyrood Park + Arthur’s Seat. Hike up the Crags. Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop. Old College. Calton Hill. National Museum. Coffee @ Brew Lab. St.Gyles Church. Dinner @ The Scran + Scallie. Fish Pie + Sticky Toffee Pudding. Drinks @ The Last Word, Stockbridge. Circus Lane. More whisky…

IMG_4024The Scottish Highlands live up to the hype. They are what you have heard and more. Sunny skies, sideways rain, other-wordly landscapes, enchanting animals, unique colours and foliage, hills for miles, snow-capped mountains, remote villages and places you would imagine only trolls and fairies living in. The road trip was carefully planned yet adventurous,  rugged yet stylish, wild yet tame, budget-friendly yet indulgent, and at times I had to ask myself, is this really happening?

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Processed with VSCO with c3 presetDay Three: Slow brekkie on repeat. Rental car. Drive to Aviemore. Cairngorm National Park. Loch Morlich. Reindeer Centre. 10K Circuit to Ryvoan Bothy. Prayer on the summit. Views at An Lochan Uaine– Emerald Lake. Lunch @ The Winking Owl, Aviemore. Loch Ness + Urquart Castle. Dinner at Oakwood Restaurant, Dochgarroch. Smoked Scottish Salmon + Venison Goulash. Raspberry Cranachan. Drive to Drumnadrochit. Loch Ness Glamping B+B. More whisky…

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An Lochan Uaine

IMG_9307Day Four: Waking up to Highland cows + sheep out our front doors. Drive to Torridon on the most dangerous/beautiful/narrowest road I have ever been on, The Bealach na Ba. Stopping the car to see baby cows (I know they are called calves, but I prefer baby cows). Gauking unashamedly at baby lambs (again… I know…) Traditional Scottish lunch at the well-known  Applecross Inn. Hake and prawns. Fish + chips. Langoustines (not what Shannon expected but she was a trooper).  Drive to Skye. Shepherd Huts B+B. Fairy Pools. Prayer. Stargazing.

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IMG_9038The Bealach na Ba : Torridon to Applecross

Day Five: Blue Herron out our window. Birds chirping instead of a phone alarm. Morning greetings from rescue donkey’s, George + Gilbert. Slow brekkie delivered in picnic baskets by our lovely host, Janet. Whisky Porridge. Grapefruit. Fresh coffee. Drive to The Old Man of Storr. Magical black, white and emerald landscape. Lunch in Portree. Fishcakes. Cullen Skink. Drive to Ft. William. Ben Nevis, 1345m. Glencoe. Charming cottage, Tigh-na-Gare, located in Arrochar on the bank of Loch Long. You guessed it, more whisky.

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Portree, Isle of Skye

IMG_9054Day Six: Slow brekkie. More coffee. Drive back to Glasgow. Car game of ‘Lost at Sea’, wow still laughing about this ‘team-building and communication’ game. Bittersweet parking lot goodbye’s. Gathered around the Allen’s suitcases at the airport. Prayer for traveling mercies and that God would seal this trip on our hearts always.

Processed with VSCO with c3 presetOur friendship with the Allen’s, this visit, this experience came at the time we needed it most. It was only a week before Ryan would leave for his semester in Germany and we were more than encouraged by it. This trip reminded us of God’s provision, his goodness and an appreciation for the natural beauty in our world- what a privilege it was to share with such dear friends!

 

With love from Scotland,

x

 

NOTES

-Thanks Matt for being our friend AND for being an incredible photographer. You documented this trip like a boss. – If you are interested in the places we stayed, I have linked to websites for our choice of accommodation.  – Curious about Scottish cuisine? Click on the links to find out more about some of the traditional Scottish food we tried along the way! – If you are in Edinburgh, links also included for a few of the best places to sip in the city.

Travel: Bruges, Belgium

lifestyle, travel, where to wander

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One of the many highlights of doing a PhD abroad is that it allows us easy and affordable access to Europe. We have a ‘bucket-list’ of places that we would like to visit, but we wait for last minute deals on budget airlines and always find the best accommodation through AirBnb. We avoid baggage fees by bringing one backpack each and away we go!

When it comes to Bruges, Belgium what could be more romantic and inspiring than a place that looks like it belongs in a fairy tale? The medieval charm of it’s cobblestone streets led us to countless UNESCO world heritage wonders and picturesque scenes.

We walked Bruges for hours and hours everyday, stopping at cafe’s here and there, wandering down rows of ornate houses and in awe of the unseasonable and mild weather we were getting for early March. Similar to Amsterdam, Bruges is distinguished by its meandering canals throughout old town. This is a pedestrian’s dream because cars are unable to navigate the narrow streets in city centre. This means that I could safely cross the street, while my attention was held captive by the architecture and not be struck by a car (Ryan always points out this ‘flaw’ of mine).

We walked sun up to sun down, picnicking and snacking on benches as we went. We do not tend to eat our meals out on our budget trips but we always look forward to small treats that are unique to the destination. Our Airbnb host recommended treats from The Chocolate Line, we experimented with flavours like Earl Grey, lemongrass and even saffron curry. It would also not be a Tafilowski weekend without sipping on some local coffee- Blackbird, Verro Coffee and Books+Brunch were all at the top of our list. One of my favourite things about Airbnb (there are loads) is that you might get the chance to chat with your host. Our host, Leon, was beaming with pride with what Bruges has to offer (more than beer and waffles, he reminded us) and that we were enthusiastic to experience it.

For some great sightseeing in town we started at the Gentpoort gate and made our way through alleyways and cottages to the center at Burg Square. We could not resist a canal tour and at €7 each it didn’t break the budget. Nearby is the Begijnhof, a peaceful garden with romance written all over it. We were sure to include stops to Church of Our Lady, the Belfry and Market Halls. We grabbed some fruit and pastries from the supermarket and enjoyed the view of Markt. On Wednesdays there is an open market here well-equipped with locally made jams and dozens of chocolate stands. We were tempted to do a carriage ride but we decided that Bruges is extremely walkable and best by foot.

We can fit a lot into a long weekend. We had ample time to fully experience Bruges and like all of our trips it could be done on a budget. Bruges has a hassle-free vibe, wrapping visitors with a warm blanket of comfy cafes and romantic wanders. Our weekend passed slowly and was oh-so-satisfying. We fell in love with this sleepy Flemish town and will remember it always.

Traveling mercies, friends!

 

With love from Scotland,

R + A

where to wander: portobello beach

travel, where to wander

Summer is over but the beach is always open. The beauty of Portobello Beach is that it is just a few miles from Edinburgh city centre and makes a good weekend wander year round. This charming seaside suburb, has two miles of beach making it perfect for a picnic lunch or Sunday stroll. We like to access it through the amazing cycle network as there is a path directly to Portobello Beach from the Water of Leith, but it is also walkable and you can catch a bus from city centre.

Good weather draws large crowds and the promenade hosts a number of popular events-  including volleyball competitions, triathlon events and the community-run rowing club.  I recommend bringing some coins and hitting up the huge arcade along the promenade – you know, like adults do.

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If you are looking for a place to sip or snack, there are several bars and cafés on the promenade, with further options on Portobello’s bustling high street, including quality independent restaurants and charity shops. There is a market in Brighton Park on the first Saturday of every month, selling fresh local produce. You can also find this adorable green truck offering a delicious organic and local range of goodies.

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For lunch, The Beach House is a winner for it’s great views of the boardwalk and Firth of Forth. This spot is welcoming and has loads of coastal charm. Chunky wooden furniture,  pale blue walls, driftwood accessories and bright wildflowers deck the tabletops.  They also have an excellent selection of gluten-free and vegetarian sandwiches, wraps and cakes. This ultimate 4-layer falafel, spinach + avocado toastie hit. the. spot.

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Planning a weekend wander? You’ve earned it. Portobello is a unique, quaint and quick city escape and we all know that Edinburgh’s seaside should be an essential part of your visit or life in Scotland’s capital city!

Happy weekending!