Journal

 

my trip to Germany and France COMMENT

(post dated May 4th)
I fully enjoyed the benefits of living abroad by casually booking a last minute flight to Germany to visit Martin on tour.  We also decided to take a quick vacation at the end of his german tour to swing by Paris on the way home.  So casual…haha I am still laughing to myself.  As an american, well for most of my life, going to Germany Or France is a really really big deal – but now I can casually just stop in Paris for the weekend. How ridiculous! haha.
So, I hit Germany at the height of spring. It is just the most incredible time of year, right when all of the flowering trees are in full bloom and the grass is vibrant and verdant.  I admit I had a very different image of Germany in my head than vibrant and beautiful place I found.  I absolutely loved it!  Some of my favorite days were spent in the Black Forest – the Schwarzwald – the place of legends and fairytales.  On the hikes and adventures we had it was easy to imagine how the Brothers Grim found inspiration for their stories. Throughout Germany, I loved sampling the local specialty dishes as well as regional wines and beers from the lightest rieslings to the thickest, cloudiest hefeweizens. From the Swabian alps, to Bavaria to the Northern Rhineland I felt like I experienced some of the most beautiful and pristine nature AND I got a full dose of that wonderful thing called “sunshine” that I had very much been lacking in Ireland.
Taking off to Paris  for the weekend was just a magical adventure.  I think I have idolized and romanticized Paris for much of my life – there is something about the culture that I just really admire.  What was so enjoyable about this weekend was that having been multiple times before, seen all the sites, I decided to live this weekend as a local instead of racing off to wait in queue at the Tour de Eiffel .  Visiting friends in the 16th arrondissement, we stayed in the most stereotypically Parisian apartment and it was lovely: A third story flat above a flower shop, complete with big white shutters and a cute little black iron guard rail. I ate my body weight in croissants and pan du chocolate from the local patisserie.  The best part of the weekend was getting to walk around the local street market with Rebeca, our hostess. As I learned first hand this weekend, Parisians are ultimate foodies and care very much about the their fresh and local produce (another reason I admire them). This farmers market takes over the entire street THREE times a week!  Rebecca flew along with me in tote sampling the freshest strawberries, munching on baguettes and picking out the best chicken for dinner.  It is hard to describe the whole weekend and how wonderful it was, but perhaps this little vignette is a small insight into the amazing trip.
After a week in Germany and four days in Paris I found myself headed home to Galway with all kinds of inspiration and confirmation of the kind of life I want to live.  I felt I had witnessed two cultures of people that have a supremely mastered how to appreciate life for the small things, and live in the moment.  Finding true enjoyment in their seasonal produce and local music – working and relaxing equally hard in a balance I hope to some day achieve.