2014 has been a big year for me: about 26 cities, 10 countries, 3 continents, 24 flights (8 of them trans-Atlantic), 10 road trips, five long train rides, and a bus. Add to that learning a new language, learning to cook, learning to live with S, navigating the German visa system, and a little bit of wedding planning, and it’s easy to say this ranks as one my biggest years yet. Throughout all of the traveling and the lovely little bits in between, it was a year full of growth, rest, excitement, food, and love. I can only imagine what 2015 has in store.
What travel/food blog posted on December 31st would be complete without a round-up of the author’s favorite foods from the year? Not this one! So here they are, my top food photos from my travels this year. Conspicuously absent are all of the spießbraten, bratwurst, schnitzel, and kartoffelpuffers that I ate at the Christmas markets this year because none of them lasted long enough to be captured…maybe next year.
“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Winston Churchill
A look back at my favorite buildings of 2014:
Yesterday marked one year since I began my sabbatical from work and moved to Germany to study, cook, live, and travel with S. What a year it has been!? Scrolling back through my photos and thinking about everything I’ve seen and done and eaten this year and how much I’ve changed (mostly for the better), I am so thankful for this opportunity and looking forward to new and exciting experiences in the new year. There were so many beautiful moments in 2014 that I could not choose just a few favorite photos, so I divided them into four groups: Landscapes, Architecture, Food (can’t leave that one out!), and Life. Cheers to 2014 and an even better 2015!
For just about the entire year of 1994, my sister and I refused to go to sleep each night until our Dad told us a story, all of which had to be set in the town of Lillehammer, Norway during the Olympics, and the main characters had to be named after us (but really they had to be us). As Jennifer Weiner wrote in a letter to Salon, “Everyone wants to believe he or she is the hero of his or her own story.” In our case, we forced our dad to make us the heroes. As kids (and now), we were obsessed with a capital “O” with the Olympics. In my little 9-year-old heart, I truly believed I would grow up to be Kim Zemescal and win gold medals all day long. Unfortunately, my mom made me quit gymnastics after my friend Lindsey fell off the high-bar and broke her arm. Thanks a lot, Lindsey. Anyway, back to Norway.
In early 2007, I traveled to The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in the Berkshires to study John Singer Sargent’s Fumée d’Ambre Gris for my senior thesis. This was my first ever solo-trip. I flew into Manchester, New Hampshire, rented a car, and braved the winding, high speed roads to Massachusetts and fell in love with this charming, treasure-filled museum tucked away in the mountains.
The Clark is known for it’s fabulous collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings and just down the hall from the Sargent that I had traveled to see, hung Monet’s The Cliffs at Etretat. Painted just five years after Sargent’s exotic North African woman, Monet’s painting depicts the northern French coastline, a fashionable vacation spot among the 19th century Parisian bourgeoisie.
During my and S’s trip to Normandy, we took a break from WW2 history to take in some medieval history and drove from Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer to Le Mont Saint-Michel. We once again found ourselves driving through fields of kelly green and golden flowers. We passed cows with black spots, cows with brown spots, cows with horns, cows with long course shaggy hair, and even some donkeys . Suddenly, the shadowy outline of the rock on which they built a Benedictine abbey appeared on the horizon like a ghost or a mirage. I lost my breath for a minute. The mere outline of this feudal city, abbey, monastery, impenetrable fortress of the Hundred Years’ War, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and current home to less than 50 people, is unmistakable and unforgettable.