live slow, love nature, be adventurous

Friday, August 29, 2014

Life's Little Moments

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I have struggled to adjust back to life in Germany. Not because of reverse culture shock, but mainly because I miss Norway a lot. I miss looking outside my window and seeing proper mountains. I miss evenings spent cooking with friends and constantly planning new adventures and travels. But longing for a time that has already passed is not doing anything for us, but create sour feelings. It’s okay to look back at the past and marvel at all the crazy adventures and all the beautiful encounters, but we need to remember to keep our feets firmly grounded in the present.

There are so many things that make the everyday life special. The smell of an early morning croissant, the sparkle of your new glittery ballet flats, the smile in the eyes of a friend that you haven’t seen in years… life isn’t just about the big trips and events. Life happens every single day, whether we live in the same town we grew up in, on the other side of the country or a place far, far away. And often enough it’s life’s little moments that make an ordinary experience special.

I took these pictures here and there over the last couple of weeks. They are little more than small snippets of my life recently, but when I uploaded them on my laptop today, I finally started to realize again that no matter if I live in Germany or Norway there will be great days and memorable moments. Especially living in the same town as my boyfriend again is such a blessing: I have no idea how we survived a long-distance relationship - right now, parting feels almost impossible! 

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Rhine Valley | Rüdesheim & The Niederwalddenkmal

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When I lived in Norway, I was constantly on the go. There was always another mountain to climb, another hike to try and another trip to go on and my list of places  to visit still only kept on growing. There is so much to discover in the world and most of the time we don’t have to go far to find it, so I knew that when I moved back to Germany I would have to make it a priority to get to know my home country a little bit better.

A couple of weeks ago, we drove up to the Rhine Valley for a bit of exploring. I grew up pretty close to this area, but it had been years since my last visit and so I was wondering if it was still as magnificent as I remembered. There are few places that look as picture book German as the Rhine Valley - small towns of half-timbered villages, lush vineyards lining the slopes of the surrounding hills and one medieval castle after the other. Never mind that most of Germany doesn't look this way: The Rhine Valley is what you think of when you think of Germany. 

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We started our day in Rüdesheim, which is one of the bigger town in the Rhine Valley and probably one of the most touristy in all of Germany. It's a short drive away from Frankfurt and lies just at the entrance to the valley. Some streets seem almost abandoned while others - especially the notorious Drosselgasse - are filled with so many people that you can barely take a step without bumping into someone. There are stores selling kitschy knick-knacks, restaurants serving traditional German fare and ice creams parlors offering gelato - but somehow the rustic charm of the town makes the ambiance relaxing, rather than chaotic. 

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Looking at these pictures and seeing the bright blue sky while hearing rain drops splatter against my window makes me wonder if it's really only been two weeks since my visit - let's hope summer will stick around a bit longer! 

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Rüdesheim may be an adorable little town, but that's not the main reason people are visiting. Rüdesheim is also the home of the Niederwalddenkmal, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a memorial built at the end of the 19th century commemorating the establishment of the German Empire after the German-French war of 1870/1871. The monument is nestled above the vineyards of town and can be seen from kilometers away. You can take the cable car from the town centre, but walking up leads you through peaceful vineyards that make it well worth it.

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After living in Norway for a year and going on plenty of strenuous hikes, I thought I had finally ceased to be a totally unfit person, but somehow I seem to have lost all my stamina while traveling through Asia and moving back to Germany - I was huffing and puffing all the way up to the monument, even though the path was pretty easy and well-maintained. Let's blame in on the sun, okay?

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The views from the Niederwalddenkmal were absolutely outstanding, though, and quickly made me forget the pain from the walk. You could see for miles and miles and I could scarcely believe that this is actually the non-exciting part of the Rhine Valley.

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All decked out with extremely nationalistic symbolism, the Niederwalddenkmal feels like a remnant from a time long, long gone. Reading the inscriptions proclaiming the glory of war and the honor in defending your fatherland by keeping the Rhine German, made me realize that while I'm glad that the monument has remained as a cultural-historical artifact, I'm even more glad that the political landscape in Europe has changed so much since then and that people don't actually hold these beliefs anymore. 

Overlooking the Rhine and gazing towards the West, there's no denying, though, that the monument is extremely impressive - as certainly was the intention 150 years ago. 

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We took the cable car back to Rüdesheim and I used the short ride to blissfully snap away at the picturesque vineyards, vowing again that I had to make a point of traveling more within Germany.

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After grabbing an ice cream cone in Rüdesheim, we hopped back into the car and drove farther up into the Rhine Valley… but that's a story for another day! 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Returning to the Blogosphere

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I wish I could give you a good explanation for why I haven’t been blogging these past few weeks. I wish I could tell you that I have been insanely busy without a minute in the day for myself, but judging by the embarassing amount of time I have spent on the internet lately that would be a big, fat lie. Yes, I’ve been moving, I’ve been traveling and now I’m interning at a big law firm, but that hasn’t been the reason why I haven’t been blogging.

I’ll spare you the details, but the truth is that I haven’t truly identified with my blog in the last couple of months. I feel like I've been bending over to try to be a blogger that I'm not, just to fit some imaginary cookie cutter mold that determines whether you're a 'proper' blogger or not. I love the blogging community, but I do think that there's a lot of (self-imposed) pressure to be successful with success only being determined by material factors. And I don't think I need to mention that this is stifling for your creativity and motivation. 

I didn't plan to take a break from blogging, but I'm glad that it happened anyway. It gave me the much needed opportunity to reflect on why I write and what kind of message I want my blog to send and that has left me energized and full of inspiration for the months to come. If my break from blogging has shown me one thing than it's how much I have missed sitting down and writing. I still have so much to tell you of my past travels and way too many pictures to sort through, but I'm excited to get sharing again. 

In other words: I'm back. And I can't wait to get blogging again!

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