Germany Christmas Markets in Bavaria 

I got a second chance to go to Munich. I will never understand why I am so fond of German Christmas Markets. Maybe it is the cooler weather? Maybe the hot wine and food? Maybe the Christmas decorations found in the centre and markets? I do not know why? Maybe the German Christmas markets, I went to as a kid, back in Texas inspired me to visit real German markets?   

I  had a wonderful time exploring different markets in Munich and Nuremberg. The Christmas ornaments found in these markets are just stunning and beautiful.Most ornaments are hand crafted! Original pieces of work can go for a reasonable price. I see the ornaments a fine art. The colours, the design, and creativity into making an ornament. German Christmas ornaments are one of my favorite things to put on a Christmas tree. 
On top of the ornaments, I love the food and the drinks you find in these markets. Traditional foods found in these markets: glühwein (a hot wine), beer, sausage, German sweets, gingerbread, and much more. I want to focus on my favorite item called glühwein. It is a popular drink found at German Markets. Many markets have a special decorated cup. You pay a deposit for the cup. You can keep the cup as a souvenir or return the cup and get your deposit back. 
What is glühwein? This drink is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star aniseed, citrus, sugar and at times vanilla pods. It is one of my favorite things to have while exploring German Christmas Markets. 
I love being in the centre of a German Christmas Market because there is so much going on at one time. From people buying items in stalls to hearing music or food cooking on a grill. I find these markets be very enjoyable. I look forward to seeing a German Christmas Market next year. Maybe in the Northern German? 

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Beaches nearby Marseille France to Visit During Your Holiday

I spent five days in Marseille, France, on a nice summer holiday. I enjoyed escaping from my busy life in Madrid. I needed this holiday because the past school year was a struggle for me. It was nice to go back to France and have a very enjoyable holiday. Southern, France, was just charming and amazing. I fell in love, again, with another place in Europe.

I flew into Marseille from Madrid. Marseille is more laid back and older than Paris. I found it to be easy to get from the airport to the city centre.There are a few options for getting to the city centre. It’s possible to catch a bus or a train to the city centre. Using either the bus or train will require an exchange to the metro; it is easy to find the metro system at the main train station. There are only two lines: the red line and the blue line. I only used the metro go to the city centre and back to the airport.

Marseille is a very easy to navigate on foot. It is possible to see this city in 2 and half days. Most major attractions cost nothing or a few euros. The museums are nice, but will cost more than 8 Euros. The beaches are the best part of this city.

The coastline of Southern France is just stunning. The limestone cliffs and the crystal clear water of the Mediterranean Sea are just remarkable. I’ve never seen anything as breathtaking as the Mediterranean Sea. During my holiday, I went to two major points of interest for swimming and beach time: Calanques National Park and the Island of Frioul. Both beaches were very rocky with beautiful clear water. These beaches put my native Texas beaches to shame. Just lovely beaches!

Calanques National Park is about a 45-minute bus ride from the city centre of Marseille. It’s easy to spot Bus # 21 in Plaza Castellane. Ride to the end of the line towards L’avenue de Prado. The bus drops off nearby a university. From the drop off point, it will take 45-minutes to reach the water. Hint: follow everyone walking towards the hiking trail. So worth the hike!

The scenery is very enjoyable to sit back and enjoy. The white cliffs and light blue water compliment each other. It’s possible to spend all day enjoying the beauty of this park. Before you go on a hike to this water, you need to have a good pair of walking shoes, your day bag together with provisions for the day, and other important items for your hike. The hike back up will be wearisome, but you will be thankful you spent the day swimming and enjoying the beach.

On another day, I spent half a day on the Island of Frioul. You can get to this island by a ferry from the Old Port in Marseille. There are various ferry companies that can get you out to the islands. The ferry ride takes about 30 minutes from the Old Port. It costs about 10 Euros for a round trip ticket. The water was refreshing, so bring you swimwear with you.

When you get to the island, you can buy a cheap lunch at one of the sandwich shops. Grab some lunch and explore the island. There are many nice points and beaches to enjoy. I would suggest packing a day bag with all your essentials for the day. You will be tired by the time you get back to the Old Port. Get dinner and take a nap. Then get some wine and enjoy the evening in Marseille. The city is nice to walk around at night. Enjoy!

Marseille is not as famous as Nice, but tourist should consider adding Marseille to their list of places to visit during a holiday to Southern France. There were not as many tourists in this city compared to London or Barcelona. If you want few tourists, then go to Marseille for a holiday. Also, Marseille is a diver’s paradise. There are lots of options for chartered dives from Marseille. The water is just beautiful. I hope you were inspired to go to Marseille for the beaches. Just a beautiful place!

Update: Start of 2016

I had an amazing holiday during my two and half week winter break. I went to Munich, Vienna, Naples, Florence, Rome, and Vatican. The beer and classical music was enjoyable in Germany and Austria. In Italy, I enjoyed fine art, history, and Italian food. After my holiday ended, I had to return Madrid and work. The first week back from holiday I had to start applying to teaching programmes for next school year. I will hopeful be back in Madrid for another school year. I will have a better idea of where I will be in April/May. At the start of February, I will be going to Romania and spending time in Bucharest and Transylvania. Other than trying to figure out next year’s plans and traveling, I am trying to come up with my travel plans for the rest of the school year, planning my summer, and studying for the GRE. 10374943_10153530299689024_6683189955234436784_n

Travels for the Spring: I am thinking about going to Berlin, Budapest, Poland, and Prague for my long spring holiday. Then, one more major trip out of Spain to possibly Amsterdam or Oporto. In May, I will have friends visiting Spain and will more than likely go back up to Barcelona for a 3 day weekend. =)

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Summer Plans: This year I will be staying in Madrid till the end of June. Then, I plan to return home to Texas for a couple of months. I hope to go out to California and Washington State during July. Go visit family all over the place and just enjoy being home. I am looking forward to getting my favourite coffee, Tex-Mex, and other amazing things I can only find in Texas. Then, return to Spain in September for another school year.

Thanksgiving in Madrid

This year was the first time in my life to not had Thanksgiving with family and friends in Texas. I worked Thanksgiving Day, but in exchange for working Thursday I got a 4 day weekend out of the deal. It was my first time to attend an Friendsgiving.  It was a wonderful feast with good company. There was turkey, stuffing, cornbread, sweet yams, mashed potatoes, and more. There was so much love and care put into making the food. Just about everything at the dinner was homemade. My Friendsgiving was just like any other gathering at home, but unique in the fact that I was having Thanksgiving in a different country.  I ate a lot of food. I think I gain 12 pounds from all the food.  Sad part is I fell asleep and slept for 12 + hours. Oh boy! Talk about being tired all day.

This time of the year I reflect  on my life and what I am thankful for. 2014 has been a amazing year with lots of chances from moving overseas and getting rid of bad energy. This year I have a lot to be thankful for.

  1. I am grateful for my family
  2. I am grateful for all the friends in the US that want to maintain contact with me
  3. I thankful for the chance to live, work, and travel in Europe
  4. I am thankful for my masters
  5. I am grateful for my strong drive accomplish goals and chase my dream
  6. I am happy to be the person I am and know who I am
  7. I am happy for how positive and rewarding my experience has been in Madrid
  8. I am lucky for all the experiences in life I have been granted