Navidad in Spain

   Instead of going home for Christmas, my family came to Spain to see me! It was really neat to experience Christmas in another country.  I walked them around the city center to see the Christmas lights that were up on display. Typical of our family vacations, we were going, going, going. I wasn’t kidding when I warned them that we would do a lot of walking. I mean, if you’re only here for a few days, you have to see it all! For Christmas dinner, we baked at my friend Amanda’s house. 
   For Christmas day, we rented a car and drove north to the city of Vielha, in the Pyrenees mountains. Getting there was a series of unfortunate events  which began with the fact that we could not put the manual car in reverse. As the office was closed that day, we were forced to only go or park in places we could get out of without reverse. We had trouble finding the hotel in Vielha and tried a random street, only to realize it led uphill and we had no way to turn around except to start up one part of the street and then let ourselves roll a little backwards in a cul-de-sac . I hopped out to ask a woman how to get to the hotel, and unbeknownst to me, my phone fell out. After stressfully making it back down the hill, I realized it was gone and we had to go back up there to get it. When we found it, they screen was broken. Great. So now we couldn’t call the hotel or anyone the rest of our trip. (Also, trying to replace a phone was a task, but that’s another long, boring story.)
  But we got there and Joel and I went skiing the next day in Baquiera-Beret. The views from the top of the slopes were incredible and the snow was so thick! I soon came to see that our intermediate slopes were like their easy runs. I’m glad for all the practice I’ve done back home because this place was not for beginners! From there we drove to Barcelona and did all the touristy things. We stayed in an apartment near the Ramblas. And for my third time in this city, it still confirmed to me that I am more of a Madrid girl. It’s a great place, but Madrid is where it’s at. Just saying… All in all though, we had a great time in Barcelona and we parted ways at the airport: they were heading back stateside, I was going back to Madrid for New Year’s Eve!
 Christmas tree up in Sol
 City Hall 
 Typical Spanish meal: eggs, potatoes, and bread
 City’s biggest Nativity scene
 Joel is too tall for the Metro

 Las Ramblas, Barcelona

 Sagrada Familia
View from Parc Güell

Christmas Markets in Germany

  Here are some pictures from our trip to Munich right before Christmas. We stayed with our roommate from Munich and went to all the famous Christmas markets!

Residenz- former palace of Bavarian monarchs.
English Garden

Markets everywhere!

Trying beer at the famous Hofbrauhaus.

Nymphenburg Palace
Staying warm with  Gluhwien (hot mulled wine) at the Tollwood Festival, the location of the Oktoberfest.


If there’s a line in Spain, get in it!

. Spanish people love a good line. Seriously. It’s common knowledge that you never eat a place unless it’s full of people inside. My German roommate, informed us about this phenomenon because she had studied a semester here before. According to her, if they see a line, they just get in it. “It must be good!” And that’s proved to be exactly true. Everywhere we go, we see the lines. When we’re in the airport, people line up a good hour before boarding the plane. The only people sitting around looking confused are the Americans (and probably the Germans too). It’s not like you’re going to get on any faster, especially if you already have your seats assigned.
  The best line story we witnessed was a few weeks ago, outside an Abercrombie and Fitch store. Caitlin and I saw this massively long line and could not make out what it was for. There was no visible sign marking any kind of big event. We could hear music coming from inside the building and there were bouncers at the door. We thought it might be a discoteca (as people commonly stand in long lines for discotecas), but it was way too early for that. We asked some guy what the story was and he informed us that this was the line for the Abercrombie and Fitch store. Well is the king inside or was everything for free?? Nope, he informed us. Nothing special. It just opened recently, last April….  April?!? Oh well, I guess patience is a virtrue. We didn’t dare say that there are three A&F stores in the Alpharetta mall alone.

 Check out this one from a Comic Convention:

The infamous Abercrombie video:
The last one is from Sol before the big Christmas lottery.