Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2019. Hopefully everyone had a great holiday season.
We were in Saudi for most of December, as Jeff was working. We did manage a few getaways, which will be shown below.
Shaggy - December 14th
So, is was Thursday December 13th. We were having a BBQ and drinks by our pool and the party is just getting cranked up. About midnight, Shaggy comes on the speaker and our friend Waco says "I'm surprised nobody is going to see him tomorrow in Bahrain!"
Well, it was like the music stopped immediately. Everyone started googling - where is he playing in Bahrain? What time? Are there seats left? Waco knows the club owner, made a call, and was able to get us in with some pretty amazing tickets. Just like that, our party was put on hold...until mid afternoon Friday in Bahrain.
We rushed over the next day and had a chance to catch one of our favourites in action...on one island across the world from his home island, Jamaica.
He did not disappoint!
Christmas Brunch - December 21
One of the ways we celebrate things in the Middle East is with the crazy brunch atmosphere at most hotels. With many friends heading away and home to see family, we rounded up the stragglers who didn't go home and ended up at the Crowne Plaza brunch. Noon-4PM ... all you can eat, all you can drink.
As you can see, it got a bit wild and turned into an early night.
Germany - December 28-January 2
We had a long weekend at the end of December and wanted to get away somewhere. We looked at a few options and landed on Germany for a few reasons...we hadn't been there together yet, it is a direct flight, and we would probably get the feel of Christmas with some Christmas markets and decorations. We had a great time there - here are some stories and pics.
We arrived into Frankfurt at 6AM and had all day to venture around this great little city. We stayed in an area just south of the Main river (which is why it is often called Frankfurt am Main) called Sachsenheusen. It is loaded with tons of restaurants and bars. And these Germans know how to party. Most places in this area only between 6-8PM but stay open until 7AM. People are partying on the streets. Quite a scene to see! We found an incredible Italian restaurant called Borsalino Ristorante right next to our hotel. The best Italian we've ever had, it is always packed, and also very inexpensive. Loved it! Our hotel was quite unique - a boutique hotel called Libertine Lindenberg. Great rooms, location, and service...and the craziest thing - their restaurant, coffee shop, bar, was all open and you just pay on the honor system - write down what you took. Pretty cool!
Frankfurt has a large red light district - 2nd largest in Europe. But nowhere as clean or as good as Amsterdam. It was fantastic to just walk around, although it was cool - 0 degrees Celsius, -4 degrees with windchill. We have turned into such wimps over in the Middle East, but it was kind of nice to walk in the brisk air.
There is a beautiful Old Town area in Frankfurt, with shops, bars, restaurants, and a massive friggin' Christmas tree in the square. Everyone was drinking beer, eating bratwurst or frankenfurters. The 2 specialties in the cold weather are Glühwein (hot red wine) and Apfelwein (apple wine). Both were pretty tasty.
Rothenburg and Neuschwanstein Castle
We did an excursion to Bavaria in the southern part of Germany along the Austria border.
On the way, we stopped in Rothenburg, which is an amazing little town that looks like everything you'd imagine in a Christmas village. We're sure that Santa must live here. Trees, decorations, and Christmas shops here everywhere!! What do they do in summer??
We then went down to the southern part to see the famous Neuschwanstein Castle near Füssen, Germany. This is a 19th century castle built for Ludwig II of Bavaria. Over 1.3 million people visit it every year! It is the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle in Disneyland. Quite amazing to see it!
You will also see pics of neighbouring Hohenschwangau Castle, which is the home that Ludwig II grew up in.
This is a place everyone should see! Stunning!
On New Years eve, we got up early to hop on a train to Heidelberg. The day started with a tasty bratwurst with sauerkraut and mustard. Yummy! One hour later, we were walking the streets of Heidelberg.
We wandered through the squares and past the shops, ending up in a square that was filled with a Christmas market - food, drinks, a skating rink, and then you look up - the amazing Heidelberg Castle! It was incredible! Inside the castle, you can also see the world's largest wine barrel - this holds 200,000 litres of wine! I know some people who would love that! And to top it off, the clouds were low, so it had the Hollywood look and feel of a castle. We wandered around the castle grounds, to the bridge, and enjoyed a few cold beers in the market.
Back to Frankfurt to go celebrate New Years!!!
OK, 3 weeks until we get out of here for our big trip of the year.
We are so excited to visit New Orleans for the first time. Then we're off to Cancun for the 10th anniversary with the T&A gang - the group is at 15 so far for this year but we have room for more! Then a few days in Miami and we're back to Saudi.
Thanks for reading and checking out the pics....all the best in 2019 everyone!
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