One thing I could never wrap my brain around when it comes to travel blogging — and blogging in general actually — is how narcissistic it is. Do people really like reading an abundance of first person pronouns? Does anyone really care for random selfies in front of famous buildings?
And yet, while being extremely aware about how self-absorbed the act of blogging is, I found myself wanting to share personal updates online for all these years.
As you may have noticed though (I mean, who am I kidding here), I’ve cut back on my blogging output immensely throughout the last year. I don’t like diary-style blog posts, I despise (humble-)bragging, and I can’t stand generic top 5 lists, hence the only kind of blog post I really enjoy writing are in-depth personal travel stories that often don’t even cover the destination properly.
But although I had and have so many ideas, I just never got around to writing these longer blog posts — partly because I didn’t prioritize making time for it, partly because I was questioning blogging (and microblogging on social media) as a concept.
Now, the things is, that I obviously still enjoy traveling and that I still love photography. I bought a fancy new camera body last year and I have thousands and thousands of photos from collecting dust on my hard drive.
I decided to get those photos out there, although it means breaking with my blogging idealism.
So beware, this is a collection of photos from the first half of 2017 in a diary-style blog post. No in-depth reflection, but instead way too many first person pronouns and photos of myself. Please excuse if this collection seems too random or too self-involved, but I just literally threw my favorite photos together and tried to make them relatable and personal albeit keeping reflective paragraphs short.
Wintery January treats: Riga, London, and a wedding
I’m not even sure I ever traveled internationally in January (unless I count my semester abroad in Portugal) before, but 2017 changed that. And winter travel certainly comes with some challenges (aka wearing three pairs of leggings is not fun on urgent bathroom breaks), but luckily I at least didn’t have any issues with blizzards during flights.
I’ve already shared my 50+ favorite photos from my January trip to Latvia on the blog a while ago and won’t tire to announce how Riga was the perfect winter wonderland start into the New Year. I miiiight just consider doing another ‘freeze-trip’ around the same time next year.
Only a week after the trip to Riga, I flew to London rather spontaneously to attend my friend Sarah’s hen party. I certainly didn’t need an excuse to return to London, but I still felt like I had to justify this splurge on flight tickets: Thus, I spent Saturday having fun with the girls and visited some super important medieval objects at the V&A and the British Museum on Sunday — the best of London in less than 48 hours!
Obviously, London is lovelier in the spring, but I somehow really enjoyed my gloomy, drizzly Sunday including brunch and solo museum strolls. I don’t travel a lot by myself these days (mostly because I know that I’m just not the solo travel type), but visiting museums alone is actually the perfect way to spend a rainy Sunday (in London)!
Pre-hen do brunch: I was obviously very excited for my first ever time at Le Pain Quotidien
Hen party activities: Champagne…
… and tea and sandwiches and scones with all of the clotted cream.
Because I would never come to London and not have fish and chips at least once!
I came to the V & A for medieval art, but I do love me a little Canova and symmetric museum corridors
Rainy Sunday brunch in South London
Two weeks after Sarah’s hen party, Steffen and I traveled to Central Germany to join her wedding festivities. It was my first time attending a real winter wedding and I can’t believe how much they lucked out with the weather: It was a rare perfect winter day with blue skies and glittering powdery snow. And we were served mulled wine, how fun is that?
Necessary documentation of us being dressed up on the sunniest January day
Sparklers in the snow before bride and groom left
February, March, Winter Dreariness
Never do the days feel longer than when you’re desperately waiting for spring. I honestly can’t even remember what I was doing during February and March: I barely took any photos, I rarely posted on Instagram — I was mostly just hiding inside waiting for spring to finally arrive.
The only memorable highlight (and also the only day I took off of work) was a day trip to Hamburg. I absolutely love Hamburg and I was thrilled that my friend Clare decided to visit the city for a few days. Steffen and I met up with her little family and we had a super fun day at Hamburg’s famous miniature wonderland (which is so much cooler than it sounds!) and drinking a few local craft beers. (See Clare’s blog for more pretty photos and handy info!)
I also can’t come to Hamburg without having at least one proper flat white with canal views! (PS: If you need coffee recommendations for Hamburg, see this post!)
Miniature Rome! Isn’t this so adorable?
Aside from this day trip to Hamburg the only highlights worthy to mention were a famous German TV chef showing up at my work cafeteria, because he was apparently filming there. Oh, and my sister’s bachelorette party in March and Steffen’s 30th birthday. (So much for hating diary-style blogging.)
Spring and early summer: All of the festivities
My little sister got married on April 1st and since she went full-princess mode, the first few months of 2017 were pretty much dominated by weddings chats.
I wasn’t too involved in the wedding preparations, because I’m not at all talented when it comes to Pinterest-worthy decorations — and because I was the official wedding photographer for the day (which meant the biggest part of the work was going to happen after the actual wedding). The wedding took place in Kassel (2ish hours north of Frankfurt) and we took wedding photos at the pretty little castle of Wilhelmsthal on the most gorgeous spring day.
Wilhemsthal Castle made for a great cheesy background — and I can definitely recommend the surrounding park for a stroll if you ever end up near Kassel
Here’s me trying hard to look like a pro-wedding photographer
When spring returned, my social activities outside of the house revived again as well. My adopted home town of Göttingen hosted its first wine festival, its third beer festival, and its annual culture night. Every other week there was some random festivity happing here and I joked that it almost felt like living in Stars Hollow.
A June of Anniversaries
In early June, Steffen and I had officially been together for a decade — and although we’re usually not big on sappy relationship gestures (I’m very proud that he has never even dared to give me flowers), we do like combing celebrating our anniversary with a trip over the long Pentecost holiday weekend in late May or early June.
After Copenhagen last year (and London the year before and Budapest way back), we (shockingly) decided to stay in Germany and go on an outdoorsy hiking trip. Saxon Switzerland in the Eastern German state of Saxony had been on my Germany wish list for the longest time — and it also caused quite a buzz on social media lately and I was excited to see what the hype was all about.
We certainly weren’t disappointed: The hiking trails were super fun and the natural surroundings were otherworldly stunning. This trip really was a great lesson on how you don’t have to go far to find natural beauty and foreign languages (just kidding, but that Saxon dialect is certainly something).
I’m also impressed with
our former couch potato selves us: We hiked 50 kilometers on 2.5 days although we had to cut our second day hike short because of the craziest non-stop downpour (that also almost killed my phone, may its sound function rest in peace).
I swear Steffen came up with this sassy pose all by himself.
Steffen kept making fun of my super basic yoga poses in the woods — by mocking a half lotus tree pose among trees.
First glimpse of the famous Bastei
Rewarding views on our 27k hike: The Bastei Bridge!
After our hiking weekend in Saxony, Steffen and I took the train south to Munich to spend a weekend with my former room mate Marina. Steffen had never been to central Munich before and my last trip was five years ago (for my 25th birthday) so we had to do a little touristy sightseeing — and Marina sure showed us a hilarious time. (Let’s just say there were some beers involved and we ended up in a piggy-back race situation with a bachelor party from Switzerland.)
Goofing around with Marina in Munich’s beautiful English Garden
Being just a little touristy (and not at all hungover) at Munich’s central Marienplatz
And in other June anniversaries (although I don’t like admitting it): It’s also been ten years since I graduated from high school! My class organized a little get-together and it was so interesting so see how people changed, or rather, hadn’t changed at all throughout the last decade.
I was also glad that I was in a good mental place this year, because reunions tend to be one big comparison party. A few years ago, all those mentions of owning houses, having babies, and making six-figure salaries would have caused major anxiety, but I didn’t feel the need to compare myself (too much) this time. Becoming more content with what you got certainly is a good side of getting older!
Sneaky shot from our class of 2007 comparison fest (and blooming lavender, because June!)
My 30th July
And speaking of becoming older: I turned 30 in early July! And just like last year, I decided to spend in Berlin — partly because I don’t like organizing parties, partly because I was very much overdue for return trip to Berlin.
Weather was a major letdown on that weekend (Berlin literally was flooded the day before we left), but I don’t come to Berlin for sightseeing these days and I was almost glad we had a good excuse to spend two whole days in bars, restaurants, and coffee shops.
Birthday ice cream treats with my friend Kathi! (This being Berlin, it was organic handcrafted artisanal ice cream at a street food festival, of course.)
And my travles through Germany went on in July after that weekend in Berlin: While Steffen biked from Austria to Italy via Slovenia with his guy-friends (yup, there’s the Alps in-between those countries), I traveled to Southern Germany to spend time with my friend Kathi who I met during my time in Lisbon.
Kathi actually lives in Stuttgart (remember the city with this amazing library?), but we decided that we would spend less time downtown and instead explore some surrounding gems in Southern Germany’s wine country.
And thanks to exploring with Kathi, I could check off two big places from my Germany bucket list: Seeing the surreally gorgeous Hohenzollern Castle and the absurdly picturesque town of Tübingen.
Visiting Tübingen was extra special, because my mom actually went to university there, but I had never been before. I already knew that I would love the hippie student town vibe (aka lots of vegan food options considered how small the city is), but I had no idea that the old city center was going to look this cute.
Postcard-perfect Tübingen in Baden-Würtemberg
With Kathi in pretty Tübingen (accidentally twinning)
Student life does look appealing in Tübingen
And since Steffen ended his bike trip across the Alps with a couple of days of beaching in Croatia (aka texting me beach photos while I was stuck in a 50+(!!) hour non-stop rain cloud), I opted for another adventure with one of my girlfriends: Modern art at documenta 14 in Kassel with Iris!
I have written about the famous modern art exhibition five years ago when I visited for the first time (the exhibition only takes place every five years) — and as usual, modern art left me puzzling (and/or giggling) for a greater part of the time, but nonetheless it’s interesting to expose yourself to the current art scene (even as a convinced lover of medieval art).
Refugee boats found in the Mediterranean, turned into giant musical instruments
The most famous documenta installation in downtown Kassel: The Parthenon of Books — built solely with books that are banned all over the world (e.g. Harry Potter, the Bible, Catcher in the Rye)
These were my highlights of the first half 2017 — I hope I didn’t bore you too much with the randomness that is my life these days (especially when I’m not traveling), and I’m very thrilled you actually scrolled down this far .
How was your 2017 thus far?
PS: I know this blog post didn’t provide a lot of useful travel information, but if you enjoyed my photos I’d really appreciate if you shared them on Pinterest to help my grow my (future) photography business. Thank you!