Trip Report IV: Munich (Oktoberfest)

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

Part I (Paris), part II (Brussels), part III (London).

With London behind us, it was time for our week of vacation to begin.  We started our vacation with a stopover in Munich for, you guessed it, Oktoberfest.

Let me just say that photo taking was a total fail.  Okay, maybe just a general fail.  I did get some pictures.  But I did not in any way manage to capture the scene like I hoped I would.  Maybe the scene wasn’t meant to be captured.  My white whale?  Perhaps it’s something best left to oral history (boy, the stories I could tell you!).

I do know one thing, I’m totally going back and totally am going to try and get more pictures.  You know, for science.

We were in Munich for a day and a half and our time was exclusively spent at Oktoberfest.  Someday we’ll go back and actually see Munich.  Someday!

We landed and headed straight for the Wiesn.  Not sure where you’re going?  Your best bet is to follow the lederhosen and dirdls.

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

And wow, wow, wow.  It was amazing.  There are these huge beer “tents” that hold thousands of people.

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

Did I mention it was beer + carnival rides?  No, we did not ride the rides.  I thought it was best to not after drinking.

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

I was mesmerized by how many beers waitstaff could carry in one hand!  Even empty, the liter steins were heavy!  Next time I need to take the shotgun approach and get lots of waitstaff photos so maybe I’ll end up with one good one after the chaos.

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

Here’s another attempt at stein photography.  Yes, stein photography is a thing (according to me).

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

We had our first beers in a beer garden outside of one of the big tents.  You must be seated in order to be served, so we had to find a space and make friends.

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

Inside the tents was huge.  And crazy.  And fun.  During the day people sit.  In the evening, the music gets louder and everyone stands on their benches.  Most of the music was German, but they work some English-language songs in there so we got to participate in belting out lyrics, including these ones.

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

When I would say Oktoberfest, people would say: sausage!  Yes, we had plenty of sausage, but chicken is the thing.  Check out this wall of rotisseries — we saw them in every tent we visited!

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

So so so good.  We split a half chicken and plate of spaetzle for lunch on my birthday.

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

Thank goodness I already own a beer stein or else I would have been tempted to buy one of these and take it home.  And then we would have gotten a divorce over suitcase space.

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

The whirlwind ended just as quickly as it began!

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

And just like that, we were on to our next destination.

Mr. P and I just returned from a 25-day trip to Europe (work + fun).  It’s the longest we’ve ever been away from home and I’m sharing each stop in a blog post with some of the hundreds of pictures we took.  Doing my best not to include photos already Instagrammed. Stay tuned for Istanbul next.

Munich Oktoberfest Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

Scrapbook Layout: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerThanksgiving Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerThanksgiving Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

The Story: My nephew was still new and squishy, so Mr. P and I went to my Sister-in-Law‘s house and cooked them Thanksgiving dinner.  It was a lot of exciting firsts: my nephew’s first Thanksgiving, our first time cooking a turkey, good stuff.

Repeating a Concept: Same idea here as with my football roadtrip page.  The photos vary in size but hug an invisible line down the middle of the page.

Fall Colors: I wanted to use fall colors, but not the elementary school Thanksgiving palette.  Know what I mean?  The colors that you make a construction paper turkey out of.  Anyway, I wanted something that wasn’t brown/orange/yellow.  I searched “fall colors” on Pinterest and love this olive/burgundy/mustard combo!

Thanksgiving Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Fonts: Oswald (headline) | Tools: Silhouette SD (headlines, logo), Epson Stylus R2000 (photos) | Supplies: Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook (scrapbook & pages), Epson Semigloss Photo Paper (photos), Simple Stories/SN@P Color Vibe/Green Dot/Stripe, Fancy Pants Designs/What a Wonderful Day/Remarkable (patterned paper) | Keepsakes Included: none.

Trip Report III: London

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Read Part I here and Part II here.

London calling.

Our week in London was all work, but we had the weekend to look around.  We’ve been to London once before and have hit the major sites.  We were so busy this time — you won’t find photos of Westminster or Big Ben.

On the other hand, we got to do some things that were left off the list last time.

We’d originally planned an EPL game on Saturday, but none of the games available in London were that great.  Mr. P turned over Saturday plans to me.  Left to my devices, we did this:

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Last time we were there, the Palace was closed.  It’s only open to visitors when the Queen is on summer vacation.  I jumped on it and got tickets!

Sunday we stopped at the Tower of London to see the poppy installation.  I’d read a lot about it and and was so glad we got to see it in person.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

The poppies, which are still being installed, each represent one British or Commonwealth fatality from World War I.  It was incredibly moving.  Read a great article about the installation here — it includes information on purchasing one of the poppies to benefit charity.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

From there, we took a boat to Greenwich.  Such a cute place!

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

We walked up to the observatory, bought a ticket, and patiently queued up with other tourists so we could get our picture taken on the Prime Meridian.  I’m calling this the European equivalent of seeing a giant ball of twine on a roadtrip — sort of anti-climactic but you must get your photo taken anyway!

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Then it was back to work work work.  We commuted to our jobs via Tube with the rest of London.  Did I mention I love public transportation?  Even if it’s sweltering and need of ventilation.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

My office is in Victoria and I cut through the Victoria train station to get to work every day.  The amount of hustle and bustle and people trying to get every which way is astounding.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I didn’t take many pictures during the week though I’m sure you’d love to see pictures of my laptop.

Mr. P worked in a different part of the city and snapped this photo.  Sometimes when you are working it’s easy to slip away and forget you’ve traveled to a great city.  Mr. P was walking near his office and boom!  There was St. Paul’s.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Incidentally, I’ve had Mary Poppins music in my head since seeing Saving Mr. Banks on the plane.  This is appropriate given the location, right?

Our last night, we headed to East London.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

We heard about a street food event and that Friday was the last one of the season.  Lucky us, again!

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

We broke our longstanding rule to never eat Mexican food east of the Mississippi River (if you’re from California, you’ll understand) because these tacos looked very promising.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I suspect (I know) that they had this place styled to make it so very Instagrammable.  Don’t care!  I took tons of pictures.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

We had a date on Lufthansa the next morning so we made it an early night.

This pub was right outside our home Tube station.  I’d been eyeing it the whole trip and I got a picture on our last night.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

I always seem to be insanely busy when I’m in London, both with work and play.  We’ll be back!

But we hurried away because we had a very exciting weekend in Munich ahead.

Mr. P and I just returned from a 25-day trip to Europe (work + fun).  It’s the longest we’ve ever been away from home and I’m sharing each stop in a blog post with some of the hundreds of pictures we took.  Doing my best not to include photos already Instagrammed.  Stay tuned for Munich next.

London Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Get Your Voting Sign!

Free Printable Voting Sign by Natalie Parker

I don’t know about you, but the midterm election is in full swing in my neighborhood.  I’m already done with the robocalls.  Seriously, do those things even work?

More and more of us are voting early or voting from home.  If you’ve voted, pat yourself on the back and head over here to download one of my “I’ve/We’ve Voted” signs for your front door.  It’ll help out those folks door-knocking for last minute votes!

Free Printable Voting Sign by Natalie Parker

Europe Travel Journal

Europe Travel Journal by Natalie Parker

Above, my Europe travel journal pictured at the top of the Marriott Istanbul Şişli.  That is, before I spilled water on it by placing an unsealed bottle in my purse while rushing to get downstairs and into a cab when we realized we left Mr. P’s credit card at a restaurant in the Old City.  It held together though and I finished recording the rest of the trip without a problem.

I don’t keep travel journals for every trip.  I certainly don’t make them for business trips.  This trip was a grey area — business plus fun.  I decided it was so epic that I had to make an exception.  Being gone for 25 days, I’m sure I wouldn’t remember all the details.  I didn’t document everything that happened on workdays, just that I worked and what we did in the evenings.

Documenting takes so much time and honestly, there are points in the trip where I’d rather be relaxing, reading, or something else.  We had such little downtime that anytime I could get a few minutes, I started writing.

Will all of this matter later?  Why do I do this?  Should I keep doing this?  Then I get home and have this tiny little booklet full of all the details and I’m so glad I did.

More: How to make your own travel journal.  Read more about why I keep a travel journal. For this journal, I used this paper by Fancy Pants Designs.

Trip Report II: Brussels

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

Read Part I here.

Where we left off, I was finishing up work in Paris.  I had another week of work in London ahead of me, but I was missing one important thing.  What could that be . . . . oh that’s right, my husband!

Mr. P left to work in Brussels when I started my work in Paris.  I headed over to Brussels to meet him for the day and then it was on to London.

We could have just met in London, you say.  I went to Brussels because I wanted to visit again and because chocolate.  It’s that simple.

I had some lofty goals for less than 24 hours, including:

  1. Get there.
  2. Buy chocolate.
  3. Eat some frites.
  4. Buy some gifts.
  5. Eat a Belgian stew.
  6. Have some beers, namely at Delirium and not fall asleep there like I did last time.

Mission accomplished!  Usually my ambitions plans don’t pan out so well.

First order of business was lunch.  Mr. P did some homework on frites stands and as it turns out, you have to leave the touristy areas to find a good one.  Off we went on the tram!  It was worth it.  We got some great frites and sat in a park to enjoy them.

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

We rode the bus to another area to visit a chocolatier recommended by Mr. P’s coworkers.  It did not disappoint.

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

I’m glad we got out of the touristy area.  I was meh on Brussels before but it really charmed me this time when I got the chance to look around.

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

We agreed that Brussels isn’t so much a destination city (you can see the big sights in a day) but it is a very livable city.  It’s just a notch down from the hectic idea of Paris or London but still very European.  Since we live in Oakland and not San Francisco, go figure that we’d make this assessment.

Anyway, we continued to wander.

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker 7

And wander.  This was tucked back in an alley with a few shops.

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

It was definitely fall but the weather was beautiful.  Mr. P’s coworkers reminded him that the weather wasn’t normally that nice.  It’s more like Seattle except darker, he said.

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

We wandered back to Grand Place so I could pick up some more candy and gifts.

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

Mr. P got himself a waffle.

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

Grand Place really is beautiful and the people watching is fantastic.  Last time we were there the temperature was just above freezing and it was unpleasant to be outside.  This time it was a totally different scene.

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

The weather was so nice that we sat and had a beer while catching each other up on our respective weeks.  Very nice way to do “how was your day, dear?”

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

Mr. P found a great place that does Belgian classics so I could have my stew.  If you’ve ever had boeuf bourgiugnon before, this is very similar except it’s made with beer instead of wine.

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

We finished off our night at Delirium, which holds the Guinness World Record for most varieties of beer commercially available.  This place is beer heaven.  Pure beer heaven.  And people watching heaven, I might add.

Last time we were here I legit fell asleep sitting up.  We’d been running ourselves into the ground traveling and I was so very tired.  I wanted to stay up and enjoy this place and was getting cranky because I didn’t want to be tired.  Just imagine a tired toddler.  I’m so glad we got to go back and have a great time.  Below is a picture of the ceiling: beer trays.

Brussels Snapshots Fall 2014 by Natalie Parker

And just like that, we were on our way again.  Brussels, you really did charm me this time.

Mr. P and I just returned from a 25-day trip to Europe (work + fun).  It’s the longest we’ve ever been away from home and I’m sharing each stop in a blog post with some of the hundreds of pictures we took.  Doing my best not to include photos already Instagrammed.  Stay tuned for London next.

Brussels Fall 2014 Snapshots by Natalie Parker

Scrapbook Layout: Niece’s Birthday

Kids Birthday Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerKids Birthday Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

The Story: My little niece turned 2!

Keep it Simple: Kind of like her brother’s layout earlier, I spent a ton of time laboring over this page.  Experiment with rounded corners?  Make the photos black and white so they look more nostalgic?  I know, pretty much everything I do is labored, but it was moreso here.  In the end, squares always work and I love how it looks!

New Color Combos: I’m really starting to make use of my Scrapbook Colors pinboard to stretch outside color combos I use all the time.

Kids Birthday Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Fonts: Nevis (letters), Futura MD (number) | Tools: Silhouette SD (headline), Epson Stylus R2000 (photos) | Supplies: Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook (scrapbook & pages), Epson Semigloss Photo Paper (photos), Webster’s Pages/Citrus Squeeze/Backyard Fun (patterned paper) | Keepsakes Included: none.