Paris GoPro Video

Bonjour!

Finally had enough time to put together a GoPro video from my recent trip to Paris! Take me back right now!

Until next time, Pareeeee! You are always in-Seine (gosh, I crack myself up! 🙂 )

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Spring Break 2015: Paris, France

For spring break last week, I went to Paris with my mom! #GirlsTrip

We had the absolute best time! We arrived on Sunday morning and left the following Friday. We took the city by storm. We went EVERYWHERE. We took The Big Bus around the city the first two days and I could not recommend it enough. Such a fun and easy way to get around the city to all the major attractions that one wants to see. It was my mom’s first time in Paris and she loved it!

We went everywhere, we saw everything, we ate amazing food, and we walked a ton. One day we walked 14 miles…are we crazy? Some would say yes 🙂 Oh! And on Thursday, we went to Disneyland Paris! It was absolutely magical, everyone! I took a million and one pictures…enjoy!

Loved spending my Spring Break with you, Mommy! It was the absolute best. I love you!

Knoxville, Tennessee

This past week, I visited my friend, Keagan, in Knoxville, Tennessee, her home town! Not only is Keagan a teammate of mine on the Texas Soccer team, she is also one of my roommates in college and were also Pi Phi’s together at Texas. Needless to say, we spend a lot of time together and I am so thankful for her! It was a last minute decision to go with her to Knoxville and the spontaneity of it all made it that much more fun!

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We started our roadtrip to Austin on a Friday afternoon and drove 9 hours to Memphis, Tennessee where we stayed the night with Keagan’s brother at his apartment. He’s in medical school and was studying away for his (really hard) final exams but generously allowed us to crash there for the night. The next morning, we drove to Nashville and stopped for lunch. Our stomach’s growled in anticipation of lunch and instead of eating real food, I opted for some good dessert at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Y’all, I would consider myself an ice cream aficionado and this scoop shop ranks up there as one of my absolute favorites. The flavors are all unique and outrageous. I tried the dark chocolate peppermint, brambleberry crisp, and tart lemon buttermilk. But it did’t stop there, I got a chocolate hazelnut ice cream sandwich, as well. One of my friends who goes to Vanderbilt recommended this place and said I had to get an ice cream sandwich, I happily obliged. Honestly, I say skip the ice cream and go for the sandwich…the one I got was 2 hazelnut-chocolate macarons sandwiched around a scoop of heavenly dark chocolate rolled in salty hazelnuts. My mouth is watering just thinking about it, oh my goodness. #bestdessertever

After our little stint in Nashville, we made it to our final destination: Knoxville! Keagan’s family graciously welcomed up with open arms and I couldn’t have been more excited to have finally made it. It’s a total of 15 hours driving time to Knoxville and I was happy to be out of the car and in a big and spacious home instead of the back seat with our luggage.

IMG_5893_2On our first full day in Knoxville, we went downtown to the Old Tennessee Theatre to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Keagan’s family. The theatre was stunning and the movie was a classic. I’d never seen it before but it was so good!

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After the movie, we went to Tupelo Honey Cafe for a late lunch. The best part about this place: the biscuits, honey, and jam they give you before your food comes out. Y’all, I could have easily eaten a couple of these for my meal. They are flaky and buttery and so delicious. The rest of the afternoon, we shopped for a bit in downtown and that night hung out with Keagan’s friends. So far, so fun.

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The next morning, we slept in and went to breakfast at Long’s Drug’s Store. Its a little pharmacy that serves the best (and cheapest) food. I, of course, got a short stack of the chocolate chip pancakes and they tasted as good as they looked. The est part? My meal was only cost $3.35. What? Yes, not lying.

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After breakfast, Keagan took me on a little tour of Knoxville. We went to the University of Tennessee soccer fields and found a picture of our assistant coach at Texas, Keeley Dowling, at the stadium. Hey Keels! After that, she took me around campus and we explored Sorority Village and Fraternity Park. Really cool. It was really funny, all week people would ask me where I go to college and I instantly say UT. Well, UT in Tennessee always refers to The University of Tennessee. I would always have to correct myself and let people know I go to the real UT, The University of Texas at Austin. #winkwink

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Later that afternoon, we went hiking to the top of House Mountain. The scenery in Tennessee is so beautiful and there is so much green everywhere…a little bit different than Dallas and Austin, amirite?

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As a treat for climbing a mountain, we went to Ham’n Goodies for their famous iced lemon cookies. You think, how good cold these simple iced lemon cookies be? AMAZING. So delicious, I could’ve easily eaten a dozen over the course of a day. But I didn’t…although I wish I had a couple of those cookies right about now.

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After a full day, we went back the house and watched Harry Potter while working on a huge puzzle (Keagan worked, I watched…). Quite an ideal night.

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The next day we drove out to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. About an hour outside of Knoxville, these cities are super touristy and country. We saw our fair share of rednecks which always made me laugh. On the side of the road, they have these mountain roller coasters that are like luges. We decided to stop and go on one and it was one of the best decisions we made that afternoon. The luge was so fun and you whip around turns while making your way down the mountain. It was such a random stop but proved to be a highlight of the day!

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I couldn’t go to Tennessee without trying some moonshine. I had the opportunity to go to a moonshine tasting! Don’t be fooled, however, I only took baby shots of 5 types before calling it quits. Moonshine is definitely not my favorite thing in the world. Yuck.

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Also in Gatinburg, we took the ski lift up to the top and got off to see the entire city. It was chilly that day, as you can tell by our jackets and sweaters! Once we got back to the bottom, we made a B-line to the closest Starbucks to warm up with hot coffee and tea. We met up with a couple of Keagan’s friends and had dinner and then went to look at Christmas lights.

After some more fun in the city the next couple of days, I had to get back to Dallas to see my own family! I flew back (roadtrips can only happen so often for me…) and arrived back in Texas this past Thursday night.

Knoxville is an awesome city and I have nothing but good things to say about it. The people are friendly, the landscapes are beautiful, and the food is tasty. Thanks you so much Keagan for letting me stay with you and your family! I had the BEST time! Let’s hope it’s not the last time I am able to visit…I’ll be back to foxy knoxy for sure!

Out and About with Texas Soccer

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Being on the University of Texas soccer team has certain perks. Not going to elaborate on all of those right now but one of them happens to be that when we officially pass our fitness tests we get enough gear, clothing, and equipment to outfit ourselves in burnt orange, white, black, and gray everywhere we go. The day lives in infamy as “The Burnt Orange Christmas.” It’s a lovely occasion. Given that situation, we always look professional and match when we go places as a team. Particularly when we’re traveling, you’ll see 28 girls at the airport matching from head to toe…from the shirt to the shoes to the backpack. While we sometimes roll our eyes at having to match as if were 2 year olds, what happens when we go places as a group is quite comical….

YOU SHOULD SEE THE STARES WE GET. We walk through the terminal to our gate or through a resturant and people will just gawk at us. Straight stare without any inhibition. Mind you, practically all of our stuff has “Texas Soccer” embroidered on it loud and proud but no matter how much soccer stuff we seem to be sporting, someone always, ALWAYS asks us if we’re the volleyball team. We smile and say, “Nooo, we’re actually the soccer team, but thanks!” Then we causally walk away and laugh and shake our heads. Do we look like the volleyball team? Hello, I don’t think so. We’re not skyscrapers and there are people on our team who are only a little taller than 5 feet. You obviously haven’t seen our volleyball team because those girls look down on us. Oy vey!

The next thing that seems to happen is that the person you sit next to on the plane or meet at the hotel will somehow know something about soccer and have a little conversation with you. Most likely, the conversation will end and they’ll ask: “Do you happen to know so-and-so? She’s on the Texas soccer team.” I normally just shake my head and politely say, “No, I don’t know her. Is she on the club team? This is the NCAA Division 1 school team.” The person then says, “Oh, well she’s on that one, I know.” Then I start to smile and nod and just agree so that I can pop in my headphones and go to sleep on the plane. Please let the conversation be over. But I just think in my head, HELLO person, I spend 24/7 with my teammates, I think I’d know if your little friend was on the team…..but, hey, what do I know? Apparently nothing.

Finally, the last thing that happens when we travel in a big group, people will ask…”so what state are you ladies from?” Ok, ok, ok. Everything we own, everything we wear, everything we do basically has Texas written somewhere on, a longhorn symbol, something that distinguishes us as Texas. The longhorn logo, as well as our school color, burnt orange, is so recognizable amongst colleges and people in general that you should just know that we’re from Texas. Have you been living under a rock for the last 100 years? You. Should. Know. Most recently, we went to Tampa, Florida and someone asked if we were from University of Tampa. Ummmmm, no. Mind you, this was the receptionist at our hotel sooooooooooooo, you should know that we’re not University of Tampa. And why would we be staying in a hotel in Tampa if were from Tampa. People boggle my mind sometimes.

So. Warning for you all: if you ever see the Texas SOCCER team walking around in your part of the country, look at our shirts and backpacks and try to recognize us first before asking mundane questions. We will be very polite to you but when you turn your back, expect to be laughed at. It’s all part of the fun! We love it! Hook ’em Horns!

Hawaiian GoPro Video

Hey y’all! First off, can you believe it’s September 1st? Where on earth did August go? I’m actually okay with it, though. September means football games and sooner (or maybe later in Texas) comes the fall temperatures but most importantly the fall fashion. #myfavorite 

But enough about fall, let’s get to the more important things! As y’all know, I brought my GoPro to Hawaii with me and have created a video encompassing our time on the island! This was my first time making a GoPro video and it was so much fun. I can’t wait to do more in the future!

Hope y’all loved it! Got any tips and tricks to using a GoPro or using iMovie to make everything even more spectacular? Please share! And have a lovely Labor Day, everybody!

Brinks

Texas Soccer in Hawaii: Part 2

Let’s see, let’s see…where did I leave off the last time? Oh, that’s right…I was contemplating whether or not I would return from Hawaii as a soccer playing surfer chick. Well, sorry to disappoint you friends. But Texas Soccer is officially back in Austin and there are no hula skirts or surfboards in sight. Oh well, instead you’ll find me in chino short and checkered button-downs from J.Crew… #prepster

But enough about Austin let me tell you about the rest of our time in Hawaii! We awoke Saturday morning after a hard fought battle against Arizona State resulting in a tie. All of our bodies a little sore, we headed down to breakfast anxious to see what fun the day would store. Well the fun started right then and there because the breakfast at our hotel was the bomb.com. All of us munched on fresh Hawaiian pineapple, acai bowls, the absolute fluffiest pancakes, and plenty of eggs and bacon. After our bellies were sufficiently full, our coach surprised us with our first adventure of the day. We were going to hike Diamond Head Mountain. What better way to burn off those calories we just devoured than a fun hike that ending with an overlook of Waikiki Beach?! Count me in. We took a bus to the trail and made our way to the top. Climbing steps and uneven surface, we eventually made it to the peak and took enough selfies and pictures to last a lifetime. Seriously though, the ladies of Texas Soccer are selfie-loving-picture-taking machines. Give us a camera and it’s go time. The view from the top was breathtaking. Our pictures definitely don’t do the view justice.

After wrecking enough havoc on the top of the mountain, we made our way back to the base where the aura of cold water and plenty of air condition awaited us on the bus. We filed into the bus for the announcement of adventure #2 of the day: free time at the beach! But the best part? Ange said she would allow us to go standup paddle boarding and boogie boarding! Getting back to the hotel, we sprinted up to our rooms and changed into our suits as quickly as possible. After a short 5-minute walk to the paddle and boogie boarding rental area, we all ventured out into the open ocean. Now, here in Austin they have standup paddle boarding on Town Lake. That in now way prepared us for what we were about to experience in the ocean. The waves were insane and most of us found ourselves falling off our boards than standing on them. It was so much fun though! When we eventually got the hang of it all and were fortunate enough to stand up and maneuver through the waves, we took a quick picture for proof then normally a wave would come and we’d fall off screaming and laughing the whole time. In my defense, holding both my GoPro and my paddle was somewhat tricky so maybe that’s why I fell of so freaking much. It was a blast but it was exhausting. After a couple of hours in the ocean and sunshine (and a little bit of sunburn), we got back to our hotel for a quick lunch. Looking haggard from the constant hit of wave after wave, we took showers and emerged a couple hours later looking fabulous. Lovely what a shower and a dab of makeup can do for some of us! 🙂

We then made the scenic walk over to Hard Rock CafĂ© for a little din din as a big Texas Soccer family. Arriving just in time for our reservation, we walked into the rockin’ restaurant and ate some rather yummy food. I got some steak with a side of broccoli and mashed taters and it was yum yum in my tum tum. We even celebrated our sweet manager’s birthday with lots of singing and laughing! It was fantastic. Tired from the long but amazing day, we went to bed rather early that night with much ease. 

Sunday morning came around and we got dressed and ready for a light practice. After practice we got some sandwiches for lunch and we’re given a little free time to shop, shop, shop, shop until we dropped. We stayed in an area of Honolulu that was surrounded by the stores of amazing designers and retailers. You name it, they had a store for it. Needless to say, our bank accounts suffered a little that afternoon. Ha! We came back to our hotel with our new souvenirs and other knick-knacks to watch some film and talk about our upcoming game versus University of Hawaii. After film, ice baths, and other some other rehab we got dinner and then sooner than later we found it time for bed. I swear the bed of rocks and found it comfortable because we found ourselves so freaking tired at night!

After our final night in Hawaii, we got up at 9 on Monday morning and went downstairs for some breakfast and then went back to our rooms to pack up all our stuff. Still not sure how I fit everything in my suitcase…I brought so much stuff. I still think I deserve a pat on the back. Most importantly though, Monday was game day and we were all preparing to play Hawaii that night! Fast forward to game time at 5 o’clock, we beat Hawaii 2-1 and booked it to the airport for a redeye to Austin that night. All in a wonderful mood from a win and a great trip to Hawaii, we got some celebratory ice cream at the airport before boarding the plane to make the journey back to Austin! Basically we loaded up on sugar before taking Tylenol PM so we could all sleep on the plane. Makes so much sense, right? Mahalo Hawaii for such an amazing trip and even better memories!

Texas Soccer in Hawaii: Part 1

ALOHA HAWAII!

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Texas Soccer is officially in the land of Hawaiian floral shirts, pineapples, Puka shell necklaces, coconuts, sandy toes, and plenty of sunshine! Can you say tanning, exploring, shopping, eating,

Let me not get ahead of myself, however… It all started Wednesday in the wee hours of the morning when we all met at our field house at 6 a.m. to depart for the airport. Let’s just say the excitement and realization that we were going to Hawaii had not yet sunk in because we all were still half asleep. We arrived at the airport and lounged for a bit before boarding our plane. Here’s where the real adventure starts: we board the plane around 8:15 for our 8:45 flight to Phoenix with a connecting flight to Honolulu. Well, something went wrong with the plane so we have to take all of our belongings and de-board the plane and wait until the mechanics can fix the problem! We all get a little anxious because, hello, our final destination isn’t Phoenix! We finally departed an hour later than scheduled and make it to Arizona. The flight attendants and pilots held our connecting flight for us because we we’re so late and would have missed it otherwise! We sprint to the correct terminal and gate and arrive on the plane sweating a little only to walk on and see that the Arizona State soccer team is on the plane as well. For those of you who don’t know, our first game in Hawaii is against the Arizona State Sun Devils. We put on our game faces and walk right past them like we own the place. Confidence is key, ladies and gentlemen! We settle into our seats and prepare for the 6-hour flight to Honolulu. Some of us slept, others watched movies, and a couple played some Sudoku. In the end though, we made it to the Aloha state with all our bags and plenty of smiles! We’re hereeeeee, everyone! We ventured to our hotel and then went for a little jog at the beach before heading back to the hotel for some much needed showers. Because of the time difference, all of us were a little sluggish but when the coaches said they were taking us to a Hibachi place for dinner, our stomachs began to growl and we got a second boost of energy. We all chowed down as if it were our last meal ever…the food was so delicious. Once all of us were in sufficient food comas, we mosied back to our beautiful hotel and passed out. A big bed and a comfy pillow has never been such a lovely sight. I don’t think any of us had trouble getting to sleep that night!

 

We woke up the next morning feeling oh-so refreshed. Since this is a business trip for soccer first and foremost, we headed out for a light practice and technical session. Having a good and focused practice, we were then surprised with a little afternoon excursion: we were going to Pearl Harbor! We got there just in time for our tour at 1:45 and what an amazing afternoon it proved to be. Learning about the history of Pearl Harbor and stepping on the memorial site for the USS Arizona gave us all chills. We all gained more respect and admiration for our armed forces and those who lived through the attack on Pearl Harbor and the events following it. It was a very sobering experience for all. After Pearl Harbor, the fun afternoon continued! Ange said we had 2 hours of free time. Free time meaning we all hopped into our swimsuits and headed to the beach!!! The crystal blue water had been taunting us since our arrival and we finally got to go enjoy it! There was an extra pep in our step on the walk to the shore. Rushing to put sunscreen on, we sprinted into the water and didn’t come out until it was dinnertime! It was an absolute blast. Being on a collegiate soccer team gets very competitive at times and this translates to both on and off the field. Some of my teammates challenged one another to see how far they could go into the ocean…needless to say, out competitive spirits came out and it was a race to see who could make it out the farthest in the ocean. Some of my teammates went so far out that from the shore, we couldn’t see them over the waves. They made is back (eventually) and recounted their stories of exploring the deep dark sea. Ha! We came back to the hotel and our dinner was awaiting us. We all ate by the lovely pool at the hotel where there was a live band playing Hawaiian music. We all enjoyed the sights, the sounds, our dinner, and just relaxed for a bit.  That night we had a quick team meeting and then once Ange said “Goodnight!” we all B-lined it straight to our rooms for a quick shower and bed! Being on the go all day really makes your appreciate a good night’s sleep, let me tell ya.

We awoke on Friday morning and all had a little more excitement than normal because it’s officially game day!! We went downstairs for breakfast (the pineapple here in Hawaii is really better than anywhere else, I promise…) and ate some tasty food before having a quick morning pep talk with the coaches. We play the Arizona State Sun Devils tonight at 7 o’clock! We are super pumped and ready to go!

Stay tuned for another blog post in the coming days so you can stay up to date with all of our Hawaiian adventures. Who knows, they next time I write to y’all it might be decided that we all might never want to leave the islands! I think we’re slowly but surely turning into soccer playing surfer chicks…stay tuned.

Hook ‘em Horns from Hawaii,

Brinks

London, England

‘Ello, mates! We’ve made it to the last post for my European summer travels this summer. Rome, Venice, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich and now London! But what a happy end it will be! After a short flight from Munich, we arrived  in London, England! My favorite place in the world! This was my third trip to England. It was Emily’s second and Rachel’s first. Thankfully, Rachel loves to explore a city by walking around and delving into the locals things to do versus hitting up all the English tourist attractions. Been there, done that. So basically, Emily and I just got to show her our favorite spots in the city and find some new ones as well! We’re like locals, I tell you, locals. We wish. Brace yourselves, though, this post has a million and one pictures because…well, just because it’s quite necessary! Enjoy!

We started our time in London with a trip to Harrod’s. I love Harrods. There are so many people filing in and out of all the rooms and floors…it’s quite easy to get lost. Although everyone working there are always so cordial and happy to give directions. Thank goodness. We picked up some delicious desserts and roamed around taking it all in. Oh! And Rachel had her first ever French macaron! Thank you, LadurĂ©e! She fell in love with them, duh. [Side note: still trying to perfect my macaron recipe, more on that later though.]

The next day we headed over to Fortnum and Mason for high tea. Never fails to be one of my favorite parts of the trip. Everything is so dainty and girly…and quintessentially British. Win, win, win! After tea, we were in a huge food coma and decided to walk towards Westminster Abbey to say hello to Big Ben. He was looking mighty fine so we had to take some selfies with him. After that, we headed to Covent Garden for some shopping.

Throughout our time in London we had the chance to have dinner at The Hurlingham Club with one of our dear friends from London. For those of you who don’t know, The Hurlingham Club is the most exclusive sports and social club located in the center of the city. So, Rachel, Emily, and I put our posh pants on for the night and imagined we were dining with royals. Darlings, we walked through the gardens and sashayed through the beautiful cricket fields. We had the best time acting all proper. Only the best for us Americans, you see. [If you’re reading this Zo, thanks again for taking us! We had the most amazing time with you! xoxo.]

We spent four days in London and it was so relaxing. Wandering around the city knowing generally where things are located was fabulous. Finding new little pockets with precious flats and immaculately dressed people was lovely. I didn’t want to leave! But my wardrobe proved to have more dirty clothes than clean and my family was greatly missed. Until next time Londontown, cheerio!

Like I mentioned earlier, if you hadn’t read about my previous trips to London, read about them here and here!

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Munich, Germany

A hop, skip, and a jump over from Salzburg (more like an hour and a half train ride), we found ourselves in Munich.

Upon arriving, our stomachs told us to get our butts to a restaurant pronto and we ended up at Augustiner BrĂ€u, Munich’s oldest brewery. We sat down and immediately liked this place. Instead of the typical chips and salsa us Texans are used to at our favorite Mexican food restaurants, they serve pretzels! Winner in my book thus far. Then straight after you take a bite, a server comes over and asks “Liter or half liter?” Takes us a minute for to realize he’s talking about beer (duh #blondemoment) and all of us say, half liter…I mean, my goodness, we’d be stumbling out of the place after a liter in the middle of the day! Emily and I split the Mix pan of Specialties. This meal included a breast of duck, knuckle of pork, roasted pork, red cabbage and a potato dumpling. All of this was slathered in gravy. Good thing we split it, our meal was huge! It was fan-freaking-tastic. Definitely ranks as one of my favorite meals of the entire trip. We were all in a food coma once we finally decided to leave but boy-oh-boy was it worth it.

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After that, we mosied our way back to our hostel to plan what the next couple of days were going to look like. Thinking that we were going have an early night and lots of rest to prepare for the days ahead, that was pushed to the wayside when we decided to go to a beer garden that night for some typical German fun! The atmosphere at the beer garden is great, everyone is laughing and talking and having a jolly good time. We met some guys from America and talked with them until the beer garden closed in the wee hours of the morning! When we finally made it back to our place, our beds were singing our names. Come to sleeeeep, Brinkley. However, after our night I’ve put returning to Germany during Oktoberfest on my bucket list. Crazy, yes.

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The next day, we walked to Marienplatz, the heart of Munich. Being Munich’s main square, we did a bit of shopping here and there. Then, we made it to the Rathaus-Glockenspiel just in time for the clock to chime at 11 a.m. and for the tourist attraction to follow. Everyday at 11 o’clock, the huge clock chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 16th century to hundreds of people watching everyday. It’s one of Munich’s major tourist attractions, but really it’s not that big of deal. Here’s a YouTube video, you can decide for yourself.

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After seeing the song and dance of the Glockenspiel, we decide to split up for the afternoon. Megan wanted to go explore some churches, Emily needed to go work on an essay, and Rachel and I just wanted to wander. We ended up finding ourselves in an open air market, of course (markets are our favorites!). It started to rain and we ran for some cover from the rain. We ended up at a little cafe that served homemade soup…rain+soup=perfect! Well, the menu was in German and no one behind the counter spoke any English so we ordered what the person in front of us got…thankfully it was tomato basil soup and it was delicious. It warmed us up a bit but after lunch we found ourselves at an ice cream stand. And we can’t resist ice cream, so we’re back to square one with being cold. But the rain has subsided so we were good, ice cream is always a good decision. After ice cream, we continued to walk around and found some other fun things…including beautiful flowers and pretzels bigger than my face!

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That night, we reunited for dinner. At this point, we were all kinda over heavy German food, so where do we end up? At a Chinese restaurant! How’s that for changing things up? At the Fire Dragon Lounge, they’re known for their hot pots. A pot of seasoned broth is brought to the table and there is a large buffet with everything from vegetables to seafood to meat. While the hot pot is kept simmering at the stove on your table, you place your ingredients into the pot and they are cooked right there. It’s really fun! And it proved to be some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever had…go figure!

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The next morning, we sadly had to part ways. Emily, Rachel, and I were scheduled to take a flight to London and Megan a train to Switzerland to meet up with her mom who had flown in from the US. After a quick breakfast, we made our way to the airport. Off to my favorite place on earth with two of my best friends. Londontown, we’re coming for ya next!

Danke, Germany!

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Salzburg, Austria

The hillllllllssssss are aliiiiiiiiive with the sound of muuuuuuusssssic.

If you can imagine four girls singing the entire Sound of Music soundtrack for 2 days straight, then you can pretty much imagine our entire trip to Salzburg.

ImageSalzburg, Austria is home to The Sound of Music, my friends. It is also home to some of the cheeriest people, delicious desserts, and beautiful mountains as well. For our first full day there, we had a half-day tour scheduled. In preparation for this, we, of course, watched The Sound of Music the night before so as to be fully ready to spot Maria and the Von Trapp children skipping and singing down the roads in perfect harmony. The morning came faster than expected and we were up and at ’em. Jonathan, our tour guide, came and picked us up from our hostel at 8:45 in the morning, and then started a day of exploring…and singing, and acting like Maria, and just annoying the general public of Salzburg with our “ooh’s and ahh’s” of everything around us. Don’t mind us, folks!

First stop: the magnificent Palace of Leopoldskron (say that 10 times fast). This palace is one of the Von Trapp residences used for filming.

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After seeing the residence and the surrounding lake area, we headed to Hellbrunn Palace to see the Gazebo. You all know what Gazebo I’m talking about…I am sixteen, going on seventeen! Yes, yes, the one where Liesl and Rolf sing at night and have a little romantic love scene! Considering we’re not allowed inside the Gazebo, Megan and Emily so graciously recreated the scene for us (as seen in the picture below). 

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And here’s me dramatically running and dancing and doing my best Maria von Trapp impression while singing The Hills are Alive. Let’s say I got some funny looks from the local onlookers and toursists. #MariaVonTrappWannabe

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After taking way too many selfies, we hopped into our car and headed off to the next part: a toboggan ride!!! Yes, a toboggan ride down a chute on the side of a beautiful Salzburg mountain. I decided I’m quitting soccer and am joining the USA toboggan team for the 2016 Olympics. It’s happening. Emily and I went together on a 2 person toboggan. This was definitely my favorite part of the day! And while I couldn’t take pictures while zooming down the mountain for fear of losing my phone, here are some pictures while going to the top with such anticipation and excitement!

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Our adrenaline rush was at an all time high so Jonathan took us to a local village, St. Gilgen, for some traditional Austrian desserts. The cafe with these homemade desserts sits on the side of the mountain overlooking Salzkammergut, a beautiful lake! We sat out on the patio and enjoyed the sunshine and ate and ate some more. All four of us shared a piece of currant crumble cake and apple strudel a la mode. Both desserts were so satisfying. It was hard resisting seconds…

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After a nice sugar rush, we made our final stop of the day to the parish church of Mondsee. This is where Maria Von Trapp walks down the aisle to get married!  But never mind the church (it was beautiful, yes) but let’s talk about the people in the church. On the particular day we visited, there was a confirmation that had just ended and hundred and parents were walking around celebrating their children. And you know what they we’re wearing? Lederhosen and dirndl dresses…yes, super traditional Austrian clothes that all of us thought were a joke at first to please tourists and our idea of their culture. Nope, this is their everyday wear y’all. Our jaws dropped. We couldn’t believe it, it was awesome! I wish I would’ve gotten some good pictures but honestly I was stunned that I couldn’t get my act together in time before we had to leave! But Jonathan, our tour guide, wore lederhosen, no worries!

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We bombarded Jonathan with a million and one questions as we drove back to the city center. At this point, our tour was over and the four of us explored the old city the rest of the afternoon. Salzburg is so quaint and lovely. If you’re in Austria, it’s 100% worth the trip. I thought about buying a dirndl dress and lederhosen for a souvenir but then thought, I think I’d look a little out of place in Austin if I wore that around…

Oh! And that night for dinner we had some beer, brats, and pretzels. But honestly, my brats tasted like hotdogs. So, I say that I had gourmet Austrian hotdogs. Don’t tell the people of Salzburg, though, they might get offended.

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Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye for now!