Farewell 2018

It’s hard to believe we’ve closed another year already. Our time still has the capacity to simultaneously race by in the blink of an eye and slow to the pace of a snail, stretching out to an eternity.

2018 was rich in experiences, rife with emotions and full of change and opportunity. The time is a push-pull between courting and embracing change and fighting to stay the same.

With every new experience we see how fortunate we are and yet we find ourselves longing for what was left behind.

While time races by for Manolo & I, we know that the measure of time for the kids is wholly different, moments of happiness flying by, light as air. Moments of unhappiness dragging on, held back by the sheer weight of it all.

Ideally what each of us will be able to do, in the face of a bright, shiny new year, is to identify those parts of ourselves which resonate, which ring true. Those parts we wish to bring along, to continue to feed and grow, those parts which feed our becoming.

And that we can gracefully let go of those parts of ourselves which no longer feed us. We can thank them for all they’ve taught us, all they helped us weather through, and let them go.

The New Year will promise more change, more opportunity, more experiences. We will ideally greet them with our best selves and with a readiness to let them further shape our becoming.

When we are our absolute luckiest, our friends are here to share these experiences. Sharing this Christmas and New Years with our besties from home made our hearts feel whole again. It sets our New Year off to the very best start possible, grounded in the knowledge that our friendships span even the greatest distances.

We welcomed them with a surprise on Christmas Eve, celebrated Christmas together in our home and then set out for an epic 1,700km road trip. Stops along the way included:

Füssen , Germany – home of the Neuschwanstein Castle – rumored to be the Disney inspiration castle. Also home to a reptile zoo which horrified Cath but allowed us to deposit the kids while we grocery shopped and day-drank. A risky combination but the outcoming snacks are so fun!

Munich, Germany, for a quick and crowded view of the city.

Regensburg, Germany, a delightful gem along the Danube.

Prague, Czech Republic, along with a few hundred thousand other tourists. For those of you who also know and love my dear friend Cath, you can appreciate how much she enjoyed the pedestrian grid-lock which is the result of impossibly massive crowds of people. This was our furthest destination and where we rang in 2019.

Nuremberg, Germany, another Bavarian town with a very rich history. A stopping point to break up the drive. We’ve lost our good long-distance road-trip skills since moving to teeny-tiny Switzerland.

Freiburg, Germany, for a lovely visit with Cath’s brother and family who live there.

Enjoy some of the images I captured along the way which give a tiny glimpse of the beauty we saw and the shenanigans we got up to.

img_4367
Pre-surprise. At the airport with no idea that their best pals were arriving. They were stunned into silence upon their arrival.
img_4370
Christmas morning smiles with the best present a boy could ask for – his best buddy.
img_4369
Sleepy girls, such an early morning. No time for jet-lag or sleeping in for poor Kenzie.
img_4390
Cath, quite horrified that the Swiss make mashed potatoes from a pouch. But oh, they are good!
img_4386
A Christmas Day stroll in Winterthur.
img_4373
When in Switzerland, one must sip from the fountains.
img_4377
Enjoying some afternoon sunshine in our forest.
img_4393
Christmas dinner all together!
img_4403
Boxing Day we hit the road for the start of an epic road-trip. The Alps in Austria.
img_4431
The girls in Fussen.
img_4418
Happy siblings at the castle in Fussen. 
img_4414
The pretty Fussen castle – Hohes Schloss.
img_4435
The castle everyone arrives to see. The famous Neuschwanstein Castle.
img_4455
Waiting our turn to go inside.
img_4446.jpg
Up close at the castle.
img_4460
Bavarian babes.
img_4473
Cool castle kids.
img_4449
How many times where these four asked to pose? Such good sports. 
img_4471
Our handsome driver and itinerary planner. A master at the travel logistics, I’ve fully handed over all holiday planning to him.
img_4404
All good road trips include a super sore neck.
img_4497
Quick stop in Munich to say we did. 
img_4528
Pretty windows welcomed us in Regensburg. Such a lovely town.
img_4532
The Regensburg tree.
img_4516
Adorable little hotel in Regensburg – The Luis Hotel. Highly recommend. 
img_4521
The boys enjoying the stylish abode.
img_4537
Pretty holiday decor. 
img_4535
Parker at the Luis.
img_4540
Lots of time for cards between these two.
img_4527
A chilly evening stroll along the Danube.
img_4533
Bikes and shop windows.
img_4541
A quick stop at the cathedral in Regensburg.
img_4542
Incredible stained glass.
img_4621
After a few more hours drive we finally arrived in the Czech Republic.
img_4556
Out in the evening to see the lights in Prague.
img_4566
Taking in the local delicacy – when in Prague…
img_4582
Candy stores promised fun for the kids and a constant source of bribing good behaviour.
img_4569
Candy for the grown-ups too.
img_4578
How many Bragg Creek kids have celebrated NYE in Prague?
img_4586
We were high-rollers here. Big bucks!
img_4596
The incredible tree at the main square. The photo doesn’t do it justice. 
img_4587
Prague’s famous astronomical clock. We climbed it’s tower in the morning for a spectacular view.
img_4600
Morning coffee-shops were plentiful, thank goodness. 
img_4604
The famous rotating Kafka Head – moments from our hotel. 
img_4641
The view over Prague’s main square from the clock tower.
img_4643
Such an incredible city.
img_4630
It goes on and on and on. You need many days to see it all. 
img_4599
Cool art installations just outside out Airbnb
img_4715
A cozy cave for lunch.
img_4717
Happy.
img_4714
Cave buddies.
img_4694
These two…we caught a glimpse of the trouble ahead when they travel on their own in a few years.
img_4708
How can I ever thank her for sharing these memories with me?
img_4706
We sure hope they’ll remember every moment. 
img_4688
The faces are getting tired…so many photos!
img_4721
Post pizza re-energized.
img_4726
The epic Hamley’s toy store. These four spent a few hours here. 
img_4736
More Prague delicacies – this time with ice cream inside!
img_4660
More Kafka art.
img_4669
Art – near the Picasso museum.
img_4690
The Charles Bridge – the photo doesn’t do justice to how crowded it was. SO MANY PEOPLE!!!
img_4663
The narrowest street in Prague.
img_4768
Many cool & creepy marionette shops. It’s a bit of a thing in Prague.
img_4765
The kids at the John Lennon tribute wall.
img_4819
Gorgeous wall painting.
img_4775
On our way up to the Prague castle – the largest castle complex in the world. It was AMAZING!
img_4743
The view on the way to the castle.
img_4757
Beautiful old streets and old cars offering a tour.
img_4753
These girls shared countless moments.
img_4748
So much to see! So little time!
img_4814
The beautiful view back over the city from the hill up to the castle.
img_4779
Strangely, there are Starbucks EVERYWHERE in Prague, including right at the castle! We didn’t ever partake but many do.
img_4782
A handsome and serious Czech palace guard.
img_4787
We were just in time to catch the changing of the guards ceremony.
img_4798
Outside the palace.
img_4843
Back into town on NYE.
img_4844
The city looked like a movie set. 
img_4854
Speaking of movies…Manolo found us an Airbnb with a Marvel comic theme!
img_4852
Getting our game faces ready for NYE.
img_4855
Happy New Year from Prague! We were told to stay indoors that evening. The fireworks are DIY style and safety is questionable. We’re glad we stayed in.

This video shows the DIY fireworks that went on all around us for hours. Well past 2 am this was still happening. This is the view from our balcony.

img_4871
Welcoming 2019 with a flat-white with my buddy.
img_4876
Drinks for these buddies too.
img_4879
Farewell Prague – hope to come back one day.
img_4885
Next stop, Nuremberg. It had a Charles Dickens kind of feel. Dark and dreary.
img_4888
But a warm glow all around. 
img_4882
The boys got a special night out with the moms.
img_4884
Hanging on the executioners bridge. Not literally…
img_4899
Boys with beef. So yummy. Pretty great view too.
img_4897
I do love a good Christmas tree…
img_4894
Up at the castle.
img_4920
Lastly, a home base in Freiburg with Cath’s brother. Such a lovely family and warm hospitality.
img_4916
A greek feast on our first night out.
img_4925
Serious gamers, these two.
img_4934
Uncle Mike taught the kids how to make pasta from scratch. Helena found her Italian roots and took to the task like a pro.
img_4940
Worth the effort. So delicious!
img_4945
A pre-farewell as the Garcias head back to Winterthur to get back to school and work. We’ll welcome our friends back here tomorrow for the final, and teary goodbye. 

Incredible memories made with this special family. We are forever grateful for friendships that span oceans and time.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s