Haydel European Vacation

Way back in December, my work planned a big meeting in London in May. I (along with many of my co-workers) quickly started scheming for a way to extend the trip for some fun. Through quite a bit of planning, I worked it out for Mike to meet me in London on the last day of my work trip and head to Munich together for four days. We did some serious coordination with both sets of parents: we had Mike’s parents flying in to watch the girls for a few days, followed by my parents taking the reins for the next three days. We are so grateful that our girls have such amazing grandparents that could fill in for us while we were gone!

My trip to London was a whirlwind, full of big meetings and lots of post-work team bonding.

Tuesday: London
Steps walked: 15,288 / 8.73 miles

I had Indian food for the first time at a delightful place called Dishoom:5.24.17 DishoomIMG_7643

Wednesday: London
Steps walked: 7,750 / 4.49 miles

We had a pub crawl the night before I left for Germany, which started out as great fun and devolved into a little too much imbibing and not enough eating food. However, it was fantastic bonding time and I got to put a bunch of faces to names of my coworkers across the globe. Literally – Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, London, and of course Dallas were all represented!5.24.17 Pub crawlIMG_7651

Thursday: London –> Munich
Steps walked: 6,617 / 3.58 miles

The next day I dragged myself out of bed and finished up work meetings, then headed to the airport. I met Mike there and we headed to our hotel in Munich, The Platzl hotel.IMG_7670IMG_7674

We got in around 8pm, dropped off our stuff, and headed to dinner. We jumped right in to Bavarian food with schweinshaxe, or roasted pork knuckle, and beer!5.25.17 Germany 15.25.17 Germany 2IMG_7678

We were pretty beat after that, so we went back to our hotel room and went to bed.

Friday: Munich
Steps walked: 14,489 / 8.31 miles

Friday was one of our free days, so we spent it sleeping in and walking around the main areas of Munich, taking selfies. Places like: Marienplatz!IMG_0790

Englischer Garten!IMG_7719

…other places!IMG_7696IMG_7706IMG_0791IMG_0767

We stumbled across the Chinesischer Turm beer garden while we were in the park…so naturally, we stopped for beer and brats. IMG_0769IMG_0770

After lunch, we decided to head back towards our hotel and grab a beer at the legendary Hofbräuhaus before taking a break and getting ready for dinner.IMG_7722

We ended up planning things perfectly, as it started raining/hailing not two minutes after we returned to our hotel room, and it stopped about 20 minutes before we headed out for dinner. Our dinner was at Schwarzreiter – I wanted a nice dinner to celebrate Mike’s birthday and this place definitely fit the bill!IMG_7733IMG_7732

The food was delicious, but to be honest we were a little tipsy from the afternoon beers and so everything was wonderful! You could choose a meal with anywhere from four to seven courses. We ended up choosing five courses each, from different menus, so we could sample each other’s food. They were very relaxed with the delivery of the courses and our dinner ended up being nearly four hours long! Luckily we had no other plans that evening and left full and happy.

Saturday: Linderhof castle, Plansee lake, Füssen, Neuschwanstein castle
Steps walked: 19,190 / 10.81 miles

We awoke Saturday morning ready for a full day of driving around. We set up a semi-private tour with Pure Bavaria Tours to drive us to Linderhof and Neuschwanstein castles. Our tour guide, Andy, was great, and customized the trip to what we wanted.

Our first stop out of the gate was Linderhof castle. It took us a little over an hour to drive there, and once we arrived we hiked up to the castle and took a tour of the inside (no pictures were allowed). King Ludwig II of Bavaria had it built in the style of mid-18th century Rococo – aka Versailles. (Yes I had to look that up on Wikipedia because I already have forgotten the details). As you could imagine, it was very ornate, with gold leaf walls and lots of small porcelain vases. Ludwig was also a fan of peacocks and swans, so there was a lot of that going on as well – including an ENORMOUS swan fanning around outside. The outside of the castle was equally as beautiful, even more so as it was framed by the Alps.IMG_0799IMG_7747IMG_7758

There may have been some frolicking.IMG_0785

Ok…maybe just me.IMG_0798

After a quick snack, we got back in the van for our next stop. Originally we were going to look at some churches, but Andy suggested driving across the border to Austria to see Plansee lake. We opted for that – although it was super cold, the lake was beautiful! We were also a little delighted at how easy it was to hop on over to another country for an hour or so.IMG_08005.25.17 Germany 5

Following our Austrian excursion, we headed back to Germany. We took a quick stop in the town of Füssen before heading to Schwangau to see Neuschwanstein. Füssen was cute but pretty much there for tourists, so we grabbed a couple of snacks, took a couple of pics, and were on our way.IMG_0788IMG_0801

And we were off to Neuschwanstein! Fun fact: “schwan” in German means swan. This Ludwig II character was seriously into birds.

We started by hiking up to Hohenschwangau castle, which is basically across the street from Neuschwanstein and much, much older. I think it was built in the 14th century, versus Neuschwanstein was built in the 19th century (thanks again, Wikipedia). We didn’t go inside Hohenschwangau but the views from it were amazing.IMG_77875.25.17 Germany 4

Once again, our tour guide pulled through. Andy asked us if we wanted to hike off-trail to get a view of both castles, and we of course said yes. We hiked for probably 30 minutes or so to the ruins of an old castle, and through the trees you could see both Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. It was pretty cool.IMG_0804

This is the plaque commemorating the castle’s ruins.5.25.17 Germany 3

We hiked back down and caught the bus up to Neuschwanstein. First we walked across the (rickety!!) bridge to get THE picture with the castle.IMG_7798IMG_7800IMG_7807

Then we took a tour of the inside which was quick but very interesting. Ludwig II was inspired by different styles and incorporated many of them into various rooms at the castle.

On our way down we could see Hohenschwangau, so we took some pics. It was really picturesque…you could see why all of the kings wanted to live here!5.25.17 Germany 65.25.17 Germany 7

We were pretty beat after twelve hours of sightseeing, so when we got back to Munich we had a quick dinner of schnitzel (and beer, of course) at the Hofbräuhaus before crashing in bed.5.25.17 Germany 85.25.17 Germany 9

Sunday: Dachau, Munich
Steps walked: 12,256 / 6.87 miles
We woke up on Sunday morning ready for another day of walking around. We set up a guided tour of Dachau concentration camp with Radius Tours. We met them at the train station (hauptbahnhof) and took the ~15 minute train ride to Dachau. Our tour guide, Jeff, gave us a quick history of the origination of Dachau as we rode the train. When we got off, we took a bus to the camp and started the tour.

I’ve been to Dachau before but haven’t had a guided tour, so it was nice to have someone guide us around and provide context beyond what we could read on the placards. The part that affected me the most the first time around was the crematorium, and Mike felt the same way as we walked through. After about three hours, we were ready to leave.5.25.17 Dachau 15.25.17 Dachau 25.25.17 Dachau 35.25.17 Dachau 4

After getting back from Dachau, we had lunch at an old beer hall called Zum Dürnbräu, which was recommended by our tour guide from the day before.5.25.17 Germany 105.25.17 Germany 11

We had signed up for a walking tour of the Third Reich in Munich following Dachau, but we were so exhausted that we decided instead to take a nap before heading out for dinner. We decided on Haxnbauer since it seemed to always be busy and it was less than one block away. Good choice – it was Mike’s favorite meal and I enjoyed it as well! I thought we took pics but I cannot find them.

As usual, we ended our night at Hofbräuhaus.5.25.17 Germany 125.25.17 Germany 13

Monday: Munich
Steps walked: 8,978 / 4.94 miles
Our last full day in Germany was another free day, so we started by going to the Viktualienmarkt for breakfast and caffeine.5.25.17 Munich 15.25.17 Munich 2 5.25.17 Munich 3

We mulled over what to do next and decided on Münchner Residenz, the former home of Bavarian monarchs of the House of Wittelsbach. Much of the palace was destroyed during WWII, but two rooms remained that were pretty awe-inspiring: the The Hall of Antiquities (Antiquarium), built between 1568-1571, and the Ancestral Gallery.

The Antiquarium was a surprise to us. We turned the corner and both visibly gasped. The room itself is enormous and completely adorned with frescoes, sculptures, and paintings. It was impressive what has remained intact over centuries!5.25.17 Munich 45.25.17 Munich 125.25.17 Munich 55.25.17 Munich 6

The Ancestral Gallery was also interesting because of the sheer effort the Wittelsbach family put into legitimizing their line. So many paintings of the family members, and a family tree that starts with the gods.And of course, gold leaf.5.25.17 Munich 75.25.17 Munich 8

After the Residence, we did a little bit more sightseeing before heading back to the Viktualienmarkt for lunch – more sausages and french fries. And beers!5.25.17 Munich 105.25.17 Munich 95.25.17 Munich 115.25.17 Munich 135.25.17 Munich 14

After that, we ended up going to bed a bit early to prepare for our long day of travel back to Dallas the next day.

Munich was awesome and we were so lucky to be able to spend a few days there together. It was hard to pick our favorite part of the trip because each piece was unique and interesting in its own way. I also greatly enjoyed putting my memories of Bavaria in context and revisiting a place after 15+ years.

Goodbye Germany!! We hope to see you again soon!5.25.17 Munich 15

Mother’s Day

I had to leave to London for work on Mother’s Day, so early on I wanted to plan something with the girls and my mom to get some QT before I headed out. I decided on brunch at the Arboretum, and it was a hit! I dressed the girls up in smocked dresses and we headed out.IMG_7599IMG_7600

All the ladies!IMG_7611IMG_7620

It was a lovely brunch and it was nice to get the grandmas together for some quality time!

Rusty and Jess’ wedding: the flower girls

Rusty and Jess got their professional photos back from their wedding, and other than the photos doing a great job of highlighting how beautiful and perfect their wedding was, I finally have pictures of Louise and Celine in their flower girl duties!jessica-rusty-wedding-187jessica-rusty-wedding-188

Notice Mike in the background, miming throwing petals on the ground for Celine 🙂jessica-rusty-wedding-189jessica-rusty-wedding-193

There are also a couple of photos of me doing my reading.jessica-rusty-wedding-240jessica-rusty-wedding-241

Love these people!jessica-rusty-wedding-335

Louise’s circus performance

One of Louise’s after-school activities for the past two years has been circus, facilitated by Lone Star Circus. They put on a concert at the end of each year but last year she was too little to perform. This was her first performance and we are so proud of her!

Monday was the dress rehearsal day, and I can categorically say that it was a nightmare for all Haydel women. The “Little Tots” (her age group) were slated to do their run-through from 4-4:45, but the woman with their costumes didn’t even show up until 5pm, so there was a lot of sitting and standing around.5.2.17 Rehearsal 1

Oh – did I mention I had Celine with me?5.2.17 Rehearsal Celine

I called Mike to complain about the insanity of the situation, and he offered to come pick up Celine. Since I was in Garland, I didn’t think that would work, and at this point I was still optimistic about our ability to get out at a reasonable time and with minimal issues.

Once the costume person arrived, there was mayhem trying to figure out who got their costumes first to put on. Louise was waiting patiently while the other kids in her group got their costumes…and then, all of a sudden, she was sobbing next to me, wailing that they didn’t have a costume for her. I was confused (it was very chaotic and loud backstage), so I said “of COURSE they have a costume for you!”

And then I realized that they didn’t have a costume for her.

I was given a backup costume that was way too big, which caused Louise to start crying again. After waiting for about 5-10 more minutes, we finally acquired an appropriately-sized costume and retreated to the tiny bathroom to put it on. As Louise was slipping into the costume, a girl flung open the bathroom door, hitting Louise in the head and causing her to fall over, hitting her head again on the bathroom wall on her way down. I jumped up to grab her as she started crying in earnest, and my phone dropped from my lap and smacked the tile ground flat on its back, shattering the screen.

It was at this point that Celine decided she was done being a patient little sister and wanted to go home.


I called Mike back, trying (and failing) to hold back tears. He could hear my frustration and told me he was on the way to pick up Celine. I bribed Louise to go out there and practice with her costume on (she was still upset about the costume snafu + the head injury) by promising that she could open three presents from her birthday party when we got home. Begrudgingly, she sauntered to the floor to go through her routine.5.2.17 Rehearsal Louise

Mike arrived to relieve me from the girls, and thanks to him, I made it through the evening.

Friday was concert day! Mike and I picked up the girls from school and headed to the venue, stopping briefly for dinner on the way. Mike and Celine dropped off Louise and me and headed to a restaurant to wait until the start time with my parents. Louise and I headed in for hair and makeup. The hair women were busy, so I plunked her in a chair and did her hair myself!IMG_7463IMG_7462IMG_7461

Then it was time for makeup! First time she’s worn eyeshadow and mascara…IMG_7466IMG_7469IMG_7473

She and her silks partner were ready!IMG_7485

We waited around for about 45 minutes, popping out briefly to say hello to Grandma, Papa, dad, and Celine. Finally it was go time and they asked the parents to head to their seats. Louise panicked a little bit but she was brave and let me go. Then it was showtime!

Her age group was the first to go, and then they let the kids sit with their parents in the audience. Mike and I both teared up with pride when she did her act – it was her first big show and we are so proud of her!!


Louise: 5 years

I was going to say “I can’t believe I have a five year old!” – but…honestly, I can. Louise has grown into such a KID that it would be weird to me to NOT have a five year old. She surprises us every day with her words and actions, with her thoughtfulness and her intelligence. She can still throw a fit (let’s be real) but overall, her composure is impressive. Although I enjoyed Louise as a baby and loved watching her grow, I can confidently say that this phase – the kid phase – seems like it’s going to be amazing.DSC_0518

I’ve also decided that the five year mark is the end of the monthly updates. I’ve really enjoyed doing them for Louise, and I look back on them all the time to remind myself of her development. But as she moves into kindergarten and has fewer big milestones on a frequent basis, I think it’s time to switch to ad-hoc updates and let the official monthly photos and blog post go.DSC_0522

DIS Fairy Tea

Following Louise’s birthday party this past Sunday was a school-sponsored “fairy tea” for mothers and daughters. I have the perfect dresses for the girls – my mom bought them both lavender frilly dresses that were made for a fairy tea – but I forgot about them, and they were already in outfits from Louise’s party so I just went with it.5.4.17 Fairy Tea 1

I was expecting a shindig that had face painting and other activities, but it was pretty much just tables set up with snacks and drinks. We stayed for about an hour and then headed back home. I was glad we went, though – it was extra outside fun for the girls on a beautiful day, and I got to chat with a couple of DIS mom friends.5.4.17 Fairy Tea 25.4.17 Fairy Tea 35.4.17 Fairy Tea 45.4.17 Fairy Tea 5