31 Important Things You Learn When You Move Across The World »

Sorry! I haven’t had time to blog about our latest adventures yet but I promise I will soon. Lots has been going on here. We are getting used to this repatriation thing and let me tell you, reverse culture shock is a real thing! Mostly loving life back in America but of course there are some things and people I miss dearly that are still back in Germany. I promise a better update soon but in the meantime this buzzfeed is pretty spot on for how I feel about our time abroad. Happy Tuesday y’all!

Back in America!

The last few weeks have been insane to say the least. In the last 5 weeks we have been in 7 countries (Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, Bosnia, Iceland and USA), spent the 4th of July in Illinois with our families, drove/moved to Atlanta and today we had our container delivered to our new home!

This is more or less the first chance I have had to breathe over the past few weeks and I would love to say that things are going to slow down for us but I don’t think that is the case quite yet. Ryan is going to San Francisco for work this week and we decided to book me a flight with miles to join him for the weekend! I mean, at this point, why not?!

With that said, the updates on our latest trips and our transition back to life in the US are going to have to wait. Needless to say, I am majorly looking forward to some relaxation time in the near future!

2nd to last day here and still amazing, even if we lost. Team USA is moving on to the 2nd round!!

Almost game time! Such a fitting way for us to go out…representing Americans and cheering on our beloved Team USA here in Germany! 

Pulaski at Night

by Andrew Bird

Tomorrow is the day…our last one in Nuremberg. Even though I know this day has been coming for months now, it still seems to have snuck up on me. A good friend of mine here made a playlist for me and with these last couple of days being pretty emotional, this song brought tears to my eyes. 

I haven’t felt such a bittersweet feeling like this since I graduated from Purdue. On one hand I’m ready to move on but I’m also sad because I know the relationships we have developed here will never quite be the same with all of us moving to different places. A lot of things about living abroad felt like college again. All of our friends lived within walking distance of each other. The work culture here lends itself to more play with 6 weeks of vacation and overall less hours worked per week than in the US. We saw each other almost daily, we traveled together and we became like family to one another. 

There are so many things I won’t miss about Germany but I am sad to leave such amazing friends. 

Scenes from our last Bergkirchweih over the weekend and probably our last beer festival as residents of Germany. Such a fun night with friends we have come to love like family. Thank you so much for helping make our time here so great. Can’t wait for a reunion trip to the Berg!

Our container made it to the US!

Have you ever checked out marinetraffic.com?? Such a cool website. Basically like flightaware but for ships. We have been tracking the ship that is carrying the container with all of our worldly possessions and it has made it to the continental US and is currently at port in Norfolk, VA! Hoping it will be in Atlanta, ready for delivery to our new apartment, the week of July 7th when we arrive. 

Riga, Latvia

I didn’t have any expectations going into this trip but I absolutely loved Riga. The architecture and feel reminded me of a smaller version of Stockholm. The buildings are beautiful, the city is clean, there are an abundance of great restaurants and bars to visit, great craft beer and honey beer and it didn’t hurt that we had wonderful weather while we were there.

Our first day there we walked around the major sights of the city center and the next day we did a bike tour to expand our reach of sights a little more. It was a great way to see the city and different from what we normally do which was nice. We also visited the Museum of Occupation to get a better understanding of the history of the city. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia all had quite the rough go of it. With occupations by both the Russians and Germans and then the Russians again following the end of WWII, it is amazing how far they have come and how well the country seems to be doing. 

On our last day we made our way to the beach in Jurmala on the Baltic to soak up some sunshine before heading back to Germany. A wonderful low key trip exploring two new countries with friends.  

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We love traveling. At this point I’m sure that is pretty apparent from how many trips we have taken over the last 3.5 years. To some it might seem a bit excessive but at the end of the day we feel like the more we see and experience during our time abroad, the more well rounded and open-minded we become as individuals, in our relationships and as citizens of our country. There is no doubt that we are different people now than when we embarked on this journey 3 years ago. 

That leads me to our next trip to Lithuania & Latvia. We had this trip booked with friends before we booked our trip to Italy and although we knew we would be cutting it close with less than 12 hours of turnaround time in Nuremberg before we would leave for Lithuania, we knew we could handle it because of our abundance of travel experience. Everything was going so well until we got to Rome Ciampino airport only to find out that Ryanair at this particular airport was on strike and our flight back to Germany had been cancelled.

In any situation this is a huge pain, especially since there were probably 500+ people at this tiny airport in the same situation trying to figure out how they were going to get out of Rome, but we were worried because this put us in danger of not making the flight for our next trip to Lithuania.

After some research on options for trains (3 connections, 18 hours back to Germany and too late to make our flight), flights (crazy expensive) and car rental (14 hour drive and still might miss our flight) we thought we were screwed. Our friend Melissa, who would be joining us for this trip, came to the rescue with a flight she found directly from Rome’s Fiumicino airport to Vilnius, Lithuania on Wizz Air for 80 euro! Thank god for Europe and their discount airlines because otherwise I don’t think we would have ended up making this trip.

In the end, I think it all worked out for the best. Instead of 2 crazy days of traveling back to Germany and then immediately turning around and going to Lithuania, we went straight to Vilnius from Rome. We used Ryan’s hotel points to stay at the Crowne Plaza that night where we stocked up on free toiletries and got a good night’s sleep in a decent bed. The next day at the apartment we had rented through airbnb for our visit we were able to do laundry and we were as good as new.

Lithuania is not on many people’s must see lists and to be honest most people probably don’t even know where it is but that is the beauty of living in Europe - you can fly 2 hours and be in a country you never thought you would be visiting learning about a new culture, their history and exploring new food options. 

When people here met us and asked where we were from, they were shocked to say the least. But why are you HERE?!? Everyone was so friendly and they have so many amazing craft beers. The food was not my favorite but you can’t win them all. Overall a great visit to a great new city and then we were on to our next stop - Riga in Latvia!

The Amalfi Coast

After soaking up the beauty of Capri, we headed back to the mainland to see the beautiful Amalfi Coast. Upon arrival back in Sorrento we dropped our bags off at our B&B and then we made our way to the bus that would take us to Amalfi Town. 

Amalfi Town itself is only 30 kilometers from Sorrento but it took almost 2 hours to get there along the coastal road. To be honest, I am surprised that buses are even allowed to drive on these roads. The roads are extremely narrow with lots of ups and downs and twists and turns. If you get car sick easily, the drive along this road is probably not a good choice but it was quite the experience!

After arriving in Amalfi Town we walked around the town and grabbed a bite to eat until our next bus which would take us to the starting point of the highlight of our day - a hike on the Path of the Gods or Sentiero Degli Dei.

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Amalfi Town

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Last glimpse of Amalfi Town on our bus ride up to Agerola

The Path of the Gods begins in a town called Agerola and ends in beautiful Positano. The bus we took from Amalfi took us high above sea level to begin our hike in Agerola where we started out surrounded by lush green and within 15 minutes the trail opened up to the most gorgeous views of a coast I’ve ever seen. Radiantly blue water with views of the island of Capri in the distance and as we continued our hike we started to catch our first glimpses of Positano ahead and down below. It was a pretty easy 10 kilometer hike, with the views making up for any difficulties, that took us about 3 hours. The most difficult part of the entire hike is at the end when you have to descend almost 2,000 stairs from Nocelle to the road leading to Positano but it was worth it.

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About halfway through the hike with Positano behind us in the distance

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Getting closer to Positano!

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As if the hike wasn’t gorgeous enough, we were rewarded at the end by getting to spend time in Positano. Positano reminded us a lot of towns in Cinque Terre, another place in Italy we absolutely love, but it’s even nicer. The town is cleaner and there is noticeably more money here. If we didn’t have to leave Italy the next day we would have loved to spend more time here. 

We spent the rest of our afternoon relaxing by the beach, soaking up the sun, enjoying a few adult beverages and just taking it all in. 

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Entering Positano and arleady loving it

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As the sun began to set we made our way back to the bus stop to return to Sorrento. Although we didn’t get to spend much time in Sorrento, we still really enjoyed it. Sorrento is a little larger than the other towns on the coast and much more accessible with a commuter train, buses and ferries frequently coming and going. Although it is larger, it is still very clean and quaint. On our last night we also had our favorite meal of the trip at Trattoria da Emilia on the Marina Grande. If you ever find yourself in Sorrento, do yourself a favor and go there! 

As always we had a wonderful time in Italy and I think that the Amalfi Coast just might have to be a place we make a return visit to someday. 

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