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Hallstatt + Lake Bled : Celebrating 8 Great Years Married in Austria and Slovenia

WOW. I can’t believe today we celebrate 8 years of marriage. What a journey it has been. Like running a marathon- I find life to require endurance and focus with many obstacles, benefits and rewards along the way. And if you know me, I cannot think of anything more difficult or more overwhelming than running. But, when finding myself in a race, I can’t think of a better person to have by my side to make it through to the end than this guy. Unlike his attempts to motivate me when literally running (boy I hate his peppy voice when I am gasping for air – haha!), his encouragement, loyalty and friendship motivate me to praise God, believe in us, believe in my husband, and believe in myself more and more each year. Being married to Bryan is worth every bit of the effort it requires! And I am really glad that I know it’s mutual because I know I take patience and effort often! πŸ˜‰

To celebrate, we spent the weekend road-tripping (surprise, surprise! *sarcasm* ).

Our first stop was Hallstatt, Austria! Though it was rainy, it was a beautiful quaint Austrian town (with historic findings estimated as far back as 12000 BC!) nestled in the mountains right on the lake.

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As quaint as it was, we had a few fun quirky moments to laugh about. Bryan was determined to try something Austrian, so at lunch he ordered “Vienna Sausages” only to find they are pretty much just extra long hotdogs. He also thought (we are in Germany mindset) he took a bite of Sauerkraut but was horrified when his tongue realized he’d just stuffed his mouth with horseradish. :’DΒ Our waitress was a feisty gal dressed in a dirndl. At one point she yelled at one foreign tourist “I do not understand! What do you want from me!?” In her defense these tourists were pretty obnoxious. At one point they tried to line up and serve themselves cake from the display cabinet so she ran out from the kitchen shouting “This is not self service!”. So our lunch was not without entertainment.

My main mistake (aside from everything I ordered turning out to be fried :/) was in booking our stay. I saw an extra fee for “sheets” and assumed it meant they would change your sheets for a fee. Boy were we surprised at the end of the day when we realized there were NO SHEETS on our queen two-twin-beds-pushed-together. But it made for a lesson and a good laugh!

That night, after dining lakeside, we found a place for dessert when getting lost in a back alley and seeing a traditionally dressed Austrian local exit a little pub. We ordered something the owner described as “Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce and Whippet Cream” and it was the best vanilla ice cream we’ve ever tasted! Just like I pictured, a group of men (some in lederhosen) sat around on their Friday night drinking and laughing hysterically. What a fun time!

The rest of our weekend was spent in Slovenia. The majority of it wasΒ at Lake Bled. We were so glad the weather cleared up for most of it! We had dinner with some friends who happened to be in the area, and they told us about this gorge closeby. It was really cool because you walked a boardwalk winding through the gorge over waterfalls and rapids the whole way.

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Next we headed off to try some of the famous cream cake. Sometimes you skip lunch because you know dessert is going to be rich. Yum! We may or may not have tried three kinds of it during our weekend. Our health and marital challenge strategy after Cake #1? Share. Easier said than done with this treat! πŸ™‚

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To make up for our sweet tooth attacks, we walked the whole lake, rowed a boat to the island in the center and walked its many many stairs, walked back to our Guesthouse to freshen up and then walked up to the Bled Castle for our special dinner!

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I wish I could show you the walk to the castle because I was going to wear a dress and heels but decided not to last minute. Boy that would have been a hoot. πŸ˜‰ Bryan and I had another good laugh at the blessing in disguise!Β On the plus side I could wear the beautiful Swarovski Crystal jewelry Bryan had surprised me with – even if I was dressed a little casual. πŸ˜‰ We lucked out and snagged a seat with the absolute best view! This restaurant only recently opened in March of this year – and I highly recommend at least grabbing a cappuccino there for the view. The food was ok…but the view! πŸ™‚

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It made for a romantic celebration and we loved that the castle lit up at night so you could see it from our room.

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Our last day – we visited Ljubljana, Slovenia and did some sight seeing. We were actually pretty sore from all the walking the day prior at the gorge, lake and castle, so when Bryan and I finally reached the top of the Ljubljana Castle and saw a parking lot, Bryan said “Don’t Look!”. πŸ˜‰ But the exercise was good! We got to do things we enjoyed there – I got to see the views and Bryan took us to watch a video on the history and exhibition of historic torture devices (I know). I told him Β –Β thank you for that depressing detour haha! It was like something straight off of a Saw Movie.

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Before leaving we grabbed gelato on the riverside and walked about this awesome market happening where we picked up some beautiful Raspberries. What a nice day and visit!

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The weekend turned out so much better than expected. The skies cleared, we had time to hit the ground running and time to chill, and I highly recommend visiting both (or all three) places!

Happy 8th Anniversary Bryan!

You have only won my heart more these past eight years. The man who flirted with me and laughed with me since we started dating – who took me out to window shop the town, camping in the woods or cuddled up on the couch when we were newlyweds – he soon became the man who taught me to dream big and take risks – leading by example. He taught me how to live within our means and save for our family’s future. He became the man who was my closest friend no matter where in the world we lived, and became yet another example to me of a man devoted to working hard serving his country and peers all while loving, prioritizing and serving his family without one complaint. I have learned this past year that you aren’t just a man who supports me, but you are Β man whose heart actually breaks when mine breaks, and I cannot tell you how blessed I am to have someone who cares that much and showers compassion on me when I am down as well as someone who shares in life’s joyous moments. I can’t tell you how tickled my heart was not too long ago when surprising you at your office with a drink only to overhear you still thinking out loud to your peers about us. How I love to learn that your life with me is on your mind even throughout your crazy days at work. It caught me by surprise the other night when – while listening to an old country song we loved – you look over and say ” I still cannot wait to rush home to you each day,” only to ruin it a few seconds later in true Bryan fashion by adding “most of the time.”Β  πŸ˜€Β  I love that we can still go out for adventures or just cuddle on the couch and be all the happier either way. I hope only to be able to honor you as your wife each day this next ninth year as you seem to honor me as my husband so often. I just love you and thank you for who you are! Thank you for growing with me these past 8 years and for believing in me as your wife! God is good and I thank Him for who you are!

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Elizabeth Bell Lindsey - May 26, 2015 - 2:40 pm

I love your photography so much, you have the ability to capture unique views and interesting landscapes so well. Thank you for sharing your talents and heart with others. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

Brenda Bradley - May 26, 2015 - 10:32 pm

Beautiful pictures. I have visited both of these places and they are so interesting but the landscape is breath-taking and your photography captures it beautifully. I absolutely love Slovenia, especially Lake Bled. Thank you for sharing and Happy Anniversary.