We’re back with more from our worldly Christmas tree! In Part 1, we explained how we began collecting ornaments everywhere we traveled to. Below you’ll see the inspiration and story behind each ornament (click the arrow to the right of the picture).
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
This ornament is arguably one of our favorites! While this feels as though it should be out of a fairytale, this magical snow covered castle is an actual place in Germany. I’ve been lucky to visit twice, the first time with Mark in the Springtime and the second during my girls trip to visit Christmas markets in December when it was snowy (like on the ornament). This one reminds me of the time Mark and I went hiking through the woods to get a better vantage of the castle and captured the most amazing photos! To learn more, check out our post Once Upon a Time…in Bavaria.
Rome was a place I was able to visit when I studied abroad, and instantly fell in love with Italy. During our first year living in Spain, we met our Mom’s in Rome for a week-long adventure through Italy. We ate some of the best food and saw some incredible historic sites first hand. This ornament depicts Vatican City and reminds me of Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Fransisco! I can still hear the massive crowd chanting “Papa Francisco.” It was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities, and it was wonderful I was able to experience it with my favorite people. To learn more, check out our post Our Time with the Pope.
Zadar was the first stop of our trip through Croatia. We arrived early in the morning, after crashing at the Barcelona airport and barely sleeping a wink. I remember we headed straight to the beach (since our Airbnb wasn’t ready for checkin yet) and napped in the warm sun all morning. Later that evening, we made our way to downtown (which is depicted on the front of this ornament). We were impressed by the Roman ruins, gorgeous architecture and stunning coastline. When I see this ornament, I’m reminded of the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen! We sipped on some Croatian beer and found a spot on the edge of the water to watch. Check out our post Zadar to learn more!
Céad míle fáilte is an Irish phrase meaning one hundred thousand welcomes and it’s true that Ireland was one of the most welcoming countries we’ve visited. We picked up this ornament in a little shop in Cobh, Ireland in County Cork. Here we were able to visit the Cobh Heritage Center. We learned that Mark’s great grandmother left from the Cobh port to the US! When I see this ornament, I think of our trek up a tall street to get a view of the colorful Cobh houses and cathedral in the background. It was worth the hike up! Check out our post A Day in Cobh to learn more.
Lima was our last stop during our adventure in Peru. We had just come off the high of visiting Machu Picchu, a dream we’d both had for a while, and needed some time to relax. In Lima we tried ceviche for the first time, explored an archeological site and sipped on Pisco Sours. We found this ornament at a local crafts fair and loved the clay depiction of a traditional Peruvian woman. Check out our Lima City Guide to learn more.
Budapest was a city that truly surprised both of us! We fell in love with the gorgeous parliament building, (especially when it was glowing at night) and were intrigued by it’s unique history. This hand-painted egg shaped ornament reminds me of ruin pubs and outdoor thermal baths in 30 degree weather. Check out our Budapest post for more info on why we love this city.
Marrakech, Morocco was a trip we were able to surprise Mark’s brother with when he came to visit us in Spain. While this ornament was originally meant to be a keychain, sometimes you need to get creative with it! I love this because it’s the Hamsa, or also know as the hand of Fatima. In multiple faiths it is used as a protective amulet, said to bring good fortune and health to its owner. We spent the majority of our time in Marrakech but did spend one night camping the desert! Seeing this ornament I’m reminded of shopping in crowded souks and seeing thousands of stars in the desert sky. Learn more in our Marrakech Medina or Sahara Desert posts.
Both times I’ve been to Salzburg, it’s been as a day trip from Munich. The first time, with Mark, we ran all over the city re-enacting scenes from the Sound of Music, admiring gardens in bloom and enjoying the view from the top of the Fortress. After my first visit, I knew this was a place I wanted to bring my Mom. We both shared a love for the Sound of Music so during our girls trip to the Christmas markets, we took a similar day trip to Salzburg – only this time I surprised everyone with a Sound of Music bus tour! We had a blast seeing all the filming locations and learning some behind the scenes secrets. I was able to pick out this wooden, hand carved ornament at the Christmas Market downtown after the tour. I love it’s simplicity and am reminded of my two magical days in Salzburg! To learn more check out our Day in Salzburg post.
Nothing has taken my breathe away quite like seeing the Swiss Alps! After a work trip, Mark flew to Switzerland to meet me for a vacation and we instantly took a train from Zurich down to Interlaken. It was here that Mark was able to paraglide (remember that I’m afraid of heights, so I sat paragliding out). We also visited the top of Schilthorn, a mountain in the Alps – which was one of my favorite days of the whole trip. This ornament is fun because we did see a lot of cows in Switzerland, some even with the large bells around their necks. Check out our posts Interlaken and Alpine Adventures to hear more!
Our first time visiting the Christmas Markets in Germany was a weekend in Düsseldorf & Cologne. We met up with a good friend from college who was playing basketball in Malta at the time. We spent an entire Saturday sipping glühwein, singing Christmas carols and taking a tiny train around the city to visit all the markets. It was such a blast! The ornament is a painting of Cologne Cathedral with the Christmas markets in the front, so it’s the perfect way to remember such a crazy day. To learn more check out our Christmas in Cologne post or watch our Christmas Carol Video.
Thanks for taking a walk down memory lane with us! Stay tuned for the final part next week.
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