Sunday, December 22, 2013

Valkenburg Caves and Aachen Christmas Markets.

Traveling has slowed down considerably the last few months and I haven't liked it!  Between work for both Eric and I, the holiday's, and Isabelle's school stuff, we've had to choose between travel or sleep.  But then Eric and I realized that it's been a month since we've gone somewhere, a month, and decided that we are going to miss valuable experiences if we kept thinking sleep was essential or something.  So I booked another day trip through MWR to two different markets, one of them in a cave!  

I am extremely claustrophobic so going into a cave worried me, but I have an adventurous spirit and claustrophobia aside.... I was interested.

The Valkenburg Caves are in the Netherlands and was our 8th country we have visited this year (9 if you count America), and their Christmas market is the largest underground market in Europe.  Y'all know that I have an extreme fear of being underground and in confined spaces, so I was worried about it, and if this trip had not included a second Christmas market I would have said "forget it!"  

I'm glad I didn't.  

The town of Valkenburg was really cute and I actually enjoyed the town more than the Christmas Market.  The castle ruins were neat, the stores were adorable, and the people were so nice!  

For the afternoon the bus took us back to Germany to Aachen and the Aachener Weihnachts Markt.  Ok, so honestly, we were thinking that maybe sleep really was essential by this point because.... we were grumpy.  I was exhausted and really just wanted to be at home, on my couch.  Because of my stage IV Endometriosis, I live with some degree of pain every single day, yesterday my pain was bad.  I really just wanted to be on my couch.  Right now though, I am on my couch... and I am so grateful for yesterday's experience.  Even if I was grouchy for the majority of it, after all is said and done, I am grateful we didn't let something like sleep get in our way of a really awesome day!

There are SO many Christmas Markets in Germany!  I so badly wanted to go to Köln's market this year, but working two Saturday's this month and last month, and having to work 9 days out of the first 11 in December made that impossible.  Eric and I decided that since this is our first year here, we're allowed to make mistakes..... missing all of the amazing Christmas Markets was a mistake!  We won't do that again next year.

Just a few days left until Christmas and I think we are ready!  I've had shopping done for a few weeks now.  Eric and I are trying to figure out a good way to surprise Isabelle with her big gift this year, mainly so that I can get some good pictures of her reaction for the grandparents.... so maybe y'all will stop by my blog again in a few days?  If not, have a happy and safe Christmas!

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