One of the absolute best parts of our trip was getting to spend time with Toiny and her family. These are people I have gotten to know very well through my computer over the years, and while Toiny and I have had the chance to meet before, I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet her family. They were so wonderful, funny and it felt like I was home the entire time we were there.

They welcomed us with open arms, cooked for us, drove us around, were our tour guides, translators and friends. We drank and ate and laughed like old friends, even though it was our first time together.

At the Rhine Falls with Dave!

In the Black Forest with Nick and Cole!

At home with a broken Toiny!

Laying on the floor with a goofy Dane (and my dirty shoes, ew)!

Sending Tess off to her first day of school!

But my friends, it gets even better! You may not know, but several of our lovely and talented designers also live in Germany, and a couple of them conspired with Toiny and arranged for a surprise visit! After a day at the Rhine Falls, we returned back to T’s house to find Manu (Manu Scraps) waiting for me! She traveled hours by train just to meet me! The next morning, she and I walked to the market, bought all of the fixings for Britches (sandwiches) and Manu even bought me a bottle of breakfast wine (which I didn’t open until lunchtime….). After we ate, through the door popped none other than Min (Carin Grobe Designs) (and her daughter)! They came for a very quick visit to show me how to make Spätzle and Schnitzel! I spent the morning and early afternoon laughing with these incredible women! I am still so deeply touched that they would travel so far just to spend a tiny bit of time with me (and Toiny….but I’m going to be selfish and say me)! The food was delicious, but the feeling of meeting people who you have known for a long time in person for the first time is incredible! 

A morning walk to the market! It’s a good thing I had Manu with me, because I don’t think that the store owner spoke any english!

Min came to cook for me!

…or rather Min came to teach me how to cook! She even gifted me that Spätzle pan so I can make these things at home!

The whole crazy lot of us! Seriously, how lucky are we to have friends from all around the world? I know I feel truly blessed!

Manu and Min, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to surprise me with yourselves! And Toiny (and her entire family), my heart is forever grateful for EVERYTHING you did for us!