With the New Year only a few days old – is it too early to start planning? Why, of course it never is.
Now that 2016 is almost over I want to look back on it. It has been a spectacular year. Intense, often wonderful, sometimes less so and on the whole I year I will remember.
Come with me as I look back on an eventful 12 months.
After the gluttony that was Christmas and New Year’s I decided to go sugar-free once more. It wasn’t as difficult as anticipated. However, it didn’t bring any changes – positive or negative – to my overall feeling.
Mr A’s grandfather passed away rather unexpectedly only two weeks after his birthday. It broke my heart to see his grieving wife of over 60 years – and to know that Mr A would not have his grandfather present at our wedding.
Late February was mostly spent by foraging for wild garlic and making the most of it on a culinary level.
In March I became more serious in regard to wedding preparations and the more detailed planning (and shopping) stage began.
For my birthday we went to have brunch at Harvest and I ate so much of their delicious food that I literally couldn’t walk upright any more.
I experimented with Dr. Bronner’s soap as a one-stop-shop but finally wasn’t convinced that one product fit all my demands.
I shopped for plants and seedlings at rare plants’ fair and made my balcony garden ready for the upcoming warmth and sunshine.
Upon my return Veganmania 2016 was happening and I threw myself right into it.
The “Veggerl” Michaela Russmann from Rohgenuss and I had created for Ströck bakery was launched and available for purchase all through summer. This was definitely a new experience for me – seeing something I helped create up for sale, people actually buying it and leaving positive comments about it on Ströck’s Facebook page.
June was also the month I was invited to more events than the rest of the year combined. And to really cool events too!
Mr A handed in his master thesis. Suddenly we had time to spend with each other again <3
In between putting the finishing touches on our wedding preparations – including a beautiful bridal shower my best friend/ maid of honour organised for me – we also fit in the odd hiking trip.
We got married! Then set off for five days at a spa hotel. I could do this all the time – the attention you’re suddenly showered with, how everybody wants you to be happy and relaxed. It was awesome.
Finally did we get to visit Mr A’s aunt and cousins in far-away Vorarlberg. We delighted in taking the train instead of driving there ourselves and we treated with two wonderful hikes – one in Switzerland and one in Vorarlberg.
Mr A and I explored Semmering Bahnwanderweg and realised how utterly underrated it was.
Christmas! We embraced advent in full swing and even gave a little pre-Christmas party, then visited all the others we had been invited to.
Christmas itself was very relaxed and family-oriented. Just like every year we celebrated Christmas Eve by ourselves. This year it was Mr A who cooked us a delicious dinner. On Christmas Day we picked up Mr A’s Grandmother and took her to my parents’ place where we all celebrated together – including my Grandmother, my brother and his fiancée and even my uncle and aunt.
We still haven’t decided on any plans for tomorrow.
If you’re curious about what we’re going to do on New Year’s Eve and how we’re going to start into 2017 follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.
We were fully aware that we would be in serious need of recovery after our wedding. The weeks leading up to this very special event had been strenuous and even the day before it was after 8 pm when I ate for the first time since breakfast – because there simply hadn’t been time for it earlier.
5 days don’t equal a proper honeymoon
As we are not departing on our “real” honeymoon to Australia until August 2017 we still decided we should take a short trip somewhere to enjoy our first days (and nights) as newlyweds together.
It was pretty clear that the region of Salzkammergut would be an obvious choice and after some initial pleading Mr A gave in and booked us a room at Die Wasnerin, a beautiful spa hotel in Bad Aussee I had visited with my Mum before (and loved).
Die Wasnerin is one of those special places where you feel the weight dropping off your shoulders as soon as you enter the reception area. The staff there are particularly friendly and forthcoming without appearing artificial or obtrusive, the sauna area is spotlessly clean and always quiet, even when crowded and the view from the rooftop area is simply stunning.
Incidentally we had the same room I slept in when visiting with Mum – with the perfect view of the Dachstein glacier. What a sight to wake up to.
Mr hadn’t considered himself to be the spa-type so we’d brought our light hiking gear. We even did end up using it (twice) but turns out he does enjoy wearing a bathrobe and launging with a magazine in hand, getting massages and being disconnected from the world (unless he decides to post a photo on Instagram).
I simply love it when my days consist of getting up – having breakfast made for me – changing into my bathrobe – alternating between sauna, reading, sleeping, snacking and spa treatments – changing into clothes – having dinner made for me – sleeping.
Having mentioned food, the chef at Die Wasnerin knows how to vegan. In the morning there is a huge buffet with an amazing choice of breads, dips and spreads, mueslis, fruit, teas (along with cheeses and cold cuts). There were vegetables, freshly squeezed orange juice, a green smoothie, and even vegan cheese!
For dinner there were 4-course-meals with the vegetarian option being vegan and from day two our super-attentive waiter didn’t even ask what we wanted to order, only if we wanted to start right away. The dinners were all well-balanced in taste and looked almost too beautiful to eat.
For the hungry there was also an afternoon snack: a salad bar, a few kinds of muffins or cake, soup and bread rolls. When the soup wasn’t accidentally vegan they would bring me a steaming cup of vegan soup (I assume they have it frozen and heat it up upon request?) and once I even got a piece of vegan chocolate cake that definitely wasn’t on the menu. Like magic!
To make good use of the calories we ingested we donned our hiking boots (I premiered my brand-new vegan Lowa shoes) and set off for Sommersbergsee, a little lake only a short walk from the hotel. We found a little circuit which we completed, then sat on the shore. I had a quick dip but the water was so freezing cold that the encounter stayed rather brief.
On another day, we walked around Altausseer See, something we do pretty much every year at some point. For this walk I brought my wedding dress along and Mr A took a few photos along the lake.
Because we were enjoying our stay so much we jokingly calculated how long we would be able to stay at Die Wasnerin if we both quit our jobs and became full-time bloggers/ photographers. However, that was the end of the joke (not funny because we would be out of money AND jobs too soon) and we simply decided to return in the not-too-far away future.
We booked the PACKAGE plus an extra night which included accommodation with half-board (plus afternoon snack, sans beverages), use of the spa area (saunas, swimming pools, fitness room) and a little “surprise” on the room upon check-in.
With advent being my favourite time of the year (despite all of its glory happening in the cold season – on this hemisphere at least) I always get excited by the prospect of Christmas. In Austria, Christmas is traditionally celebrated on Christmas Eve when the family gathers around a tree before sharing a special meal. Continue reading Aliciouslyvegan: Our Christmas Eve dinner
Give me your little finger and I’ll gently tug at your arm.
No, I’m joking. I’ll actually rip it off clean. Continue reading Aliciouswedding: Vegan food fit for a wedding
The fact that we were going to have a vegan wedding went down well with most of our guests. Most of them had assumed as much.
The fact that we were going to have a vegan, alcohol-free wedding, however, left many a mouths agape in horror. Continue reading Aliciouswedding: Aperitiv and bride & groom cocktails (alcohol-free)
For his birthday Mr A had received a voucher for a night at a small B&B in the Gesäuse region, a national park in Styria. My Dad has stayed at the B&B numerous times and had asked the owners if they were willing to provide us with food during our stay. They agreed asking we call them a few days in advance.
When I called the woman of the house/ chef asked a few basic questions about our breakfast and dinner habits, then self-assuredly declared that she would make us something. Usually, this would make me feel uneasy but she sounded so convinced that I didn’t have a doubt in the world we would get amply fed.
And we did!
Our room at the B&B was beautiful – small but with everything one could ask for – and we were eager to explore the vicinity.
Unfortunately, in the morning we woke up to a grey sky laden with rain clouds. A long hike was out of the question so we decided on Dr.-Vogelgesang-Klamm. A klamm is a path next to and across a river and waterfall, because there it’s usually wet regardless of the weather. On the way there, and because the forecast was more promising for the afternoon, we stopped at Stift Admont (Admont Abbey) to visit the famous library. How glad we were that we did! The library turned out to be stunning, not only due to its sheer size but also because it has been so lovingly restored.
In the adjacent rooms there were heaps of stuffed animals (yikes) and an exhibition on food that turned out rather interesting (and a lot more progressive than I would have thought possible in this area – like, they had a whole room on vegan food and nothing negative about it).
Finally, the rain cleared and we went for the klamm which was very much worth our time.
The next morning the sun was shining brightly, the mist rising from the dewy meadows. We found a hike that was possible to complete from our doorstep and decided to give it a go. From the other side of the road we followed the river for a bit, then turned left and up the hill towards Mödlinger Hütte.
We had a break there, listening to the live jazz band (?) performing on this beautiful Sunday morning, before heading on towards Spielkogel. For almost an hour we could hear the music as a subtle background noise.
From there, it was all down and out – down then mountain, then following the path back out to our B&B, our car and the road back to Vienna.
There wasn’t exactly a big choice of hotels in the vicinity of where we were going to get married. Three hotels qualified in theory with two of them quickly disqualifying (one for their terribly unfriendly owner, one for looking a bit out-of-date). So we ended up booking a room in a business hotel. At least they told me there was going to be food for me at breakfast.
Turned out, the hotel was great!
At breakfast they brought out a separate (huge!) plate of cut-up veggies, two types of spread, vegan cheese and cold cuts and a bread basket. Both the day of and the day after I ate until I could not more.
Also, the rooms were sparingly furnished but felt cosy nonetheless – and ours even had a big balcony looking towards the forest. Even the colours matched our wedding’s colour scheme!
On the morning of we woke up before the 7:40 am alarm. We showered and headed off to breakfast in a perfectly relaxed mood. When my maid of honour joined us, Mr A excused himself to go over his vows once more. He had been nervous all week (which I found immensely sweet) and it wasn’t to get better for another few hours.
At 10 I headed back upstairs – and ran into both my stylist and the photographers.
While Lela worked her magic on me, Barbara and Sophie unpacked and started taking photos – moving between the room where I was and two doors down where Mr A was getting ready.
Soon Mum and my maid of honour joined us – Mum had even picked up my favourite green smoothie (which I drank before putting on the dress).
Soon my hair and face were done (how beautiful I looked!) and it was time to get dressed. Mum helped me close the zip, the photographers left with Mr A and the three of us had some time to spare before Mum drove me up to the hill where our first look photos were going to take place.
It was such a great idea to do that!
I had soon decided that I didn’t want to share the moment when Mr A and I first saw each other all made up with a crowd of expecting-looking people. Mr A immediately agreed and we’ve never looked back.
Seeing each other for the first time was such an intimate and special moment and we were glad we had those precious minutes with just each other (and the photographers but we didn’t really notice them).
Walking down the aisle was definitely something – with our octogenarian grandmothers as flower girls in front – strewing the path with leaves from all the roses Mr A had ever given to me – and everyone looking all dressed-up and smiling.
The wedding itself was beautiful in every sense.
The sun was shining, the ceremoniant found very apt words to describe us, and the music and songs performed by talented friends made our spines tingle.
Afterwards, family photos were taken while the other guests drove to the location to feast on crusty bread and cloudy apple juice. We soon joined them for congratulations and catching up with everyone and soon it was 6pm and time to open the doors and get everyone inside for dinner.
There was dinner, there was cake, there was dancing.
We enjoyed ourselves tremendously and when looking around us it seemed that everyone was having a good time.
At 2 am the DJ turned off the music and started packing and my best friend and her husband drove us to the hotel – where we quickly showered and then fell into a deep, restful sleep.
Holding hands, like we always do.
*** All photos by the uber-talented and lovely Barbara P. Photography ***
Can I get a big YAY for Salzkammergut? Because it never disappoints?
Who knew that Mr A was such a keen assembler of bunting? That Mum was perfect at bringing pompoms back to life that had been sitting in banana boxes for months? That my best friend had such a steady hand when it came to retracing my pencil lines with brush and paint? Continue reading Aliciouswedding: It’s all in the details