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Month: July 2018


While visiting Madrid a few months ago, we met a couple of girls at our hostel who live in Hamburg. We told them that we were visiting Berlin and Hamburg soon and asked which city was their favorite.

Both girl’s immediately responded with: Hamburg.

Because it’s so “posh.

As we walked through the Altona neighborhood where our Airbnb was located and remembered the girls description of Hamburg, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Is this really how they define the word posh…

The garage in the picture above is where the lockbox for our Airbnb key was hidden.

Later we found out that Altona is notorious for being an eclectic and artsy district within Hamburg—known as the area “where anything goes” and people of all walks of life are welcome.

It turns out that the rest of Hamburg is exactly how those two girls described it: very posh.

We ended up liking Altona quite a bit though and thought the neighborhood was very relaxing and down to earth compared to the rest of the city.

We began our first day in Hamburg with a walking tour given by Sandemans. If you’ve never heard of them, I highly recommend checking out their website here. We’ve gone on a few of their tours and have enjoyed them a lot.

The best part about their tours is that they’re free!

You only pay for a tip at the end of the tour for your guide, and if your guide is terrible, you don’t have to tip them at all. It’s a great deal and an excellent way to get a good overview of a city. They also offer a variety of other tours for a small fee.

The small plaques in the picture above are part of a Holocaust memorial. The tiny squares are engraved with a victim’s name and placed near the area they lived.

We had seen the squares in a few different European cities before this, but until we took that walking tour, we never knew what they meant.

We started noticing a prominent theme throughout our time in Hamburg: fire.

It seemed like just about every building has caught on fire at one point or another.

The picture below is of the area where the Great Fire of 1842 started. Hamburg is known for its heavy factory presence since it’s a port city. This particular fire began in a cigar factory and according to our guide, traveled to a nearby paper mill and then further down to a distillery. Once it made its way through all things flammable, the fire overtook significant portions of the city and sadly killed more than fifty people.

Because of the strong wind that day, the fire only traveled in one direction. You can see in the picture below the stark dividing line between the old buildings to the left and the new buildings to the right.

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The images above and below are of a famous area called Speicherstadt. It’s the world’s largest warehouse district and one of the most photographed spots in Hamburg.

Hamburg is also known as the city with the most bridges in the world (~2,300), beating even Amsterdam.

After our walking tour, we headed to St. Michael’s church, where for a small fee you can visit the lookout tower and get a great view of the city.

The view was worth it, but the wind up there was crazy, so our photo ops were a bit of a struggle.

That night we booked 9 pm tickets to visit the best museum ever: Miniatur Wunderland. 

It’s the world’s largest model railway and is the most popular museum in all of Germany—they stay open until 2 am for a reason!

Our friends recommended purchasing tickets for a later time because the crowds get so tight during the day that you can hardly see the models. The place was packed even at the late hour we were there, so I can’t imagine what it’s like earlier.

They even have an airplane themed cafeteria (pictured below), which was so cute!

Every hour or so they change the lighting throughout the building to mimic sunset and sunrise.

They even have model airplanes that fly!

Growing up, my dad built a model train set to put under our Christmas tree every year. Each building represents one of our family members (i.e. Christina’s Cantina). My dad’s train has always been my favorite family tradition—it’s also the reason I’m a bit obsessed with Christmas (like the person who starts listening to Christmas music before Halloween obsessed).

It’s such a special thing for the whole family, so getting to visit Miniatur Wunderland and explore an even bigger train model set was amazing!

Below is a picture of our Christmas tree  at home and my dad’s train village that he built. Check out the theme park he added in honor of my husband, Cardin!

The next day we made a quick trip to see Beatles-Platz, which is known as the area that helped launch the Beatles to stardom. It’s next to the Reeperbahn, which is Hamburg’s red light district and is where the Beatles played at numerous venues.

We also visited Submarine U-434, which was cool, but quickly became very claustrophobic. There was a tour while we were down there, so we repeatedly got stuck in extremely cramped areas everytime they stopped.

We still had a great time though and loved getting to climb through the entry of each room!

Another unique stop nearby is Elbtunnel. Since Hamburg has one of the busiest shipping harbors in the world, they built this tunnel as a way for workers to get to the other side of the river. It’s free to walk through it and crazy to think that you’re actually under water!

On the other side of the tunnel is a beautiful viewpoint of Hamburg.

Once we finished at Elbtunnel, we headed to one of the greatest concert halls in the world: Elbphilharmonie.

It’s in HafenCity, which is known as one of the newest and most expensive areas of Hamburg.

This incredible concert hall was initially estimated to cost 200 million euros but ended up running way behind in schedule and costing around 870 million euros.

It’s free to visit the building, and you can take the beautiful escalator to a deck, which gives you a great view of the city.

On our way back to Altona, we walked through Planten un Blomen, which has a reputation for being one of the best parks in Europe.

Since the weather was so nice, the park was very crowded, but it offers lovely areas to take a break from the city and enjoy nature for a bit.

Of course, we had to end our last night in Germany the same way we started it—with beer! We found the perfect little beer garden near our Airbnb and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Click here to watch our Germany video along with our other vlogs!

If you want updates about our travels, subscribe to my blog to receive posts directly to your email. And if you want to keep up with us daily while we travel, follow me on Instagram at Being_Positioned or Facebook @beingpositioned!

My Hearing Bucket List

If you haven’t noticed, my life is a bit of a bucket list right now.


Traveling for weeks at a time and experiencing the most incredible things.


But when I was first diagnosed, traveling was not my priority.


At the time, I didn’t realize all of the other complications my body may experience and assumed only my hearing would be effected.


So, I came up with a hearing bucket list.


If you read my “2 Years of Marriage” post (which you can find here), then you know that I visited Cardin (my fiancé) a few days after my diagnosis.


During that trip, we created a list of all the hearing focused activities we want to experience before I lose my hearing.


The number one item: Concerts.


Before my hearing problems, I enjoyed music but didn’t have much of an interest in attending concerts.


Not that I didn’t like them, they just weren’t a priority.


But once the threat of hearing loss hit, concerts suddenly became a big deal. And constantly listening to music became a new way of life for me.


Unfortunately, I hadn’t quite grasped the reality of what my hearing loss meant yet.


I didn’t realize that I would hate bass noises and loud music.


I didn’t realize that I would need to wear earplugs to church every Sunday.


I didn’t realize that concerts would be hard for me.


During my first year of living in Florida, I discovered a band called Johnnyswim. They were being interviewed on my favorite podcast so I decided to check them out.


And I loved them.


If you’ve never heard of them, they’re the band that sings the theme song, “Home,” for the HGTV show Fixer Upper.


I started listening to their music while I got ready for work every day, which meant my husband also had to listen to them every morning.


When my 25th birthday rolled around, Cardin found tickets to the Johnnyswim concert in Jacksonville but wasn’t sure if I’d want to go.


Aside from my general struggle with loud music, concerts also offer the potential for damaging my hearing. I always carry special earplugs with me (which you can find here), but they only lower the noise a few decibels.


My initial reaction was to decline the offer—until I remembered my long forgotten hearing bucket list.




This was my chance (possibly my only one) to see a band that I love before I lose my hearing.


So, we bought the tickets and booked our trip to Jacksonville.


• • •


And the concert was hard.


My word comprehension in my left ear is extremely low. It’s no longer considered functional and is virtually useless—except when it comes to bass noises.


It’s like I have a microphone on that side of my head that only picks up the awful low vibrations and overpowers every other noise in the room.


It drives me crazy.


It also makes me panic thinking I’m going to damage my hearing from such powerful bass.


I have constant tinnitus (ringing) in both of my ears, and loud noises are a big trigger for it. Usually, I can tolerate it, but loud music tends to triple the ringing volume and lasts for hours.


During the concert, I wore my earplugs, but even those were no match for that ever-present bass.


So we spent the majority of the concert in the hallway.


Just outside of the music.


Enough to where I could still hear it without the fear of hearing loss and without feeling overwhelmed.


Every few songs we would take a break and stand in the hallway again.


And you know what—I’m so glad we went.


It may not have been the bucket list experience I dreamt of, but I loved it.


The music was beyond amazing, and the lead singers, Amanda and Abner (who happen to be married) are so fun to watch! Plus, Abner is from Jacksonville, so his family and friends were all at the concert.


The atmosphere was perfect!


So even though it was hard, it was worth it.


Last month we found out Johnnyswim was on tour again, but this time they were coming to Orlando.


We debated going but decided against it because the concert date was a few days before my hearing test. My last hearing exam revealed a slight decline in my right ear, so we didn’t want to risk anything in case it caused a temporary decline.


And then we got a phone call saying that my doctor wants me to wait for another 3-months before rechecking my hearing.


(That in itself is a celebration because I’ve been undergoing hearing tests every 3-months for two years now.)


But it also meant that we could go to the concert.


We were still debating, but the night before the show, my sweet friend who also has NF2 shared an Instagram story of her wearing noise-canceling headphones at a concert.


She texted me the brand of the cheap headphones she purchased, and on a whim, we finally decided to buy the tickets.


So here is a picture of me wearing my not-so-cute lawn mower headphones:

Shortly after getting to the concert I donned my new fashion accessory, and sadly, they were no help.


All they did was silence the actual music, so ALL I could hear was bass. Not exactly the result I was aiming for…


But thankfully, I brought my handy earplugs, and we repeated our routine of taking periodic breaks and sitting in the hallway.


It didn’t go how I hoped it would, but we still had so much fun. And the music was even better than last time.


Definitely worth it.


My concert-going struggles have been a big lesson for me.


I’m learning that we can’t control our dreams. No matter how badly we want them to work, they may not. And if they do work, they may look very different than we expected.


We may have to adjust.


The important thing is to adjust our dreams without letting the adjustments stop us from accomplishing those dreams.


I’m proud of myself for taking the risk and going to those concerts. Because of that, I’ve gotten to see my favorite band TWICE!


And when I lose my hearing, I will be able to think back on how magical those experiences were.


What are some bucket list items you’ve checked off? Comment below or email me!


***And if you’ve never heard of Johnnyswim—click the video below to hear one of my favorite songs!


If you want updates about our travels, subscribe to my blog to receive posts directly to your email. And if you want to keep up with us daily while we travel, follow me on Instagram at beingpositioned or Facebook @beingpositioned!




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Welcome to beer heaven!

After a month in France, Spain, and Portugal, where all we drank was wine and sangria, Cardin was more than ready for the land of beer.

Before heading to the nearest beer garden, we wanted to check into our Airbnb. A few days earlier, our host informed us that she would be out of town and that we would pick up the keys to the apartment from the shop below.

As we walked up to the building, we realized that there was no shop below and that the only place on the street was a sketchy convenience store. Like the kind that’s slightly bigger than a closet and looks like it hasn’t been cleaned since the 90’s. To add to the joint’s seedy appearance, two men smoking cigarettes blocked the doorway as they watched people pass.

Surely that can’t be the “shop” our host was referring to…

We were about to message the girl when one of the men called out to us. Cardin and I quickly shared a glance before approaching the store. In very broken English, the guy attempted to ask if we were staying in the apartment and pointed towards our Airbnb. We said yes, and he went back behind the cash register to retrieve a small, white envelope.

After he silently handed it to us, we thanked him and quickly headed outside. Honestly, the transaction felt a bit like a drug deal, but thankfully the envelope did, in fact, contain our keys!

Once we successfully dropped our bags off at our home for the next few days, we headed to a nearby beer garden.

Below is a picture of Cardin before having his first REAL German beer:

And below is Cardin’s impression of his first REAL German beer: 

I think it’s safe to assume he enjoyed it!!

Our new friend Megan, who we had just visited in Denmark (which you can read about here), happened to be in Berlin for a conference at the same time. So, of course, we had to meet up with her! 

We started at the TV Tower and spent the next few hours hitting all of the nearby historic sites—which isn’t an easy feat since just about every corner holds either a beautiful building or monument.

As we were leaving the TV tower, the Google maps camera guy passed us! I haven’t checked if we made it onto the street view for it yet, but I bet we did!

That day also happened to be May 17th, which is World Neurofibromatosis Day!

The Neuro Foundation in London (the same people who gave us a GoPro so we could start making videos) also sent us these great shirts. So, we figured what better way to help spread awareness than wear our new gear as we explored Berlin!

A lady even asked us about our shirts after we took her picture for her. We ended up talking to her for the next 20 minutes about my disorder and our traveling. She lives in the UK and wants us to visit her on our next trip!

We were so excited that one more person knows about neurofibromatosis now just because we wore matching shirts for a day! It’s amazing the kind of impact you can have (no matter how small) and the people you can connect with even with something as simple as wearing a shirt.

For lunch, we decided to try out a local favorite: Currywurst.

Pork sausage covered in curry ketchup and sprinkled with curry powder are what makes this dish so delicious and unique! Cardin even ordered his made with ostrich sausage, which was surprisingly good!

You can find currywurst stands all over Berlin, so we ended up eating a few different versions of it. Plus it’s a cheap, quick dish and goes great with beer, of course!

After lunch, we headed to the Holocaust Memorial, also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. 

Representing around 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims, this memorial is one of the most powerful tributes I’ve ever visited. You can’t help but feel the enormity of what happened during the Holocaust as you walk through the endless rows of casket-like statues.

The Brandenburg Gate (pictured above) is a quick walk from the Holocaust Memorial and is one of the most well-known landmarks in Germany. It’s also where we met that woman from the UK who asked us about our t-shirts!

Our last stop of the day was Berlin’s famous Museum Island. It consists of five incredible museums, so even though Cardin and I aren’t huge museum fans, we decided we needed to check out at least one.

We settled on the Neues Museum. It’s a collection of Egyptian art and is so interesting—even for us!

We passed a Tex-Mex restaurant on our way home that evening. Since we’re originally from Texas, I couldn’t help but take a picture! We opted to not eat there after looking at the menu and realizing how different their interpretation of “Tex-Mex” is from ours, but we were still excited to see it!

The first stop of our next day was East Side Gallery (also pictured in the feature photo of both this and my Learning to Appreciate Sound post). It’s one of the longest remaining stretches of the Berlin Wall and was turned into an open-air art gallery in 1990. Most of the artworks are political statements or pleas for peace. It’s almost a mile long and so interesting to walk past!

It’s a bit far from all of the other tourist sites, but definitely worth the visit!

Another popular spot to visit in Berlin is Checkpoint Charlie (pictured above). It felt very touristy, especially since women were lined up to take pictures with the guards, but it was still cool to see it.

A few blocks away we found what I called a German version of Luby’s. And if you’re not familiar with Luby’s, it’s a cafeteria type restaurant. I’m a fan of places like this because I’m such a visual person and like to be able to see my food before I order it! The food there was delicious, but ended up being SO filling. We had to sit for about thirty minutes to digest once we finished before moving on.

Once we finished digesting, we visited the Jewish Museum. It was another incredibly powerful and moving experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Berlin.

Below is a picture of an interactive sculpture where you walk across clinking metal faces. It’s very eerie and one of the most memorable artworks we’ve ever seen.

The Typography of Terror is a free outdoor and indoor museum dedicated to the history of repression experienced under the Nazi regime. It’s located on the site of what used to be one of the Nazi headquarters and includes a large section of the Berlin Wall.

We had a wonderful few days in Berlin and learned so much about Germany’s history and how the country has recovered and honored such a devastating period of their past.

Click here to watch our Germany video along with our other vlogs!

If you want updates about our travels, subscribe to my blog to receive posts directly to your email. And if you want to keep up with us daily while we travel, follow me on Instagram at Being_Positioned or Facebook @beingpositioned!


In May we had the chance to travel to Denmark with our friend Rachael from Orlando (pictured next to me above). She has two friends, Megan and Maddy, who currently live there and work for LEGO, so we figured it was the perfect opportunity to visit.

We spent the first three nights in their town—Vejle.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find an Airbnb for our first night, so we booked a nearby hotel. The website specified the room was suitable for two people, but as soon as we walked in, we quickly realized something got lost in translation. The bed was slightly larger than a twin, and they only supplied one pillow, one towel, and one tiny blanket.

We headed back to the lobby to request more bedding and towels, but as we approached the front desk, we realized that a different guy was working. And he was drunk. 

I started to ask for another pillow when the man immediately interrupted me and explained that he doesn’t work at the hotel, but that he got locked behind the desk and can’t get out. And then he promptly offered us a sip of the very large beer he was holding.

After we both declined his generous offer, the employee who had checked us in exited the elevator. Without a word, he walked up and unlocked the desk to let the drunk guy out. Then they both started laughing and making plans for when the guy got off work. Eventually, the employee noticed Cardin and I standing there and provided us with everything we needed.

We couldn’t help but laugh as we headed back upstairs. The entire interaction was so strange and so different from anything that would have been allowed in America.

After a slightly uncomfortable night, our first morning began with the best way to start a Danish adventure: with a danish.

After breakfast, we headed to a park called Dyrehaven. It’s a protected area for deer to roam and you can feed them. Strangely enough, people often feed the deer dry spaghetti, so we brought our little baggy of hard noodles.

And of course, none of them wanted to eat it.

Finally, we found an excessively hungry deer who ate our entire bag of noodles and then proceeded to eat every leaf we put in his path.

Once we ran out of noodles and leaves, we walked around town and grabbed lunch at a cute cafe. The area in the picture below is known as “the walking street” in Vejle. Just like most European towns, this one is full of adorable shops and cafes!

If you haven’t noticed from our videos, Cardin and I have developed a bit of an ice cream problem. We eat ice cream almost every day while we travel—thank goodness we walk 10 miles a day, or we would be gigantic by the end of this year!

So, when our friends suggested we get ice cream, we immediately agreed! Especially since it would include another Danish specialty: Guf.

It’s essentially strawberry flavored marshmallow fluff, and you can get it for free on your ice cream. Almost everyone in the shop was ordering a heaping pile of it, so we couldn’t wait to try it!

Our verdict: it’s not bad, but I wouldn’t say it’s particularly good either. Mostly because it’s overpowering, so we could hardly taste the flavor of the ice cream buried below it. It was fun to try it though, and we never complain about anything free!

Licorice is another strange specialty you frequently find in Denmark.

Unfortunately, along with blue cheese and anchovies, licorice is one of the few foods I hate. Since the ones in the picture below were covered in chocolate, I figured I could handle eating one….but, once you get through the layer of chocolate, that licorice is powerful!

I still haven’t figured out why those things are so popular, but we saw them in every shop we visited.

The next morning we rode the bus to a town called Billund—the home of LEGO!

We started at LEGO House. I’m relatively indifferent when it comes to this particular toy, but this place was amazing! It’s a giant playground dedicated to LEGO products. They had endless stations full of different bricks along with unique LEGO themed games and activities.

Our favorite spot in the building was the giant LEGO pit. Although it makes a cool picture, I don’t recommend attempting to sit on a massive pile of tiny bricks—it was far more challenging than we expected and I immediately fell over after taking this picture. I can officially empathize with all the parents who have ever stepped on their children’s LEGO bricks!

Our next stop was a quick visit to LEGO headquarters before heading to LEGOLAND. We were only allowed to see the main entrance area, but it was still fun to check out where Megan and Maddy work. We especially loved all of the LEGO touches greeting you as you walk in!

The next morning we grabbed an early train to Copenhagen. Cardin and I booked a private room at an Airbnb, so we shared an apartment with the girl who lives there. It ended up being a great spot, but I have to talk about our unique bathroom experience.

The bathroom in the picture below is typical for Copenhagen apartments, but I can’t imagine having to use this closet-sized restroom on a daily basis. The shower and the sink share a faucet and there is a thin shower curtain you pull around yourself to protect the toilet from getting wet. But, that means you’re showering right up against the sink with  no room to turn around.

It worked though and was a very efficient use of the space! The only other struggle was that the door was wooden and has warped over time. You have to slam the door to close it, which was a bit rough early in the morning and late at night. Plus I almost got locked in the first few times, so we were happy to move onto using a regular bathroom again in our next Airbnb.

Everyone recommended the hot dogs in Copenhagen, so of course, we made that our first lunch stop. Food is expensive in Denmark, so we were happy to finally find a cheap meal! Plus it was delicious!

We also couldn’t get over the fact that they don’t have open container laws there, so after lunch, we walked around the city drinking our beer. Cardin and I kept trying to conceal it though for fear that maybe we would get in trouble!

The most frequently photographed spot in Copenhagen is called Nyhavn (shown in the featured photo of this post). Known for its colorful buildings and waterfront views, we loved walking around the area and taking a canal tour. Plus they had plenty of hot dog stands, so we all enjoyed a second round after walking off our first lunch.

We spent the rest of the day walking around and exploring the beautiful city! Check out the unicorn horn shaped building in the picture below. Denmark has such unique architecture!

Denmark is also home to the castle Hamlet was based on—Kronborg. It’s located in a town called Helsingør, which is a quick train ride from Copenhagen.

The castle is beautiful, and they offer free themed tours. Our tour was based on the king’s helper planning a royal banquet. So, as the actress showed us around the castle, she discussed the different responsibilities she had to prepare the dinner. It was entertaining and very unique compared to any other castle tour Cardin, and I have gone on—which is saying a lot since we’ve visited so many this year! 

A short walk from the castle is a great food market. We loved the decor and enjoyed trying a few local foods—although we still aren’t huge fans of the country’s food scene.

After lunch we had to choose between taking a ferry from Helsingør to Sweden or going on a brewery tour back in Copenhagen…so, of course, we decided the brewery tour! As much as we would have loved visiting Sweden, there isn’t much to do in the coastal town, so the brewery won the vote. Cardin and I will make a trip to Sweden one day though!

Carlsberg brewery is a staple in Copenhagen. The beer was great, and we loved petting the horses after the tour! Plus the staff was very friendly, which is always a bonus.

We couldn’t get over the crazy looking bangs on the horses! They were adorable!

Another popular spot to visit in Copenhagen is the statue of the Little Mermaid. We passed the figure during our canal tour, but it’s very small and covered with tourists. Thankfully the brewery had a replica of the statue, so we just pretended it was the real thing and decided to skip fighting the crowds at the actual one!

We spent our last day in Denmark visiting the second oldest theme park in the world: Tivoli Gardens.

It opened in 1843 and is officially one of our favorite theme parks! The attractions were amazing, and the gardens around the park were beautiful. It felt like we were in a botanical garden rather than surrounded by rides!

Unlike a typical theme park where your food options are limited to burgers and chicken tenders, this one has a food court attached. You have to leave the park and re-enter once you finish, but the food was delicious! And it’s by far the healthiest amusement park meal we’ve ever eaten.

Our favorite ride in the park is one of the oldest operating wooden roller coasters in the world! The craziest part is there’s a driver on each train manually operating the coaster! We rode the ride a few times, and all of the drivers stood up during most of it. Our first guy turned off a light switch in one of the tunnels while standing up and operating the controls! We’ve never been so frightened and entertained on a ride before.

We had a fantastic week, and it was such a joy to get to know Megan and Maddy! Also, if you’re looking for some tour guides in Denmark, I highly recommend them! 😉

Click here to watch our Denmark video along with our other vlogs!

If you want updates about our travels, subscribe to my blog to receive posts directly to your email. And if you want to keep up with us daily while we travel, follow me on Instagram at Being_Positioned or Facebook @beingpositioned!