A Special New Year's Day Excursion

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you have had a pleasant time celebrating and settling into 2010. I love the way 2010 looks when it's written - and the way it sounds - such a round, positive number. I just know that this year must be full of lots of wonderful surprises for us all.

Today, I thought I'd share an excursion with you that we made on New Year's Day. It was one of those spontaneous little trips that turned out especially well, perhaps because it wasn't planned in advance. The afternoon was rainy, the children were restless, and my husband suggested that we drive to the Benediktbeuern Monastery south of Munich. I'd never been there before, but I had heard that the cathedral was beautiful, so we bundled up and hopped into the car.

The weather was very gray and misty, which gave the monastery a rather magical, romantic atmosphere when we arrived.

The arched stone entrance was imposing,

and opened up into a large, green courtyard.

Lucy didn't mind the rain at as it gave her a chance to dance in the puddles!

Meanwhile, Sophia had found the entrance to the cathedral and couldn't wait to run inside.

The elaborate paintings and carvings inside the cathedral didn't disappoint. Candles and festive lights from the holidays lit up the beautiful altar, and the warm, inviting atmosphere of the church was a strong contrast to the grayness outside.

If you look closely at this photo, you'll see my husband with Sophia at the altar to the left. Perhaps he is telling her that his grandfather came from the village here, and served as a "Minstrant" at the altar when he was a boy. Lovely how an unplanned daytrip turned this into a very special New Year's Day for our family.

How did you celebrate the arrival of 2010? Do you have any traditions or certain foods/meals you eat for the new year?

We had a delicious lunch at the monastery, but went home to eat a bowl of black-eyed peas in the Tennesee tradition for good luck.

I look forward to hearing from you, and I wish you all the very best for you and your loved ones in 2010!