We sang, we traveled, we ate. This is how we conquered Europe for the first time as husband and wife.
We got to do it for almost a month. And even if we were traveling with a group, we cannot miss the chance to go out on a just-us date. So, on that one free night in Cologne, Germany, before we head to Spain, we had our first European date.
We strolled along the cold streets, looking for a perfect place for that first European date, and ended up in a cozy bar just across Cologne Cathedral.
Funkhaus is the restaurant on the building of the WDR Funkhaus, the radio broadcast center, which is important in Cologne’s history.
Next, what to eat?
Eat local, but don’t splurge. That has been our eating out mantra. So, we settled with currywurst and Kölsch (Cologne brewed beer).
We learned about the beer from our hosts in Weroth, and they were right, it tastes good! Not a beer fan here, but this one is worth the try.
Spent precious moments here, but not for long. We had to walk back to the hostel to catch our early morning flight. And did I say it was freezing cold that night? And that we were walking by the River Rhine? There you go.
This date is definitely one for the books! We are just beyond grateful to have experienced this, and so much more, while celebrating a special milestone in our married life, and traveling with a choral group we consider family.
If I were to sum up the past ten years of being married to the love of my life, only one word comes to mind: GRATEFUL.
That my husband and I are stronger together, and we’ve proven it to each other and to other people many times already.
That we have a home we can call our own.
That we hurdle life’s challenges together, big or small.
That our witnesses stand true to their roles as second parents (sadly, we unexpectedly lost a ninang a couple of months ago).
That our families and friends are with us, in good times and in bad (we still grieve though for the loss of my husband’s father).
That we get to do things we both love–choral singing, making music, travel, writing– and also do things on our own–his passion for martial arts, my various interests and advocacies.
That we have our little treasure, Ariadne.
That we are Schatzis (treasure in German). And this union is #schatzinfinity.
So, how did we celebrate this milestone?
Well, we were in Europe for this.
I have posted pockets of words and photos over my Facebook Page and Instagram (LIKE TOURINGKITTY please!) and will slowly (and I mean slow….ly!) gather them in one post, real soon!
Going back to celebrating, we did not have anything planned, really. Since last year, the ACS began their preparation for this trip. My husband was planning to come home in time for our anniversary, but I suggested that he finish the whole trip instead. You don’t get to go to Europe everyday! So, we settled to celebrating belatedly, perhaps with a Mass, Renewal of Vows, and fancy dinner.
But God has his own way of surprising us. Two months before the trip commenced, I was invited. To join as soprano. Bubble thoughts went like: We will sing in a choir. Together. And tour Europe. In time for our wedding anniversary.
I. Am. Stoked! Who am I to say no?!
And so I said I DO (haha I mean, yes, I am honoured to join!), and right on my birthday, I applied for my visa which was granted two days after. It was meant to be.
10th Wedding Anniversary, Barci style
We had a full schedule on the day of our anniversary, but the previous two days of it were absolutely free days. And we were in Barcelona, Spain! We shopped and ate and strolled, and did most everything just the two of us.
One of our godparents treated us for an unforgettable Tapas dinner, and got ourselves almost drunk with Sangria (lol). Our pastor-friend and choirmate (yes the ACS is super blessed to have a pastor!) gave time to lead us in scripture reading, reflection, and prayer. We read and reflected on the same Gospel passage on our wedding day.
The best part:
We got to tour the church (few photos on my Facebook Page!) and I can’t help but cry while praying.
A Spiritual Pilgrimage to celebrate a decade of marriage
We had a long day on our anniversary day, which began with this.
We were scheduled to visit two more Ignatian sites (because Ateneo) — Montserrat and Manresa. Few days before that, we were privileged to visit Loiola, the birthplace of St. Ignatius.
We sang a couple of Marian songs as offering to Our Lady of Montserrat. Video courtesy of Enric Genesca, one of our host-organizers from Polifonica Puig-reig:
We were told that choirs who visit here would have to get permission to sing inside the Abbey. So this is a rare and special and blessed opportunity for us.
After which, a sumptuous Chinese buffet lunch (yum!) and dinner at the hotel, where we also performed for an awarding ceremony for the Polifonica Puig-reig, our host choir, which celebrates its 50th year as a choir.
Who gets to spend their wedding anniversary this way? We are truly thankful that this has all happened. All in God’s plan and perfect time.
We are grateful that we got to spend this special occasion with the people who are dear to us, our ACS family.
Bonus photo! Check out our ACS Fam ten years ago during the wedding reception!
Just like any other marriage, ours is a work in progress, every single day. But we keep in mind what our father-rector and spiritual tatay said during the Homily on our wedding day, the three things our marriage should have: Communication, Care, Be fair.
We missed our daughter for almost a month, but we are more blessed that my mother and sister willingly took care of her while we were in this trip. We cannot be any more grateful for that.
I don’t know how to end this post, and I must try to sleep (hello jetlag, it’s been a week and you are back!) so let me end with this Bible verse that we have reflected upon ten years ago, last week for the 10th anniversary, and forever until death parts us.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)