Category archives: germany

Ich weiß ein Haus am See

Way back in September, Andreas, Hazel and I rented a little mini cooper convertible and skipped town for the weekend to celebrate our anniversary. I had read an article about a little bed and breakfast (with a michelin star) north of Berlin and had been itching to check it out ever since.  The bed and breakfast, called Ich weiß ein Haus am See (which translates as I know a house on the lake), is literally in the middle of nowhere.  You drive along a dirt road, through a campground for a few miles before ending up at the understated b&b. The rooms are simple, and what you would expect from a lakeside bed and breakfast, but the dinner service was definitely something special.  I also give them bonus points for allowing our sweet little pup to join us. We arrived in the afternoon and spent a few hours before dinner walking around the lake and surrounding farmland with Hazel and took a bunch of photos.

Ich weiss ein Haus am See Ashley and Andreas Ludaescher Ich weiss ein Haus am See French Bulldog Photo

Ich weiß ein Haus am See

Paradiesweg 3

Krakow Am See, Germany


a weekend at the sea

Way back in July, we rented a car and drove back to Binz with my parents and Hazel in tow.  I am quite sure it was the best two days of Hazel’s life- that dog went absolutely bonkers for the dog beach.  As much as I love the lakes that surround Berlin, it felt really good to be at the seaside.  I didn’t even realize how homesick I get for the ocean.  Growing up a 10 minute drive from the Pacific might have spoiled me forever.


winter in the black forest

Winter in the Black ForestWinter in the Black Forest

We spent the weekend with my in-laws in the South of Germany, where Hazel will be enjoying Christmas while we are in California.  Their first big snow fall of the year fell the day before we arrived and I was completely in awe of how beautiful the Black Forest looks covered in snow, which meant I had my camera in hand for most of the weekend.

Winter in the Black ForestWinter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black ForestWinter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black ForestWinter in the Black Forest

We visited one of my favorite Christmas Markets, the Gengenbacher Weihnachtsmarkt (I posted about it last year too), and don’t let this sweet looking photo of Hazel fool you… She is no fun at all at the market- we call her the vacuum cleaner because she literally cleans the street of everything that even mildly resembles food, and drags you along as she “cleans”. Little fatty, but we love her so. :)

Winter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black Forest

4 Years

Last week marked 4 years since my arrival in Germany.  Time which feels to have flown by at the speed of light, although at the same time my life before I moved here also feels so long ago.  Living abroad has brought me so many wonderful things: meeting the man I now call my husband, new friends, Miss Hazel Blue, travels throughout Europe, a reignited passion for my photography work, a new language…  But it also has so many challenges: being SO far from people you love, losing touch with friends back home, missing big, important events in the lives of family and friends.   Both lists go on and on.  As much as I love this country and this crazy city I call home, part of me always is back home in California.  This strange sense of feeling conflicted can be so confusing, and after long conversations with fellow expat friends, it is nice to know that we all seem to feel that way.  It seems the easy answer to all my worries is to find a way to split my time between California and Berlin, although financially and logistically, I am still sorting out how to make that a reality.  Anyone want to help me figure that out?

This image was taken from my old office window a few days after I arrived in the Black Forest.  My first home in Germany was in a teeny tiny farm village on the Rhine river, where I spent a month living in a basement apartment and the air in the town was stained with manure from the freshly fertilized crops.  Needless to say, it was not exactly the warmest of welcomes, but I did find an amazing flammkuchen restaurant in this tiny village which won me over (and I quickly found my own apartment in a neighboring city), and slowly but surely I fell in love with Germany.

Freiberg + a new lens

I spent last weekend shooting for sisterMAG in both Leipzig and in the sisters’ hometown of Freiberg.  Thea gave me a tour of the charming little city and I got to test out my new 85mm lens while we walked around town. We were there to shoot for the next issue, and I am head over heels in love with my new lens and can’t wait to show you all the photos!  In addition, I got to spend some time with Thea’s parents, who were even more lovely than I had imagined.  We spent a long evening speaking German and hearing stories of the “sisters” growing up in Freiberg. I have been joking about the family adopting me so I can be the third sister for a while, but now I am fully convinced. I can’t wait until their mom starts making clothes for me too (kidding, sort of!).


I woke up bright and early to fly to Paris this morning and will be working here for a few days.  I can’t believe it is has been over a year since I was last here, and I am realized how incredibly spoiled we were living on the French/German border with a two hour train ride to Paris.  I am excited to catch up with Anne and Lindsey and will take lots and lots of pictures to share here next week.

exploring berlin | Prater Garten


The Prater Garten has quickly become one of our favorite spots to relax after a work day and catch up with friends over a beer.  Prater is Berlin’s oldest biergarten, serving beer on Kastanienallee in Prenzlauer Berg since 1837.  I think the food is far better than most biergartens, with lots of options beyond the usual bratwurst fare- and corn on the cob is always a winner in my book.  Surely with the lovely summer weather we have had here in Berlin lately, we will be spending many more lazy evenings at Prater.

Prater Biergarten
Kastanienallee 7-9   Prenzlauer Berg

exploring berlin is a series following my favorite discoveries around my new home city.

introducing Ashley Ludaescher Weddings

Moving to Berlin meant leaving the corporate photography job I had held (on and off) since 2005.  While that job had given me a consistent pay check and the opportunity to return to work in Europe (which was my dream since I left Paris in 2007), it was a desk job and one that did not fuel my passion for photography.  Avoiding settling for a job like that was the reason I went into photography in the first place, and while the company was great and I got to work with some of my best friends every day, my happiness and creativity were stifled.

Starting fresh in a new city gave me the incredible opportunity to ask myself what I wanted out of a career and my life.  I had always been afraid of owning my own business because organization and keeping my finances in check have not always been my strongest suit- fortunately I married a german accountant who keeps both of those details on track. (thank you andreas, i love you more than words)  After years freelancing beside my fulltime job, shooting weddings for friends, friends of friends, and a few clients who have now become friends, I myself became a bride and realized how truly remarkable it is to be able to document a wedding day.  It is such an honor to be able to photograph what is one of the most important days in a couple’s life together.  I decided what I wanted more than anything was to be able to help give other couples the same feeling that Andreas and I have when we look at our own wedding photos. To not only just document the wedding day, but capture the emotion and joy as well, and create photos a couple will cherish their entire lives.  I will be available to shoot weddings locally here in Berlin and Germany, as well as throughout Europe (with minimal travel expenses) and obviously travel worldwide too!!  I had originally planned to wait until I had finished the redesign of my website to announce the relaunch of my business here in Germany, but I couldn’t wait another minute to share the news :)  So stayed tuned for a beautiful new logo design, a relaunch of my professional blog AND a new Chasing Heartbeats blog design in the coming months!

for more of my wedding and engagement work check out my newly redesigned site:

I hope you all had wonderful weekends!  Our wedding is featured today on Classic Bride!  A big thank you Sarah for your lovely words about our wedding, it is such an honor to be on your beautiful site!  Check out the feature here.


We spent a really nice long relaxing Easter weekend with Andreas’s family in the South of Germany.  We caught up with friends, ate way too much cake, walked across the border to France, and I read and loved the first Hunger Games book (and as soon as I finished it, immediately ordered the 2nd and 3rd books).  On Tuesday, we drove a van back to Berlin with our bicycles and my vespa which we couldn’t squeeze into the moving van in December.  On the way back into town we got to visit some of the cutest pups ever, and I decided puppy kisses can turn any day around- after eight hours of driving it was the perfect end to our trip.  Be ready for lots of puppy pictures to come here on the blog because come Saturday we will be puppy parents and could not be more excited :)

to the black forest we go!

We are hopping on the train to spend a long weekend in the Black Forest visiting family and friends.  When we moved to Berlin, I never imagined getting homesick for the Black Forest, but I am really looking forward to catching up with friends, taking long walks through the forest, riding my vespa through the fields, eating cherry streusel from my favorite bakery and hopefully enjoying some spring weather!  It is the said to be the warmest region in Germany, so hopefully it will live up to that claim this weekend!

weekend in Hamburg

cake for breakfast :)
i loved all the old-school signage around town
instagram addicts

I planned a little surprise weekend getaway for Andreas’s birthday over the weekend, well I intended for it to be a surprise, but I have a really difficult time keeping anything from him and he managed to get it out of me.  I really wanted to plan a trip somewhere warm, but sadly there was a lot going on this week and it just wasn’t in the cards so we kept it relatively local, taking the two hour train ride to Hamburg and spent the weekend exploring the weekend by foot.  Andreas had visited the city a few years ago and for once it was really fun to have him lead me around a new place, as somehow I am always the de-facto guide when we travel.  Sometimes I find it fun to do absolutely no research before I visit somewhere new, and just wander the streets rather aimlessly to get a feel for the place.  This was one of those trips, and it was really lovely to have a weekend with absolutely no agenda and have the luxury of just wandering the city until we found somewhere or something that caught our eye to stop and have a drink or a bite to eat.  We did intend on visiting the famous Fischmarkt on Sunday morning… I woke up when the alarm went off bright and early, but Andreas had no desire to leave our cozy bed and as it was his birthday weekend, I decided to let the boy sleep and will hopefully check it out next time we are in the city.  I hope all of you had lovely weekends!

If you visit Hamburg, we found a few restaurants I would definitely recommend:
Le Kaschemme
a darling little restaurant off the Repperbahn where we enjoyed a bite to eat and caught the last few minutes of Saturday’s soccer matches.
Gröniger Braukeller
a brewery with a “brew-cellar” with a good pilsner, dates back hundreds of years and was a very lively and unique place to stumble upon.
The Bird
We have heard lots of good things about the amazing hamburgers at The Bird here in Berlin and I remembered seeing they also had a location in Hamburg.  When Andreas said he wanted a steak for his birthday dinner, I knew just the place.  I rarely eat meat, but I had to try their burgers and was definitely not disappointed.  Plus anywhere that serves Corona gets extra points in my book :)