Monday, August 19, 2013

Eurocco: Germany, Week One

Now that our Germany trip is coming to a close, it is time to begin recapping everything awesome that we have been doing the past three weeks. This will be not exact and probably really boring, but I'm determined to preserve these memories for our posterity. It was a really great three weeks, hosted by the most hospitable Germans we know in one of the prettiest German cities we've ever been to.

We arrived mid-week, but Nina was at her parents' house and Juwe was working three hours away near the Swiss border, so we were on our own for the first few days. We took the opportunity to: eat all the food in their fridge (Juwe stocked it with all things German: brats, cheese, bread), explore the many awesome parks close by (there are at least 10 parks within a one-mile radius) and bike to the castle (we got lost though, Atticus fell asleep, and overall it wasn't the most pleasant night).

The day everyone arrived home, they took us to the "playground in the woods" called Oberwald. It is a very short bike ride (we found out weeks later when we went on bikes) but with two preschoolers who insisted on walking, it took us at least an hour. Plus, we got caught in a brief, but torrential downpour and were lucky to be right next to a bridge during it. We huddled underneath for 10 minutes, then continued on in the rain-drenched path. We spent an interminable amount of time picking blackberries because the kids kept eating all of the ones I tried to collect in our container. They were perfectly ripe and sweet though, so I must admit I probably ate more. After we arrived at Oberwald, the kids played for hours... Nina and Juwe's friend Mark came by with his daughter and the adults chatted. We ate a lunch of this weird cold sausage stuff (think bologna smushed into a sausage shape), cheese, bread and fruit (this will repeat itself almost every day). After the kids were bored at the park we walked through the outdoor zoo next to it. Yes, outdoor zoo. Acres of wild animals hanging out. Mostly elk and deer types, but some buffalo and horses as well. We all walked back together.... picking blackberries and working through several meltdowns. Atticus even got hit by a bike and broke the girls' chain who hit him. He still talks about how sorry he is that he broke that girl's bike and it was his fault. I remind him it was her fault for hitting him (she was only about 12 though). Hopefully, they made it home ok, we didn't really stop to see.

He was obsessed with this stick-building pit

After leaving Oberwald, the Germans insisted we go and get a spaghetti eis, which is a weird ice cream thing that looks like spaghetti. It was delicious, but the portions were huge, and I felt bad when I couldn't finish mine (everyone was ordered their own, but I probably would've opted to share and should've spoken up). Since it was before dinner, everyone was feeling pretty sick so we headed home and relaxed for a while, and ate a light dinner (probably bread... German dinner).

The next day, our friends Ida, Patrick, Felix and Justus joined us while on a whirlwind tour of Germany to visit Patrick's friends and family. It was a full house for a few days but it was wonderful to spend time with them, and it felt just like the good old days of January 2013. We spent all day at the zoo (Tim stayed home to work) and playing in the water playground, then came home and played at the playground more. I know we also visited the castle and ate ice cream sometime during these few days. We ate schnitzel (not with noodles) for dinner and everyone crashed with exhaustion. Ida was adorably pregnant with their third baby, and their kids were as rambunctious as ever (Atticus and Felix got in a few physical altercations... but Felix is almost a year older and twice his size so he always got in trouble, which I felt bad about... Atticus needs to figure out fighting with a burly German/Norse child is always a bad idea for him).
Patrick and I got really into engineering a river down to the swimming hole. We were mostly successful, but maybe a little too determined.
Schnitzel with french fries.
Playground at the zoo.
Needing a nap.
Their faces crack me up in this one.
He carried around a stuffed giraffe the whole trip and they were by far his favorite site.
German zoos let the animals roam free.

After they departed, we spent the rest of the week in a typical pattern of spending all day out with the kids (me and Nina) while Tim stayed home to work. We went to the Natural History Museum (3 euro and really impressive), the river playground (but after the crazy intense thunderstorm that blew in scarily quickly and left us stranded in a very crowded ice cream shop for half an hour, the river was too cold to play in), and several other playgrounds around.

After we left the science museum, we headed to the castle grounds for a while and roamed, picking mushrooms and flowers. Also check out the clouds. The clouds in Germany are like nothing I've ever seen. They seem so close to the earth and are huge and look different every second. I would love to lay down and watch them float by....
Nina, about the castle: "It's not very old, only like 350 years." Which is like the oldest modern building in our country!
River playground, post crazy-scary thunderstorm:

Also at some point this week, the chimney sweeper came. She had short, bleach-blonde hair, lots of earrings, and wore a old-style chimney sweeping uniform like in Mary Poppins. She was super cool, and made sure all the gas lines weren't leaky and went up into the scary, hot attic to clean out the chimney. The kids were fascinated.

Week two: equally as awesome, though our stamina died down a bit...


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