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Europe Days 11-13

Europe Days 11-13

Well at this point it feels like we are starting to live here. We have frequent visits to the Tangalman grocery store downstairs from my aunts apartment. We go every few days to recycle and since we only brought four days of clothes we have done a ton of laundry. Every morning the 17 family members left are in a routine to meet for breakfast before setting out on our daily adventures. On Monday we packed four cars and headed south for the Partnachklamm http://www.partnachklamm.eu/. This is something I remember from my first visit to Germany in 1987. This hike along the inside of a canyon is unforgettable with a 1200ft climb and B walked the whole way. At the top was a biergarten where I of course needed a beer and then we headed back through the canyon just because I couldn’t get enough of it.

Tuesday we headed south again to Berchtesgaden where we took a tour of an underground working salt mine. http://www.salzzeitreise.de/en/global/salzbergwerkberchtesgaden0.html

During the tour we also experienced two wooden miner slides. I had to hold both kids for the first one and surly made my heart jump.

Yesterday we split up and Drew headed for a factory of BMW and I hung out with the kids. we hit up a small park here in Haar and then headed down town. My sister, mom and aunt took Nallia to the art museum, Bryson and I checked out a toy store and ate brats. We all met up at 3pm and made a stop for coffee and bookstore and then saw Munich’s Glockenspiel go off at 5pm. This is a cute show until you realize this clock tower was built in 1907, then I start to wonder how they made all those character with out modern day technology. Amazing to consider this marionettes are older than almost all the things we see day to day at home.

For dinner we drove out to the countryside to Biergarten-Falkenberg where they had a great playground and my cousin and I both had stechalfisch. It was simply a mackerel on a stick that is grilled whole but the highlight of the evening was when half the family played on the teeter-totter!

Europe Day 6-10

After arriving in Munich we had dinner with all the family that came for the wedding. We ended up being 24 people filling a small living room. On Thursday we went shopping in Marienplatz and had lunch at the Ratskeller. For dinner Nallia and I went to my cousins bridal shower and the boys went to a Biergarten. Nallia had a wonderful time, she even got her toenails painted for the first time.

Friday was my cousin’s civil ceremony. In Germany the civil ceremony at the court house is more elaborate and for some people this is simply the wedding. For my cousin they choose to have the civil ceremony in traditional Bavarian dress and then hosted a lunch at the English Garden.

Saturday was the big day. My cousin, Rebecca, and her boyfriend Moritz have been together for almost ten years. The wedding at the church was very beautiful and traditional with the best ring barer and flower girl in the world 🙂 At the last moment a family friend burst out with a joyful gospel song. It was a get-out-of-your-seat-and-sing song with everyone clapping and dancing. Needless to say this took some of the Germans by surprise! It was all arranged by my Rebecca’s sister. Outside of the church there was a champagne reception and pictures. We then took a shuttle to Gaertnerei, http://www.die-alte-gaertnerei.de/. This was the most amazing wedding site I have ever been to. It was truly straight out of a book or magazine. It is several old green houses, decorated inside. When we arrived we enjoyed a cake reception with ten different cakes accompanied by an espresso bar. About 8pm we moved to the next green house for dinner. It was quite an adventure to chat with the international crowd. Guests came from Canada, the US, Austria, Spain, Italy, China and several other countries. After an amazing dinner there were games for the couple and they “earned” several prizes for the honeymoon they are spending in Hawaii. Then we had breathtaking dessert that included berries on Kaiserschmarn. During the dinner slides of the two of them played in the background, I must admit there were a few funny ones of me with my cousin as children. At about 10 dancing started and of course Rebecca and Moritz took lessons and make it look easy. After a few sweet dances the DJ fired up. Our kids passed out in our arms about 12am and slept on a couch in the back of the room. At 1am they served a hot soup, I was not up for it with a very full belly and sore feet but everyone else said it was super yummy. So around 2:30am Nallia started to wake and we headed back. What a fun and long day!

The next morning we met up with Moritz and his family for brunch. As I was getting Nallia dressed I noticed a tick on her chest!!! Not so thrilled I was a little freaked out. But the family reminded me, “Thank goodness she married a doctor!” Just before brunch was served Mortiz, his brother and his father (also doctors) got the tick out without any trouble. It was a tiny little bugger so it took us all to hold her still. After brunch we took a walk along the banks of the Isar and took family pictures.

Europe 2011 – Days 1-5

We made it to Frankfurt early Saturday morning. The kids did well on the flight we were lucky that we booked far enough in advance, sat at the bulk head seats and they had some space to stretch. We picked up our rental car, which is a Volvo wagon, and headed to Heidelberg, Germany. Once in Heidelberg we meet up with our friends the Ramsier Family.

We stayed at Residenz Heidelberg, www.residenze-heidlberg.de. We had a cute modern apartment that overlooked side streets. Saturday night was one of only three days a year that the city hosts a fireworks display and lights up a large castle in the city red like it is burning in remembrance of the three times the castle caught fire. The fireworks were amazing! There is no way to describable the sound of them in the valley echoing off the water of the river running through town. They were shot off an old bridge and even straight out of the river.

 

Sunday we toured the castle and took a short boat ride on the river, we ended the day with an ice cream and time playing at a playground with a very tall slide!

 

Monday we headed into France, on the way we stopped at Boden Boden, Germany and had a picnic lunch in the rain and walked around the town. In the process we got a little lost and ended up walking for over an hour to get back to the car. We all became thankful for Drew’s need to get Internet on his German phone, which we had been hassling him about for the prior three days.  After entering France the roads were really curvy and Bryson ended up getting carsick (this was the second time since he threw up just outside of Fortuna when we were leaving!) We arrived at Chateau d’ Alterville about 5:30pm and we were greeted by the most amazing host, David, after getting settled we headed to a pizza place in Dieuze called Antonella. This was an experience to say the very least, but the pizza was amazing.

 

Monday started with a yummy breakfast at the chateau, which included homemade croissants and homemade jam made from white plums.  We hit road to see Nancy. We enjoyed the street cafes, town center with gold statuary and had a picnic in a city park. In France the businesses close from 12-2 and the people are out eating and enjoying the day.

 

We headed to Metz for the rest of the day. We started by seeing Cathedral, the outside was breath taking and once we entered Nallia said “WOW!” We took another walking tour with unintended loops around

the city. When we tried to find dinner we confirmed that the French don’t eat dinner until after 7pm so we stopped for crapes and Nallia charmed the woman making the crapes. The woman had just a bit of batter left after we all ordered and made a little one just for Nallia. We were lucky to find another pizza place just as it started to pour rain and even got an English speaking waitress. With full bellies and the sun still shining we headed over an old bridge and stumbled upon a playground next to a castle ruin. This was not a tourist spot but just in the city next to apartment buildings. It had the fastest slide and since it was wet from the rain the kids all had a blast. Just as it got dark we headed to car with about an hour drive back to the chateau.

 

Today we woke up late and rushed to breakfast to find yogurt in small glass jars and more wonderful jam. The jam was labeled and as we were trying to figure out the flavors when the woman behind us explained she makes this jam. She was another guest and explained all the flavors. I loved what I think was a ginger pear and Drew had seconds (or thirds) or strawberry without seeds. I tried the green tomato with lemon, worth the try but I am not sure I loved it. www.confituresduclimont.com. We were going to stop at her factory, but again French businesses are closed from 12-2. Although this jam would have been worth the side trip!

 

 

 

This morning we said goodbye to the Ramsiers as they head back Leipzig and we head to Munich.  It was amazing to see them and hear all about the ten months they have been living in Germany. We are so happy for them but excited they will once again be a few miles away in the near future.  Bryson has already had the experience of a lifetime hand in hand with a great friend.

 

So here we are waiting in a traffic jam to enter Germany. I can’t believe this part is over and we still have so much to do and see.

Lifelong Friends

It is always wonderful to look back at the kids and see how much they have changed. I recently started grouping and tagging photos in iphoto and got caught up in looking at pictures of Bryson’s friends and how they have changed and grown up. It is wonderful to see all those babies become kids. You can see, even in the photos, they would lie near each other as babies, play around each other as toddlers and now they have a wonderful friendship with all the ups and downs that comes with a truly “lifelong” friendship.

Today we headed out on our Sunday hike with one of Bryson’s friends and his family.  Jackson and Bryson toughed out the cold and ended the morning with hot chocolate at Wildberries. This was just the latest adventure for the boys.

 

When the boys were infants they attended a playgroup together, ended up at the same toddler center and preschool.  In 2009 both boys became big brothers on the same day and now as I look back it has been great to see this friendship grow. Can you imagine what life has in store for them?

 

 

Sunday Hike in the Rain

Last week we took another family hike through the Arcata Community Forrest. This is something I have always wanted to do but always found a reason not to. I had heard about all the not so family friendly things that happen and people getting lost. Since Drew explored the Community Forest before we met it is just something we had done.

We started with a stop at Los Bagels, which the kids just love! It is the perfect breakfast for the family and we even picked up a peanut butter cookie for the hike.

 

We started at Granite Ave. (trail 14) and went up to the reservoir and around to the field house, or last stop was at The “J” for lunch. It was pretty wet but it was another perfect Sunday morning hike.

 

Here is a link to the map of the Arcata Community Forest, but it is not super helpful more like a loose guide.

 

A few months ago we moved the kids beds into one room and made the other a playroom. I was inspired by several blogs to make a map and travel themed room. It has been very slow progress but it took a fun turn when I found a post about the Great American Postcard Swap on a dear friends blog, I love Neisha and we attended school together. Since our kids are about the same age I thought this was the perfect idea for our kids. We didn’t set up a swap but I have asked friends and family to start sending us postcards. B has also sweet talked a few Soroptimist into sending him cards when they travel. So far we only have 3 but when one comes in the mail B finds it there in the mailbox, brings it in the house and we look up on a map where it came from and read any information on the card. We then tack it on our map wall.

We would love to have more to contribute to our wall!

Here is the wall so far.

Nalley’s!

Nallia has started talking! I am so happy. Drew always wanted the kids to use a straw and I just can’t wait for them to talk. I love hearing what she wants and after months of her na-ah and stomping to say no, it is great to understanding her. She can say Banana, Apple, Shoes, Juice, Milk, Ickxie (Trixie), Emma, Mama, Daddy, Toes, Nose, More and her very favorite BRO BRO! She loves her brother and doesn’t even like to ride in the car without him. This week the newest word is Nalley, I have found she will yell this when she wants something or something is hers. It is super cute!

 

Happy Spring Equinox

Here is B working on a spring craft. Bryson's Spring Crafts

Friday night swimming

The family has been going to the pool at least once or twice a week for a while. Tonight I grabbed my phone and took a movie. Bryson is swimming along and improves every time. Nallia has no fear of the water and does a great job of holding her breath. Watch the video to see for yourself.

Last summer into the fall we worked for many, many weekends on the landscaping. Now this spring we are starting to see the rewards!

Here are some pictures of the work from last year.

 

 

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