Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Germany post

I know. We travel a lot. Trust me, if you were in this profession, you would, too. We popped up to Germany for the weekend in the middle of December (I know, right?! "Popped up to Germany!" We are spoiled. In some ways.). It was fabulous. I'll tell you, we were all traveled out, after our adventure in India, but Germany was actually quite rejuvenating. It was calm. Traffic was orderly. Everything... worked. The above picture is Maeve watching the luggage belt work. These little tigers in cages kept going 'round and 'round... advertisements for a car rental place... and Maeve would trot along beside them, chatting away. It was rather cute, I must say. And many other people said so, too. Not just her mom. Ha!

We flew into Munich and then stayed in Garmisch, a lovely little town a bit farther south. We were in the coolest hotel. It was geared towards families, and had several playrooms, a heated pool, FREE stuff in the bathrooms (like diapers and lotions and, um, feminine products, etc.). The people were super friendly. We loved it!
This is the playroom adjoining the dining room. What a super idea! Z and I could linger over the yummy German buffet breakfast and drink cup after cup of hot cocoa while the kids dashed off to this room. There were little ride-on toys dotted throughout the hallways of the hotel, and it was perfectly acceptable and encouraged for the kiddos to just ride around. Through the dining room. Probably sounds horrible to some people, but it was wonderful for us and the other families. Speaking of other families, we met a lovely German lady staying there with her children who was up visiting from South Africa. Turns out we have a mutual friend/acquaintance here in Bulgaria. Small world. I'm sorta used to that happening in church settings, but just totally random? Pretty cool. (It's Nina, in case you're reading, Kelly.)
Ahhhh, how beautiful. And handsome.
We took the bus (free bus passes with the hotel) into town to go to the teeny tiny Christmas market, but we accidentally went too far and "had" to walk through a good bit of the town to get back. Poor us, forced to stroll past all those lovely buildings!
Made it! The market! Many a bratwurst and mug of hot chocolate and/or kinderpunch was enjoyed...
The drawing bug bit them hard one evening. Those are N&B's great bunk beds.
We also went up to Neuschwanstein Castle one of the days we were there. Really, it was such a short trip... We arrived Thursday night (on ONE flight... NO layovers! yay!) and left early afternoon Sunday. Anyway, Saturday we went to the castle. We were there years ago... TEN years ago! But in the spring. So, the snow was a new one. It was gorgeous in the snow, too. And colder. Go figure. This place is sooo beautiful inside. It wasn't intended for the public, just as King Ludwig's private retreat, and the paintings covering the walls inside are just spectacular. You're not allowed to take photographs inside, unfortunately (for us, but obviously good for the paintings). Oh, also we ran into a bunch of friends from the embassy (the Ryan family, the Lopez fam, and Chad :) who were heading up to the castle when we were leaving. It was fun and strange seeing them there, even though we knew they were going to try to go, too.
We hiked up behind the castle to get the next picture. That's Bran and me. We were behind because Bran had to pee. It's better than Nuala needing to pee in the freezing snow, but still not pleasant.
Ahhh... this picture. Z pretty much dragged us all up to this bridge. It was windy and freezing and we trudged through piles of snow, but obviously it was worth it. The sobs from our littlest one's frozen lips faded eventually.
We rode in a carriage down. Too bad we didn't ride one UP. But then we wouldn't have been able to enjoy all the whining, so it worked out for the best, I suppose. Wow. Nuala was in a terrible mood during/after the castle tour. So terrible it was almost funny. As soon as we got in the carriage, and the man put her and Bran in the front beside him -- poof! Happiness.
She got to be in charge of the camera on the ride down from the castle. We're all about rewarding bad behaviour. Except she didn't get to buy a souvenir from the castle, while Bran got an awesome helmet. She kept saying, all huffily and I-don't-care-ish, "well, that's too bad, because I was going to buy THIS for you, Mom..." and other such stuff. "Oh, really? Well in that case..." Yeah, nice try, girlie.
We now have several shots of horse bums...
And several of these.
That day was quite snowy. It was beautiful, actually, but made me a bit nervous to be driving around in the dinky little car we were in. Especially driving on the road beside this lake. Thankfully, Z is a super good snow driver, and very careful. He loves this lake. It's in Austria, and we always have to stop and take his picture by it. Okay, so that's three times. I like this shot, so pretty. And (again), handsome... ;)
Walking through Garmisch at night.
Catching snowflakes.
OUR table at the hotel. It had our name on it. Isn't it so nice and Christmas-y?
Annnnd, catching more snowflakes on the way back to the airport! For our short, easy, gloriously bathroom-break-free flight home!
The kids had fun. Z and I had fun. It was fun. Speaking of fun, here is our annual Christmas video that Zachariah puts together. He does a really great job on them! This is long, and no one is obligated to watch it, but here it is:


David said...

Thank you!!! That was the best video ever! I loved it and I laughed too... oh, it was so fun to watch M singing Silent Night from her "song book" ... she did such a good job of it ... Z is quite the movie-maker ... I loved how he threaded your story-reading throughout the whole thing F ... N&B were having a good time up front with the horse & buggy driver ... I love the Austrian lake too, and Z of course too!... you just took a little side trip to see the lake I guess ... not far to Austria from where you were in Garmisch. That little town has such lovely buildings and great artwork on the outsides of them... lots of snow... looked so Christmassy and nice, tho' of course it was cold, but it looked like you were all bundled up well...WAY TO GO!!! The castle is great too and the surroundings... So, I guess you chose the hotel b/c of it's child-friendliness ... what a great experience. I will hafta look at it all again ... esp the video. Thanks ... I loved it all (and I wanted to be there)... love, Mom (Dad too) xox

Bonnie said...

You know, your kids are going to have the coolest stories.

Tara Milligan said...

I love your traveling posts, especially the Germany ones! (Marc does not like the Germany ones, because they always make me lament about how close we came to being stationed there...)Anyway, poor Nuala, I'm sad she didn't get to buy a souvenir! Your hotel sounds awesome, there should be more hotels like that! Thanks for all the lovely pictures, that does look like such a nice Austrian lake!