Monday, July 05, 2010

Around the world: Germany

After London, we flew into Frankfurt. We met Phil’s Dad at the airport, rented a big black van and headed north. The idea was to get the kids out of the city as soon as possible and it worked. Within hours of landing in Germany, everyone was running around on the grass outside our rented cabin.

We spent a week in a quiet area of Germany, the same area where Phil’s Dad spent many of the war years. We drove to the small village where Opa was sent to live with relatives, saw the farm he lived on and the little school he went to. We did try to see something historical each day but by the end of the week the kids were over castles but definitely not over climbing in trees.

Once again, European playgrounds were a hit with all sorts of play equipment that would be deemed unsafe in Hong Kong or the states. Joining a group of German kids (all still in school to our kids’ amazement), our kids learned to overload the playground’s zip line (a much smaller version of what we did in Mexico) making it go even faster. The German kids asked our kids to leave the park and run across the street to their yard where they had a huge trampoline. Needless to say, this was all very exciting on a variety of levels.

During the week, the kids took pony riding lessons. Royce, a real lover of animals, took it very seriously and talked about her pony non-stop. The stables near our cabin were not used to American students but took it all in stride so to speak. Lessons were in German with Phil translating from time to time. We are not sure how much German the kids picked up but they definitely learned some phrases with “verboten” in them.

We spent time in Heidelberg and Frankfurt, with the kids meeting some of Phil’s relatives and family friends for the first time. Again, playgrounds played an integral role in keeping the whole family happy. We found a playground in Frankfurt that we all loved. The kids loved the playground equipment and we loved the little café there with lattes, ice cream and fresh strawberries.

At the park, Adam inserted himself into a few soccer games on the grassy lawn there. It was a little touch and go for awhile in Germany with Adam’s World Cup allegiances. While we were there (and watching in a big public square on a wide screen television), both the US and Germany won their games to advance to the second round of play. In the end, everyone was so excited and due to the proximity of Germany gear, the kids decided to support Germany. This decision proved a good one for the long run. But the fact that USA’s star player Landon Donovan is a twin kept us all rooting for the states until the bitter end and beyond.


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