Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Germany

The family on a bridge behind Neuschwanstein Castle


I've promised myself that I would not spend much time on the computer during this vacation. It has felt so good to be outside hiking and exploring with the family and my husband! I haven't missed blogging a bit. Today is the only day I'll have a couple ours to check email and relax while Matt hikes and the kids finish their day in hourly care.

So far, we've had a BLAST!! Lila and I have mostly recovered from colds. The girls aren't sleeping wonderfully, however, they never do on vacation. The food and beer have been great. Matt loves it here in Bavaria and has hinted at retiring in the area. Oh, Matt and his mountains!

What a difference it makes having the availability of hourly care. Some of my Portuguese friends didn't understand what I meant when I told them the girls would spend time in hourly care. They advised me to be cautious and one even worried my kids would get kidnapped. My military friends and family members know that it is on a guarded US Military installation with surveillance camera's in each room, allowing me to watch what's going on in the room from the lobby, if I wanted. Matt and I feel very comfortable leaving our girls there and they are having so much fun.

Here's a short conversation Matt had with Olivia last night after Matt and I got home (an hourly care employee brought the girls back to our cabin because Matt and I were touring Munich and would be home after hourly care closed at 5:00pm):

Matt: "Olivia, did you have a good time at school? Did you make any new friends?"
Olivia: "Yes, I had fun. I made friends with the grown-ups. I didn't like the little kids."
Matt: "Why didn't you like the kids?"
Olivia: "Um, I don't know. I just like the grown-ups. Oh, and I like Lila. But, not the kids

We haven't had to alter any plans. We've been following our trip plan to the T. Every day that goes by, I think, "Wow, we actually got to see this without altering the plan one bit!"

We spent the first day hiking through a gorge and then dining at a restaurant on a mountain (pictures later). The second day, we spent at the Neuschwantstein Castle. We hiked up to it and then back down. I was tempted to ask Matt to take a carriage ride to the top because my legs were sore from the several mile hike the day before. However, I didn't want to appear as weak. Later, we walked around to the back of the castle to a bridge and had our picture taken. We can't ever seem to get a picture of the family taken where everyone is smiling. But, despite the kids being a little tired and cranky, we were having a really good time. Lila crashed in the Ergo for nearly an hour seconds after the photo was taken.

We went stroller-free on the this trip and have not regretted it one bit. It's been great to see other families with kids in child carriers. I even spotted an Ergo. For our family, strollers are for three reasons only: Handy when dining out with a child who cannot yet sit up unassisted in a high chair (eating and holding a child can be a pain), shopping for clothes (you can't try on clothes well with a child strapped to you), and when Matt or I is alone and have one in the stroller and one our our back. Other than those three reasons, we find they just get in the way.

Yesterday, Matt and I dropped the kids off at hourly care and took a walking tour around Munich (one we found out of a guide book). We had so much fun! We walked hand and hand for parts of it and took our time (pictures later). I think I took 128 pictures. In true Matt style, we stopped at beer gardens often to ease the pain of city sight-seeing (Matt is not a city person). He did admit, that he had a great time, despite it being a city.

Today, we dropped the kids off again at hourly care. Matt headed out to summit the mountain behind the lodge where we're staying. I was a little nervous about him hiking it alone. However, he texted me a while back saying that he summited and all is well. I took a short tour of a Bavarian cheese factory and a monastery (more about it later). I purchased some beer and liqueur made by the monks.

That's it for now. Tomorrow is Dachau Concentration Camp and, Friday, I'm off on a tour to Austria and Matt's off on another hike.

No more updates until we return home this weekend.

2 comments:

Annette said...

Oh man - it sounds like you're having a blast. I'm so happy for you two! Your pictures are great. Germany looks gorgeous.

Charles and I used to discuss retiring in Washington State - on one of the islands or Friday Harbor. Great mountains, great water, small towns, English-speaking, AND NAS Whidbey and/or Fort Lewis' Madigan Hospital for healthcare.

Keep having fun!

Love,
Annette

Anonymous said...

Hey! You guys are visiting the spots that we did over 9 years ago!!! How does the hourly care situation work out? Are they closed for the summer months? And, how do you purchase gas? Do you get special coupons for Germany or what? Just wanted to know as we will be traveling soon...I don't know where or when or how, but we got a Tom Tom, or as everyone calls them, a marriage saver! Have fun!!!
Brenda