picklesink

A mom, a dad, and two nutty kids.

Everything I ever needed to know, I learned in Germany.

Aside from the sleep issues (Sleep update: Night 4 finished with Ian and I watching Inspector Morse on the laptop with earphones in the room until Molly fell asleep at 11:00 and Ben at midnight. Last night we took turns rubbing Molly’s back until she fell asleep; Ben went down easily; both around 7:00. Fingers and toes remained crossed all night and they both SLEPT THROUGH UNTIL 6:30!!!) the first few days of our trip have been GREAT.

FINALLY!!!
©PicklesINK 2012

On Sunday we headed up to the town of Jungholz (technically in Austria, but accessible only from Germany and close enough to the village Ian’s parents live in that we walked home from there once in winter) to check out a craft fair.

Ben and grandad wandered off to explore by themselves for a bit and Ian, grandma, Molly and I had a look at the stalls. Molly was very taken by a couple of sleek black ducks in a chicken-wire topped crate watched over by a friendly young girl in traditional Bavarian dress. We passed by again a bit later and they were being transferred into a cardboard box. The young girl seemed very pleased as she put two new ducks into her crate and we realized that the originals were going to become a delicious roast dinner and this new pair might soon follow!

There was a one-room art gallery set up in the town hall by an artist who seemed to specialize in still-life paintings of fruit, stone fruits in particular, which caused my inner 15 year-old to giggle uncontrollably and think, “Nice plums!” (heh heh…heh heh…heheheheheheh…)

Once we found Ben and grandad, who had gone for a walk up the ski hill, we found a picnic table and sat down for an afternoon snack, which in Bavaria is it not uncommon to enjoy with either a coffee or a frothy golden-hued beverage. Have I mentioned the beer yet? Ahh…the beer. German pils is a thing of beauty. Almost every town has its own microbrewery and each beer is subtly different but all are delicious.

Molly took this picture of my beer.
©PicklesINK 2012

An afternoon snack also traditionally involves some type of pastry – I had a slice of apfelstrudel and Ben and Molly enjoyed some type of crumbly chocolate cake. Molly added an element of adventure to hers by mixing the crumbs in with the pebbles she had been collecting before picking them out and eating them.

©PicklesINK 2012

Germany has also been heaven for my fuzzy-water loving children – they have been happily sampling all of the different Mineralvasser.

Bottoms up!
©PicklesINK 2012

Besides the slaughter-your-own ducks, other artisans and offerings at the craft fair included clothing, wood carving, hand-woven baskets, candles, herbs, a bee-keeper, and a blacksmith. There was also a troupe of strolling players demonstrating that no matter the language, Medieval fair geeks are the same the world over.

©PicklesINK 2012

~ karyn

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Back on solid ground

Travel day has come and gone. Apparently some people pack a week in advance, which I think is just plane crazy (heheheh). Why would you stretch that kind of stress out over the course of a week when you could just concentrate it all into a 6 hour period and be done with it? In the end I only forgot one thing, Ian’s tripod, so well done me!

We checked in and checked our baggage and then met up with my family for a lovely, leisurely dinner near the airport…a little too leisurely, perhaps, as it was followed by a full-on run across the terminal to our gate interrupted by a brief interlude of pretended calm to clear security. But we made it before they had even finished pre-boarding and got shuttled right on, set the kids up with the iPad and Innotab and sat back and tried to catch our breath!

©PicklesINK 2012

©PicklesINK 2012

Ben and Molly were absolutely amazing on the plane. Ben fell fast asleep within about 10 minutes of take-off. Molly held out for a while longer but eventually succumbed to sleep as well. Ben slept soundly until they turned the lights back on for breakfast. Molly was a little more fitful (and by “a little” I of course mean “a lot”) – she wound up sleeping for a couple of hours in my lap in various positions that were I’m sure very comfortable for her although not so much for me! She woke up after a few hours but was mostly content to snuggle and stare until “morning.”

When the kids woke up, they discovered that they could both fit in one seat and spent the next couple of hours watching shows on the iPad.

©PicklesINK 2012

As I mentioned in my last post, I was fully prepared with a backpack full of activities to keep the kids going through the whole flight if necessary. So here’s the summary of what we actually used:

©PicklesINK 2012

So yes, perhaps it was overkill, but I think it was still worth the backache for the peace of mind!

Finally, one important piece of advice that I picked up for traveling with young kids: Don’t be afraid to take a good stroller – it will be a great help getting through the airport and you can check it conveniently at the gate. Make sure you bring luggage straps, specifically bought for the purpose, so you can fold it and then secure it tightly:

All wrapped up in a nice, neat little package! ©PicklesINK 2012

That way all the baggage handlers have to do is pick it up and carry it to the hold and there’s no chance that anything could possibly go wrong and damage it. Then when you arrive at your destination, they will just bring it right back to you at the gate so you can pop it back open and use it right away!

😀 😀 😀 LOLZ J/K!!! 😀 😀 😀

Okay, for REALZ now! Make sure you use an el cheapo $20 job and don’t bother with the luggage strap crap since the airline will rip it off and leave it behind on the baggage cart anyway (which you know because you can see it through the plane window) and crush your very favourite phil&teds double stroller to a pulp and then send it into the “bulky items” baggage claim for you to pick up only after you wrangle your 2 exhausted and hyper kids plus 5 carry-on bags through immigration and customs on foot!

Snapped clean off. How did that even happen? It’s not a flimsy stroller! ©PicklesINK 2012

Squashed metal frame. The frame is also bent out of shape so that the seat back no longer lies flat. ©PicklesINK 2012

But we made it through relatively unscathed (except for my stroller…sniff), Tetrised the luggage into the car, and made the 4-hour drive from the airport to the house and settled in with some lovely European-style pizza (mmmmm…) and some German pilsner…

…and a good night’s sleep. More on that later.

~ karyn

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