picklesink

A mom, a dad, and two nutty kids.

Bavarian bits and pieces

Our German adventures continue. The whole family has arrived, so Ben and Molly now have two cousins to play with and they are all getting along famously.

Ian and I headed into Munich the other day to pick up his brother from the airport and get an estimate for my favourite-phil&teds-best-stroller-ever-tragically-broken-by-Condor-Airlines-and-yes-I’m-still-bitter from the Kinderwagen-Shop und Werkstatt. They seemed to have encountered this sort of situation before because they had forms and everything. They declared the stroller un-repairable and wrote out the estimate, charged us €10 and sent us on our way with their sympathies.

We stopped for lunch at a sort of hole-in-the-wall type side-walk cafe that Was. Just. Amazing. I had Schweinesteak mit Pfeffer-Sahnesauce und Spätzle (pork tenderloin with peppercorn gravy and German noodle/dumplings). I wish I had taken a picture of it but alas I was so hungry that I didn’t think to do so until after I had devoured it. Next time.

During our journeys we encountered vehicles representing both air and sea:

The very definition of the shaggin’ wagon.
©PicklesINK 2012

Really, does it get any better than a fuchsia, butterfly-covered, fringe-hung windshield Mercedes camper van?

“Up on the shore they work all day;
under the sea we play away!”
©PicklesINK 2012

And it’s a little hard to tell in the through-the-car-window shot but this is a camper trailer completely hand-painted in The Little Mermaid motif. Why? Why not, I say?

Ben and Molly have been enjoying the civilized life, lunching al fresco on the balcony.

©PicklesINK 2012

Although on reflection, al fresco is not really appropriate, is it? Google, how do I say “al fresco” in German? Google Translate informs me that al fresco (Italian) translates to al fresco (German). Thanks for a whole lot of nichts, Google.

Interestingly, the change of scenery seems to have had a profound effect on my picky eater – Ben has been very open-minded here when it comes to food. In the last few days he has tried, unbidden, salami, fruitcake, and various German pastries. Long may this trend continue! And if not, at least now we know that the solution to picky eating is international travel. I think Molly’s vote is for the French Riviera next.

“Dahling, my public awaits.”
©PicklesINK 2012

Even everyday errands are more fun in a foreign country – we visited the dairy shop to get fresh cheese (carved off the giant wheel before your very eyes) and yoghurt (preservative-free, spooned into 1L tubs from a vat and guaranteed to last no more than 2-3 days).

©PicklesINK 2012

And of course there are frequent visits to the Getränkemarkt to exchange empty juice, fuzzy water, and beer bottles for full.

Smells like The Beer Store, but they sell juice too!
©PicklesINK 2012

And, finally, we have been spending plenty of time at the playground and the Kurpark (more on those later). In the latter Ben found the perfect stump on which to pretend to be The Lorax. I’ve got to say, while I was not particularly shocked at how much of the book Ben could recite,

“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.”
©PicklesINK 2012

I was a little more taken aback at how much of it Molly knew.

“I yam the Yorax! I ‘peak for the fwees!”
©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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