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    • Day 4

      Seligenstadt, Germany

      July 2 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

      We went to Seligenstadt after where we had lunch, walked around and had some ice cream. It was such a pretty place. We stumbled upon a castle wall, that was from 1188! It is the oldest in Germany! (Some of these pictures are from Schloss Johannesburg)Read more

    • Day 105

      Erlangen, Germany

      September 12, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      Well, here we are living in Germany just outside Nuremburg.

      Things we are learning:
      *Recycling rules are intense
      *Their "spicy" salsa tastes like Texas bbq sauce
      *They are not fans of doing things digitally, which requires lots of paperwork and extra bike rides
      *Google translate and deepl are my good friends now
      *We are trying to bike everywhere and have no car (by choice)
      *A picture of walking home after grocery shopping: Mabel chilling in the bike seat with her feet resting on my seat, a grocery bag on either handle bar, large backpack full and me walking trying to keep the bike upright over a 1km walk - a little bit much (I need to learn to make smaller trips)
      * There is a season here called fall where leaves turn gorgeous colors.... Hahaha
      * Most houses have total blackout window shutter things that are amazing!

      School attendance is quite strict, but they have lots of play time at school. The big girls are attending a German public school. Mabel will start a German kindergarten (Prek) in November. They really enjoy school and are learning to speak German quite quickly. Most kids walk solo to school by the age of six. I am working on feeling ok with this. They could totally do it.

      Our neighborhood is quiet and many homes around are built in the 30s. We live near a large forest and can bike so many fun places. Experiencing life from a different angle...
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    • Day 14

      Erlangen, Germany

      June 13, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      Well, we arrived in Germany. It only took us one tram, five trains (I lost count really), one bus and 20 minutes of walking. We started at 07:45 and arrived at approximately 15:00. We were beyond tired as we took our last steps for the day! Note to self - travel shorter distances with three littles in tow. They really did great! The last train was the toughest as we loaded on, but found no seats. I was carrying a large backpack and Mabel, roughly 60lbs, I think. We had been trading off holding her, but at that point Seth was navigating us. Luckily, upon arrival we were greeted by Pablo, his friend's dog, which quickly perked our girls right up.

      We arrived into the Erlangen area in Germany just as the poppies came into full bloom for the season. This is their sign that summer is here. This also means warmer weather for me! We may have a couple days above 90 degrees.

      While in the Erlangen area, we spent time with old friends of Seth's. His friend was a big part of Seth's inspiration to go on this European adventure and part of his interest in learning German this past year. If you did not know, along with completing his Master's in Finance, he also began studying German quite intensely. Seth visited this friend last after our youth mission trip to Spain 21 years ago. This couple has been so kind to invite us into their lovely home and show us around Bavaria. They even lined up bikes for us all, so we can see the town like a local. This is a big biking community. His home is so funky and artsy with four levels surrounded by a flower and vegetable garden. He remodeled most of it himself and built his own furniture - lots of talent here.

      We have enjoyed many meats and Adalynn helped his wife cook a traditional German meal of potatoes, white asparagus and ham. We went to purchase the white asparagus the day before from a quaint, neighborhood farm. Mabel is very carnivorous and prefers the small cured sausages. Demi enjoyed beef tartare with cracked salt and pepper on pita bread. Addy really enjoyed the prosciutto the best. I prefer to stick with fresh vegetable from his garden and any chocolate.

      Here the kids have truly had a blast! They luckily had some toys on hand that were an extra surprise of fun for the girls. This couple is just so wonderful! Lots of fun and memorable conversations!

      Then we ventured on bikes into Erlangen for the best pizza of my life with this magical (just an exceptional parmesan) cheese and arugula made by an Italian family. Oh my! No words can describe it well enough!
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    • Day 3

      Poffabro, More Hiking & Pizza, Italy

      December 30, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 6 °C

      Natalie and I loaded up in her car with Addy and Bowser. Addy and Bowser are quite a cute pair. Nate and Seth drove the rental with the other little ladies. We began our trek toward Porffabro and the uphill drive. The road grew more narrow and began to twist and turn A LOT. The last time we drove this intense of a switchback was in Montenegro in the summer. However, this one came with more warning signs and construction. Natalie and I were questioning our husband's judgment as we followed. At many points during the naseating ride, the road was only wide enough for one car with the added fun of drop offs. Surprisingly, we didn't encounter any traffic coming from the other direction and we made it there without throwing up.

      The zigging and zagging up a questionable switchback road to the town of Poffabro made us all woozy. I do not typically get car sick. That was some kind of RIDE! This did not detour us from following our noses to yummy food. We ate delicious paninis, beer and crepes.

      This "Nativity Hunt" makes for one of my favorite Christmas memories we have made thus far! This sweet town, known mostly for its history of making house shoes, puts out unique nativities during Christmas. I think many towns in Italy do this through the holiday season as well.

      The girls loved the scavenger hunt feel as they ran up and down the narrow streets discovering a different nativity at every turn. You had to keep your eyes peeled, looking at all heights so you wouldn't miss one. They used all types of materials to create these nativities, from colored pencils, hand carved figurines, paintings mimicing Van Gogh's Starry Night and a silly one with baby Jesus in a motorcycle side car. It was so fun to see all the varieties.

      Along the hunt, we stumbled upon a man carving little creatures outside his home. He was so kind and had the girls sit on his wooden reindeer and hand made sled. He made an impression on Mabel and she kept saying, "He is super kind, momma." Natalie decided to buy our girls three carved creature. Demi chose a bunny, Addy chose a hedgehog and Mabel chose the squirrel. So fun! Natalie has been too kind along this trip.

      We explored all through the town and ended up finding a hiking path. We followed and found statues depicting the story of Jesus' crucifixion. This hike was a steep climb! The twelve statues took us through the story from Judas' betrayal to the empty tomb. I found this hike to be beautiful, especially during Christmas, because it pointed us to the cross and resurrection of Jesus creating a full picture of the gospel story.

      Demi found this set of statues to be incomplete though. She was quite bothered that it ended with an empty tomb. She suggested they create two more statues showing Christ going up into heaven and Jesus reappearing to his disciples. And Mabel was mostly excited about a plastic slide at the end. Ha ha! Addy was relieved the steep climb was over and we could now go back downhill.

      On the next and last day, we hiked and picnicked again near Aviano. The girls loved being outside so much! They raved (and even journaled) about all the hiking and playing outside. What a beautiful place and with great friends that go back nearly 20 years!

      Oh ya... One last thing! We popped into the city of Sacilly for the Christmas market and delicious pizza! This pizza place made these bread stick things that tasted like a savory Texas style donut stick topped with arugula. Their special kind of pizza was extra soft with a bit of sweetness to it. The pizza came out in one large piece. They don't cut the pizza at all and it's usually a serving for one person. It's is fun to experience all types of pizzas! We haven't encountered a bad one yet. This one was quite different from any other pizza we have had. Addy went from silly to almost sleeping really fast that night. She is notorious for falling asleep at dinner ever since she was little. She managed to stay awake for this pizza though. :)

      What a fun trip! Friends, hiking and food!
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    • Day 8–15

      Een regendag in Dechsendorf.

      November 2 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

      We voelden ons allen een beetje brak en Ann's knie is ook niet geweldig.
      Dus maar een beetje lummelen en uitrusten. Und daddeln .... ( hier: een beetje op je smartphone klooien) Want het regent aanhoudend dus buiten is niks te beleven.
      De was doen dus.....Een spelletje , de verbindingen voor morgen bekijken en gewoon gezellig bij de houtkachel.
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    • Day 28

      Are we nearly there yet?!

      July 20, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Good morning from just north of Nuremberg!

      It's been an absolute joy so far, everyone has managed to get a good 8-hour's sleep without too much fuss, the cooked breakfast on the coach was very welcome and the fresh pot of coffee has really helped get the morning off to a positive start...

      ...and then reality kicks in as the coach goes over a bump on the motorway which jolts you awake and you realise that it's only 03.45, and only 26 minutes has elapsed since the last time you managed to twist your body into a vaguely comfortable position in your coach seat (utilising skills that a GB Olympic gymnast would be proud of) and drift off to sleep, and you start the process all over again, hoping that sleep will stay with you for more than half an hour stints!

      We stopped for a late night "toilet & teeth" break in Belgium at around midnight. The coach drivers ambitiously anticipated a quick pit stop of around 15 minutes; however getting 119 students through a small service station toilet wasn't going to happen quickly (it took us an hour!), but did give us a chance to demonstrate how much the British love a good queue, I just felt sorry for the poor German lady who rounded the corner at 00.45 to find about 40 students waiting patiently for the toilet!!

      It's a bit quieter on the coach at the moment; Rick Astley mercifully seems to have disappeared from the airwaves and we are hoping for a breakfast stop soon. The next anticipated issues from the staff will be the depleted battery life on tablets/phones/iPads (how will we cope?!?!) and the constant worry looming over us that someone on the coach will suggest putting on their 'High School Musical' DVD collection...

      After that it will only be a few hundred miles more before we arrive in sunny Olomouc, easy!
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    • Day 8

      Naar Nürnberg

      November 2 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

      nadat we erg vroeg wakker werden zijn we maar vertrokken. Ontbijtje op het station en na 1 overstap op Südkreuz een heel luxe treinreis in de 1e klas: met koffie service, een paar keer chocolaatjes en 1 controle: alles OK!
      We werden afgehaald op het station door Udo en Moni; een bezoek aan het Kerkhof ; andere familie tegen gekomen en samen Vietnamees gegeten.
      Vanuit ons logeeradres een mooie herfst wandeling rondom de Dechsendorfer Weiher. Al was het voor Ann moeilijk want vanochtend is 'het' in haar knie geschoten en ze heeft veel pijn bij het lopen. En Ad snottert. De drank s avonds heeft geen verbetering gebracht in beide zaken, maar het was wel gezellig.
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    • Day 9

      Erlangen: Sightseeing, Essen & Freunde

      May 13 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      Wir werden bei mir zu Hause verwöhnt mit Frühstück, Spargel und Kuchen, können uns erholen 🙂. Vormittags machen wir einige Besorgungen in der Stadt: Klingel fürs Fahrrad, längerer Spritzschutz…
      Abends gehts auf den Entla's Keller am Berg und zum Bananenpizza-Essen im Pleitegeier mit einer Schulfreundin.
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    • Day 8

      Nordwärts am Main-Donau Kanal

      May 12 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

      Es regnet weniger 🙂. Noch etwas hügelig bis Hilpoltstein und dann immer geradeaus am Main-Donau Kanal nach Hause (Erlangen) zu meinem Papa. Aufwärmen, lecker essen, erholen, gut schlafen, quatschen und neue Energie sammeln…Read more

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