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  • Day9

    Vern's 50th Birthday Dinner

    December 18, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 5 °C

    This afternoon Vern got a surprise when Silke (another cousin) turned up to celebrate his birthday. Karla the joined us and we headed out to a Christmas market. We had some more great Gluhwein followed by some Austrian cheese and bratwurst. Such a pretty market with beautiful stalls and a great atmosphere.

    Sonja and frank and their kids then joined us before we walked to the Brauhaus for dinner. It was a traditional Brauhaus that had brewed beer for many many years and the food was awesome. I had a fantastic goulash whilst Vern and Philipp had pork knuckle which was a huge piece of meat on a bone.

    Such a fantastic night full of so much fun and laughter! A big thank you to Philipp for organising it all. As I sit writing this back at home Philipp is pouring the Schnapps and they seem settled in for a long evening.

    A totally awesome birthday with the German relatives. You couldn’t ask for more.
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    Alan Smith

    Bottoms up !

  • Day14

    Nikolaus' 18th Birthday

    December 23, 2018 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 8 °C

    Today was Nikolaus’ 18th Birthday. As he had a party at home last night,he slept till late giving us time to prepare a few special items. Katrin prepared the birthday table and I made mars bar slice for Nikolaus.

    Roly took a long walk with Sonja and frank in the fields and the boys played.

    Karla and Gisela (Katrin’s Mum) arrived at 4pm for coffee, cake and gifts for Nikolaus. The cake Karla made was totally amazing. Nikolaus loves his gifts, then we had our usual late dinner at about 8.30pm, of pulled pork rolls. Philipp had slow cooked the pork neck under the bbq hood for 8 hours. It was amazing and came with a specially made sauce. It was so good, lochie had two pulled pork rolls for dinner!

    Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, the holy night here in Germany and we are looking forward to celebrating Christmas the German way this year. Bring it on.
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    Mike Smith

    Yes Christmas Eve day here , Off to get the prawns for tomorrow lunch at Als. Hotter today, Helen has made a tray of Rocky Road and other stuff, All good here, Your holiday sounds fabulous. Dad

  • Day10

    Ski Fitting

    December 19, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    Today we did a little local shopping and a trip to the park after a sleep in. Silke (Vern’s cousin) then arrived and stayed to chat for a few hours. It was a great opportunity for Vern to get some information on other members of the family and to spend some quality time with Silke who is such a wonderfully cheerful person and such fun to have around.

    In the late afternoon we all went for our ski fitting! Oh what fun. Lochie was so excited and just beamed from ear to ear. Kids thought walking around in ski boots was very funny but lochie was thrilled that his ski boots were brand new straight out of the box. They even had boots big enough for Vern’s enormous feet. We took the helmets and stocks home and we go back on the 27th to collect the boots and skis.

    The weather has really warmed up today and we briefly hit double digits. It’s even forecast to be 14 degrees on the weekend. Compared to the 2 degrees we have had, 14 is balmy!

    Tomorrow we are off to Bonn which was the capital of west Germany prior to the reunification. Some really historically interesting things to see there.
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    Alan Smith

    A sleep in and getting ready for skiing. Sounds like a great day to me.

  • Day17

    Boxing Day or 2nd Christmas

    December 26, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 0 °C

    In Germany today is known as the second Christmas and unlike in Australia, all shops are still shut. Even the bakeries.

    A long sleep in and a slow start was the order of the day with brekky that happened at lunchtime.

    Philipp and Vern went for a long walk on the Rhine whilst Katrin and I took the three youngest boys to the climbing centre to burn off some energy. We also checked our helmets and goggles ready for our snow trip on Saturday. This made for some fun bobsled impersonating.

    Karla joined us at home for afternoon tea and then dinner where we sampled cheeses from all over Europe. It was quite the tour!

    Another wonderful day spending time with wonderful family.
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    Team W

    That rock climbing wall looks like so much fun!! What an unreal Christmas?! Love it.

  • Day29

    Last full day

    January 7, 2019 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    Well here we are at the end of our trip. Today was our last full day and we spent it shopping!! Not anywhere near the scale that Kyles’ does but I was pretty happy with the shoes I bought. Vern got a new north face jacket and the boys bought a great t-shirt and hoodie from the big sports store.

    We had our last lunch at our favourite spot on the Rhine and discussed how great the trip was. Nobody wants to go home, but I told the kids we were totally out of money.

    It is going to be so hard to say goodbye knowing we will not be back for quite a while. Fingers crossed Philipp and Katrin might come to Australia in the next few years. We will really miss them.

    Tomorrow we head out to Frankfurt on the ICE train and start our trip home.
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    Mike Smith

    Everything good must come to an end, DARN !!!! Love Dad

  • Day7

    London to Cologne

    December 16, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 0 °C

    Well we left London this morning on the Eurostar to Brussels with a connection to Cologne. We had a great trip on the Eurostar but when we got to Brussels Midi we were told our ICE train would now be leaving from Brussels Nord. Midi is the central station and Nord is like Redfern. This was due to the schedule being out of whack due to the snow in Germany. At least that is what we were told.

    With our transit now being at Brussels Nord, I went looking for food to find most of the station shops shut down on a Sunday so we ate at an over priced take away shop and then went up to the platform. Clearly this station was in need of an upgrade. It looked like something out of East Germany in the 60’s. I have included a photo.

    Our first class compartment on the ICE was great and we really enjoyed the passing scenery. The last hour showed a dusting of snow all over the paddocks beside the train with some snow on the

    train platforms. Philipp had already sent us a picture of his backyard covered in snow this morning but it had already melted by the time we got there.

    Philipp met us on the platform and we headed to the car. From there we went to a Christmas market in a small village. Had gluehwein and currywurst for dinner and soaked up the amazing atmosphere. The lights were beautiful but it was so great to loo k at the stalls without a crowd. I bought a beautiful pair of gloves that are sooo warm.

    Not sure what the plan is for tomorrow.
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    Alan Smith

    Unreal. Yeah the atmosphere at this time of year would be awesome. Stay warm and drink lots (of hot chocolate)

  • Day12

    Shopping and lunch on the Rhine

    December 21, 2018 in Germany ⋅ 🌬 11 °C

    Today louise stayed home and we took Jonathan with us to the city. We started with some shopping at H & M and I got some more soft shell jackets for the boys for only $25 each! We purchased a few more items that we needed for our week of skiing cause we will not have any washing facilities. That requires a weeks worth of underwear for everybody. Also you can buy ice skates in the department store here for just €50.

    Lunch was at a beautiful Italian restaurant by the Rhine River complete with outdoor heaters and beautiful red blankets to keep us toasty warm.

    Kids played outside a bit then we had afternoon cake at my favourite cafe next to the Dom. The cheesecake was as awesome as I remember it. Then we spent a bit of time at the Christmas market next to the Dom. This Christmas market is world famous and I can see why. The lights are just magical. The photos don’t do it justice.

    Our final stop was a luggage shop for another suitcase. As samsonite is made in Europe, they are a fair but cheaper here and we need that extra case for the shopping and snow boots!

    Tomorrow we hope to get the Christmas tree if it doesn’t rain.
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  • Day15

    Christmas Eve - Frohe Weinachten

    December 24, 2018 in Germany ⋅ 🌙 0 °C

    Tonight is Christmas Eve, the holy night in Germany. We started out the day with an early (well early for our European timetable) trip to the bakery at 8am. So many wonderful treats there but my favourite is still the Laugenstangen, which is the same dough as a pretzel but in the shape of a hot dog roll. Then cover it in philly cream cheese. Just divine! Perhaps this is why my jeans are getting too tight!

    We then slowly decorated the most beautiful Christmas tree with the Karallus family and got ready for church. We walked to the Protestant/Lutheran church and the tree and choir were just beautiful. The children performed a beautiful play and musical numbers. The service went for about a hour and then Philipp arranged for us to climb up the bell tower. Wow what a magical view. The whole experience was amazing. The village was so busy and flat out until 12 noon and then everything went quiet and Christmas began.

    On return from church Philipp told the children to go straight upstairs and that the family bell would be rung when it was time for them to come downstairs. Philipp lit all the candles on the tree whilst Katrin lit all other candles around the home. The room had such a magical atmosphere complete with classical music. The bell rung, the children ran downstairs and whilst they opened gifts, us adults drank champagne whilst indulging in chocolates and cake. I could really get used to this.

    Philipp and Katrin prepared fondue for dinner. I always thought of fondue as cheese or chocolate, but I have learnt that it is actually a form of cooking. So with the oil boiling in the pot we dipped in cubes of Angus beef to cook. The meat was so soft and tender and with the beautiful sauces, was amazing. Kids thought it was great fun and lochie just loved it cause it was an all meat meal!

    With more gift unwrapping, wine, beer and music, the evening went by so quickly.

    Thank you so much to the Karallus family for sharing their German Christmas traditions with us aussies and for making it so very special.

    It is 1.30am and we are now off to bed. Frohe Weinachten. Xxxx
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  • Day27

    Fiescheralp to Cologne

    January 5, 2019 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 6 °C

    Today we had to leave behind the stunning Swiss Alps we had all fallen in love with. The snow groomer collected all our luggage and took it as well as Jonathan and Will, to the cable car for the trip back down to the valley. It had started to snow which we all felt was just magical.

    After a quick stop at the supermarket Vern drove us out of town, through the beautiful towns in the valley, to join the queue for the train through the Furka Tunnel. It was now snowing quite considerably and with all the school holiday traffic we had to wait an hour before getting our slot on the train. Such fun on the train and it does feel a little strange to be moving along at such speed without doing anything.

    The snow was really coming down when we exited the tunnel and as we had a very steep descent with many hairpin bends coming up, Philipp drove from there. Wow was it steep and icy on the descent down the mountain. That’s why you have the winter tyres! It was quite a learning experience for Vern and i as Philipp explained all about driving in the snow and ice. The snow just kept coming down, and didn’t stop till we were north of Zurich. We passed some snow groomers clearing the motorway in the other direction but our side had quite a bit of snow.

    We stopped to see the Rhinefalls but due to the snow, and more importantly ice, the paths down to the falls were closed. We walked a little way down but it was steep and the second half of the walk had a sheet of ice over it so back to the car we went.

    At about 10pm we all arrived back safely in Cologne after an amazing week. One we will all remember as a very special experience with some very special family. Lochie said he loved it so much that skiing in Switzerland may even be better than going to Bali. A big call from the kid who adores Bali.
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  • Day17


    May 17 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    Gestern habe ich den halben Tag in der Bahn verbracht. Vier Mal umsteigen und ca. 5 Stunden Fahrt. Ich merke, dass mein Kopf von den vielen Reizen schneller überfordert ist als sonst, da die Zeit auf dem Wanderweg größtenteils von Ruhe und einer wunderschönen Monotonie geprägt war🤔.
    Heute war es schon etwas besser: Ich besuche meinen Kumpel Nils in Köln und kann bis Mittwoch im Studentenwohnheim übernachten😊 Ich habe heute eine Fahrradführung durch Köln bekommen inklusive einer kulinarischen Reise mit türkischen, ägyptischen und Italienischen Spezialitäten😁 Leider war das Wetter sehr instabil, aber Regenjacken und -hosen haben uns halbwegs trocken durch den Tag gebracht. Heute Abend steht noch der WG Abend an😌🍻
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    Eva Brauner

    Endlich mal Zeit zum Ausruhen im Zug 😃

    Mario Rudolph

    Dann viel Spaß beim Kölsch.


You might also know this place by the following names:

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