North Rhine-Westphalia

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  • Day11


    December 20, 2018 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 8 °C

    What a totally awesome day we had today in Bonn. Bonn was the capital of west Germany prior to the reunification. We stayed at the Haribo factory outlet shop, and boy did the kids go nuts on lollies. They have been warned that consumption will be monitored. Such fun though.

    We then went into the old town centre and it was just beautiful. Just by chance we had lunch in the Pizza Hut, which was the same one I had lunch in with mum and felicity in 1992 when I visited her.

    The Christmas markets in Bonn were the best we have been to so far. Beautiful gifts and stalls with wonderful food and carols playing. I totally over indulged in the chocolate coated strawberries. They were amazing! The best I have had so far.

    We then took a ride on the City Sky Liner which takes you up in the air then rotates so you get an awesome view of the city and the Rhine. It was really good.

    Our final stop before heading home on the autobahn was the History of Germany Museum from 1945 onwards. So much recent history and the museum was fantastic. We didn’t get to spend as much time as we would have liked due to having three children in tow, but they were pretty good and asked lots of questions.

    Tonight we are having Currywurst for dinner which is Vern’s favourite. Kids love it too.

    We are eating our way around Germany, yet again!
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  • Day13

    Cristmas Tree

    December 22, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Today was Christmas tree day!!
    We had such a great time choosing a Christmas tree and Philipp let Vern have the honour of cutting it down. I think Philipp just didn’t want to get his jeans dirty. Kids got a ride on a beautiful old tractor back to the shed where the tree was put through a machine shaped like a jet engine to be covered I netting for transportation. On the roof racks it went for the trip home. I have included a photo of louise which was taken for The Mercedes in the background. You will see they didn’t have roof racks so they just put the tree on a blanket on the roof! Inside the Barn was beautiful and had such a great atmosphere for having hot chocolate and bratwurst. I could have sat there for hours listening to carols.Read more

  • Day8


    December 17, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    Our first day in Cologne was a quiet one. Boys were a bit worn out so they spent some time with Vern going to the park and having some lunch at a local Italian restaurant. Whilst louise and I went into town to go to the bank, yes we needed more money, and did a little shopping.

    We did go past the famous Cologne Christmas markets out the front of the Dom and had the most amazing chocolate coated strawberries. There was also some amazing nougat. We are planning a evening at those markets later in the week.

    Tomorrow is Vern’s birthday, and we have a dinner out planned but he is not sure what he wants to do during the day.

    Also there is a photo showing some little hessian bags on a sting on the kids bedroom wall. This is an advent calendar for the kids that Katrin made. What a fantastic idea.
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  • Day9

    Vern's 50th Birthday Begins!

    December 18, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    Happy Birthday Vern! You made it!

    What a beautiful morning it is today with the sun shining. We had a great German breakfast and Philipp and Katrin set up a fantastic birthday table for Vern. After singing happy birthday and blowing out the candles on the “beer cake” Vern opened a gift from Philipp and Katrin. It was a beautiful book with a page for each of Vern’s trips to Germany beginning in 1973. Katrin has sourced some great old photos to create a beautiful book with awesome memories. A tear or two may have been shed. So thoughtful and beautiful.

    This afternoon we are off to a different Christmas market for more Gluhwein and food before a special dinner at a Brauhaus that Philipp has booked with the rest of the family.
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  • Day13

    Raclette for Dinner!

    December 22, 2018 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    Last night we had the most fun and fabulous night eating Raclette together. The photos show what I am talking about but you put boiled potato on the small grill plates and top it with your favourite meat. Perhaps ham, prosciutto, venison or beef and then a special cheese, that I cannot remember the name of. Then you put it under the special grill that sits in the middle of the table. Each person does their own and you sit around and chat, or in Philipp’s case, sing! It is a really social meal and we all loved it. It is traditional Swiss, so I am told we will have it again next week in Switzerland.

    We all totally loved it and of course drank plenty of wine and then enjoyed some great music.

    Oh and another similarity between Vern and Philipp that I discovered is that Philipp plays the saxophone as well! Also philipp and Katrin were married the same year as Vern and I. Just a bit freaky!
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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You might also know this place by the following names:

Nordrhein-Westfalen, North Rhine-Westphalia, NRW, Renania del Norte-Westfalia, Rhénanie du Nord-Westphalie, Renania Settentrionale-Vestfalia, 노르트라인베스트팔렌 주, Северный Рейн-Вестфалия, Kuzey Ren-Vestfalya

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