All posts filed under: Germany

Berlin, finally

Our trip to Berlin was extra special, as we celebrated Oliver’s 11th birthday while we were there. It was super fun to be able to spoil him while visiting one of his top choice destinations, and we had a big surprise up our sleeves for him. Oli’s number one desire for this year in Europe was to go to a “real” football game. Well wouldn’t you know, there just happened to be a big Hertha BSC game at the Olympiastadion the day we arrived. I booked the tickets but we decided to keep it a secret until we were at the airport in Paris. His reaction was awesome! Turns out the game was a pretty big deal, against Hertha rivals Borussia Dortmund, played in front of a packed house of 75000 people! The atmosphere was incredible, like a giant party. Each team had spirit sections with thousands of people jumping, chanting, singing, waving massive flags. It was really an amazing experience, one we won’t soon forget. We are so glad we made it happen, and how …

The Wall

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Berlin is usually the Berlin Wall. Symbolic and infamous. Oliver was full of all kinds of questions (throughout the entire trip) and his eyes were widened a LOT when he heard about, read, and saw the history in this city. Danica had a really hard time understanding — she’s only seven, how could she not? I am not even sure if I do, it is just so difficult to imagine. Of course we paid a visit to the Berlin Wall Memorial. It was moving, staggering, stunning. The kids were completely enthralled by the photographs of the victims killed while attempting to cross. They simply couldn’t believe that there were kids killed like that, point blank. Because, kids. Who does that? I can’t even begin to explain, or to imagine the sheer and utter courage and terror that must have been present for their parents, to risk everything. Mind blowing.   Later in the week we went to the East Side Gallery. The kids rather enjoyed this, seeing all the different …

Berlin

Those two happy faces were pretty excited to visit Berlin earlier this month, as were Derek and I! The kids had a two week school holiday mid-february, but we could only sneak away for five days because of Derek’s work schedule. So, we planned a trip to Berlin, figuring we could see enough in five days to get a bit of a feel for the city. We did a LOT, but it somehow didn’t feel too packed. We visited all of our “must-see” historic sites, and snuck a lot of fun and downtime in there as well. Thankfully we were pretty lucky with the weather. Considering how far north Berlin is, it wasn’t as cold as we’d expected, and there was very little drizzle and no snow. Definitely a good thing in a city so spread out, as we did a lot of walking! I took loads of photos, despite accidentally leaving my camera on and the battery dying after day one, and not having brought the charger. Oops! iPhone to the rescue. Anyhow, I’ll split them into a few separate …

Around Stuttgart

Whenever we are in a city for several days, we typically let the kids each choose one preferred activity to do was a family. After looking around online, Danica chose to visit the Wilhelma Zoo, while Oliver was extremely excited to see that the Mercedes Benz Museum was right in Stuttgart. Derek and I chose the Staatsgalerie for our pick – we are limited as well, as even though the kiddos are getting relatively interested in certain aspects of museums and galleries, they definitely have their boiling-over point, and we can usually only squeeze in one good gallery visit per trip. The Staatsgalerie turned out to be a great choice. They had an incredible exhibit on called Poetry of Colour, with a wide selection of pieces by Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, among a few others. It was a really inspiring collection of works (no pics allowed). We also took a walk through the modern art wing. The kids enjoyed some of the pop art, and also were pretty fascinated by Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet — me too! Up next …

Ludwigsburg Baroque Market

The last Christmas market on our list to visit while in Stuttgart was the Baroque Market in Ludwigsburg, a short train ride away. We arrived before dark and enjoyed watching the sky darken in the square, with the lights coming on to magical effect. The theme this year was Christmas Angels, and ethereal angels’ wings lights seemed to float above us, creating a beautiful scene against the cobalt sky. The market itself had a slightly different feel. Maybe more old-timey, though I’m not sure I can quite put my finger on it.   We had some very delicious gluhwein (our favourite of the trip!) and as usual ate loads of market-food delights. The kids had their kinderpunsch in adorable boot mugs, which of course had to come home as a souvenir. There was a lovely choir singing Christmas songs, which added to the magical atmosphere. Actors wandered through the stalls dressed in feathers and angels’ wings. All in all it was a great night, and an awesome way to round up our German Weihnachtsmarkt experience. So, I still have …

Esslingen Medieval Market

When we chose Stuttgart as our destination for visiting Christmas markets in Germany, we started to look around and read about the nearby markets and what they had to offer. We chose to visit the Esslingen market, as it included a medieval portion complete with games and activities for the kids, and old-school medieval decor and gifts. The town was just a 15 minute tram ride from Stuttgart, and the walk through this quaint little town was really lovely. The front part of the market was similar to a regular German market, with lots of food stalls, loads of sweets, and decor. We started to notice the mass-produced stuff, which I guess I hadn’t expected (though maybe I should have?) and it’s still often very lovely, but it definitely was apparent as being some of the same stuff we’d seen in Stuttgart. However, there were still many stalls with lovely handmade items and unique gifts. There were also loads of wool socks, which I also hadn’t expected, but I guess that’s smart, and great if your tootsies were …

Stuttgart Weihnachtsmarkt

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to visit a real German Christmas Market. I knew we would have the chance to get there this year, and I’d really been looking forward to it. We decided that the easiest city to get to from Loches by train would be Stuttgart, as it is quite close to the french border. We spent five days there at the very end of November and early December. It turns out that the Stuttgart Weihnachtsmarkt is one of the oldest and largest in Germany! The first recorded market there was in the late 1600’s. Besides it’s age, the Stuttgart market is well known for the beautifully decorated rooftops and the special design of the wooden stalls, renowned around Germany. We were all pretty much in awe of the decor, all the delightful holiday offerings, and the delicious food. It totally lived up to all my expectations! I am sharing a few photos here pretty much for the storytelling and for our memories. I didn’t capture the best pics here, …