Staufen – Germany

Oh gosh, Staufen and Bad Krozingen, where to start. I was so excited to see my Dad again! Even though we planned to head to a Campground about 20min away from his Haus in Bad Krozingen, already on the way I decided to stop at his home. I could not wait!

It was so nice to give him a big bear hug and knowing, that we could see each other again for a while. Mats loves the apartment, there are toys for him to play and he enjoys the bathtub so much. There is also a playground just a block away.

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There is this huge property with fruit trees, flowers, vegetables and always a lot to do, especially in summer. My Dad loves to work there and now the Captain could get to know it as well. The neighbors have lots of deer in there yard which peeks through the fence sometimes.

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The sunset that day was very pretty.

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My Dad always has lots of ideas and every day holds an adventure. It was rainy this day and he wanted to drive with us to take the Gondola up the Belchen. When I mentioned that this might be a better idea for a sunnier day, he just shook his head and said: ” Oh no, by the time we are there, it will have stopped raining.

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Well, it was not quite the case, it was actually pouring, so we found shelter in the restaurant and warmed up drinking tea, coffee and ate a yummy cake. Not so bad either.

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When we thought it had gotten better, we left the restaurant and started our walk. Well, there weren’t many possibilities to take out the camera, as it continued to be very wet, but we enjoyed this adventure nonetheless :-).

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Since we were all in soccer worldcup fever, on the way home my Dad detoured to the little town where the German soccer coach is from, Schoenau . There was another good soccer match about to start and we were certain, that in a town like that, we must find a place to watch it. But we did not have any luck.

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Having in mind to stop at my Dad’s house to watch it, or the Campground, which was still a ways away, we continued our drive home. My Dad stopped at this restaurant to try his luck and his charm convinced the owners to turn on a rather old TV in a dated meeting room and serve us some beers. That’s all we needed and we did not miss any of the game. Of course the match went into overtime and the owners were not too happy, we think. But they did not kick us out.

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Two guests of the Hotel played these instruments half way up the mountain, which was really cool. I did record it and will add it here soon.

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On another hot day when we were about to start a sightseeing tour, we dropped those plans and rather went to a manmade lake to cool off. Good decision, even though a thunder storm was grumbling over our tops, but the clouds moved on and made room for the sun. With some Captains knowledge we managed to pump up the Kayaks and had fun on the lake. Mats wanted to be in the smallest Kayak together with Opa!

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It was another fantastic day which we finished with a BBQ back at the Campground Belchenblick. The Campground is very nice and we have fond memories. Free access to the public pool right across and also free public transport to Freiburg and surroundings. They showed all the soccer matches on a big screen TV, while it was possible to order Schnitzel etc and buy beers at the store next to it. Staying there was about the closest we could feel to a family stay, without staying at my Dad’s. 🙂 Thanks Belchenblick and thanks for your generosity and your great tours and company, dear Dad!

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This was also the place, where Mats learned to bike!

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Another “first time” happened on a rainy day. We went into a movie theater and Mats watched his first ever and the Captain his first German movie. We watched: Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivfuehrer (Jim Button and Luke the engine driver). It was really cool.

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Afterwards we met up with my good friend Christine and her husband in Lahr and talked, talked, talked as much as we could in the short time we had. It was great seeing her and meeting her husband. 🙂

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This was a long one! ❤️

Eguisheim, Alsace-France

We left Colmar and planned a visit to Eguisheim, before leaving France. The cute little towns of France have there charm and this one was no exception. I was always surprised how lovely the people arranged there front doors, so much detail and love and no fear of vandalism. It was a pleasure just strolling through little alleys and enjoying some yummy breakfast.

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On the main plaza once again we were surprised about all those storks who had build there nests on the roofs. It was a good year for them!

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I remember well, having a special moment with Mats inside the church. We sat down quietly and I explained him why people light candles in here and why they get together and pray. He was just sitting there quietly and did not want to leave. There was an Opera with a women’s voice singing and I should probably know, what it was exactly. Mats said, the music is so nice, I would like to listen to it some more. I though, that was so adorable and we sat a little longer, just being in the moment. 🙂

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Colmar

Another beautiful place to visit is Colmar. It is smaller than Strasbourg, also has a Campground right in town. The River Ill is also running through Colmar, which gives the town a Venice like flair. This time, we did not do a river tour, although the boats looked way more romantic than the way bigger tour boats in Strasbourg.

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We were very happy about the cool affordable Campground. They had a huge field right next to the River Ill, to pick your favorable spot. Shade was limited, so the first ones taken were the ones close to trees or bushes. We were lucky to find a spot like that, which also happened to be close to a power supply and “private”. Just like Strasbourg, every time we woke up, we decided to just stay one more day. Gosh, it was priceless to have that time and luxury to just do that! 🙂 Our year “Off” ! Let’s keep it in mind again and again. Who knows what tomorrow brings, right?

Several visits to the pool gave us the option to cool down on those hot days and Mats time to enjoy what he loves so much. Swim and play.

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And even though the German Team was out, we continued enjoying watching soccer matches and picked new favorable Teams, Iceland was mine, the Captain rooted for England.

 

The Chateau de Haut-Koenigsbourg

After we visited Strasbourg with the impressive Cathedral, we felt like visiting a castle. We spend a night in a Campground at Gerardmer, which turned out to be very windy and cold. Chatting with my Dad who knows the area well, he recommended the Chateau de Haut/Koenigsbourg  and even though we had to backtrack a bit, we decided for it, before making our way to Colmar. The Chateau was absolutely worth the visit.

It was up on a mountain and after a climb with our van and additional good walk from the parking, we arrived. Mats enjoyed discovering it as much as we did.

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After finishing our visit of the castle and a well deserved ice cream, we found a Campground, which had a spot available right next to there playground. All of a sudden we saw this stork and soon noticed, that they seem to be regular guests at the Campground. It was wild.

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Strasbourg, Alsace-France

On our way towards the south of Germany, to spend some more time with my Dad and also return his cool Campervan, we detoured one more time via Cologne to see my brother and family, which was super nice, than continued to France.

I think we were mostly excited to see Strasbourg. They have a Campground in town, which also had a pool. We were able to walk into town in about 30 minutes. Happy that we had Mats stroller, it was possible to walk longer distances. With the world cup schedule in mind, we timed our visits to be able to either watch a soccer match in town in combination with some sightseeing, or we watched back at the Campground in the Game room in the evenings.

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Same look on the face:

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The Cathidral of Notre Dame downtown Strasbourg was indeed impressive and I stared at it and had to take many pictures. What a building!

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Strasbourg is gorgeous! The river Ill is flowing through the city and we did a fun boats tour to learn more about the city. Mats was having the longest flirt with a cute girl sitting in the row in front of him and even though the sun was burning down on us, he was captivated with her. It was fun to watch.

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The last picture was taken when I was still all smiles about the German Team playing. Little did I know, that this was the last time I would see them in the world cup 2018! 😦 Did the Captain have an idea, as he happily wore the French colors the bartender had given to us? Throughout the game, every time the bartender passed our table, he shook his head and said: ” It doesn’t look good… ”  ARGH, he was right.

We stayed about 3 days before we continued our journey.

 

Hannover

Is only about 45 minutes from Enger. The Captain’s aunt and uncle live there, so of course we had to go see them.

We met at the Hannover Tennis club, even Evan’s cousin managed to stop by. We had some lunch and enjoyed being together. Mats had a good time at the playground and we than followed the great suggestion to visit the Hannover Zoo, which has a great reputation.

Mmh…. similarities?

Again, the Captain did seem to make some friends here…

We have been spoiled during our visit from our generous families. Reina, Horst and their kids were no exceptions. We felt so fortunate and hope we can give back, if they manage to come see us! Hannover Zoo was so much fun. The polar Baer playing with a ball underwater, the Nilpferd, the little boat tour, the goats which almost destroyed my silk pants with there horns, when they tried to get some food I had pulled out of a machine to treat them.

After a last beer at the playground, Reina and Horst said there good bye’s and we soon headed back to Enger.

Enger – a special bond

After my nephews birthday, we drove to the place I was raised – Enger.

I took a break of taking photo’s and just dived into a world of memories, basically lived in the attic for days just sorting threw things of my past. My dear Mom meanwhile kept Mats busy and those two became very close.

Even though going through things I had postponed on short visits over the past 18 years was a lot of work and also hot up in the attic , it was enjoyable and I had the feeling that I had found myself. Reading old letters, realizing, I hadn’t changed and still acted certain ways 30 years later. Gosh, did I never grow up?

My uncle stopped by, he is a great character. Photography, biking, meditation, he is a Pro in all and much more. It was a pleasure watching him tune a strider bike, I had just scored for 5 Euros at a flea market for Mats. He also gave me helpful advise on using my camera and I am thankful for that. Maybe I am going to pick up some meditation because I like his mellow and thoughtful approach. I wish I had more of that in me. It’s always fun and entertaining being around him.

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I was able to see friends I grew up with and who know me just too well. They don’t hesitate to ask the right questions (Inamaus) and you catch yourself pooring out words which were held inside for way too long and one or two tears came along with them.

A week later, the Captain had made his way to Enger as well. Still much in my thoughts about my life than and how it is now, he entered into the world of my childhood with a jetlag and the stress which came from the strenuous boat passage from Cabo to Los Angeles with a weather window, which was less than perfect. You can read about the interesting passage in the previous post!

It took a while for us to get used to each other again. My Mom’s 75th Birthday arrived and my brother visited from cologne with the family. We had a super fun time at a Spa with the coolest water slide I have ever experienced. In the afternoon my Mom had reserved some seats for us to watch another German World Cup match at a Beer Garden (Jever Deel). It was crowded and we were not able to see well, but nice to be in a crowd and with each other. And also running into childhood friends.

After the match (again lost on the German front) we went for an ice cream at the legendary “Degrassi ” Italien ice cream Place in Enger, before we had to see my brother and his family off.

On my Mom’s real Birthday day, we drove to the Dümmer See and met with her best friend “twin” Hannelore. They are born within a few days in June. We had a long walk and got a bit wet at the end. But that did not matter. The captain enjoyed this place with all the boats too. And Mats flew his kite and we found a playground for him.

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It was very hard for me to leave Enger and I had a heavy heart. Friends and my Mom so dear to me! Sorry I don’t have pics of all, but you know who you are! Love you! And sorry Mom, again!

The last 3 pics show a beach club “The Tikibar” in Bünde, which was introduced to us by my dear friend Claudia. 🙂 They opened a lot of those fun spots throughout Germany.