Germany – What’s Not to LOVE!

So I LOVE Germany!

I had never been there before this trip, and to say I fell in love with that country would not be an understatement.

Such beautiful countryside…. well what you could see anyway as you whizzed by at 150KM (or more) on the Auotbahns.  I was a bit nervous to drive in Germany, but our little Peugeot which had great “get up and go” was more than capable of holding her own with ALL the fancy beautiful cars in Germany.  NO ONE drives a beat up car in Germany….. I honestly mean NO ONE!  Everywhere you look its Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Bentley, Ferrari….. the list goes on!

I quickly got over my driving nerves, as everyone seems to know “their” speed limit and drives in the aproppriate lanes.  “My” speed limit was max 140km/hr…. Mikes was higher, so yes he got us there “faster”. It is crazy that you can be in you car driving at 160km/hr and be passed like you are standing still.  Some of those cars must have been doing close to 200km/hr.

The people in Germany were so nice. Everywhere we went we were greeted with smiles.  If they were holding doors for the kiddies and I (and the huge double stroller), helping to show us how to use an automated machine to pay for something, or helping to read a menu, the people we encountered on our day to day activities were always amazing.

The food was delish although we didnt eat German food everynight!  Brodie was pretty happy with his “hotdogs”, and both kiddies are pretty happy that they can get french fries. We had our last dinner in Heidelberg at a FANTASTIC Italian restaurant.

The Euro 2012 is on while we are vacationing here in Europe, and Germany is playing FANTASTIC!  Brodie and I have them pegged to win it all……

GO GERMANY GO!

Heidelberg….. a beautiful little town, that made a huge impression on me.

Germany – what’s not to love!

Enjoy you Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Looking across the Neckar River on our walk to “old town”

The family in one of Europe’s longest, outdoor, pedestrian shopping areas is in Heidelberg

My addiction…..  Mmmmmm….. so good!

Germany’s newest football fan #1

Germany’s newest football fan #2

Mikes speed…. crazy!

Brodies FAVOURITE German word!

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Week one went FAST!

So the week in Heidelberg went super FAST!

It is such a beautiful town, and alot that it has to offer was all in walking distance from our hotel.  There were 2 visits to the Heidelberg Zoo, and 3 visits to the wonderful outdoor pool a block from the hotel.

Brodie and Syd are in LOVE with the ZOO….. so much so that we had to go twice just to see their favorite animal….. the Orangatans!  It really is a fabulous Zoo,(although I’m not the biggest fan of Zoos’) and over the 2 visits we managed to spend 9 hours there.  There are many animals, and exhibits to see, but the best part was the fantastic kids play area.  Both times we had lunch beside the lion exhibit, again, with an amazing kids “water park” play area.  The kids probably could have spent the entire day there.  I am sure the entire city of Heidelberg knows we were at the zoo, as the kiddies have been wearing their tiger masks non-stop since we bought them!

The outdoor swimming pool was also amazing.  It was the cleanest and well kept pool I have ever been in, with the cutest food stand.  The kids pool was super fun with little slides, water hoses, and a water pump and bucket.  It also had the best  assortment of kids teeter totters, “spin bowls” and springy horses in the grassy area.

The “Old Town” was within walking distance and on our last day I took the kiddies shopping…… a little bit for them…. a little bit for me!

Heidelberg is one of the oldest university town in Europe. It is an quaint little city, and EVERYONE rides a bike!

So glad that SAP has their head office so close to this awesome city, and that we could include a week there on our 7 week trip!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Lunch by the Lion Viewing and “waterpark”

All the following images are from my “run” through Heidelberg

We’ve Arrived

So getting to Europe with 2 kiddies was harder than I initially thought it was going to be.

Brodie and Sydney were great on the first flight from Vancouver to Montreal.  Sydney had a bit of trouble on the descent into Montreal but was fine once we landed.  We had a 3 hour layover which we thought would be great for the kiddies to run off some steam, eat, and get ready for the last flight from Montreal to Paris.

The little Miss had other ideas….. there was an incident as we were heading to the gate. It had to do with her not getting to put a stick of gum in Brodies backpack that sent her into a 45 minute meltdown.  I actually thought we were going to have to grab a room at the airport and catch the next flight out.  Brodie turned out to be the hero of the moment accomplishing what Mike and I could not do and help his little sister calm down and stop crying and bring her out of “it”. He is our new “secret weapon” against meltdowns!

The kiddies both fell asleep shortly after take off, and with fingers crossed I was hoping it was for the duration of the flight until we landed in Paris.  That dream came to an abrupt end when Syd woke up after an hour, and then procceded to wake her brother.  The rest of the flight was without incident until the descent into Paris…… Oh my……

Little Syd had the craziest of meltdowns EVER.  I doubt there has ever been a worse incident in the history of flight!  Lets just say that we are glad it is over, and that we have now decided to adopted a new parenting strategy with the little lady. If in 7 weeks we tell you that we wont be getting on the airplane, and that we are taking up residence this side of the pond, its because we just dont EVER want to go through that again…. EVER!  I also plan into buying some children’s Gravol while we are here…..just incase we need to get on another flight It might just put her to sleep for the part of the flight!

Once we landed, passed through customs, picked up all our luggage, “found” the car seats, we were off to get the car rental.  The car is awesome….I havent driven a standard in along time, and I forgot how much I LOVE driving standard.  Once we got the car packed and installed the car seats we were off on our 5 hour journey to Heidelberg.  Mike installed the Tomtom app on his phone and installed Darth Vader`s voice to direct us to our destination – Brodie LOVES it and laughs every time he gives us directions. The kiddies slept the whole way and Mike and I switched every so often so we could each catch a bit of sleep.

Driving in Europe brings back so many amazing memories from our last adventure here 12 years ago on our honeymoon….. I LOVE Europe….. it is such a special place!

We are settling to our 3rd night in Heidelberg and both kiddies are asleep.  Mike and I are drinking wine with Mike reading his e-book, all while I write this. The kiddies are adjusting to the jet lag and should be back to normal in a day or two.

Heidelberg is such a beautiful little town. The weather is great, and summer has arrived for us….. and we actually had to put on sunscreen.  Funny that we had to take 2 flights in order to find summer. Hopefully the weather will hold out as there is much for the kiddies and I to do outside.  Glad we are here till Satruday, so much to see, do, and shop…. not to mention Germany plays in the Quarter finals on Friday… the crowds will be out… as will we!  Go Germany Go!

Enjoy you Daily Dose

Xox

B.

The Start of meltdown #1

Go Germany Go!

Hello Heidelberg

 Afternoon break

Starwars follows Brodie EVERYWHERE!

Awesome 5 hours at the Zoo

My 2 tigers!

So happy to be in Heidelberg!

So…… I can’t sleep!

OK…. so I can’t sleep!

So upto now I have been pretty methodical in my approach to getting ready for our trip.  You know……getting things in order, not really thinking too much about the days or number of hours till we leave, and how long we will be gone for (…..yikes 50 days) ect, ect, ect. I was doing pretty well until tonight.  Tonight that is, until while getting ready for bed, and brushing our teeth, Mike turns to me and says with a great big grin “38 hours…. no…. it’s less than 32 hours till we leave!”  “Make sure you get some good sleep…. its gonna be a crazy long day with the kids….. 5 hours to Montreal.  3 hour layover. 5 hours to Paris. 5 hour drive to Heidelberg”.

Ok I knew all of this but…….

Wait …. WHAT…. OMG…. REALLY!

Yes its gonna be one crazy travel day for the Bain family!

With that said, I think I was doing pretty well, since I had today planned for my packing day for Brodie and I.  The suitcases were brought out of storage almost a week ago, and they were ready to be filled.

I placed all that I thought Brodie would need for about a weeks worth of clothing (all types of weather conditions were thought of) on his bed, and did the exact same thing for my clothing.  Now on a friends advice, I left it there so I could come back to and see if it could be pared down…… Hahahaha …. not a chance could it be pared down (but thanks for the advice Ray)!  I actually added things! Uuuuggghhhh!

As of tonight, I would say that Brodie and I are at about 90% packed and ready to go.  Mike says not to worry…. and that “this is the most prepared we have EVER been for a trip!”.  So that brings me to not being able to sleep…. my mind is racing on things I may be forgetting, and things I wanted to get done before we left and now have a slim (now read NO) chance of getting done!

I’m not sure how, this trip, that we have been talking seriously about since September, is now less that 32 hours away!  I actually wish we were already on the plane because I then could stop thinking about everything I “need” for this trip!

Come on Friday 9:00am……. I just need to get on that plane….. If not just so I can finally relax, sleep, and forget about everything I “need” for this trip!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Ha…. not all this is coming with us… we just needed options!

All set and ready to go… on this end anyway!

Great Friends, Great Food, and One Über Amazing Night

So I have the most amazing girlfriends on the planet!

Last Sunday, with less than 3 weeks till we depart on our European adventure, the girls organized a German/French/Spanish themed “pot-luck” bon voyage Bain Family party.

Mrs. T hosted us all at her beautiful West Vancouver home – complete with outdoor pool and über amazing view of the pacific ocean, and UBC.

The day stared out cloudy, windy, and cold, and hopes of a pool party were fading. As the party approached, the weather shifted with the sun bursting through. This had most people jumping in the pool for some splish, splashing fun…. Well everyone except for little Syd, who just wanted to go “back in Trina’s house”. She is definitely a character…. trust me!

It was super fun having my best girlfriends get in on the “themed food” for our dinner. There was so much food…..so yummy, so delicious! There were all types of German sausages and mustards. A platter of German, French, and Spanish cheeses, along side some amazing deli cuts. Pork and Veal Schnitzel. Croissant sandwiches were made…. German potato salad, an orange, red onion and shaved fennel salad, a chicken gumbo, and a side of marinated roasted peppers. This was all served all along side (….. ha….. I now know how to pronounce it) Seafood Paella. French, German, and Spanish wines were served along with some very authentic, ice cold German beer. “Sweet” breads – not the other kind of “Sweetbreads”, rounded out the evening.

To say it was the most amazing night spent with my friends and their families would be an understatement! It was so touching and amazing to see everyone as excited by our trip as we are! A special thanks to Corrine for organizing such a great night!

Can’t wait to share the ins and outs of our adventure when we return.

August beach party anyone?

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

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Au revoir l’Allemagne, Bonjour France

Bonjour France!

In keeping with our weekly themed dinner nights, our second dinner took us to France, where our inspired menu consisted of Poulet Roti, Pommes Anna, and Ratatouille. Our “French inspired” entertainment was the most amazing animated movie….. Ratatouille.

Now, the one thing these dinners are teaching ME, is that I am lacking in some basic (and not so basic) kitchen equipment to do what I want to do.  I really could have used an amazing, well seasoned, cast iron frypan for the Pommes Anna…… oh well….. next time!

Kitchen equipment aside, our French inspired dinner turned out great.  The chicken was roasted perfectly, super juicy, with seasoned, crispy, golden skin.  The Pommes Anna was super delicious, although it could have been a touch crispier, and the Rataouille  was so so good. I’m sure that making it from an authentic French recipe (and not deviating  from that recipe) probably helped!

I picked up some French beer, which I thought was going to be harder to find than it was, (although it sounds German to me), as well as a super yummy Viogner from  France.

Brodie has been a real champ when it comes to these dinners.  He has been curious and wanting to help out with everything, and wanting to learn about the country where the food is coming from.  Brodie was great on trying the pommes anna, and the chicken was a no brainer (hey….. it tastes like chicken!), but he was hesitant on trying the ratatouille. With his first bite, and his eyes opening as big as his smile, I knew it was one dish he was super keen on. The little Miss is a totally different story. Sydney so far, has showed no interest in the food (surprise, surprise) but was however, super excited by all the pictures of the Eiffel tower…. it seems to be the only thing she likes to talk about, and the one thing she can hardly wait to see!

With all the pickiness that I deal with, with the kids, the timing of a new book (which saw a hand full of people tell me about since they know the Sydney/food situation) seems to be right on cue for me and the planning of this trip. Its called – French Kids Eat Everything (and yours can too).  I have yet to crack the book open but hopefully it can shed some insight on getting the little lady to eat.

We will arrive in Paris on June 23rd after our first week in Germany. For 2 weeks we will  be in a rented apartment in Paris.  It is in the 17th arrondissement and is close to the Arc de Triomphe, Mikes office, and the metro for all of our daily excursions around town. We will then spend close to 2 weeks in the French countryside on “vacation”.

Living in France for 4 weeks…. I will be able to cross it off the “bucket list”

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.