Our lovely Aussie friends who we stayed with live in the beautiful town of Donaworth on the Romantic Road in Germany. We had a relaxing few days just hanging out and recovering from the journey, and then finally on our last day in the area we felt up to a day out.
We headed to the castle Harburg, situated on the Danube. Our very first German castle! I am writing this 6 months on from the event, and so a few particulars have escaped my memory, but as I am endeavoring to honestly write about our experiences in our journey, I will admit that I remember a big lecturing session aimed at our kids as we ate our lunch outside the castle gates. I can't remember what it was about, probably fighting, whining, niggling each other.....the usual. We had only been on our trip for a couple of weeks and getting there was such an ordeal, that we were finding it hard to adjust to all the changes. The kids were having to deal with a lot of transition, and also being around each other all the time and the traveling in the car was all feeling rather hard. Anyway, lunch and lecturing over, we went to explore Harburg.
It was lots of fun to see a real castle and explore a bit. Before I traveled as an adult, I had only been to Kryal Castle in Ballarat Australia, which is kinda cool.....but it's a replica, not the real thing!! Harburg was built in the 11th or 12th century! We were able to show the kids the portcullis and the different keeps. We couldn't go inside without doing a tour, which wasn't available, so we just enjoyed looking around.
I was so glad to have come to Europe in the Summertime ( except for the fact that we always felt like we were dying from the heat ) because I got to feast my eyes on the most glorious green colours. That bright light vibrant green! I just couldn't get enough of it, it was glorious!
The next image shows my kids, head down bum up, into the well. This proved to be a foreshadow of things to come everywhere in Europe! Anytime there was water, my kids would try to dive in. Be it a pond, a well or a fancy fountain in a public square. Er...I'm not sure how bad this is etiquette wise? I hadn't thought to research 'appropriate child behaviour around public water sources' before we left. Oh well, it wouldn't have made much difference anyway, it's like they simply couldn't help themselves, like some bewitching nymph was always calling to them, beckoning them with magical promises of aqua delight if they would just lean in...a bit further.....a bit further......aarrrgh! Seriously, I think I have photos from all the fountains, wells, and rivers on our travels of our kids trying to leap in! OK, I have just noticed that Ross is doing the same thing in this photo......maybe he began it all?
I also took the chance to snap some cute pictures of the kids. Zahli was doing so many poses for the camera that she ended up laughing her head off at her own comedic genius, lol.
So after we were done at the castle, we bravely headed down the footpath to the town. We passed a gorgeous church and got to hear the bells, which were actually very loud when heard from right outside the church. Then we walked through the cute little town. Of course the kids were going to die of hunger and thirst ( apparently ), so we found ice-cream and some of our go-to German drink - Apfelshorle. It's carbonated apple juice and the kids loved it! I think it is their favourite German word. They asked for Apfelshorle in every country we went, whether the spoken language was German or not, haha.
The town is really gorgeous. Everywhere we looked felt like looking at a postcard, all nestled on the Danube river with the castle above.
Ahhh the Danube. I have lots of lovely squishy romantic feelings associated with that particular river because of one of my favourite authors "Eva Ibbotson" who writes so eloquently in such a whimsical way that I felt really happy just to be there and see it. Well it was a hot day, and my kids were being lured by that ubiquitous water nymph, so my lovely mental image of that river started to contain my kids happily playing in the Danube. It was all rather idyllic, until of course, my kids pushed it too far as per usual, haha. What started off as "sure, of course you can dip your toes in and have a little splash", became a full blown "dunk each other in and have a dirty seaweed fight"........'sigh'.
The kids ended up totally soaked from head to foot! We weren't the only ones drawn to the water though, there were some local kids also having a swim. They had stripped down to their jocks to swim, so my kids thought that was a good idea. Although, of course by then, my kids had already thoroughly soaked all of their clothes. I encouraged my kids to try to make friends, but it wasn't successful, we couldn't understand what they were saying, but I'm pretty sure the other kids were laughing and making fun of my kids. Maybe they were wearing weird Aussie undies? Not the cool German jocks? Well, we hadn't prepared for a swim, we had no towels. So once we were done, my kids got a crash course in how to be resourceful and flexible. They were dripping and had nothing to dry themselves with and we had to drive back. They ended up having to strip to underwear, squeeze out their clothes and make do for the wet ride home.
I still have lovely thoughts associated with the Danube, but now those thoughts also contain mental images of my loud soaking squealing kids chucking seaweed at each other on a hot day...and that is not such a bad thing.