Germany was our first country to really explore and experience together, we were in Switzerland for a day, but it was so brief that it's a bit of a blur. I thought it would be fun to write about some of the things that we felt really made up our German experience for those first few weeks.
1. Amazing parks and playgrounds.
Wow and wow. The playgrounds were simply fantastic. Everywhere. They were all well maintained, and all had creative sturdy, cool things to play on, explore and discover. Often they had hands-on learning types of play equipment. We were simply thrilled about this, is was such a relief to know that we could easily find places for the kids to have some fun and blow off some steam.
Something about Germany felt very safe. I'm sad to admit it, but it did generally feel safer for our kids to run around or go to the loo than it does in Australia. I was unsure if this was simply due to my ignorance of dangerous occurrences ( we didn't exactly watch the news ), or if it was indeed as safe as it seemed. After talking to a few different friends and together with our experiences there, I decided that it is probably a bit of both, but that I definitely felt a greater sense of security there. Maybe part of it is because everything is just so perfect. Even the garbage has a specific system that everyone follows meticulously. The houses, the lawns, the playgrounds, the roads.....all in perfect order. Everything has a place, everything has a rule. Well, that's how southern Germany felt for us at the time, I can't speak for the northern area. I'm not sure how I would feel living with such a high level of order and control in everything, I think I like a little unpredictability in my life, but the playgrounds we visited in southern Germany ( and there were a lot! ) were adventurous, safe and just amazing! I made a joke to our friends at some point that we had come to Europe, with all of it's high culture, impressive architecture, famous art and medieval history; but that all we had done was go playground hopping through the country!
2. Sausage sausage and more sausage!
So we were traveling as cheaply as possible. Eating out in a non lavish restaurant, with kids meals and not getting drinks still cost us about 60 Euros ( around $100 ).....so we made our own food as much as possible. We found that the best and easiest option was the humble sausage. But in Germany, it is not so humble. My kids never quite got over the giggle factor of calling a sausage a 'wiener' and we found we were eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There were endless varieties! They were good for a snack on the road, for our baby to munch on or a full fledged proper meal. Most sausages in Germany are already cooked, so if you want to be fancy you can brown them up in a pan, but it is not necessary.
We probably overdid it, because it wasn't long before I was proclaiming that;
"If I never see a sausage again in my life, it will be too soon"...
Well......that was until I discovered the bacon-wrapped, cheese-filled variety. Haha
3. The cutest towns you can imagine....in boiling heat!
I was blown away by just how enchanting everything looked. I really loved the little towns with their own medieval history, a castle on the hill, cobbled streets, tiled roofs and window boxes filled with flowers. Ahhhh, so pretty! And that green colour!!! We really enjoyed the beauty of it all, well, the little moments in between dealing the the crying baby, kids fighting, and cooking to death in our car every time we drove anywhere. Oh, I think I have forgotten to mention, the air-conditioning in our trusty car kicked the bucket two days into our trip! It wou