Sunday, September 25, 2011

Working and Playing in Germany

On Monday, my wife had to head in to work. We all got up and had a light breakfast of pastries from a shop just outside the hotel. Or just outside the train station. We all rode the bus with Mommy to see work and explore that neighborhood.

Almost immediately off the bus Jacob and Lucy spotted a playground. So we said goodbye to Mommy and hello to play equipment.

Jacob loves fire equipment, even a pretend one!

Standard fare for us

Where Jacob played the new game "resternaut"

The previous night's rain left a lot of moisture around, so slides would have been more like baths. The kids stuck to climbing, crawling, and the new popular game, restaurant. Here's how restaurant works: Jacob finds some structure that seems to have a window. He will go inside and take orders from said window. Typically, the customer can ask for just about anything and he'll serve it up with a smile. We've been playing this game for a couple of months and it still hasn't fallen out of favor. You might wonder why it isn't called "Drive Through" but you'll have to ask Jacob about that. In fact, according to Jacob it's pronounced "Resternaut," which seems to introduce a cool space theme to the game, though none of the game mechanics involve outer space, zero-g, or freeze dried ice cream. Maybe I'll try to order that next time.

We played for a while then tried to find the local grocery store. We wandered through a lot of residential areas. Between every apartment building seemed to be a new and exciting playground. I kept the kids focused on the goal of finding food, with the promise of playgrounds on the way back to the bus. Lucy and Jacob found that satisfactory.

Eventually we made it out of the housing and slowly wound our way to the grocery store. We picked up some milk for Lucy, some graham crackers for Jacob, a snack for the return trip, and bread for the peanut butter and raisins back at the hotel. Long time readers may remember that Jacob's favorite and nearly exclusive lunch choice is a peanut butter and raisin sandwich. In the interests of peace, we maintain the usual routine if at all possible while traveling. Lucy has no usual routine, so I bought her a yoghurt, which she enjoyed with a slice of bread when lunch time came.

We had our snack (cookies and juice) and returned through the neighborhood and found the bus stop. There we invented a new game, "Is that the bus?" I would ask if the various vehicles on the road were our bus; Jacob would say no and give a reason, like "That's a van" or "that's a motorcycle" or "that's going in the wrong direction." It kept them distracted until the bus actually came.

It wasn't until we came back to the hotel that we realized that we forgot to play at the playgrounds on the way to the bus! We certainly had enough time waiting for the bus that we could have spared ten minutes.

We made up for it by going to the playground across from the hotel after nap time and when Mommy came home. The playground was pretty amazing. It seems to be designed for children with high IQs. For example, this piece of playground equipment could be filled with water and turned into a functioning machine, or so it seemed.

Yes, that is Archemedes' Screw in the middle!

Other items of interest and/or challenge were the climbers, the conveyor belt-looking thing, and a large version of a molecule.

Lucy loved this one the most

Jacob thought it was the most unchallenging bridge ever

Jacob explores for the Higgs Boson

The kids enjoyed this playground. They even didn't want to leave for dinner. We eventually dragged them off to a place called Neuer Ochsen, which was comfy and had yummy food. I had a steak with onions, fried ravioli, and roasted potatoes. Angie had a noodle dish. The kids had chicken fingers made of pork. The kids didn't care about the difference as long as they had ketchup to dip it in. I had a nice hefe-weisen with dinner.

We meandered back to the hotel in time for some pool fun. The attendant at the pool said we were the only ones in the spa so the kids could be as loud as they like. That lasted for maybe ten minutes. Ten glorious minutes. We started to behave a little better when some other people showed up. Eventually time ran out and we returned upstairs for bedtime.

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