Sunday, May 30, 2010

Our day in Bonn...

This morning we made it a point to set an alarm so the kitchen staff wouldn't have to wait for us. :)

The breakfasts (complimentary) here are wonderful. Eggs cooked to order; bacon; sausage; pan-fried potatoes with bacon pieces; fresh fruit; fresh rolls (which Sarah has come to love), all sorts of juices and cereals and toppings; yogurt; and best of all, fresh, piping hot coffee – all included with the room.

This morning we headed to the Bonn science museum to see the recently discovered Argentinian dinosaur, which they say is the largest ever discovered. Fascinating. We toured the rest of the dinosaur exhibit, which is on loan from the Argentinian museum. Looked at a couple of other exhibits of local animals/plants - but air conditioning is not the norm in Germany, the museum was fairly crowded yesterday, and we were all hot and ready to get outside and get some air.

After the museum, we walked down the street to the Rhine (the girls have been fascinated by the river while we've been here. There was a very nice overlook where we took some pics, and then walked downstairs to walk along the river. Punkin has really started being interested in rocks and wanted to collect some (I have no idea how I'm going to get everything packed to get home, since there are weight limits on our luggage!). She was disappointed that we couldn't actually get to the shore so she could get some “rocks from the Rhine”, but we found an old staircase down to the shore which ws chained off but didn't have a sign saying we couldn't use it. My Hero climbed down and got both the girls some rocks, and they were tickled pink.

We then headed to the Beethoven Geberstag Haus (where Beethoven was born). We intended to take the tour, but our time was short. After going in and looking at the brochure and the time, we decided that was better left to next time so we'd enjoy it more. But we did take pics by the plaque outside so we could prove we'd been there. :) We headed next door to the gift shop (I don't think it's possible with the girls to go anywhere without hitting the gift shop). Punkin picked a lovely scarf with musical notes and instruments, Puddin picked a small music box that plays Fur Elise. (Hmm, wonder if there's an umlaut in special characters...)

Girls were thirsty then, so I'd seen a McDonald's on our walk to the Beethoven Haus, so we stopped to get fries and drinks. My Hero was quite upset to see that the Germany McD's currently have the McRib, and “our” McD's doesn't. :) I think if we hadn't had dinner plans, we might've had McD's so he could have had a McRib or two. BTW, our french fries weren't nearly as tasty as the ones at home.

We headed back to the car and back to the hotel. We were meeting My Hero's brother (Justus) for afternoon cake in honor of Johannes' (our nephew) 18th birthday. His big birthday present was a used car, and when we drove up it had a big red ribbon on it. I had already coached the girls not to talk about the car, for fear of spoiling the surprise, so was glad I didn't have to worry about that! There was apple (apfel) cake, strawberry (erdbeeren) cake and chocolate (schokolade) cake. (I chose strawberry, because it is delicious.)

My sister-in-law was so sweet and caring about Punkin's allergies. When the girls started sniffling (there are dogs, Otto and Paul, that are sometimes indoors).we moved the “party” outdoors. The girls were thrilled to meet their cousins, especially cousin Emma (who is six and adorable). Barbara (my sister-in-law) said she had been worried about how Emma and the girls would get along since they can't communicate (Emma speaks no English, the girls speak very little German) – but the worries were for nothing, because they got along famously. Occasionally they'd need something translated, but for the most part they were fine.

We brought gifts for all three cousins (Johannes, Alexander and Emma). The boys were given two Texas t-shirts (one with “Don't Mess With Texas” and the other with a Texas longhorn), and when they opened them they immediately went inside and put one on. For Emma, we brought a cute little denim purse with pink beaded accents, a math game, and a teddy bear – all of which she loved. We also gave Johannes 200 Euro for his birthday, and he was, of course, thrilled.

Alexander (almost 17) is doing a student exchange program this fall, and will be staying with a host family in Canada for 5 months, with the possibility of extending it to 10 months. When I asked him if he would have a chance to visit us in Texas while he's there, his eyes list up. I really hope he gets to come for at least a couple of weeks – the girls loved him. He was playing with them just like he was their age – I think it would be quite fun to have him around for a while.

We visited at Justus and Barbara's house for several hours, then headed to dinner. Once again, we didn't get back to the hotel until around 10:30 or so. I got the girls to bed, then started packing because tomorrow morning at 8am Justus picks us up to take us to the Hauptbahnoff (train station) for our trip to Sylt. I hope I got enough done so that I don't have to rush so much tomorrow morning!

I am worried, though. The family apartment that we were to stay in in Sylt was the best one for us because of Punkin's allergies, and the part of the family that had the key left town. So now we have to stay in Justus'/Barbara's apartment, and the dogs have been there – so I have no idea how the girls' (and my) allergies will tolerate it. I guess we'll have to see...

Gute Nacht aus Deutschland!

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