It was great to cross over the border from Luxemborg into Germany.  In fact, it was so easy, we didn’t even know we went across the border.  I guess that is how they do things here in Europe.  There were these super cute, gothic little towns sprinkled amongst the hills and valleys, with vineyards going up the sides of the hills, and the soil looked very poor…perfect for grape growing.  We got off the train and transferred to a bus since the track down the line was under repair on our way to Koblenz.

We arrived in Koblenz, and thought it was just going to be a ho hum town until Rich’s man compass (and I was teaching Wilson how to tap into his inner man compass) kicked into full gear.   On the bus ride into town, Wilson (who is always on the lookout for a playground) said “There is a playground!”, so I marked it on our map app (HereWeGo … awesome app), and when we got off the bus, we had 6 hours to kill before our overnight.  So, what are we to do…lets go find a park to play in, and then have supper before our overnight train ride.

Well, we went to where I had put the mark, which we found eventually, and it was a private kindergarten school playground behind locked gates.  Boo, hiss.  Public play spaces for everyone I say!

Well, then I (in the Amazing Race true fashion) asked a local hotel owner where the closest playground was, and he told us to walk towards the German Corner in Old Koblenz.  15 minutes away…which to a kid is like, I dunno, 17 and a half hours.  “Daaaaadddd, I am so tired…my legs hurt…”  Blah blah blah.  I start walking anyways.  Good thing as we found some cool statues to have fun with, a castle with a great playground, and eventually to an awesome splash pad playground, and our first German beer garden along the banks of the Rhine River.  There was an awesome massive statue of something German, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.  Oh well, it was cool nonetheless.

The kids were having so much fun by the spectacular man compass find that they didn’t want to leave.  So, we headed back and found yet another gelato shop to eat at for dessert after our bratwurst and beer supper.   Then we headed off to the train station where we were waiting for our 1017pm overnight train.  The kids and Deb played tag and got all hot and sweaty while I stood guard over our stuff, and the riff raff that was hanging around the train station were drinking publicly and obviously drunk, speaking incomprehensible German…even more uncomprehensible than it usually is.  In fact, that was something that Deb and I noticed a lot of.  There is a lot of drinking in public here.  Like, a lot.  Beer bottles everywhere, a large majority seems to be tipsy or drunk.  But everyone is in a good mood at least.  Not the stupid fighting drunk kind.  Just drunk, drinking, and enjoying life wherever…in a park, in a bathroom, on the side of a bridge, on the subway…everywhere, except church.  I guess they can draw the line somewhere.

We furthered our phys ed class with reverse escalator running, and then tried doing english class by writing blogs at 930pm.  That was a bit of a mistake…well at least with Lulu…as she didn’t take well to grammar, spelling and punctuation help at that time. Click on the link for escalator running: IMG_3270

No need for a run today since I think we covered about 10-15km in walking.  At least that is what my body is telling me, and Deb and I have backpacks with our day stuff in it to boot.  We covered a lot of ground in Munich for day one, visiting the Olympic park twice.  The first time we went out to the BMW Welt, which I think means showcase, which showed off the new super cars, and had some virtual driving games for the kids.

Back to the city centre to visit a market, and then see the awesome glockenshpeil moving clock display on the clock tower at city hall.  It was neat, and the city square was packed with people and quiet as people watched the show.

We then headed back to the hotel for a nap, at least for Deb and I, as the kids were too hopped up on whatever.  We did some math and computer science, but then we went back to the Olympic park to go up the Olympic tower, and go for a swim.  But the pool as closed except for two lanes which were for “sport swimming” according to the lady at the front.  Despite our best charades, she thought we were going to be jumping and froliking around in the pool.  We just wanted to go for a swim.  And Lulu was not impressed or happy about the fact that we weren’t going for a swim…to say the least.  There was a dino exhibit there, and from the tower, you could see the whole park.  Including the place where the terrorist attack was.

And holy cow, the beers are as big as they are in photos.  I think the one I had at the Augustine Keller biergarten held about 5 beers.  All was good to wash down the pork hock, ribs, and chicken, with a side of potatoes, that we got.  We are wondering if there is such a thing as a green salad anywhere (haha).  At the beer garden, I must admit, the Germans have it down right though.  Self serve for food, and one guy continuously pouring beer, and then big long tables and benches that you seat yourself at and clean up after yourself at.  The place could have easily held 1000-1500 people.  And in one end of it there was an awesome playground that all the kids were playing at.  One difference here in Europe, there were very few hovering or helicopter parents.

The only parents on the playground were like me, the “I have had a beer [make that a five-in-one beer] and I am going to have as much fun as my kids on the playground” kind of a parent.  Thank goodness more parents weren’t on there.  Someone would have been hurt for sure with the structures that made up the playground.  Imagine falling down the climbing structure up to the slide (one with cross posts), or flying off the multiperson rope swing thing.

And WORLD MYSTERY NUMERO UNO solved … why do German beer steins have metal caps on them?  To keep the wasps out of their beer (see all of the mugs with beer coasters on them).  Maybe that is why they are called coasters, as they coast on top of beer, not under.  There are so many wasps here, it is unbelievable.  And no one seems to care.  Maybe that is why they drink in public because they will drive you to drink.  Haha.

Wilson came off the playground sweaty and hot, and of course needed a tasty beverage to cool him off…hahaha!  When in Europe, do as the Europeans do!

We had a nice walk home afterwards, stopping for McFlurries as a dessert, whereas the locals were perched up on the side of the bridge…drinking…and enjoying the beautiful sunset.

The kids crashed hard from all of the walking, tag playing (which is becoming a staple of how to get around quickly as the kids actually run forward, and for phys ed), and the crappy sleep the night before.

Tomorrow, we take Austria!  The hills are alive, with the sound of music!