“Rund is die Welt, drum Brüder laßt uns reisen.” (The world is round, so let’s travel, brothers!)
Germany will always be that another world to explore for our family which we will consider very special to our hearts. This country is our first travel for almost free, no plane tickets, no guides, a lots of German sausages with pretzels and cheese as a meal.
That experience of waking up in a different country as a complete stranger is awesome! Well, not really a complete stranger, since we are family traveling. It’s even better. The kids looking up to us to see how we behave when everything else is new and strange, how we adapt to new challenges and environment spontaneously. The thought that those scenes will fill up their memory banks of us is scary, challenging and great fun.
Several months after our family adventure to the country, this country is also the first solo travel of our eldest kid explorer. She went to two cities of Germany with the Doha Youth Choir having their performance in Berlin and Hamburg. She had a great time exploring the cities despite being shy and awkward with the people with her. How different would she have reacted if she hasn’t been in the country before, we won’t really know. It wasn’t easier for the parents to be apart with her. We suppose, exploring together or not, it will always difficult for the mother hen to part with the chicks, so to speak.
How our first Turknoy enjoyed her Germany travel is her story to tell, if or when she wants it to be told. We, as family, had a blast in the Bavaria region. Our visit to the country is definitely a spur-of-the-moment decision for all of us. Two months after our first Europe trip, we were first so hung up with the beauty of Europe. It’s really hard to get over Europe once you’ve been there. So, our family didn’t even attempt to let the memory of Europe fade before we get on the next plane.
We spent our miles getting tickets to Munich and our first goal is to explore Bavaria! Following our Disneyland Paris trip, we wanted to check out the inspiration of the castle, the Schloss Neuschwanstein. The real castle is way more fabulous, of course! The architecture, the landscape around it. Truly, a magnificent infrastructure from the 19th century!
This started our non-fascination towards Disneyland and other commercialized Disney adventures. We all realized as a family that the world is too beautiful and too diverse to focus our travel goals toward making the greatest businessman in the world, richer!
We visited the Fairy Tale Castle of Neuschwanstein and supposedly enjoyed the breathtaking view from the Marienbridge to the castle, but the foggy weather didn’t allow us to enjoy the view.
Here then we realized that being in an awesome and surreal place is always better than in pictures. I know it’s ironic but spending the day in and around the his castle in a foggy weather is indeed more amazing than in photos. Either than or we should bring a better camera than our smart phones. (We have yet to learn this bit of lesson as we still go explore countries armed only with our iPhones!)
One fun fact we learned during this trip is that King Ludwig II has the same birthday as our only Turknoy son. Known as the Real Fairy Tale King, we got interested in getting to know King Ludwig II as it may give us a glimpse of the future personality of our boy.
Not to be outdone, the Linderholf Castle is our favorite castle really. More so than the Neuschwanstein Castle. Here we really appreciated the weirdness and uniqueness of King Luwig II. It’s amazing how much we can tell about someone based on how he lived his last months or moments of his life. There’s that honesty and bluntlesss that they can’t really hide.
With our points of view about life and how to live about it, Kind Ludwig II will always have a place in our family discussions.
And hoops, the Bavarian cheese farm with lots of sausage platters with fresh baked bread. Plus that 360-view of the mountain is one for our books as well. Yeah, lots of memories to cherish as family!
We explored the Church of Wieskirch built in the 17th century, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage and we enjoyed staring at the biggest and most beautiful bamboo organ inside the church. The same enjoyment we experienced when we went inside the St. Peter’s Church in Marienplatz and climb the gazillion steps (exaggeration, of course, but it was a long and challenging climb with three kids in tow!) to enjoy the view of Munich.
Last and definitely the least (in setting the good example for the kids), the beer! Oh my the beer! It was not Octoberfest but the overflowing fresh beer early morning is a memory the parents will cherish.
Someday, we wish to go back to Germany. There are lots of reasons to go back. Months or years of exploring the country may not be enough. The art, the culture, the food, the history, the local’s friendly yet formal attitude, the future possibilities. Hopefully, one of the kids will consider this as a country to live in. For now, we move on exploring.