June 07, 2018

"Nein!" Lucky Dragon Is Reintroduced to Germany

The trip was as good as it could be with an active Lucky Dragon and a little Koala Bear. We knew that he would be alright traveling because he has traveled his whole life. I think our first trip with him was when he was 3 months old. Koala Bear has only been on one other trip--to Washington, DC. So we decided we were brave and went on a 12 hour trip to Europe. Hurray for us and making adventures! haha. Koala Bear is about the same age and Lucky Dragon was when he first came to Germany. So it was fun to see him be more excited and understand now.

However, with lots of practice and careful planning (like having a change of clothes for all of us and ipads loaded with games and movies at the ready), we survived rather well. Koala Bear and I spent plenty of time in the back of the plane walking around--she did not want to sleep and I thought this was a better option than fighting her for 8 hours while people around us grimaced. In fact, we were back there so much the two motherly flight attendants decided they could chide me on how I could be a better dad--like making her wear shoes or not letting her blanket drag on the floor. I guess some things just don't bother me...you know, the adage that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...

At different points they both took naps on a bed we made by our feet. To show how much she misses and loves her brother when she could not see him she took up yelling, "Dee! Dee!" Which we have started to realize what she calls him. She would not stop until she saw him. Then she, laughing, tried to clamor over everything to wake him up. I am so glad these two are friends...and enemies at times...but for the most part good friends.

We stopped in Chicago, took showers and a quick nap Then off we went to Frankfurt. Lucky Dragon was SO excited to be in Europe that he took to saying hello to everyone. This was quite entertaining as he would loudly give commentary about the way people did or did not react to his welcoming greeting as they walked away. I hope a few of them realize they were chastised by a little guy for being unkind! A smile and a wave go a long way people!

We jumped in the rental car (packed to the brim with luggage) and made our way down the Rhein-land. It is so beautiful! The luscious green hills rolled easily from one village to the next. Castles from the Medieval era dot the landscape.  Iconic white homes with red or brown tile roofs and window boxes full of bright flowers line narrow cobblestone streets. When we stopped first Lucky Dragon came into the grocery store to buy fruit and vegetables (staples for us) he saw the cobblestone street and said, "That is a cutey-cutey road!" I take it that means he likes it. He also liked sharing the only word in German that he could remember "Nein!" He loved it when someone asked him a question that he could answer "Nein" to.

We stayed in a small hotel, Hotel Sewenig, off the Moselle River, a feeder river to the great Rhein. The steep hills flanked each side and every few kilometers there was a village. These villages were surrounded by large grape vineyards. We were entertained as helicopters performed some air acrobatics to spray the crops while flying up a steep mountainside. The villages were beautiful around it. We could have taken thousands of photos of the iconic area. It was fun to see all the bikers, most of them in their 60s and 70s riding through and stopping for something to eat.

The hotel was perfect. The food was good, the view was spectacular and we were the only family there. All the others were retired couples. So that meant we had free reign of the yard, the swing set and the miniature golf. That also meant that we had plenty of people staring at us (we still don't know if that is because we are a mixed race family, or we were parenting badly...or any other reason) and at night when the window was open (because there was no AC) and Koala Bear woke up screaming, they knew who it was! YIKES!~

Caught the ball thief as she was running away!

We went to see Berg Eltz. A castle hidden in high valley. The last time I was here was when I first came to Europe with my grandpa and my aunt was living in the Netherlands at the time. It looked just like it did then...which is not a surprise as it has stood for thousands of years!

It has been occupied and owned by the same family for thousands of years. It is one of the only castles that went without damage or occupation during the war. It was a beautiful nature walk down the forest. Lucky Dragon loved this because as we were driving he lamented that we were not stopping in the forest because he knew that "the forest must have so many things for my collection!" He collects rocks and leaves and anything else he deems interesting. Sure enough by the time we made it back to our car we had a cup full of treasures. Lady Hiva and I joked that it is interested to see which leaves and rocks make the cut.

Koala Bear did NOT like the tour through the castle. She wanted to explore, but a building with steep stairs and thousand year old medieval weapons and furniture to touch is not the best place for her to be let loose. She seemed to time it perfectly when the tour guide wanted to talk she would burst out in screeching or loud babbling. Sigh. It was a beautiful place, but I was SO relieved when the tour was done!

So far we have met some kind people. Random stores have people with candy for our children or they come up and talk kindly to them in some unknown language--at least unknown to us.  We found some random store in the middle of a farming town and stopped for milk. However, this was a liquor store...so no milk. But we bought some water that was supposed to be "still" but still had carbonation in it. It was NOT good. Burn, burn, burn. None of us drink sodas so it did not sit well. The woman working there was so kind and gave Lucky Dragon some candy as we left. Again, we were reminded of the good people around us.

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