Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Long Overdue Post: GERMANY!

So, in September of 2016 we went to Germany (and Austria).

We traveled overseas because my sister was running the Berlin Marathon. We decided we would make a family trip out of it. We had some practice traveling with the kids during 2016 (it was a HUGE travel year--by car, train, plane, and ship) so we had an idea of how we would plan it (key note is always bring the wheelchair!).

I'm working from memory here, so I'll do my best. We took the overseas flight from DC to Frankfurt; the kids had a half day at school (trying to tire them out) and we hoped they would sleep on the plane. Vivian got a little rest; Elena got sick (after a significant amount of turbulence). I think that overnight flights are just hard if the kids are not great travel sleepers, which ours are not (nor am I). The flight staff and the other passengers were very nice.

Berlin Cafe View

Bike Pretzel Vendor!

We hopped on the train to Berlin and walked to our lodging (we picked a small apartment that had an elevator). I love the bike lanes, public transport (buses, underground, etc.) and the people were friendly. We walked and used the subway to see my sister on the marathon course. The weather was lovely, and we enjoyed seeing the city, even if it was only for a short while.

Such a beautiful day

Elena and Vivian both shared the chair--with E riding as often as she liked (which was often, as she was saving her energy to get out and run, or dance in the square, or try to walk along fountains, or look over the canal, etc.).


Boat Parade!

The marathon cheering section was loud, boisterous, entertaining, and supportive. It was wonderful to be a part of it. The kids enjoyed the runners, the costumes, the music, the monuments, the parks in the city (we found a few to check out) and did their share of cheering and searching for Kate as she ran.


We were only in Berlin for two days; after the race, my parents and sister parted ways with us. They headed on a guided European tour, and we headed to our next destination: Munich.

We took the train from Berlin to Munich where Oktoberfest was in full swing. We decided to just see how far it was with a walk from our hotel...

A bit far of a walk for someone.

The next day, we headed out in our Oktoberfest best. Jason took the kids to the Flea Circus (I opted out: YUCK) and then we headed to the tents. This was "Family Day", which, I found out later, was pretty tame compared to any other time, including what I refer to as Family Day: Nights.

Flea Circus


I don't even like beer. But this was pretty good.

Just for show.

The only reason I know anything at all about not Family Day hours is because I managed to lose my phone at Oktoberfest. Needless to say, this is such a common occurrence that there is a specific protocol to recover one's phone, and it takes a minimum of 24 hours. We were leaving the country before that time allotment, but I tried. So I managed to bring down an otherwise fantastic day. (My parents and sister were traveling through Munich a few days later, and actually RETRIEVED my phone, with the amazing help of their guide! I could not believe it. SAINTS! I got it back two weeks later, after my parents returned from their trip!)

Beautiful Day in the Garden

Strolling through the park? Is this normal over there?

There is someone playing a white baby grand piano in the dome.

We left Munich the next day and headed to Austria. Along the way we stopped at Zugspitz. We took the cable car (scary and exciting) all the way to the top. It was great!

Just a little nervous


Tandem Sledging (that's me and E)

Girls with a View

We also stopped in a lovely town (I forgot the name) b/c it looked cute and interesting. Cobblestone is really not comfortable in a wheelchair, though.

Such a cute place to stop

Our stay in Austria was the longest at three days. The weather could NOT have been better! I even went on bike ride (on loan from our AMAZING hotel).

Lock Bridge

We loved exploring the city. There was music everywhere, street vendors, parades, and so much to see. We went to Saltzburg Castle, and stayed up late for a Mozart dinner (where we eat and are entertained by live music and singers--what a treat!).


Some sort of parade




Cannon view

The castle was expansive and we had a little difficulty navigating. Well, not so much navigating as much as doing it without holding up traffic. It's not exactly wheelchair accessible (we brought it but left it at the cog train).

Happened on a fashion show in the street. I APPROVE.

Our last day we were sad to leave, but missed home. Everything was so beautiful and fun (except losing the phone part--but like I said, it worked out). I really wish I spoke German; by the time we left I had just started figuring out how words are put together. I should have prepared better for that--next time!

Our trip back was long but uneventful. The kids were great travelers! They love exploring, and we love exploring with them. The lessons from this one: bring the chair, bring the crutches, make sure everyone uses the bathroom, and keep valuables in a bag/satchel/backpack/purse, secured (everyone knows that, but I made some changes for our next trip), always bring water.

Danke Schön, Germany and Austria!