The Last German Castle

{October 1, 2013}

We are finishing up here folks…! Documenting our time in Germany is practically over. On our way back to the hotel for our last night in Europe, we stopped by one last castle. This one…had a moat.




We had a funny little experience here, in which Natasha hopefully learned the meaning of “Nein”. As we were touring the grounds, a fella came up to mechanical gate on his bicycle with a dog. Natasha was dancing and twirling and generally walking in a haphazard fashion, and she just sashayed right up to the gate, assuming he was pushing the button to open it for us all to walk through. The fella, speaking in German, tried to explain that it was going to swing out, and might hit her in the head. However, she didn’t understand anything and simply stood there. Daniel was calling out for her to back up, but she moved forward instead, and the German cyclist sternly said, “Nein! Nein!” I wasn’t really in the area, so all I heard was a very loud voice saying, “NO!” and wasn’t sure what was going on. Natasha wasn’t hurt, and nothing really happened, but it was amusing to hear “Nein” being said so firmly to our little girl. :) I don’t think it bothered her in the slightest. She was pretty exuberant, full of energy and being her silly self when we headed to the car.





I must highlight the road signs before closing out. Typically, in the States, we list the town that is farthest away, on the bottom on signs. Not so here. They list the town farthest away on the TOP. Also, instead of clarifying which direction you want to go, such as North, they list the town names in the general direction of those towns. So if you’re headed North, you’d better know which towns are North, so you can look for the proper town name on the signs. 19-184

This one, we rather liked. Any guesses to what it means? This is the equivalent of, “Corporation Limit Ends”. Or, you’re leaving town. :) 20-186

So, we not only headed out of Lembeck, but the country as well. The rental car was returned, we walked to the airport terminal, and got on our flight back to the States after a month long trip staying in Germany, and touring some surrounding countries.

It’s A Parade Type of Holiday

There’s something about an American parade that makes me all nostalgic. I love the anticipation of quickly walking down the sidewalk to reach main street before the first police car, which means the parade has officially begun. The distant bass drums from the bands makes you hurry all the more. Then, the waving begins. Waving at people you don’t know, and have never seen before just because it’s fun to do. Of course, the candy is a big part of a parade. Silly, but true. I always get this funny flutter inside, thinking back to how nervous I would get as a child when my Mom would urge me to dash out to get that one candy piece that didn’t reach the curb, but was about to be smashed by the next antique car if someone didn’t grab it. (No worries, it was always during one of those long gaps that come every once in a while during a parade.) There are always huge semis, ball teams, dance corps, antique tractors by the dozen, clowns and someone running for something in the next upcoming election. It’s so American and I love it.

So here’s a few pictures from our 4th of July Parade in a typical midwest little town. Parades are even more fun with a little child. For Natasha, who couldn’t even quite remember what a parade was, it was even double the fun.


Her favorite part were the royalty floats with various fair princesses and court. She just soaked it all up.


She waved to almost everyone, whether they were waving to her or not.


And covered her ears at the overbearing and excessively loud fire engines.


She collected the candy thrown to her, and wore the two necklaces that came flying through the air to her feet. We did however, leave that pile of candy on the curb and limited our take-home-loot to 2 pieces. Makes us sound like horrible parents, doesn’t it?! She was happy as a clam though, and trust me: Two pieces of Starbursts made her plenty hyper for the rest of the day and that was plenty for me.




The Blutter-fly

This jar has been sitting around our house all winter. There was a cocoon on the stick and Natasha’s aunties rescued it last summer and we’ve been waiting a long time for something to happen.

It finally did.



It was a delightful morning event for an otherwise typical June day.






(Blutterfly is how Natasha still pronounces butterfly.)


Holten, Holland

{October 1, 2013}

Suddenly, there were thatched roofs. :)


Since we were flying out of Dusseldorf to return home, we stayed at a hotel near the airport. But we still had the rental car and wanted to see Holland since we were so close. Therefore, we drove across the border and spent part of the day in Holten.

We walked around town and fed some goats in a…petting zoo? of some sort. Not sure what the purpose of this little menagerie was. There were a few turkeys, some guineas, and goats in a pen across from a miniature playground. While we were watching this dear lady came up with her walker and emptied a bag of old bread slices over the fence for the goats. We couldn’t help but wonder if goats were really created to eat bread…



Here’s where I confirmed my desire to own a lovely European bicycle.



Why are there not more roundabouts in the States?




So, I know this is a very dark picture. This is what happens when you’re riding along at say, 70 km an hour, and the camera is in your lap, turned off, on the manual setting, when you suddenly need a picture right. now. I had to do some serious lighting adjustments to even get this picture as viewable as it is.

But it’s a good example of what I’m learning the more I travel: There are plenty of methods of transportation that don’t include carseats.


I had to include it, because it reminded me of another momma in another bike riding town. This was taken when we were in Bocas Town back in 2012. Now why can’t I rig up something for my one child and ride my bike around town? If the Netherlands and Panama can do it, certainly I can!