After finishing our visit with Mom and Dad in the morning, we packed our bags once again. We ate lunch and then left for Bloomington-Normal. Derek and I decided to drive separately in case I needed to take the kids back earlier than Wednesday. We weren’t sure how 3 more nights in a hotel would go, especially since we suspected that Cade had an ear infection. We left about 12:15pm and we went straight to a walk-in clinic. Derek and Abby headed to the hotel and I stayed with Cade to have his ear checked. After waiting an hour and a half, the doctor took one look and could tell that he did indeed have an ear infection. I filled his prescription at Kroger and picked up a few more snacks and things while we waited. By the time we got to the Chateau, it was almost 4;00. Cade fell asleep on the way to the hotel, so we just carried him in and put him in his bed. I went for a walk with Abby while Derek sat with Cade. Then Abby and Derek went swimming while I stayed in the room. Cade woke up at 5:00 and I took him down to the pool just as Derek and Abby were finishing up. We came back to the room and got changed for supper.
We went to Chili’s, which is just a few minutes from the hotel. Derek and I got chicken fajitas and Abby chose mararoni and cheese and corn on the cob. She ate all of the corn! She loved it. Cade got a little bit of everything. After supper we went into Best Buy to look for something, but no luck. So, we went back to the hotel. It was almost 7pm already. The kids played with some toys for about an hour and then it was time for bath. It was after 9:00 before they were both sleeping. Abby slept in one bed with me and half way through the night, Cade slept in the other bed with Derek. Abby kicked and pushed me all night. It drove me crazy! I think everyone else slept pretty good, but I felt so uncomfortable all night long!
1-11 from our trip…the good and the bad
11. 11 days
10. 10 great nights, okay a few nights weren’t SO great, but still…
(4 with Matt, Sarah, Kaylin & Shane and 6 in Germany)
9. about “9”00…900 pictures taken!
8. “ate” We “ate” a lot of fast food, but some good local food too. (schnitzel, sneeballen, desserts)
7. 7 (or more) Happy Meal toys
6. 6 days touring Germany
5. 5 throw ups (4 for Cade and 1 for Abby)
4. 4 countries (Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria)
3. 3 airports (O’Hare, Dublin, Schipol)
2. 2 amazing castles (Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau) (Abby still talks about both.)
1. 1 unbelievable trip
Happy birthday, Aunt Kelli!
After the egg hunt, we went back up to the room and finished packing up. We left the hotel mid-morning and were on our way. After entering The Netherlands, we stopped at a McDonald’s(again!) along the interstate. It was a pretty easy drive and uneventful. We pulled up to Matt and Sarah’s by about 1pm. While we were gone, the Easter Bunny left baskets for Abby and Cade (so nice!). Abby took a nap and we visited. We decided to skip the canal boat tour since we were pretty tired. We visited with family on Skype and learned that Derek’s sister Kelli got engaged on Friday! 🙂 Later on, we enjoyed a fabulous Easter dinner cooked by Matt and Sarah, which Cade threw up right at the table. Ugh! Derek and Matt went to the 2nd half of the Amsterdam Ajax soccer game while Sarah and I stayed with the kids. Abby and Kaylin decorated paper eggs. Kaylin sent hers home with me to give to Papa Bud and Mana Jane. It was sweet! We spent the evening visiting and packing up our bags and the car. It was a fabulous trip, but I was ready to go home. Someday, I want to invent a travel machine that you can simply push a button and go to anywhere in the world. More and more, I do not look forward at all to the airports, airplanes, etc… Anyway, after the kids were sleeping, the adults stayed up for a while visiting and then it was time to get some rest.
We got off to a slow start on Friday. We figured with Abby throwing up the night before and Cade not doing too well in the car when he is tired that we would just go slowly. Everyone was up by about 8 am and we made some toast in our little kitchen. The kids had some fruit too. I tried to finish cleaning up from the events the night before. I tried to dry out the pillow case with a hair dryer but it pooped out after a few minutes. Oh, well. I decided to just leave it hanging in the bathroom, damp. We finally made our way out at about 10:15 and were trying to get all loaded into the car. The owner came running out of the house and asked, “Has there been some mistake?” Huh?! was my thought. She continued by saying that one of the pillow cases was missing off of a pillow and had they not put one on. I think that was her nice way of saying, “Where the hell is the pillowcase?” Anyway, I told her that Abby had gotten a little something on it (okay, a lot of something on it) and that I had washed it out and it was hanging in the bathroom. She said that was nice of me and I didn’t have to do that. I thought, “Oh, lady…yes I did!” Anyway, we finished piling into the car and just before we pulled out, the owner’s husband came running out. “Wait!” he said. “You left some things in the bathroom…clothing.” We kind of laughed and said, “Oh, we are done with it.” “Trash?” he asked. “Yes, or you can have it. Whichever.” He smiled and headed back inside, probably thinking we were crazy. I thought they would figure it out when we stacked stuff on top of the garbage can. Anyway, for those of you who don’t know, when we travel we take old clothes and leave them behind. This leaves room for souvenirs and when we get home, less laundry! We had gotten rid of a lot of things because of the throwing up the night before. I hadn’t intended on throwing away Abby’s pjs, but they weren’t worth trying to wash out when she has about 7 more just like them. Well, for not really doing anything, it was an eventful morning.
If any day went the least like I thought it would, this is the day. We started with a typical, but good, European breakfast at Gastehaus Weiher. Frau Oswald served us with rolls, cold meat, cheese, hot hard boiled eggs, room temperature yogurt, hot chocolate, and orange juice. Abby started by not wanting anything, but after sitting there awhile, she joined in too. We pulled out by about 9am and were on our way to Munich. We thought it would take less than 2 hours to get there, but we were on some back roads and did not make great time. We knew that it might be difficult to get into the city center because of the “umwelt zone.” In many places in Germany, the cars have to pass an emissions test and then they get a sticker for the windshield. It is supposed to cut down on traffic in the city and help protect the environment. Well, we pulled into a gas station and asked and she either indicated that we didn’t need one or that she didn’t sell them. Regardless, we decided to say, “Screw it,” and we drove into the “umwelt zone” without our green badge. Trudy, the GPS, had been wonderful up until now. She had us curving around tiny little side streets no bigger than an alley. We wanted to get to the Marienplatz by 11am to see the Glockenspiel (giant clock) chime and the people to come out, much like we had seen in Rothenburg, but on a much bigger scale. Well, we hit traffic and it was clear that we weren’t going to make it when we were still driving at 11am. So, I made an executive decision and told Derek, “Let’s get out of here.” We got out of the city and headed for Dachau Concentration Camp. It is just NW of Munich and it only took about 20 minutes to get there. In the city of Dachau, we stopped at a Burger King for lunch. The playland was locked and we asked if it could be opened, but it was closed. Bummer. We ate and then I asked at the counter how to get to the Concentration Camp. Now, I know “Concentration Camp” is not German, but I figured they would know what I was talking about. I asked one lady and she held up a finger to indicate, “Wait.” A man came from the back and I asked him. He looked at me and said, “No English.” Oh, well, we were on our way to see what we could find on our own. Luckily, just down the road we saw a sign and it was just a minute away.
The camp was larger than I had thought it would be, but once we got walking around and I thought about how many people were living there, it felt small. It was the same kind of feeling I had at the Anne Frank House. The gate on the way in that reads, “Arbeit Macht Frei” which means, “Work will set you free.” I thought about all of the people that read that as they arrived at Dachau and how work had nothing to do with it. It was very powerful. We saw some cells and walked around the grounds. We stood where they had roll call and went into a recreated bunkhouse. There were only 2 standing bunkhouses and the rest we could just see the concrete slab with rocks where they used to stand. They were so run down that they had torn them down. We were there quite a while and the kids were tired so with a drive still ahead of us, we did a quick diaper change in the parking lot and were back on the road again.
We woke up early at about 7:15 am and left the room by 8:00. We needed to get to get to the ticket office to pick up our tickets that we ordered online for the tours of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castles. Derek drove the kids and me there and dropped us off. It was only about a 2 minute drive. Then he drove the car back to the B&B and ran back to meet us. Yes…we are cheap. We didn’t want to pay for parking. The kids and I picked up the tickets and were just coming out of the building when Derek came walking up. We started our march up quite a hill to get to Schloss Hohenschwangau. It is the castle where King Ludwig II of Bavaria grew up with his parents and his brother. We got to the entrance and had about 20 minutes to spare until our tour started at 8:50am. I sat down to rest and the kids and Derek took a look around. When it was time to go in, I put Cade in the sling (which totally saved my arm) and Abby marched up the stairs to the entrance. We had our tour and the castle was pretty impressive. There were only about 10 people in our group, which was nice to be able to move around a little and the tour was all audio. I think a lot of people skip it and just see Neuschwanstein, but I am glad we took the time and energy to see it. After some more photos, we made our way back down the hill and into the town to find the carriage ride up to the top of the mountain (okay, not quite the very top, but it would have been a heck of a trek, especially with the kids.) It was well worth the 12 Euros! We enjoyed the ride up and Abby sang a Backyardigan song to entertain the rest of the people in the carriage. We’re going to the top of dragon mountain, she sang. We got to the carriage drop off and still had a bit of a hike to the entrance of the castle. After taking a few pictures, we only had to wait about 10 minutes until it was our turn to go in. We were on the tour with a bunch of (I’m guessing) high school students from NYC, I think. One poor girl was sick and threw up into a garbage bag in the middle of the tour. We booked it to the front to avoid any germs and tried to steer clear of her for the rest of the tour. We had enough issues without getting any flu germs! Neuschwanstein was built by King Ludwig II and it was only partially completed (11 rooms, I think) before he died at about age 40. Please don’t take any of this information as complete fact. I’m just working off my memory! Anyway, he only lived in the castle for about 176 days. The rooms that were completed were amazing. We couldn’t take pictures inside the castle. I think that Neuschwanstein Castle (inside and out) is one of the most impressive places I’ve ever been. It ranks up there with the Great Pyramid in Egypt and the Great Wall in China. We bought some souvenirs in the gift shop and started to make our way back to the carriages. On the way down, we stopped at Schlossrestaurant Neuschwanstein for lunch. I had some good schnitzel, which was just like a giant pork tenderloin without the bun. Abby had some more margherita (cheese) pizza and Derek some potato soup. Cade just eats a little bit of what everyone is having. On our way out, we bought some Sneeballen, snowballs, which are donuts with powdered sugar. They sure were good! We rode the carriage back down the mountain, which was only 6 Euros this time and again, worth every cent. Back in town, we did a little souvenir shopping and then made our way back to the B&B. Abby and Cade slept and Derek and I sat on the balcony. When it was almost time for supper, we decided to go to Austria. We ended up at a McDonald’s, which was only about 10-15 minutes away. I figure someday when Derek or the kids are in Austria and someone asks, “Have you been here (Austria) before?” They will answer yes and then they’ll ask, “What did you do last time you were here?” It will be kind of funny to say, “We ate at McDonald’s.” hahaha Well, we made it back to the B&B and we were all beat. We sat on the balcony in our pjs for a few minutes and then we all fell asleep. What an amazing day!