(not posted in real-time, we are actually 20 days into our 6 week vaca now!)
Almost 10 days in, we are fully entrenched in our Germany family adventure now. I was looking forward to and have been enjoying our German breakfasts, full of bountiful German breads, one of my favorite things here.
Our first week was spent staying near Mark’s cousin and his family. It was lovely – we stayed on a farm that has several apartments for rent for short term use. Think Bed and Breakfast without the Breakfast because you have your own kitchen for that. OK, kind of like thinking ‘hotel with kitchenette’, but it’s not a hotel, it’s a farm. It is a small farm and I was wholly impressed by the cleanliness and organization of it. I am not sure I have the authority to say that this is a result of it being a German farm (I’ve made my stance clear that this ‘neat and clean’ German stereotype has certainly come about for good reason), as I have not seen any other German farms, but somehow they even contained the smell of the cow barn – a smell I am acutely familiar with, having grown up in Wisconsin – to smell only in the immediate vicinity of the cow barn. Unfortunately, even the Germans can not rid the actual barn of the odor of cow and it’s bi-products – a hideous odor, indeed.
There seemed to be several businesses going on at this bustling locale. It is a small farm…with very happy cows that graze in pastures of green grass. I do not typically eat beef, but if and when I do, I try to find and buy from places where I can think of it coming from places like these. There are the apartments (all new) and many projects going on around that – holes being dug, things being fixed or built…not always clear what was being done, but judging from the 3+ men deliberating their next moves, there was clearly an abundance of something’s-going-on. In the short time we were there, the driveway bricks were perfectly laid, finishing what had clearly been a very large project.
They have beautiful vegetable and flower gardens smattered around the grounds, one of which was just outside of our apartment, and which were often being tended to. And then there were other barns, several tractors going in and out during all times of the day and what appeared to be some logging going on as well. The children absolutely loved it – in addition to the cows, there were 2 dogs and a few cats running around. Even Max, who is usually afraid of dogs, fell in love with Lota (small border collie) and cried on our last day there because we were leaving the cows and her. Both kids love cats and Eliana was in heaven with almost constant cat sitings outside our door.
The best part of all, however, in this farm setting, was that Max had taken to wearing his Lederhosen every single day. There were two pairs of these leather trousers – one knickers – one shorts – that Oma had been given by an old friend back when Max was born. At 4 ½ he is finally the perfect size to wear them, and for whatever reason, from the moment he was shown these garments, he refused to wear anything else. They are beautiful – with suspenders that display beautiful embroidered flowers. And what made them even more perfect is that they were eloquently paired, each day, with the Paul Frank t-shirts that Oma had also brought for him. The universe aligned and the colors in each of the shirts paired perfectly with brown leather laden hosen and the colors on the suspenders. His perfectly shaped, slightly lanky legs brought the whole look together in the most endearing way. And the piece de la resistance, really, were his Huck Finn feet. He spent much of his time running around the farm checking in on the cows, looking for cats, playing with Lota, etc. He didn’t always wear his shoes, so he would come back looking like a lederhosened Huck Finn. The first time I saw him like this, I knew, for certain, our German adventures had begun.