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Monday, June 23, 2014

Germany Tour, Part 2 (Month 40)

Hamburg was a favorite with us all. I think we felt at home a bit there because it reminded us somewhat of Chicago: lovely architecture broken up by rivers running through it.

One possible origin of the precursor to the hamburger, this tiny restaurant under a bridge! We gave it a try and it tasted a bit like meatloaf rather than a beef patty.  Tasty nonetheless and neat to try what could have inspired the classic American burger!

Fantastic Pakistani dinner!  Another new favorite food.

Think we're wearing him out?

Miniature Wonderland!
Words can not describe this place and I hope the multitude of pictures below do it justice.  Mind blowing in its detail.  Every little inch of it is filled with tiny scenes and drama.  We spent hours and hours looking at room after multi-story room of scenes from all over the U.S. and Europe (more countries are in the process of being added!  It's amazingly enough only going to grow!)  The highlight is certainly the real working airport with planes that taxi on schedule according to a real flight information board and then take off, trucks zooming by all the while, parking garages full of cars, terminals and train stations full of people.  Truly amazing.
Who has visited from what countries.  Interesting to see!  We found Ethiopia and the US, of course.

Vegas at night

The American West

NASA Launch
A real working drive-in showing a Pixar short
Sea World dolphin show

Ships that really sail

Unbelievalbe train stations

The airport

Yes, this schedule was accurate.  And one flight was headed to Addis Ababa!

Take off!

Passengers waiting for terminal trains

The place went on and on

I can not begin to estimate the number of tiny people attending this real working concert venue.

Castles and gardens

Intricate detail both on the ground and in the sky

Hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of little scenes being acted out everywhere.  This was a favorite - a toddler has a tantrum in the airport parking lot.  Ha!

There was a special exhibit of mini Hamburg models throughout history.  This, obviously, was the end of WWII.  Amazing.
The control room
A fitting way to enjoy the cafe
We gave Levi a bit of money to spend in the gift shop, the spending of which he very thoughtfully thought through.  That was, after he lined up some of the cars on display.

His biggest question when we left?  "What happens to the trains in the model wonderland at night?"

Portuguese food in the Portuguese neighborhood of Hamburg.  I was especially proud of Levi for attempting to play a racing game with some of the neighborhood kids, who were all naturally speaking Portuguese.  He was shy, but went out on a
limb and joined in some fun.
The Maritime Museum!  

"Can we build that ship?"

We'll try!  I think we are officially entering the Lego phase.

Watching a movie on how they build a huge ship, step by step

This room was NOT Levi's favorite.  He has a small, okay not so small, phobia of mannequins.  HOWEVER, he is determined to overcome it and likes to practice tapping them in stores.  This time, however, it was a bit more than he was willing to practice.

More models!  Model ships, model cargo fields…little boy Heaven...

Coffee shipping!  Naturally, we find Ethiopia.

Making waves

And I didn't know how much I enjoyed Maritime art!

And a boat tour!  We went right up and under the shadow of many huge cargo ships, cranes and all, through a lock, along the city shoreline…More little kid Heaven.

And lunch by the famous historic ship The Rickmer Rickmers.

And on to Köln (Cologne)
After stopping for dinner in Dortmund just to take in another town, we arrived in Köln.  Brad found us another lovely hotel (his planning was really superb for the whole trip and we owe a lot of its success to his hard work!) and we were ready to see the beautiful cathedral the next morning.
As you can see, it did not disappoint.  It is impossible to get a picture of it in one frame, but we had a gorgeous, clear, warm day to enjoy the amazing sight of it….
Levi started out with a bike ride in front of it.
Levi trying out his photo skills
Our tradition in each new church we visit - say a prayer and light a candle.  
Supposedly the bones of the 3 kings!?
Learning about giving on our way out after our visit...
The cathedral towers over the city just about anywhere you go….
This is an honest "traveling with a small child" moment.  Someone was done with looking at sights and smiling for the camera.  Understandable.
On to some amazing Roman ruins under the city
And then a walk through the park along the river.  This splash area SEEMED like a good idea.  A lot more slippery than it looked!
Ending with Bonn
We have now officially been to every branch of the Deutsches Museum!  This branch focused on technology, most of which was way above our heads (well, at least mine and Levi's.  Brad has a bit more talent in that area than me, and a few years on Levi), but there were still some great kid features to enjoy.
Enjoying Bonn, which was lovely and for which we wished we had more time!  Beethoven's birthplace did not disappoint with it's holiday market, church, or the Beethoven museum.  Even Levi was excited to really see his ear horns as Beethoven had been our "composer of the month" recently.  
Smiling in front of the birthplace….
It was then time to head home to Starnberg….
We were toured out by the end!  Brad had work travel looming and we all were worn down from our adventure.  But I am proud to say we have explored a good bit of our host country now.  Our adventure map made a huge difference and it was our most successful trip to date, certainly.  
Perhaps we will squeeze in some more before we return home?  Rothenburg and the Black Forest could be calling!….

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