Monday, April 30, 2012

Angelina the Sow and Other Creatures

On our third day in Bad Bentheim, we took a little excursion to a nearby zoo which I used to go to when I was little. Here is an excerpt of some of the more interesting animals we saw.
 Isn't Mother Nature beautiful?
 Uh oh, the stork!
 Angelina the sow -
we watched her enjoy her bath from the restaurant where the menu was full of local pork dishes.
Again, it sucks to be born a pig in Germany
 Two very protective geese
 The (not so) ugly duckling
Twins for a day

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Renaissance Faire

And now to the occasion for which we gathered in Bad Bentheim this weekend: the renaissance faire with jousting and medieval market.
 Getting ready was half the fun.
 Two beautiful princesses ready to meet their brave knight
 Well, there was a spotting of one at that moment walking through Delhi airport (you pick).
 Having a whirl at the medieval carousel

 Thore and his mother Alexandra
 Enjoying a taste of the mysterious sugar wool ball
 Now to the jousting performance:
 Some highlanders made it all the way to the continent
 Sophie's favorite knight Ullrich of Bentheim 
(he ended up winning)
 All knights with the bad guy on the right
 and one female jouster to round it off

 In the Turkish brew tent
A successful outing: one little prince by the hand and one big prince in tow.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cousin Reunion

It's the beginning of a looong holiday weekend (May Day on Tuesday) so we caught a train towards my hometown Bad Bentheim to meet up with my brother Stefan and his family at our uncle Gerrit's flat. Our excuse for getting together here is a medieval festival with knight jousting in the castle park this weekend. 
 Sophie was so excited to see her cousin Talea.
 It only appears as if they were resting - they were having a jumping competition on the bean bag.
video
Then my uncle brought out the bubble wrap...

 Off to brunch at a hotel/garden center the next morning. What better way to help the food go down than going wild on the giant indoor play structure.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Leipzig!

As it was looking more and more like Andrew was going to be "stuck" in Leipzig on reserve over the weekend, he came up with the brilliant idea of having us come out to see him there. We were quickly packed and on our way Saturday morning. On the ride there, the blissful silence in the compartment was ruined on both trains after only an hour by stag parties joining us headed east. Leipzig must be a popular destination for these groups, as the city was full of them in the afternoon.
 Sophie did so well on the train - there were no complaints despite the rather long travel time of almost six hours. Daddy was already waiting for us at the platform. We did not linger for long at the (very nice) hotel ready to move and stretch our legs a little.
 Be ready for a picture overload. I was fascinated with the wide array of architecture - old, nicely restored pre-war buildings, GDR-era prefab concrete high rises, and ruins with trees growing out of them all mixed in the city center. 
Here is a picture of the old city hall built in 1556. It was the size of a city block. The new city hall (1899) is even larger built on the remains of a castle. Unfortunately it was being worked on.
 The famous St. Nicholas church (Nikolaikirche), where the peaceful demonstrations against the GDR-regime began. 
 We went inside for an organ concert. Too bad I can't show you how Sophie acted and quietly danced away to the music in her seat. She must be imagining a whole court of princes and princesses in her mind. 
Oh, and this is a palm tree pillar in the square outside - just like the ones supporting the ceiling inside.
 So much interesting architecture...

 Old and new and old renewed.
 Taking a break with the comfy lion listening to the Russian brass band playing Händel. 
Just opposite of the famous Auerbachskeller restaurant, where Goethe already dined. Andrew managed to get a seat and a meal the night before we came and after we left, but not the night we were there. I guess we will have to come back for that.
Behind the curry wurst stand is another famous church: the St. Thomas church (Thomaskirche) with Bach's grave. He worked there as a cantor.
 We heard a lot of English-speaking voices inside.
 Painted window of Mendelssohn inside the church (there is also one of Bach). The original was destroyed by the Nazis. This one was installed in 1997.
Enough sightseeing for a day, off to enjoy some tapas and wine.
Sunday morning:
After an early night for all of us we felt well-rested to explore some more.
As if the hotel staff knew that Princess Sophie was coming, they had a perfect chair for her in the lobby.
Posing with the lion in front of the hotel.
 The Leipzig opera house performing Cinderella!
 Rapunzel
 Sophie discovered a trampoline in the ground near our breakfast/brunch place.
 Not only for kids
 Part of the university
 And here in the middle of the city the deserted post office building.
 Eerie!
Impressions near the hotel

 Time for us to head home. You might just be able to see our train in the distance.
Incidentally, this is the largest train station in Europe by area. Very impressive and with a mall attached. Since stores are allowed to open at a train station or airport on Sundays, I am so jealous they have this in Leipzig.
 Monument commemorating the last deportation train of Jews from Leipzig to Theresienstadt on 14 Februar 1945.
Andrew's office in Leipzig
The first time that Sophie saw Daddy's airplane in 3D.