Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Very Special Guest

Back in Duesseldorf, Andrew back to work, back to routine - except that we had a very special visitor coming from a long way away. My very good friend Birgit was in Germany for a couple of weeks on a visit from Australia. She managed to add a few days to her business trip and spent them with us. 
 One day we went to Duesseldorf's largest book fair right on the K√∂nigsallee. At one stand, they were giving out tongue tattoos. Very entertaining!
 We did not really manage to browse the books and watch Sophie at the same time (it was probably a good thing for my wallet), but we found a tent with children's story time and a stand with very elaborate instruments. When Sophie recognized one of the odd-looking instruments from preschool, we found out that they were actually supplying her school with them. Sophie was fascinated by the collection of gongs. Must sign her up for music classes!

After the book fair, Birgit took us on a tour of her favorite shops and boutiques in town. She used to live here.

In one of the shops, we ran into Daddy! (I wish I had had my camera ready.) He had left for work early in the morning to be on call 3 hours from here. As he arrived he was given another 24 hours off and decided to turn around and surprise Sophie. Success!
With Andrew home, we had a babysitter for a girls' night out. Thank you!
 The next day, Andrew was really on his way, and we decided to explore another part of Duesseldorf: Kaiserswerth. It housed the rebuilt ruins of a once large and impressive castle, the Kaiserpfalz (imperial palace), built in 1045. It lay right by the shore of the river Rhine. For Sophie, the ruins made an excellent spot for some climbing (she is my daughter after all). 
 Balancing along the outline of the former keep. She could not get enough of this place.
 We managed to bribe her away from the rocks with the promise of a waffle at the adjacent beer garden.  We are in Germany after all. 
 Then we scrambled down to the Rhine shore. We spotted a lot of shells on the beach and many excellent skipping stones. Unfortunately, we also found a lot of glass, so we dragged Sophie back to the bike path.
 Two elves.
Sophie finished off the day in style with a good old water fight in the garden with Lina.
Blue sky in Duesseldorf.

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