Woke up and had the van ready to go by 9, without really rushing, and with packing things up in their stuff sacks since this was our last morning, a time we’d never achieve in a tent. Then our breakfast, one of the kids’ favourite: yoghurt and granola (crunchy muesli for the Europeans):
Then, as we’d promised Sprocket, we got a bit of time in at the playground outside the medieval city walls:
Yes, as DutchBoy read there, and as Wikipedia confirms, this town of 2400 is actually a city, since it was granted city rights in 1382, and was first noted in 889. Yup, plenty old. And really quiet. We felt like we were the only people making any sound in the whole place, although we saw one mum with her kids several times, out doing her errands. Otherwise, the only people we saw were older.
We headed first for the church, where the kids just liked playing with the water sculpture:
I started taking pictures:
And eventually wandered off, leaving DutchBoy with the kids at the fountain, entranced by the tiny lanes and old buildings:
Here and there signs of that people live here now:
These towers, the round one above and this gate tower, are from the 1400s:
Inside the gate:
I wonder if this is the recessed portal where Jews were hidden during WWII (mentioned in the Wiki article).
The main street:
And a water trough:
And one of the restaurants:
Looking back to the gate:
The church (not so old, only 1800 or so, since it’s Protestent, built after they knocked down the cathedral during the Reformation):
I eventually found my family again, and we wandered around some more:
Just a reminder that even though it’s old, the people are still modern:
And the house that the Count of the area lived in in the 15th century:
And Sprockette finding more water to play in. This fountain was built by the local gummy bear factory to celebrate having been there a while, and I’ve just found out that the bern in the town name also means bear:
The tower at the other end of town:
And another run through the playground:
Before leaving town, one last look down from the parking lot we’d spent the night in:
Then on the road with a sleeping Sprockette.
When she woke up we stopped for lunch in the nearest town, Wallau, and after finding the bakeries closed for lunch (from 1-2:30), bought bread at the supermarket and got directions to a playground, where we turned into criminals:
The sign says the playground is also closed between 1 and 3 to let the neighbours rest. Ah, Germany and its rules. We ignored that and let the kids play, though we did shush them a lot.
Sprockette was her normal daredevil self:
And Sprocket also enjoyed climbing and playing:
And they both enjoyed the swings:
Of course, soon after this picture, Sprockette fell off the swing and did a perfect face plant in the sand. I went to comfort her and found that she was crying because she wanted back on the swing – she pointed to it and stopped crying as soon as I put her back, wiping the sand off her face as I did so.
We then headed back into town because I’d seen a sign for strawberry sales, which turned out to only be on Thursday-Saturday. We also stocked up on some good German bread. This town turned out to be really old as well, as we found when we parked by this well, which had been in use from 1342 to 1803:
A random shot of the city hall and some older houses:
And then we headed straight home – the kids slept for a while and then, prompted by Sprocket saying he needed to pee just as we were about to get back on the Autobahn, we had our last fast food dinner for a while in a Burger King – at least in Germany they have decent veggie burgers. At the Burger King I was surprised that the neighbouring family, also with a couple of small kids, started talking to us in English, surprised because good English in Germany is fairly rare. Of course, it turned out they were also Dutch, also heading home from vacation, theirs in Slovakia.
Then the last painful two hours home. At the Dutch border, the kids eschewed sleep in favour of crankiness and I finally broke out the emergency DVDs and played them on my laptop for the last hour, feeding the Wiggles through the stereo (a cassette player! Luckily I still have my tape player adapter thingie that you can use with MP3 players), directly to the back. And then home, in bath, and in bed, the trip a success. The van turned out to be a good choice for our travel style, and we all had fun. And we did find the sun.