Friday, 17 June 2011

Weekend with the Kroschels

So, it is Friday morning.  I got up and worked from the hotel for a while while everyone slept.  About 10 we got ready to meet Olaf who was an exchange student from Germany who lived with Matt’s family when Matt was in high school.  He happens to live in northern Germany now, which is about an hour or a little more from Lübeck where we were staying.  He came down with his 10 year old daughter Mercedes.  We toured around Lübeck a little bit.  We went and saw the city gate from the middle ages.  We climbed to the top of a church and looked over the town.  Lübeck is know as the town of the 7 cathedrals.  It is funny to drive into town, because from a distance you can see the spires of the 7 churches much higher than the other buildings.  They are tall and green and skinny.  We toured the famous Marzipan store in Lübeck and went to their “salon” which had all kinds of things like life size statues made of marzipan.  (there is a picture posted previously).  We bought marzipan to eat later. 
We walked around a little more and bought a snack.  We got the Alsis pizza (it is on a thin crust, with sour cream and bacon and onions) and curry wurst.  Curry wurst (as you will see) becomes some of our favorite.  It is a sausage with a sauce – most like barbeque sauce, with curry.  It is yummy and we love it.  We got ice cream too.  Yum.
We then drove up towards Gettorf, Olaf’s son had a soccer tournament.  We got there after the game was over, but we met up with the rest of the family.   A 8-year old son named Finn, a 6 year old son named Elias and a 2 year old son named Keanu.  We decided to go to the beach.  They live right by the Baltic Sea.  We went for several hours, the kids played in the ocean.  They had their suits.  I didn’t put mine on, it was cold!  I did get my feet wet and take lots of pictures.  Just sitting on the beach in the sun, watching the kids, was so fun.  After they got cold, they played on the playground equipment, and played in the sand and just had fun.  It was a nice afternoon.
After the sun was setting, we got ice cream and left.  We went to Olaf’s and they bought pizza for dinner.  The kids enjoyed being at a house with toys and they played and played.  They had a lot of playmobiles, the kids had them all over the floor covering everywhere.  Keep in mind, my kids have only had some littlest pet shops, squinkees and a bag of legos for the past 3 months.  They were in kid utopia.  They had a really nice little house, with three stories (and a basement).  We felt like it was huge after living in a one bedroom apartment and hotel rooms.  I was glad, one of things I wanted us all to learn is that we are really blessed with all that we have in Decatur, and we could really live on much less.  The kids played and the adults hung out and talked for awhile before we went to bed. 
Saturday we got up and were treated to a huge german breakfast.  It had lot of rolls, meat, cheese, cream cheese, salmon, yogurt, juice, oh I don’t remember what else.  I do remember that I liked german breakfast and there is nothing better than a fresh roll with a good cup of coffee.  UMM.   The only coffee we had been drinking was instant coffee from the hotel, so the coffee was a nice treat too.  After breakfast, we decided to drive to the nearby town of Kiel, which is the big town around there and a major port city in Northern Germany.  There is a canal that goes from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea to facilitate trade with Scandinavia.  We took a ferry up and down the port, we had currywurst from a vendor.  We stopped at one of the top 10 ice cream places in all of Germany.  After all that, we were deciding what to do next and thought…we will go to the beach.  So we did, for the afternoon.  Again we sat in the sun and played in the waves and had a great time.  Elizabeth spent quite a while trying to catch a jellyfish, which she eventually did catch.
After the beach we went back to the Kroschel’s and were treated to a huge pasta dinner with tomato sauce, and home-made cheese sauce.  It was really yummy.  They kids played more.  It was really fun to watch them interact with Olaf’s kids.  His kids didn’t know much English and our kids didn’t know any German.  Mercedes was just learning some.  Elias followed Paul and Jacob around and basically repeated everything they said.  P and J called him “little buddy”.  We all enjoyed Keanu’s silly antics.  Finn was incredibly passionate, especially towards soccer, but you could see it in other areas too.  Mercedes was a beautiful girl, with a very sweet spirit.  She was a girl slightly awkward on the brink of starting her trip into being a woman.  Olaf’s wife was named Gitte and she was so patient with her children and such a loving mother.  She was so tolerant of all of us, and nothing seemed to fluster her.  She spoke just a little bit of English, more than I spoke of German.  I really can’t put into words all my memories, but they are warm and rich and wonderful.    The Kroschel’s were so hospitable, it was just crazy.  I hope they come to the US someday, I would love to have them stay with us to return the favor.  We said that we would have Mercedes and whoever else would like to come and stay with us in the future.
The kids watched a Land Before Time movie they had in English while we played a card game..  Then it was time for bed. 
Sunday we had another big breakfast, and decided to go to the zoo there in Gettorf.  It was really different in that you buy some zwieback (that dehydrated toast stuff) and feed it to any animal…  the monkeys, the birds, the goats (of course).  The kids had a lot of fun interacting with the different animals.  There was also a playground every two or three animal exhibits so I think the kids spent more time playing than looking at animals.  There was an upside-down house at the zoo and so we toured that.  It was built right side up and put upside-down on its roof.  That was fun for the kids too.  At the zoo we got a snack – yes – currywurst.  I gotta figure out how to make that in the US.
After the zoo we went back to the Kroschels.  The kids played badminton in the back alley and finally it was time to go home.  Olaf drove us back to Lübeck, and we were sad because we had such a nice time and we knew it would be a long time before we could see these friends again.  The traffic got worse the closer we got to Lübeck because people were returning from the holiday weekend.  Fortunately, we heard that Olaf was able to take a different way home that was a little better. 
Olaf had packed us sandwiches and we had those for dinner and went to bed.  What a nice weekend.  One of the highlights of the trip to be sure.

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