I realized that I voluntarily brought my two small kids to a town famous for losing all of their kids mysteriously overnight — have I lost my mind?!
Before our trip, my curiosity was piqued while listening to this Hamelin podcast episode from Stuff You Should Know, which claims that the legend of the Pied Piper is one of the few fairy tales which might actually be based on truth. Strange circumstances, like a very specific date in the tale itself, to numerous artifacts referring to the sad day when the town “lost its children”, made historians take a closer look — and made me want to take a peek at the town as well.
To be honest, I was in for a surprise when I first caught glimpse of Hamelin. Perhaps I was expecting something, well, more like a hamlet? A small, almost theme-park-ey town devoted to a fairy tale? What we met was actually a bustling, sprawled-out city — not exactly as busy as Hamburg, but Hamelin was bigger than I thought and had more to offer than simply rat-themed tourist traps.
It’s been already a year since we moved to here to the south of Germany, but I feel like it’s only until now that I’ve been able to really sink my teeth into exploring our new home. In between settling into the new apartment, and then giving birth just a few months later, now I’m finally able to catch my breath, loosen up, and open my eyes to all the wonders that are barely 3 kilometers away from where we live. Sure, I’ve been to Ochsenhausen a thousand times before, visiting my in-laws every other weekend, but a few sights that I’ve just visited with my kiddos only recently had simply made my brain go, “What? This glorious thing was here the whole time?!” And the best thing is, all of the places below are accessible for free! Country life does have its perks.
After two years of not flying anywhere, I found myself positively giddy on my first time back at an airport — even if I wasn’t the one getting on a flight at all. We were bringing my sister to board her flight, and we had the whole gang in tow: me, my husband, my 3-year old and my 6-month old.
I barely remembered how small Stuttgart Airport was — you could probably walk from one end to the other in about 15 minutes (maybe 5 minutes if you’re late for a flight and are running). We arrived at the airport with a lot of time to spare before boarding time, so we roamed around trying to find a decent restaurant where we could settle down with the kids while we wait.
Aside from the McDonald’s and a rather well-stocked Edeka supermarket, there wasn’t much going for options (the big buffet restaurant is now unfortunately closed). What we did stumble upon had no food, but was actually a better option for keeping the little ones entertained.
Visiting beloved flower gardens during spring is always a good idea; it’s time for Mother Nature to show off her vibrant hues and delicate silhouettes.
The last time we went to Insel Mainau, though, we did not have two kids in tow yet. Now that I’ve seen the park through the eyes of an ever-alert parent, I just realized how much of a refuge it can be for families with small children.
I never really thought of visiting zoos as a children’s activity; I’ve always enjoyed meandering in zoos as an adult whenever I travelled. Now that I have a toddler who is thoroughly fascinated with making monkey and lion sounds all day, now I see the appeal of taking along your kids to see living, breathing, amazing animals.
Say what you want about Tiktok, but without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon this gorgeous local secret. I mean, I completely understand why Bavarians would want the Walchensee all for themselves. Just take a look at that sparkling turquoise water!
I was today years old when I found out that in Germany, there’s a forest where the ground is so soft, that the trees shake when you jump. Talk about wacky!
When my in-laws told me about a forest with “natural trampolines”, I just thought that they meant that the ground was just mushy. I foolishly just brushed it off, until on an extremely sunny weekend, we checked it out on a whim. It was so cool in real life! See the video below:
** This is a looooong-overdue post, from my journal entry from almost exactly a year ago, when we first brought my then 9-month old son to the Philippines. Hopefully, when a COVID-19 vaccine is available and things clear up for travel again, we can come back and create memories in Mövenpick once more.
Here I was in Boracay, one of my happiest places on the entire Earth, and I was downright miserable. Things were awry starting from when we got to the island. The supposedly “premium” transfer airport-to-hotel service we book was so awfully coordinated, that a DIY would have gone much smoother. The hotel I booked was also nothing like I expected. Is there nothing worse than being greeted by cockroaches in the bathroom for 3 days straight? My morale was dangerously spiraling down to zero. I definitely needed a break from this vacation.
Enter Mövenpick to the rescue. After my husband (sanely) talked me out of wasting money by rebooking another hotel, we decided to find a compromise and “splurged” on a day pass on one of the fanciest hotels in Boracay. At 2k pesos with 1.6k pesos consumable, I actually found the day pass rates downright reasonable for a hotel of this caliber, for the refuge and facilities they offered.
Three years ago, I wrote 25 Travel Goals to Set For the Year (for Those Who Can’t Wander Very Far), back when I just quit my job to move to Germany, and had to think of ways to satisfy my wanderlust without breaking the bank. I thought I’d update that list to keep up with what every travel-addicted kindred spirit is probably struggling with right now: how to feed that same wanderlust, when you’re not exactly allowed to travel as far as you’re used to.
Since we were gluttons for punishment, we set off for another long road trip, barely a week after we had our first international excursion with our 7-month old son. This time, we were off to the north to Ribe, the oldest existing town in Denmark, founded in the early 8th century.
To be honest, I wouldn’t know the difference between 8th century history from 18th century history, but I do know a charming old town when I see one. The drive through the fields was utterly soothing, although my husband didn’t really appreciate the very low speed limit (As for me — yay, somewhere I could drive!).