Because we're planning a big trip to the United Kingdom, we decided to do some little things over spring break and we had beautiful weather, especially at the beginning of the week. So we explored some new things with friends and then took an overnight trip to Prague which turned out to be beautiful and amazing! But one of my favorite things about spring break is LAZINESS. I don't have to get up early in the morning (or rather, I don't have to be woken by an alarm -- the kids wake me up sometimes just as early), I don't have to get kids ready for school and out the door on a deadline, drive William back and forth to preschool, do homework (I hate homework), etc. Which is also why I'm just posting these things now and will probably do a separate one for Prague.
Last Saturday we took an hour's drive to the Felsenlabyrinth in Luisenburg. Basically, it's a rock labryinth outside of the city of Wunsiedal. Luisenburg is named for the much-loved Prussian Queen Luisa (who negotiated with Napolean apparently) and was visited often by Goethe. Regardless of it's historical importance, it's a fantastic place to hike and let the kids kind've go! The winding ways were very clearly marked by arrows for the different paths and since they went up and down stone steps, through and underneath boulders, and lots of trees and ponds - it was a great day!
Can you see William hiding back there? It gives a sense of the scale of the place.
This is a lot of frog eggs. The kids wanted to just sit and watch them.
Abby is definitely my pose for pictures girl. I can get pictures out of William if I let him pull a funny face but Megan usually only smiles for Daddy.
Lots of narrow passages - several of them were also cave-like. The kids loved it!
Great views from the tops of various places. Not a lot was blooming but I think the warm weather of the beginning of the week has hurried some things along. The tulips in our yard are spectacular right now!
Lots of carved stone plaques around. Unfortunately my German is terrible in prime situations and a lot of these were more Gothic in their script style and I couldn't make heads or tails of most of them. But I certainly tried!
This picture is nothing short of miraculous!
So when we drove by this, I completely thought it was Jane Austen. Then I saw a picture of Queen Luisa at the Felsen labyrinth and came to my senses and realized it's her silhouette. I read a little bit about her on Wikipedia and she is a fascinating character -- someone I want to know more about.
After the labryinth we went into the city of Wunsiedel to look for lunch and it was a ghost town! It was pretty surprising actually since it was a pretty good size. I love this picture because the statue is a little odd and Megan looks like she's trying to figure it out.
We did manage to find ice cream for lunch. There is ALWAYS gelatto!!
One of the churches had really interesting modern stained glass depicting the 12 apostles.
Just because it's funny.
Later in the week, we went with friends to a wild animal park. The girls were so excited to feed tigers and cheetahs that I thought they might be disappointed that that would NOT be the case. They were thrilled with the animals that we saw - especially that most of them would come right up to us for food.
Megan made sure to correct me when I called these pigs. They're wild boar. And apparently they run free. The other day on a run I went the wrong way and there was a sign in the woods warning of wild boar.
I don't know what type of deer this was but the pair of them were not shy at all. They came right up. I had the kids putting the feed on the ground and William got bonked by antlers because he was still in the process when the animal put it's head down to eat and then William stood up.
They may not be tigers and cheetahs but the kids still had so much joy in feeding them and being close! They love animals so much!
Then there was a whole herd of a different kind of deer that they fed as well. These were a lot more skittish. They wouldn't come eat until you stepped away (even though you didn't have to go far), and if there were any sudden movements they went bounding off.
There were plenty of fun and educational things on the loop as well, including a small playground and wooden house that the kids enjoyed despite it being pretty chilly and mommy underpreparing everyone with jackets instead of coats. I suppose I still have a little Texas in me where I don't think it's going to be that cold until it is and it's too late!
My friend Camille who went with us took this picture of Abby and sent it to me saying she looks like she's talking to this one and it's true! It's a great picture.
Wednesday we met up with another group of friends at an indoor pool in Weiden. Even though it was a drive to get there, we had a great time. It wasn't crowded at all because the German schools aren't off until before and after Easter. I've heard it's awful on the weekends and probably pretty bad through the summer too. It had a fantastic small kids area with small slides, water shooters, and foam boats you could actually sit in. All my kids liked it. The larger pool had a tropical theme and was half inside, half out and connected in the middle. Then there was a big, but not too fast, twisty water slide. Megan was afraid to go so she went with me the first time and after that it was constant sliding. Abby and William loved it too although William had to go with me because we forgot his floaty. The water was heated so even though the slide dumped you outside, you weren't cold. The kids had been begging to go back already but we'll probably wait for another day off of school.
And then we took 2 days in Prague! It was a great spring break and now we're all getting through the downward spiral to summer. With a long vacation planned, it's going to be a pretty short summer too, but I'm really looking forward to the whole thing! I love these short explorations into our local area. It's such a delight to discover the nooks and crannies of living in Germany, not just visiting.