04 May 2013

A place to return tü-b-i-ngen and again

dave had some work to do in tübingen, germany, so we tagged along...we went "to europe", as the finns say when they go to mainland europe. so funny.

sunday (4/28):
our flights were kinda hard with X because she was tired. i managed to get her to sleep during our layover in the oasis of a hallway known as terminal A of the copenhagen airport, but she was still grumpy for the next leg of travel. but, we landed in brilliant, alive stuttgart, germany. we were kind of in green nature shock. everything was so lush (compared to still leaf-less helsinki). daves PhD advisor, todd, came to pick us up (he obviously has since moved from UM) and took us back to his house (where we were staying). todds house was like a glass palace, such a serene home in the glorious blooming garden of a town, tübingen. X met todds girls (anouk and zoelle, ages 8 and 5 respectively) and they got used to each other and we had dinner and settled in. we then proceeded to treat the whole house to the WORST night sleep in a long time, complete with massive stretches of screaming. youre welcome kind hosts!

monday (4/29):
anouk woke up barfing this morning. X and i were tired but we managed to follow directions to get to the altstadt (old town) of tübingen. on the bus ride we got to see the towns valley of terraced apartments and lush green and flowers everywhere. my mouth was dropped open in awe most of the time. we got off at the nonnehaus stop and wandered a little ways. a small river and the old buildings were juxtaposed in interesting ways and all i could think was "charming".

(little bicycle man statue near the nonnehaus bus stop)

anyway, we needed some things in a nearby shopping building, and we also needed cash to do all transactions (i forgot small town europe doesnt really dig credit cards, and we didnt have the same chip as german debit cards). i got X some medicine at the pharmacy to avoid another horrific sleep (if possible), we went to a walgreens-like place (called DM) for oat milk and dietary alternatives, and then we hit the grocery store for suitable snacks.

having completed our required errands, we went outside and through a tunnel and were on the towns old botanical garden grounds where we found a gorgeous rustic playground. once we had had our fill there, we grabbed lunchables at a nearby bakery (bretzels and a linzer treat) and located the bus home. on the walk back from the bus, X managed a small nap before fussing the crap out of my patience. we got back and read to sick anouk, explored the house and played outside with zoelle when she got home from daycare. thankfully we got a better night sleep (no screaming) but i still had to go to bed at the same time as her to be rested enough for the next day.

(the rustic playground; these tire swings must be popular in germany, we saw them in stuttgart too)

tuesday (4/30):
dave and todd stayed home to work and watch anouk (because she was still sick). i woke up with Xs cold (of course) and was fatigued enough to have no motivation to go anywhere either. we stayed in the house for the morning and played with anouk. after lunch, zoelle came home from daycare early so we took her to the playground nearby and went on a nature walk. everything was so lush, i was still in shock. back at home the girls made mud pies and "salad" from the treasures we collected on the nature walk. it was so fun to see X soaking up her time with the big girls. and then, i had a major headache for the rest of the afternoon/evening so i laid down for the rest of the day until bedtime.

(zoelle, X, anouk; zoelle and X on their nature walk)

wednesday (5/1):
today was labor day in germany. i guess its a day that kids play pranks and shaving cream neighborhood items (bushes, flowers, windows, etc), what a nice way to say "take a break from your job adults, you earned it, now clean up my mess". after breakfast, mirjam (todds wife) and the girls and i went to the new botanical gardens on university grounds. it was a close walk from their house and probably one of the best botanical gardens ive been to (austin, texas and wellington, new zealand had nice ones, but this one was quite impressive, and free). back at home the girls played outside and we read stories before dave and todd stopped work for the day (at 3p). for dinner we had a bbq with another american family with a 4 year old girl. all 4 girls got along fairly well and we had strawberry shortcake for dessert, yum.

(the botanical garden grounds)

thursday (5/2):
we walked to the neighborhood bakery, bäckerei gauker, for bretzels, pizza, and olgabretzel and got on the bus headed for the altstadt again. it was rainy, so we visited the town library (it had an okay layout, but not many english books). then we had our lunch under a willow tree along river, and we fed the pigeons. then we just meandered around the altstadt and found a toy store (X convinced me to get her a rubber snake) and a used kids clothing store (didnt find anything interesting). we looped back around to san marco for sorbeto (raspberry) and ate it in the old botanical garden park. after our treat, we played on the rustic playground again and went home.

(lunch spot complete with pigeons. the river was right under those little bridges in the background)

later we enjoyed the backyard as the day warmed up and the sun broke through the clouds (we had a TON of cloud and drizzle while here, i suppose thats how it got so lush). we then had dinner with everyone and afterward X squashed her hand in her travel potty (its a cool travel potty though, picked it up right before the trip) and the rest of the evening was shot since she had a hard time calming down.

friday (5/3):
total body fail. i had diarrhea and near vomiting all day. it must have actually been the flu though because it felt like there were lead weights on my body, so much so that the idea of attempting a shower might as well have been like asking me to fly to the moon. dave had to cut his work day short because of me. uck. horrible.

saturday (5/4):
thankfully my disease abated by morning and, while i was still a bit weak, i was able to enjoy a nice lunch and walk in the alstadt of tübingen with dave and X. it was drizzly but very beautiful and fun to walk around with all 3 of us. we acquired some (yucky) sorbet, nearly got attacked by swans, and watched a german protest. X loved all the car-free roads of the altstadt where she could just wander around without paying much attention. such a neat thing for a kid to experience. and then we got on the train(s) to stuttgart.

 (the little park island between the altstadt and the train station part of town)
(inside the altstadt. its half timber buildings remind me a little of rennes) 

**if interested, here is the more complete photo album of our tübingen visit.**

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