When Finlay came to Deutschland
As I mentioned would happen in my February Highlights blog, Finlay, along with Katie and Steve, came to visit me this past week. Not only was I really excited for it just to see Finlay and how much he’s grown, but I also couldn’t wait to finally show some family around Germany who can’t speak a word of German (and I guess, in Finlay’s case, can’t speak a word at all…)
With a big thank you to my wonderful mentor, Ilka, she allowed us to stay at her house for the week as she was on holiday herself with her family, and our week had big plans throughout, including Bremen, Wolfsburg, and Hannover Zoo.
We started off on Tuesday when I picked the three of them up from the airport, and basically Tuesday was a nice, casual day which started off with lugging suitcases and bags to my mentor’s house. I was extremely shocked when I saw Finlay come out in his pram – he’s absolutely shot up and can crawl at full speed now, and can just about walk by himself. Just. My family thought he’d start walking here in Germany, but I’m afraid to say he didn’t quite make it (though he did manage about 2 steps by himself before diving onto the person he was aiming for).
The weather was actually pretty nice – sunny with a little bit of chilly wind, just as it’d been for the past week, so we had a walk around the town centre, bought a few bits and bobs, and visited my flat to pick up some random food which would have gone off if I’d have left it for a week anyway (we also picked up the very tasty milk/white chocolate spread which went down a treat!)
Wednesday was Hanover day and saw us going around the Roten Faden trail (‘red thread‘) which I’ve done about 7 times now but I still enjoy doing. I took my little book with me this time so we could follow step by step where we were going, but when it turned out a big part of the trail just consisted of museums, we cut it down and headed straight for the Markthalle to have some Currywurst. It was Finlay’s first Currywurst, and it seemed he really liked it (though, don’t worry, he wasn’t fed any of the spicy sauce. Just the sausage and a few chips!)
After having a bit of a chill back at home, we headed back out to none other than Bavarium, where we always have our special meals. Along with Sabrina, Elsa and Lars, we enjoyed some traditional bavarian meals and drinks (i.e. Maße of beer), whilst Finlay decided to enter the restaurant sleeping and wake up right on time when our meals came. Unfortunately we didn’t get a group photos, but the meal was brilliant as usual, and so was the company.
On Thursday we had a bit of a bigger day in that we had a day trip to Bremen. My choice of Bremen was a little random, but I basically wanted to go to somewhere outside of Hanover which is just as pretty, but also quite big, and which would also mean we’d travel on double-decker trains. After I’d made my choice, I’d also found out that there was a big Easter Fair going on behind the train station which added to the fun. We saw all the nice places, such as the Rathaus and the Cathedral, headed for some lunch where the waitress was a bit grumpy so we didn’t tip (very English of us there), and then finally headed to the big fun fair. Unfortunately, Finlay slept through the whole way round (and it took us a good half an hour to walk all the way around so I’m surprised none of the loud ride noises woke him!), but we had some chocolate-covered fruit, and Katie and Steve also bought a traditional German gingerbread heart with ‘Dickerchen’ on it, which basically means ‘dumpling’!
Friday was the day Katie was looking most forward to – Hannover Zoo! The only problem was that we woke up to white. It had snowed quite heavily during the night. Despite doubts from Sabrina (who came around with us) about the awful weather, we had a really good time, and Finlay seemed interested in watching some of the animals when he wasn’t too busy being nosey at everything else going on around him! Sabrina got a couple of cute photos of him in the Under Water Station watching the sea lions though, so I’ll put one on this blog as soon as I get a hold of them! We didn’t see all of the animals due to the weather, but it was a very enjoyable day, and we still did see quite a few of the animals taking into account how cold it was! And to top it all off, we finished off the day with a trip to Jim Block, and Katie and Steve were very impressed (which is obvious, because it’s Jim Block). Finlay also enjoyed waving at every single person who walked down the stairs as they left, but it seemed not every person waved back.
Due to Katie having visited when she was little with our dad knowing someone who lives there, we went to Wolfsburg on our final full day (i.e. yesterday). We didn’t see too much at first, with there not being a great deal of interesting things. We were recommended to go have a look at the castle, but couldn’t quite seem to find it, so we grabbed a few Bratwurst and went into a café. The next plan was to head to the Autostadt – I’ve only ever been to the Autostadt after 6pm when it’s all closed but free to walk around. When I paid the grand total of 12€ for a student ticket, I did think it was extremely steep for what I was about to experience, but then I realised that every single building in the Autostadt was open, and each one was totally different, my favourite being the Audi building where we were given a glowing sphere which you had to place in little dents in the wall to have stuff played at you – I felt like some sort of wizard, especially as the ball changed colour depending on which room you were in! It was very clever! We also went into one of the two large car vending machine buildings which was really cool!
With it being our last evening, we wanted to go out for a meal as the 4 of us, so we decided to try out the typical German restaurant which I went to with Millie and her parents back in February. Unfortunately, it was closed with it being the Easter weekend. Fortunately, Bavarium was still open, so we had our second Bavarium in 4 days, but made sure we ate something different (the drinks, however, remained the same).
Sunday eventually came (i.e. today) and it was their last day in Hanover. We packed our stuff and cleaned up the mass of toys produced by Finlay at Ilka’s, and, after dropping everything off at mine with it being closer and easier for travelling to the airport, we walked around Hanover and had a look at the university, but after a certain little man got a bit bored in the pram, we got on the next tram to the centre and went to Jim Block. So our 2nd Jim Block in 2 days. I’d basically taught them the ways of Hanover very well (and I’d just like to note that it wasn’t my idea to have a 2nd trip to Bavarium or a 2nd trip to Jim Block – Katie was just too impressed by both!)
Full up, we headed again to mine and tried to get Finlay to walk which didn’t work out too well, though he did do about 2 steps by himself, as mentioned above. We made our way to the airport where I left them ready for boarding, and I believe they should be boarding around now as I type this actually!
It was lovely having family visit, and hopefully I’ll be being visited by my dad and Gilly around June, and my mum and Darren in July, if all goes to plan. This visit definitely taught me that Germans generally love kids, and a lot of them enjoyed announcing to us that ‘der kleine schläft!’ (‘the little one’s sleeping!‘) in a big ‘awwh he’s so cute’ tone of voice. It got repetitive, but Finlay generally seemed to enjoy the attention when he was awake to wave at everyone with his big, cheeky grin he seems to have gained since the last time I saw him! Hopefully when I see him in a month when I visit home for a few days he’ll be walking around and saying ‘Hallo’ like a little German child would.
Well, walking around would do, I guess…