Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tag funf - Tag der Unabhängigkeit in Deutschland (Day 5 - Independence Day in Germany)

So, the fourth day of July arrived as it does every year, and we found ourselves celebrating in Germany. As you may have imagined, it was a typical summer day in Germany. On the base, however, preparations were underway for a massive Independence Day celebration.

We began our morning by letting the boys sleep in since we had not returned from our Legoland/dinner in Stuttgart until after midnight. They finally stirred around 9:45, and we decided to join some of my sister & brother-in-law's friends for a brief exploration of the Heidelberg Castle. The walk up was a bit steep, but we survived and the views of Heidelberg below were quite charming.

A university town, Heidelberg was bustling with activity. So, after the castle we walked through old town, which is filled with dozens of shops and sidewalk cafes. It was a warm and sunny day, but a slight breeze and walking on the shady side of the street kept us all comfortable.

We stopped and had lunch at a Mediterranean cafe, dining street side. Good food and great people watching, folks. Afterwards, the boys were eager to find a sweet treat. We found a strange new delicacy to fit the bill...a schneeball (snowball in English). Layers for pastry and cream shaped into a giant ball and coated in chocolate, powdered sugar, nuts, etc. made for a delicious, but messy treat. It was a great distraction for Sam, who was a bit unhappy with being in the stroller with so much fun to be explored.

Later, we headed back to the base and let the boys catch a nap. A few other folks might have indulged in a snooze too. Emily & mom went over to celebration central to snag a spot for the festivities. After the necessary rest, we joined them. The boys had a grand time riding the carnival rides and launching themselves recklessly around the inflatables.

In an unfortunate (for a four-year-old) turn of events, Jack decided he wanted his face painted after the volunteers had packed up the supplies. We jokingly offered a lipstick face painting. Aunt Lisa (my brother's wife) mentioned she had some, and Jack said, "okay!"

I suggested stars on his face thinking it would appear patriotic and it would be simple artwork. Jack declined, explaining that he'd prefer a helicopter on one cheek and Batman on the other. When Lisa told him it might embarrass him if she tried to paint Batman on his cheek, they began brainstorming things she felt like her artistic skills and a tube of tinted gloss could handle. Jack settled on a square. Of course, once Sam saw the painting session, he had to have it too. He went with the stars though.

The boys really enjoyed playing on the adjacent skate ramps, using them as slides. About 10 p.m., Josh & I decided we probably better get the ticking time bombs home. It still wasn't dark there and it didn't seem close enough to wait it out. Jack was a little disappointed about missing the fireworks, but didn't fight the walk back too much. They were too exhausted to object. I managed to catch a few of the fireworks from the back window of my sister's place around 10:45. Thankfully, the boys were snoozing away by then.

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