Friday, December 16, 2016

Longer Travels {Germany}

Oh where to even begin about our trip to Germany?!  The plan was wonderful -- spend a week in Germany enjoying all things Christmas.  Germany is known for their Christmas Markets (a street market celebrating Christmas during the advent weeks) and we wanted to experience them in various cities -- each town/city in Germany has a Christmas Market.  We had planned to spend a few nights with friends near Stuttgart, then move onto Cologne and finally Frankfurt (since we were flying out of there).  However, things went slightly sideways....

It all started the night before we were supposed to leave (so Friday).  We were hanging out before Serafina's bedtime when she said "oh no tummy" and started throwing up -- a lot.  Now, our little one does not throw up.  This is maybe the second time she has ever thrown up (including never spitting up when she was a baby), so Trevor and I decided to see how she was in the morning and go from there.  She slept the whole night and woke up her usual self, eaing breakfast and running around.  We figured it was a one time thing and opted to continue with our travel plans.

Everything was going well until about 30 minutes into the flight.  Peanut was sitting on Trevor's lap; he gave her a bite of his cheese sandwich the airlines served and once again... "oh no tummy" and then throwing up everywhere!  But let me tell you how amazing Lufthansa Airlines was in helping us with the whole situation.  And amazing strangers even gave us clothes for Serafina since I couldn't find our extra clothes for her in the panic of cleaning everything up.  The rest of the flight was uneventful and we made our way to our friends' house (via train to Stuttgart and then a local train to a town about 15 minutes away) where we all showered and went to bed!

Again, our Peanut woke up, ate and seemed like she was doing okay.  She was a little fussy and clingy but at least no more throwing up!  We had a low-key morning at our friends' house and then got all bundled up to head into Stuttgart for their Christmas Market.  It was freezing and Serafina HATED (really and truly hated) the cold.  She would scream "cold, all done" over and over again despite us bundling her up.  She hated her hat and gloves, hated her jacket, just hated it all.  She cried and cried.  So while the market was gorgeous and so cool, it was very hard to enjoy with a crying toddler.  Luckily our friends also had a toddler who was being a toddler so we all quickly drank our glühwein (hot, mulled/spiced wine) and made our way back to their house for dinner.  The toddlers were much happier warm and inside!
the Stuttgart market is known for their amazingly decorated roofs on each stall

our very unhappy Peanut
All was going well when Trevor started to feel bad and then proceeded to spend the night in our friends' bathroom throwing up.  We all decided it was best if we moved on so that our friends didn't get sick (they never did -- yay!), so I found us a hotel/apartment in Frankfurt.  We figured it would be best to be closer to the airport in case we needed to fly out -- Serafina still wasn't 100% and Trevor was pretty miserable.  That train ride to Frankfurt was a little rough, but thank goodness our peanut watched a movie.  We got to our hotel, I ran out to find a grocery store to get food and then I started to feel not great....  And I spent the night throwing up in our hotel bathroom.

So there we are, in Germany all feeling absolutely miserable with a toddler who hated the cold and we are only three days into our week long trip.  On Tuesday we all tried to rally and go the Frankfurt Christmas Market, but once again Serafina just cried and cried and Trevor and I were too tired and not feeling the best to fully be the best parents to her at that moment in time.  At this point, we opted to cut our trip short and fly home Thursday.  None of us felt great, Serafina wasn't sleeping, she hated being outside -- it just was the best decision at the time for our family.
the only time she was happy outside -- riding the carousal
So Wednesday was really our only day to enjoy Frankfurt and we did our best.  We took Serafina to the natural history museum -- Naturmuseum Senckenberg.  It was full of kids and just a perfect morning activity.  We were inside (and warm) and Serafina could run around looking at the dinosaurs and animals.  She loved it and we loved that she was finally happy (even if we still weren't feeling that great).  But it wore her out, she still wasn't eating her usual amount and wasn't fully better, so we opted to keep her in the hotel room for the afternoon.  I was able to run to the Christmas Market to do some shopping.  The Stuttgart Market was so much cooler and exactly what we had expected from a German Christmas Market, so we were a little disappointed with the one in Frankfurt.  It was quite small and didn't seem to have the charm that we'd heard about (and briefly experienced in Stuttgart).  However, I was able to get a few things and even grab a bratwurst for Trevor and I to share -- even if we didn't feel great, we at least had to eat something German!  (Neither one of us could stomach more glühwein.)

So there you have it -- our not so great Christmas trip.  We definitely want to go back to Germany and experience the Christmas Markets; we were both so bummed to miss out on Cologne.  Frankfurt is not very touristy, but it is a very easy airport to fly in and out of so next time we won't be spending much time there.  However, I do highly recommend the natural history museum -- it isn't really near the downtown area but quite easy to get to via the amazing public transportation system in Frankfurt.

While this was not how we wanted our trip to go, we are okay with it.  It obviously was just bad luck we got sick and we learned a few things for next time -- each trip we learn more and more about how best to travel with a toddler.  This won't stop us from traveling, although we may take a short break :)

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