Carmelo and Giselle were so excited to be catching up with their cousins in Memmingen. It had been five months of no physical contact with extended family or with friends. We all savoured the family time after having been isolated so long. The best parts were the chats around the kitchen bench and the kids playing together. And it was a great excuse to have a holiday from homeschooling for a couple of weeks.
Their aunt (Ishi) and uncle (Sho) prepared all sorts of special outings and food that our kids loved. We’re so grateful for the wonderful holiday we had with them.
Kenzo and Lui enjoyed watching their cousins’ guinea pigs Spikey and Marshmallow. The guinea pigs were always eating so there were lots of opportunities to feed them.
Memmingen is a small city in Bavaria in the southern part of Germany. It has some medieval buildings that survived the World War II bombings.
It also has little plaques throughout the town that honour Jews from Memmingen who fled or were killed because of the holocaust.
In spite of the freezing temperatures, we ventured out and had ice-cream on a couple of days. We also explored the central area.
At night time, because it was so cold, there was no-one about so we were able to do silly things like sit on this unicorn statue.
Ajay wasn’t keen to carry Kenzo up. I was so keen I was ready to carry Lui up the stairs. From the bottom, it really didn’t look that bad – perhaps five storeys high?? HA!
Perhaps it was about three storeys up that my thighs felt the pain of the stairwell: step after step after step after step. Next it was the dizzying spiral staircase. Then it was my right arm carrying Lui because I was using my left arm to stabilise myself up as we spiralled higher and higher, looking out of holes in the wall which allowed gusts of wind to push me from side to side. I think it was about six storeys up that I noticed how breathless I was and how much of a workout I was getting. And then cursing because I’d left my step-counting watch at home!
We rested at what I thought was the top, above the bell tower. We were easily over thirty storeys high. There was another set of stairs that would go even higher. I decided to go and Ajay said he’d be happy to wait with Kenzo and Lui. The rest of the kids went up a spiral staircase barely wide enough to fit through. This was by far scarier than the earlier spiral staircase. The wind was stronger and the view was scarier when we reached the top. Because the church is over 160m high, I’m guessing we were at least 130m from the ground. It was such an adrenaline rush.
If I’d thought going up the spiral staircase was uncomfortable, coming back down was no better. My legs were sore, my arms were sore and now I was looking down to the square below as the wind blew my stability off track while carrying a sleepy Lui and trying to hold onto a non-existent rail. I loved every bit of it and so did the kids!
And I was glad to reach the bottom 🙂
Captian Marvel had just been released and Carmelo was keen to watch it in English before any spoilers were released. That was the main reason for our trip to Ulm. We had bought the tickets online and the earliest session was 8pm. Unfortunately we didn’t realise we couldn’t take under 6’s into that movie so Ajay and I hung around outside waiting for it to finish.
At one point Lui had done poos so Ajay needed to go into the cinema to get the backpack from Carmelo. Unfortunately, he wasn’t allowed in so I had to improvise, as parents do.
Ishi and Sho took us out to dinner at a traditionally Bavarian restaurant. It had a super cosy feel in contrast to the icy air outside and the waitress was in a traditional outfit. It had spring decorations. In Bavaria everyone changes their house decorations every season, just as in New Zealand, would do-up our whole house up for Christmas during December. The spring decorations usually have bare branches with greenery entwined into it and hollow eggs hanging from it or as part of it. In the middle of our table were coloured boiled eggs that are edible. Chocolate eggs are not so common compared to these coloured eggs that many people make for easter.
Some of the fun at home was being able to prepare home cooking because we had access to a fully equipped kitchen – that’s almost non-existent in airbnb’s. Ajay taught his nephew how to make lava cakes. Even though he’s only seven years old, he’s a natural in the kitchen, and can even fry his own bacon.
Nearby neighbours were driving past the house and stopped to say ‘hi’. They had returned from their six month trip through Asia. In the back of their car was a tortoise. The kids were super excited to see it.
Our time with the family was refreshing and we were all sad to leave our Memmingen family. But fortunately we will be catching up with them before our family sabbatical is over.