TLDR – Spring break trip this year took us to Frankfurt, Heidelberg, and Cologne.. Part one of the trip covers Frankfurt and Heidelberg.
The road to Frankfurt
Woke the kids up around 0300 and walked to the Clayton hotel to catch a 0400 air coach to the airport. The night before the kids told me how to wake them up — Mila wanted me to gently touch her face with my fingers then yell spider!!! She screamed then she was wide awake. Maddex asked me to dump him out of his hammock. I tried to but he woke up quick enough to resist. Roxi, I pulled back her covers and she looked at me with a huge smile and says “daddy my blanket I’m naked“. Khaleesi I snuggled up to. She put her arms around my neck and said “good morning daddie“. Waking up the kids was a pleasant experience.
Five minutes into the bus ride and Roxi and I are both covered in vomit. We forgot to bring a vomit bag or a towel. So we’re using her jacket to soak up the puke. Great way to start the day. I packed one pair of shorts, they are nowcovered in vomit; happy days, as the Irish say. Khaleesi decided she was going to vomit as the bus parked. No one would listen to Michelle and let her off the bus so Khaleesi vomited in her jacket and all over Michelle. Next bus ride we’re going to drug the kids. This vomiting thing is getting out of hand.
We tossed the jackets and Khaleesi’s outfit in the trash curbside. No sense trying to deal with them. After having our passports checked at the Ryanair Checkin desk we went to McDonald’s for some playtime and pancakes. The airport is packed this morning. Best guess why.. maybe due to spring break holidays. We’ve set a record for longest we’ve had to wait in the security line yet. The plane taxied on the runway for about 30 minutes before we finally lifted off on our way to Germany.
In Frankfurt Day one
Being this fifth largest city in Germany with a population 800,000 approaching a million The airport here in Frankfurt is fairly massive. Our plane parked in a plane parking lot of sorts in a large tarmac area with plane sized parking spots. We unloaded onto two articulated buses. The buses drove for about 10 minutes around more parked planes to the terminal. The immigration officer at passport control gave Khaleesi a wow for her name. When you know the name you know it. We took a train from terminal 2 to terminal 1 to catch the S Bahn to the central train station where we changed to the s6 train on platform 104. We rode the s6 for one stop and got off the train infront of our hostel.
Michelle sighted our hotel from the train as it stoped at the station. From the station it’s about a 1-minute walk to where we are staying, the A&O hostel. They let us check in a few hours early; nice of them. Our room, unlike the airport, is not massive; It’s tiny. Two single beds pushed together, a bunk bed, and a bathroom. Oh well, we don’t need much space, but we do need food.
Off to the closest mall for a stroll around the food court. Some Doners and McDonald’s for lunch. No play zone in the mall even though the map says there are two; we looked everywhere to make sure. We stopped at a Pennies grocery store on the walk back where we picked up some dry foods for later tonight and the morning. After we finished unpacking in our room we watched a few shows on the surface and took some naps.
Rested we set off to find some play parks. The first stop was a bust. It was more of gravel sandy lot then it was a play park. Next park was grand. Big sandy area for the boy and smaller toys for the little ones. The third park has a 2 story slide Maddex can get to and Mila can get to with some help. The younger kids got stuck trying to climb to the slide. As we were leaving the big slide park I broke up a fight between two 6-7-year-old boys. The one aggressive kid kicked the other kid full force in his upper leg, then round punched him in the face and went to hit him again. No clue where the parents were but I got in the middle of them and put my hands on their chests. 9, neich guten. – this was not a kid fight, this was straight up a kid with murder in his eyes going full-out trying to seriously harm the other kid.– stood there for a bit to calm them down. Still no other parents seemed to notice. We slowly walked away; guess it’s cool to let small kids roam the parks and beat each other here?
The fourth park had a super fast two person side by side slide all of the kids were able to access. We played there for a bit. On the walk home we stoped into a REWE for more food and a five pack of water mellow lollies. Back in our room we watched a show before bed time. The kids were all sleeping by 2000. Mom and I who stayed up a bit longer reading, eventually passing out before 2200. With an 0300 wake up and 24,000 steps, we had a good travel day and needed the sleep.
Exploring the city
We made it sleeping till about 0700. Guess everyone needed some good rest. We had some random snacks and fruits in our room and watched a movie while I did a few hours of work. Feed and ready to go we started off to explore some of the city. Looking at a list of things to see Römer looked like fun. We set the GPS for Römer and caught the S bahn to a stop near there. It was three stops on the S6 from where we were to where we were going.
The train system here really puts Dublin to shame. The trains are huge, nearly silent, underground and some of the stops have more shopping then a large Dublin mall. We got off the s6 at Hauptwache station which is a huge station underground. When we made it above ground we were in the middle of a large open square in a shopping district with loads of no car streets lined with some odd-looking trees. We walked through the trees to an open-air food market before turning right to head to Römer.
Römer is like Vegas. The buildings look old and fancy but the style is all paint on plaster. Even the large Lutheran church in the open square. The church inside and out all of the stonework is painted on stones. Michelle said “look water” and pointed over there, so we walked to the river. At the river, we looked on the other side and saw a tree-lined walkway that looked pretty. We better cross the bridge and check it out. The bridge is covered in love locks. The kids had fun checking out all of the locks. Of course, the ones with jewels on them are the girl’s favorites.
After walking on the other side of the water Michelle said: “look over there on the other side of the river. Is that a slide ?” Looked like a slide, guess we better cross over another bridge. It turned out it was a slide. We played in the long park for a while. Well the kids played, Michelle and I sat in the shade next to each other and did things on our phones listening for the kids to need us. I wrote these words and Michelle messed with pictures. The park was nice but it’s time to eat again.
We walked back to the central square area with the trees to find some currywurst. Walking up and down a few streets we were not finding much in the way of currywurst. The terrorists were getting restless and needing the toilet. Fuck it were going American, Five Guys it is for late lunch. Burgers and fries and hot dogs and peanuts. Filled and drained it was time head back to the hotel for some rest and a work call for me. We stopped at another Penny grocery store on the way back and picked up snacks and you guessed it a five pack of water Mellon lollies. I worked for a while while the kids took in a movie and Michelle naped on the bottom bunk.
One last outing for the day the other direction to a park, followed by picking up some more food. We stopped at Aldis and Pennies. Pennies has the perfect treat for us and the kids. They have water Mellon ice lollies in a five pack. Enough for me to have one and the kids to each have one. Every store we go to we look for the five pack, if they have one we buy a box and eat them as soon as we leave the store.
On call work day
Friday I had to work all day. My first day on call where I have to answer all of the new impacting tickets. Joy, I get to have my first on call at the new job in a hotel room. Michelle took the kids out for a park day while I worked. First to the park where I broke up the fight for a while then the speed slide park. After park morning the fam came back for lunch with a slice of dominoes for me and watched a movie. After the movie they went back to the park on the river for some play in the shade. I finally finished work with email from pager duty saying I was not long on call. FREEDOM! – I walked to the water to meet everyone else
Most everything of value was closed as it’s Good Friday. The German apocalypse according to the internet, stores closed Friday for Good Friday, open Saturday and are madly ransacked because they close the next day for two days for the Easter holiday. Better stock up on bread lads because you’ll probably run out. With limited options and kids who considering McDonald’s a reward, we ended up at McDonald’s for dinner. It was late by the time we finished and it’s bath night. Instead of walking back we took the train two stops back home. I showered the kids and mom dried them. A show then pass out time.
Heidelberg for the day
Woke up at 0550 to the sound Roxi’s face slapping the floor after she fell out of bed. Michelle and I jumped up awake. Michelle put Roxi back in bed and started to go back to sleep. I thought it was 0650 time to get ready so I got up and went to the bathroom. While I was in there Michelle informed me it was 0550 and we had another hour to sleep. Michelle also mumbling something about thinking Roxi didn’t even wake up from the fall. – sweet, back to sleep.
From our hostel, the main train station is one stop away. We took the s3 to the main station and boarded an 0820 train to Heidelberg. Had a bit of a ruckus working out which train car to board. The first car we boarded turned out to be reserved. The next train car we tried looked to be full. We ended up in a not reserved cabin that looks to be first class. We might or might not be asked to move – ticket checked. The gal was super nice said it’s ok we have 4 kids she’s surprised we made it on the train at all. Too much work to move us we can stay; Winning.
Time to explore
On the train, Michelle and I were looking up things to do and Altstadt (Old Town) looked like a great place to start. We left the train station and started walking towards the old town along the water. After a bit Michelle said we should head inland and check out more of the town. I think she was psychic because where she had us turn was the start of the no car streets of the old town. I was navigating us towards the center and would have skiped half of the good stuff. Walking along the water we noticed some play toys on the other side of the river. We’re planning to walk back along the other side of the river to check the toys out when we need to find our way back to the train.
Altstadt has a number of large squares, loads of shops, some churches we were able to tour and some we weren’t able to tour. While touring we stoped for a strudel crust ball thing, bought an empanada and bought currywurst from Mr wurst for a sit-down lunch. At the end of the Altstadt, we could see a huge looking castle on the hill above. We started to walk up a super step street to see it. After passing a sign with a price to tour we decided the hill was not worth it today.
It’s like 25 out today and we’re not used to this kind of heat yet. After the currywurst lunch, the no car streets had become a packed sea of people. Lunchtime brings on the mob of tourists I guess. We decided the people were too thick and ducked down an alley towards a bridge. The bridge turned out to be the Karl Theodor Bridge, commonly known as the Old Bridge. They seem to like calling things old in Heidelberg. The old bridge is a stone arch no car bridge that crosses the Neckar river.
From the bridge, the castle on the hill is an impressive sight we should totally walk up there. Wait it was steep. Holy moly you can see the steep path from here and it looks nearly vertical. On the other side of the Neckar is a zigzag trail up the hill. We might need to come back and explore more on another trip. Across the bridge, we walked down some stairs onto a stone walkway along the river towards the play zone.
Before hitting the play zone we took a right away from the river and walked a few blocks towards a REWE for snacks. While the kids sat in the shade eating water mellow lollies I went into a chemist and asked for Dramamine for Roxi. Bummer dude, they did not have anything for a kid less than 6 years of age. Sad face, walked out empty-handed. I found a product online but the chemist did not think it’s a product offered in Deutschland.
The playland is spread out over a large area with different zones. We started with a four section dragon teeter totter thing then looked at some wild swing balance spinning thing of death. The kids did not want to ride it yet. They asked to go for the sandbox. We played there a bit until Mila and Maddex asked for the death swing. Maddex rode it with some local kids while Mila screamed on the ground in fear. It looked like a fun ride.
Next, the kids rolled up their pants and played in the water for a while. It’s about 27 out and sunny I have a feeling we’re going to get sunburnt. We started walking back towards the train station. Back on the other side of the river we stopped in a park and waited in the shade for a bit. The kids climbed a tree and setup a picnic for small animals. When I set Roxi down in the backpack she was chewing on something. Asked her what it was and she shyly says “I was picking my nose and I ate it” – shurg – kids
In front of the train station is an outdoor hiking shop we went in and picked up an ultralight hammock for travel. Back at the hotel, we hung the hammock from the bunk bed. I took the bottom bunk, Maddex slept above me in the hammock and Mila slept on the top buck. The two young girls ended up with mom. Not a bad setup. Before we could sleep we have to shop for two days worth of supplies. We walked to the Pennies and picked up some supplies. Oh ya. We bought some pizza from Dominos and ate that as well. By the time we made it back to our hostel it was a 20-minute show and we all passed out. 25,000 steps for the day