While in Germany, we took a few day trips without my parents to places nearby. The kids LOVED the train rides and would often time be ready to go back to Leipzig shortly after we got out of the train station in our destination city!
We took a trip to the town of Weimar and toured the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. This is the front gate. The words mean "to each his own" or figuratively "everyone gets what he deserves" and is only legible from inside the camp.
This is a view of the entrance building from the far side of the camp. The barracks were located in the empty space, but were destroyed in the bombings of 1945. This was a camp with lots of hard conditions, starvation and executions.
It's hard to imagine the terrors that occurred here at this camp set in such a beautiful setting. Ty and I took the audio tour of the camp, which was difficult to listen to with whining/tired kids (who eventually fell asleep in the stroller and in our arms), but it was definitely a different experience to take a tour with kids as opposed to the 2 of us by ourselves! Another thing I'll remember from this trip is that Colt fell pretty quickly after we got inside the camp and scraped up his knee. He was crying and carrying on for a while. It made me think of the numerous children who had been there before him, scared, cold and tortured. Those kids weren't allowed the comfort of their parents or even medical care to clean up their wounds. In a way it made me want to tell Colt to "suck it up." In other ways it made me want to hold my little boy and continue to teach he and his generation how to live a life of love, embracing others despite different cultures, values and beliefs from our own. As one holocaust survivor said, "It happened, therefore it can happen again."
After our visit in Weimar, we headed to Erfurt. This is the town where Martin Luther attended college. There were a few sights we wanted to see, but as soon as we arrived, the kids melted down. So, we found a sushi joint out in a town plaza and fed our family while listening to a saxophone player share his gift. All these months later, the kids still ask to go back to Germany to get sushi!!
The fields were full of these yellow rape seed flowers... beautiful!
Another expedition took us to the Leipzig zoo! The kids had been looking forward to the zoo for months prior to our trip and the zoo did not disappoint.
Ty wasn't impressed with the variety of animals at the zoo, but I was definitely impressed with the zoo environment. It topped any US zoo we've been to! Great care and detail was put into each animal's environment, as well as little learning opportunities and hands on experiences for the kids.
The kids desperately wanted to ride the train.
But, all these months later, still talk about how some other kids got to ride in the engine car and how they wished they could ride again, this time up front!
My Dad and Jennifer and us at Auerbachs Keller restaurant. This is the 2nd oldest restaurant in Leipzig, where Goethe used to hang out and described in his play Faust I. We had a delicious German dinner and night out without the kids :)
Ty and the kids at the Monument to the Battle of the Nations, also known as Völkerschlachtdenkmal.
Can anyone say that without messing up? One perk of having kids... we got to take an elevator to the top instead of taking the stairs!
There were some breathtaking views of Leipzig from the top of the monument. Leipzig is a really cool town with much history. Bach wrote his music here and conducted the St. Thomas Church choir. It was also played a key role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe through peaceful demonstrations. The city has been undergoing extensive restoration since the fall of the GDR.
My parent's apartment had this fun park in the back right next to the river. The kids had lots of fun playing here.
This was Colt's favorite toy - a bucket and string that lowered the bucket over the fence into the river. He brought lots of water up to pour into the sandbox!
Anyway, those are our Leipzig and day-trip adventures in summary. Next up, Berlin!