Maybe, just maybe, this was the first time I felt like a stranger in my own country. Not in a bad way, just that it felt like travelling into a world I no longer managed to manoeuvre with ease.
- outdoor play areas,
- the Indian summer we had (it was proper warm, 18 degrees in the late evening and I totally packed the wrong clothes),
- people of all ages and abilities riding bikes,
- properly insulated houses,
- renewables everywhere
- Rewe our world sticker book (if you have doubles, please get in touch, Cubling would be happy to trade)
I was a teeny weeny bit irritated by:
- right before left traffic rules and how they really catch you out if you're used to the much simpler and more intuitive British system,
- jam etc in tiny plastic containers
- menus where ever single dish contains meat
- chips being served with large quantities of salt
- kids meals either non existent or served without veg
In Amsterdam, I fell in love with the baksfiets/boxbike. I mean, I like them anyway, but to see them in all shapes and sizes, wow wow wow. I had to be told that you simply cross bike lanes in Amsterdam because if you wait for the bike traffic to provide a gap for crossing, you may be there all day.
Cubling decided she wants to live in Germany now. Not because of the play areas, although she thought the raft pond where you could play on a raft was pretty awesome, but because of the kids' shopping trolleys. Snowflake took leaps and bounces in speaking (both languages), and loves Peppa Pig even more now that she's Peppa Wutz.
And although travelling by ferry makes the journey rather long, it also makes it into an adventure in itself, and on the plus side it's actually much less stressful than flying with kids.
We managed to meet up with more people than expected, and I'm pretty impressed that in spite of our rare visits to Germany there is something like budding friendships going on between my kids and the kids of my friends. So much so that penpals have found one another. Pretty cool, I say.
The best thing for me had to be how Cubling just made friends with kids on the playgrounds without a second thought. She was totally at ease and at home, switching between languages without even a thought. It was both her social ease that impressed me (I would never, ever have spoken to kids I didn't know like that) and her ability to blend in and make the best of everything on offer.
And when we got home, she want back to school and totally enjoyed seeing her Scottish friends again as well. Now I only have to get used to the cold again.