No, not the Akropolis in Greece, the one in Aachen! it is on the Lousberg, a big hill in the middle of the city. Apparently the columns known as the Akropolis used to be part of a restaurant which was destroyed in WWII, and they decided to leave the columns as ruins. It was really beautiful and peaceful there. You can not tell that you are in the middle of a city at all.
Meg’s scout troop celebrated its 5 year anniversary recently, and I was fortunate enough to be able to join in on the festivities, and even stay the night, which was a treat, since usually the parents are not invited on campouts with the scouts in Germany. The last time I was camping with the scouts in Germany was about 20 years ago, with my guest brother Emmi. Not much has changed it seems. They still have great big tents called Kohte (from native american “Dakota”), and Jurte ( English Yurt). The tents are canvas and built in modular sections which you button together. This design means you can button several together to form a really big tent. They had Jurte together for the main gathering tent, which included a stage for the kids to perform skits and songs, and a firepit, around which we sang songs until 3 in the morning (well, Meg and I went to bed around 11, but many stayed up later).
I am really proud of Meg for being such a great scout, and thankful I got to share the experience with her.
The kids both made projects for mother’s day at school. Spencer’s project, a heart made from buttons, says “moms are like buttons. They hold everything together.” I agree. Happy 10th mother’s day Clare!
Yesterday we celebrated Spencer’s 10th birthday and Meg’s 8th at the local pool – Aquana. I think everyone had a great time. We ended up with 6 girls and 6 boys total, plus Clare, Rob, Dave, and Ellen. Meg had requested a rainbow cake. She and Clare spent quite a bit of time researching recipes, and even made a practice cake. The final result was quite stunning. Spencer wanted an ice cream cake again, and we also had to do experimenting with ingredients and different types of ice cream. His turned out quite nice too. It was a little tricky to figure out how to transport the cakes. We eventually decided that Clare would drive back home quickly to pick up the ice cream cake when it was time to eat, since it is only a few minutes away. That ended up working out really well. As usual, Dave and Ellen were really helpful. Thanks for making the long trip from Colorado!
The kids have lunch everyday at an after school program. Elementary school here gets out about noon, but the after school program helps with homework, has enrichment courses, and includes a hot lunch. One of the kids favorite lunches has been pfannekuchen, which translates to pancakes. Pancakes here are more egg-y than American pancakes, somewhere between what we think of as pancakes and crepes. We used this recipe: www.oetker.de/rezepte/r/pfannkuchen-eierkuchen.html They turned out great and were a big hit!
Last weekend there was a festival in Aachen called September special. It was free, and they had bands playing all weekend on 5 different stages. Of course they had other obligatory festival attractions like food and beer, balloon animals, and even about Ferris wheel. Meg and Clare went on the Ferris wheel, but Spencer and I skipped it. We listened to a fun rockabilly band. The bass player played his bass above his head a couple times, which was pretty impressive. We took the bus there, which takes about 30 minutes. A little longer than driving, but nice not to have to worry about parking, and I can take Clare and the kids along with me for free on the weekends with my monthly bus pass.
It was a nice way to forget our worries for a bit. Especially since I had just broken the shower drain shortly before the festival that day. I called our super Monday morning and she arranged for a plumber to come fix it that afternoon, which was good, though we still need to get one tile replaced, which had to be broken in order to get access to the drain. I did learn from the plumber that you can get products like liquid plumber in Germany. I had assumed that they didn’t have such things, since in general it seems that Germans don’t use as many chemicals as in the USA. So next time the drain is slow, I know am easier solution.
On Sunday we went to a music festival in Aachen. As we were walking through the city center I noticed this bread at a bakery with a picture of the Aachen cathedral on it. It is surrounded by printen, which are traditional gingerbread cookies from Aachen. They sell them all year round. They are quite tasty.
We went to a local petting zoo/ animal park and enjoyed some nature and animals. Spencer also attended this outing, but spent the whole time asking to go play soccer in a neighboring field. This is the first time I’ve ever seen raccoons in a zoo.
Tonight we took Dave to a typical German restaurant – a Dönerimbiss. Döner is actually Turkish, similar to gyros, but there are a lot of Turks in Germany and so they have gotten quite popular. Clare and I stumbled upon this place near the University in Aachen called Adam’s Grill, which is very small, but has really great food. Spencer had schnitzel, Meg ate Spencer’s fries, Clare and Dave had döner, and I had falafel. At Adam’s he loads them up with all sorts of yummy salads and spreads, like red cabbage and baba ghanoush. As you can see, they were quite huge.