Monday, October 5, 2015

Germany Trip - Flying with Kids & Heidelberg

It's kind of overwhelming to start documenting our 11 day trip to Germany, so the first of many parts will be our flight experience there with the kids and Heidelberg, Germany.

This was our longest flight to take the kids on. We flew United (Economy Plus) and only had to go from Tulsa to Houston and Houston to Frankfurt. The 9 hour flight to Frankfurt was at night, which worked out well. We also decided to take a car seat on the plane for Cate, since we felt like that would give her the best chance of relaxing and falling asleep. (Even though it was kind of a pain to carry through the airport.) We also brought two carryon suitcases with tons of food, toys, changes of clothes, pajamas, etc. Anything we thought we would need during that flight. We even put the kids in their PJ's for sleeping and made it as much like normal bedtime as we could.

The kids really did great. Cole watched movies, played with some toys, and slept about 4 hours. He also got to sit between my parents, which he loved! It was so nice to have their help. We really only had to worry about Cate most of the flight.
Cate played and "watched" some shows or played the Elmo ABC game on the iPad and slept 5 hours.
Tony and I were able to get some rest...I don't know if you really call it sleep in those chairs!

Once we got to Frankfurt, we had to get all of our bags and got our first rental car. The luggage was the hardest thing to manage during the trip at the airport. We had quite a few large bags and it was hard just having the two of us to carry them all and try to keep track of Cole and push the stroller. Cole did pull one of our smaller suitcases, which was a big help.

Once we got on the road, we found a McDonalds to eat lunch at. This was Cole and Cate's first time at McDonalds! They were all about it. We made quite a few other McDonalds runs on this trip too. They loved getting a toy in the Happy Meal.
Cole also got car sick before we got to the restaurant. We think he just had an empty stomach from not eating much on the plane and riding in the back of the car after that. Luckily, he told us and he made it out of the car before it happened. He was totally fine after he ate and never had any more car sickness.

This is the place we rented from Wednesday through Sunday. It was near Heidelberg in a town called Neckargemund.
It had a 2nd story apartment with a full kitchen, living area, and loft space with two bedroom areas. It was a nice crib size pack n play for Cate, a toddler bed that Cole slept in, two other twins that we didn't use, and a king bed. It was plenty of space. Plus, it had a washer/dryer! We were able to pack so many fewer things since we could wash and re-wear.

The apartment was right near the Neckar river. Tony and I were able to run along the river two of the days we were there. One of the times I was out running, he took the kids to see the river in their PJs and got some cute pictures!

We all did pretty well with the time difference. Germany is 7 hours ahead of Tulsa and with flying all night, we were all pretty ready to go to bed the first night. We were all up from about 2-3 AM the first night, but everyone went back to sleep that night and never woke up like that during the night again. We also tried to keep the kids, Cate especially, on her normal schedule with an afternoon nap. Even if it wasn't always at the same time every day, it kept her going and happy in the evenings. It was also nice for us to have that downtime.

During this part of our trip, we spent a lot of time doing the Solheim Cup events, but I'm going to save all of that for it's own post! So when we weren't at the golf, we were able to rest/nap/relax at our apartment or we spent some time checking out the town of Heidelberg. It was close enough that we went there a few different times. We found a parking garage near the main pedestrian area with all the shops and restaurants and parked there every time.
The first time we checked out the city, we just walked around for a bit and got some lunch at a Subway of all places. Poor Cole man just wanted something familiar...it was NOT quite the same as Subway at home, I'll say! Cole had his major meltdown of the trip this afternoon!

One night we went out to dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant and had good hummus, chicken kabobs, and wraps.
We also got some gelato, which was when Cate decided to have her major meltdown of the trip. They were even after that!

As far as other meals, we did a mixture of things. We went to the grocery store and had lunches and dinner at our apartment and we went to an Italian place in Neckargemund. We ate breakfast at the apartment every day. Either cereal or toast or croissants from the bakery down the street. We loved having a kitchen to work with!

Our main sightseeing adventure in Heidelberg was on Saturday morning, we went to see Heidelberg Castle. We walked to the Kornplatz, a square towards the end of the Old Town, and found the Bergbahn tram that takes you up to the castle since it sits above the city.
Cole at the Kornplatz fountain.
Heidelberg Castle above the square.

The kids loved riding the tram up the mountain, although it was a quick ride. We were able to walk around the outside of the castle. We didn't pay to do any of the tours. Parts of the castle have been around since the 13th century and had been added onto several different times throughout history, which you could definitely tell by the different styles and condition of the parts of the castle.

We did get some great views of the city below too!
Cate and her lovey always hanging from her mouth. :)
Cole and Cate's favorite part was when we were walking around the gardens beside the castle, they found a set of stairs that led to another level of gardens where they found a "dungeon with witches inside". Too bad I didn't get a picture of this dungeon because that's all they want to talk about when we bring up the castle!
This is also the day we picked out a little bear in German lederhosen for Cole and a little doll for Cate. Cole named his bear Corduroy because he looked like Corduroy in the book with his little green "overalls". Corduroy went on many adventures with us on this trip too (as seen in almost all of these pictures)!

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