Monday, 12 August 2013

The weekend of... visiting, vandaring und valking. {part 1}

I'm feeling so ready for this week, we had SUCH a great weekend and despite a significant amount of walking, I'm feeling quite relaxed :) We did so much and I took so many photos I'd like to share, so today I'll recap Saturday, and tomorrow I'll write about Sunday.

On Saturday morning we headed to visit my mum's Godmother, Tante Ursel, and her husband, Onkel Arno, in Bonn. It's only half an hour away by train, and the trip was lovely; seeing a bit of country side was so nice after being in the city for so long.

When we arrived, we had a brief tour of the Bonn Aldstadt. (the photos were all literally point and shoot, happy snappies, taken while walking... so not always the greatest, but I love them anyway because of how they capture the moments.)

* the old city wall *
* there's a fountain and then this water running in a channel... not sure what for, but it's good for thirsty dogs! * 

* is it art? or is it a jungle gym? Or is it a table for beer? who knows? *
* the statue of Beethoven, and the postamt behind *

* the cathedral *
* the courtyard inside... it was so wonderfully tranquil there. *

* a statue of one of the first Christian martyrs, a Roman soldier. There's a market happening around it and I find the huge smiley face in the background somewhat ironic. * 

* a french bakery, where we stopped to buy bread for later, and a snack for on-the-go. *

* standing in front of the university, which was once a palace/castle. It looks like an amazing place to study! *

From the Altstadt, we walked a couple kilometers to their flat, where we sat down for a moment and had something to drink. 

* the streets we walked along were beautiful. Built in the early 1900s, they are all so intricate with lovely doorways and window-sills, and elaborate railings. * 
From there, we then headed out to the farm. The farm is pretty special because it's where my grandparents lived before they left to South Africa in the 50's.

We went out into the garden and were shown around by Onkel Arno while Tante Ursel unpacked things. 

* this is the house we stayed in. The bottom floor is rented out to somebody, and the first floor is divided between tante Ursel and her brother. In the attic is the "Weihnachten Zimmer", a cosy room in which they usually celebrate Christmas in because the rest of the year it's too hot in there. * 

* the view while walking to the "garden"*

*the entrance to the garden*
*the view while sitting on a little wooden veranda next to the fish pond* 

Tante Ursel rang a bell and we headed back, and then we all went to a nearby Pizzeria and had lunch. There we discovered "Apfelschorle", mineral water mixed with apple juice. As if we were still hungry, we got back and had a picnic tea-time in the garden. It was SO lovely and really relaxing :) 

*we set up a table under a tree, and started with plum-tart...*
*... and then the rest arrived in a wheelbarrow. You know it's a good picnic when it comes in a wheelbarrow.*

*a beautifully laid picnic table; plum tart, apple tart and chocolate cake slices. * 

* after tea-time we had some time to just relax a bit and digest! It was so quiet and peaceful... *

So how do Tante Ursel and Onkel Arno stay in such good shape despite the good food? Walking! So off we went for a walk around the farm and the area around it. 

*this is a lake right next to the farm, with a camping site next to it. What a great place to spend summer holidays!* 

* How do Germans camp? Bear in mind the saying "Wenn schon, denn schon"... some have caravans or tents, but MANY have wooden houses, decorated with garden gnomes, flags, plants, you name it.
Really a home-away-from-home! There's a great atmosphere with the smell of people cooking their food outdoors, and kids whizzing down the hills on their bikes... it was so funny when this little boy turned back and showed us a peace sign and shouted "peace man!"

* we walked back along a path through the maize-fields, where we saw a little black cat hiding away. We tried to figure out what "rye" is in German (FYI, Roggen), and we just chatted about all sorts. *

When we got back, we took a photo outside the house where Grossvater and Grossmutter used to live. They lived on the bottom floor to one side, where there are now offices. The house has a stone inlaid with the date on it - 1779... 210 years older than me!

* I just love the colours! * 
* they lived behind the windows on the left hand side*
* Malcolm and I by the front door* 

After a late dinner of baguettes and our first taste of Quark since getting here, we were exhausted. Really, a day of speaking only German really tires one out! I was so proud of Malcolm though, he really proved himself and those lessons have really paid off. Even though they can speak some English, it was a German-weekend, and we only spoke a few words of English if it was really necessary. Yep, that means we covered topics such as history, architecture, farming, chemistry, life in SA, travel, and food! Yikes! How's that for a vocab-boost! It was definitely good for us! 

I look forward to sharing about Sunday, where we walked a lot, saw a lot, and learnt a lot! :) 

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