Sunday, March 9, 2008

Cathie's Visit

It's so hard to believe Cathie's visit has come and gone already. We had a great time while she was here. Though it would have been nice to be able to do more, even the little we did was pleasant. Here are some highlights of her visit here. In addition to our Hofbrauhaus meal, we also toured Munich, visiting the Deutsches Museum, Transportation Museum, and Olympia Park Tower. We had intended to walk around Olympia Park more, but the weather would not cooperate that day.
Glockenspiel in Marienplatz

Pictures from Transportation Museum:
Ahhh....the massage chairs! Two Euro for ten minutes
Gotta love the 1/2 liter size of chocolate milk
Larry, the Giant Snail in front of the Museum

Pictures from Olympia Park:Olympia TowerView from the Olympia Tower

Cathie, Willem, and I drove to Salzburg on Wedensday, while Gerard stayed home with Gerrit. They had a boy's day and went train spotting. The weather was supposed to be icky, but it turned out to be a pleasant day. It had just snowed and was still cold but the roads weren't icy so driving was fairly mild. We drove to Salzburg, about 2 1/2 hours drive from our place. We got a late start so it made for a longer day, but the trip was pleasant nonetheless. We stopped for a coffee along the way and Cathie bought a nifty little hat to keep her ears warm. Salzburg is a famous Austrian town with a magnificent Alpine setting. The "Old Town" area is known for its baroque architecture. Once in Salzburg, we took the cable car to the top of the Festung Hohensalzburg (High Salzburg Fortress). There, we walked around the old castle and took a ton of pictures of the surrounding Alps and the city below. The view was beautiful! Later, we walked around the Altstadt (Old Town), browsing the shops and bakeries. We even came across Mozart's birthplace during our walk. We ate dinner before heading back to Munich. It was a really lovely day with lovely company.
Driving to Salzburg
Atop the Festung Hohensalzburg
Shopping in Town
Mozart's Birth Place
After our pleasant Salzburg daytrip, Dachau was quite a contrast. It was such a humbling experience being there. Dachau was the first concentration camp in Germany and the one on which later camps were modeled. The camp was originally designed to house 250 people in each barrack, but at the end of the war it housed nearly 2,000 people in each. It was very hard to read about the Camp's history and walk among it. The tour tries to do a good job of showing you the history of the camp, as well as what it was like to be a prisoner there. Even still, I can not begin to imagine what it was like for prisoners, and I have even more difficulty understanding how people could treat others like that. Seeing it really is like something out of a horror film, but knowing that it is all true makes my knees shake and makes me sick to my stomach. The Wikipedia link and the Memorial Site below both provide additional information on the camp.
Inside Dachau- Roll Call Area
Restroom in one of the Barracks
Sleeping Area (This room is lined wall to wall with bunks)
Each gravel pit is a former barrack that housed prisoners
(See the picture below to give you an idea how massive this place was)
Jewish Memorial
Now Cathie is gone and I find myself even more homesick these days. I miss my family and friends a lot, and I haven't really made many friends here. I also miss work and feeling like I am competent and capable at something. Right now I just feel very inadequate and incapable. I don't feel like a good cook, I don't feel like a good homemaker, and lately I'm beginning to feel like a bad mother. I don't feel like I belong in Germany. I feel very out of place here. Don't get me wrong. It has nothing to do with Germany itself. I just feel like *I'm* not adapting well.

We're all getting over being sick. Willem is now on the mend, but still seems somewhat congested. He is getting his first teeth right now. One of his bottom middle teeth has already popped through the gum and the other is visible under the gum. It's only a matter of time. Needless to say, he is fussy, drooly, and sometimes inconsolable. Hopefully, they will pop out soon and he will return to his cheery little self. The good news is that we finally have a passport for Willem. Woo Hoo! Looks like a visit home might be in order.


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