Friday, June 13, 2008

Bayern Park

Bubble Fun in Our Front Yard

We had a little family outing to Bayern Park, a German amusement park in Bavaria. It was a cute little place and we all had a fun day, particularly Gerrit. Train rides everywhere.

Toboggan Ride

Donkey Ride

May Fest

Our neighboring town had a little May Fest Celebration on the 1st of May. They erected the town's May Pole, which is the main event. Each Bavarian town has its own May Pole that gets replaced every few years. Each may pole has a height of at least 30 meters (about 100 feet). The may pole lies in town while it is being worked on before its erection, and traditionally, there are guards around the pole at all times to keep neighboring villages from stealing it. If they are successful at stealing the pole, is it returned after some negotiations involving beer and food. The celebration began at 10 am and likely didn't end until late into the evening. We left before the May Pole was erected because it started to rain and kids were being pills. Perhaps we'll see it next year. I found a bit more info about may poles to share with you below.

If the maypole survives all of these dangers then positioning begins. An unwritten law is that this should be accomplished only by physical strength. For this purpose, the entire village of men are mobilized. This is a traditional event which takes place on only one day of the year and so the entire villages comes together to celebrate this tradition in a big festival. Before erecting the maypole, the mayor of the village says a few words to the assembled villagers. After that the Reverend blesses the tree and then command is assumed by the "maypole chief". With commands such as Hauruck and Zugleich and with the aid of so called Schwalben the tree gets higher and higher. As soon as it is upright it is fixed in place. The band then plays for the traditional May dance. The festivities continue until late into the evening with plenty to eat and drink.

The May PoleCheers!

Mmm... Fish on a Stick

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sean's Visit

Since I am so behind on posting, thought I'd try to catch up a bit. Here are some photos from when Sean came out to visit in April.

Sean's Wedding Gift to Us... only six years late. :)

Fruhlings Fest. Sean was here during Fruhlighs Fest (a much more scaled down version of Oktoberfest). A few beer tent and food stands but lots of rides for the kiddies.

Riding the train into town
Notice the BIG kid among all the little ones

We also visitited quite a few castles while we Sean was here. Since there are so many castles around here, Gerard and I purchased an annual family pass to many of the castles in Bavaria. It gets us into over 40 castles. Amazing to see these things still standing after all these years.

Prunn Castle Pictures

Eichstatt Castle Pictures

Museum inside the castle
Gerrit kept calling these guys Niki and Jake
Attack of the Birds
Mmmm.... bug collection!

Neuschwanstein Castle Pictures Castle in the Distance My Little Tree Hugger Ludwig's Childhood Castle Courtyard
We toured the Weihenstephan Brewery in Freising, which claims to be the oldest brewery in the world still brewing beer. And of course, a Munich trip would not be complete without a visit to the famous and ultra touristy Hofbrauhaus.

I was so excited to go back to Salzburg because this time I was was hoping to take a Salt Mine Tour. The mine's website said that kids under six were free. Apparently, the website was misleading as it was a poor translation. Turns out kids under six are not allowed in the salt mines. Such is life. We hung around and waited for Sean to come from the tour while we visited a historic Celtic village. Then we headed into town to view the Hohensalzburg Fortress and tour Motzart's birthouse. It's strange to see pictures of myself from 1992 in Salzburg as compared to now. If I can find some, I'll have to scan and post them. Boy, does it show me how much I've aged.
Salt Mine Visitor's CenterHohensalzburg Fortress in the distance
Motzart Museum
I find this picture of Motzart in his cradle
(looking like a miniature man rather than a baby)
underneath a blue halo rather disturbing
A Long Day in Salzburg.
Ready to sleep on the drive home.