"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you imagined". - Henry David Thoreau
The day before we left SB to start this crazy adventure of living abroad our good friends the Strong Family gave us a beautiful & inspiring card with the above quote which could not be more apropos. It has taken courage and faith to go on this journey leaving our friends and family, leaving the paradise that is Santa Barbara, CA and leaving all things familiar. I have long dreamed that someday Chris and I would live in Europe. I thought we'd live somewhere in the country side of Tuscany and that our children would be grown and living their own lives. However sometimes dreams change and now our children get to take this journey with us. And that is a different kind of dream but one that is so much sweeter. It has not been easy at least for me and Connor. There are days that I wish we could just go home. Then there are days like this weekend when I am entirely sure we made the right choice.
We jumped on a speed train from Amsterdam to Cologne, Germany with our friends the Ulibargers AKA the Harshbarger & Uliasz Family (they are expats from SB as well). It was about a 2 1/2 - 3hr train ride. The view from the train was lovely, mostly picturesque country side. Cologne is a wonderful city with a beautiful & huge cathedral right in the center of town. When you step out of the train station it's the 1st thing you see. Across from the Cathedral is the Dome Square and the DOM Hotel, from there you can access several shopping streets, museums (Cologne is home to 30 museums), the Roman sewage system (yes you read that right) and several large churches . . .
The famous Cologne Cathedral. It's the symbol of the city.
This is random but I had to share. This is a huge vending machine that sells hamburgers, cheese burgers, and an assortment of Dutch foods.
Jessy having a nap on daddy in the ergo on the train.
Clair Bear & Connor. Connor was so thrilled to have a friend his own age for the weekend. And they got along great for the most part. LOL
Our traveling companions the Harshbarger & Uliasz Family. They were so great to travel with .Heath is all about research, research, research and had everything dialed in.
Here they are in front of the cathedral.
German beer = relaxed mommies
I did not take any food pictures on this trip but enjoyed most everything. I had never tried Schnitzel before and was pleasantly surprised, it was yummy. We also had blood sausage, salmon, fresh salad with warm goat cheese, ice cream, fajitas and a few different beer selections. All good things!
We took a little green choo choo train to the chocolate factory.
Playing around while waiting for the Museum to open.
Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum (Imhoff chocolate museum), I can now check off my life list. 'Tasting chocolate in Germany'. Done and Yum!
Watching the truffles come out.
We had lunch at the cafe at the chocolate factory while we waited for the kids custom chocolate orders to be ready.
A little building at lunch to kill time. It takes about 40 minutes for the customized chocolate order.
And voila, they have their own personalized chocolate orders. Connor and Clair both selected to have gummy bears in their chocolate. You could pick from about 20 different 'extras' to have mixed into either milk chocolate, white chocolate or dark chocolate.
I don't really know what that building is behind them but looks like part of a castle to me.
The dads contemplating what to do with these sleeping kids while Sara and I made an escape for some much needed mommy time.
Listening to some street music.
Shopping for a gift for the mommies. Both Sara and I got pretty bracelets when we returned to our families.
At the Dom Hotel enjoying some wine before doing a little shopping.
Cologne is really spelled Köln in German.
German signs . . . at least I can read the word Zoo :)
A Ford motor car perched high atop of a church as a tribute to the largest employer in that city. Yes Ford!
Our hotel was right in the middle of the city. It was a short walk from everything and the room layout was great for putting baby Jess to bed while Connor and I stayed up for a bit while the dads had some man time on the town.
I could not help but end with these funny pictures of Jess at the train station.
Until next time.