A New Traveling Tradition

On our way to Germany, the boys tired of the in-flight entertainment which they had packed themselves in their own backpacks...(they learned a few things about what will come in handy on a plane and what will not...) So I got out my in-flight entertainment, which I rarely get to on a flight with the family, and which consists of a notebook and pen.

I asked them, "What do you think we might see while we are in Germany?" I prompted them with things I wanted to see, things that aren't in the guidebook, things that weren't necessarily what we would or should see - trying to keep it somewhat whimsical and unexpected, with a few Christmasy things and a few stereotypical Bavarian things, to preserve the flavor of the trip.

For the whole week, the boys would point out things that were on the list that we should cross off and things that they thought we should add to the list because it was fun or unusual. We ended up seeing almost everything on our list, and it passed not only the time on the rest of our flight there, but some considerable time as we walked around the markets and rode the train to Nurnberg and Bad Toelz and the bus to Neuschwanstein. We talked about our list and got excited about seeing things wherever they happened to be.

(One rule that evolved was that we could use sculptures or tapestries to find some of the items, but not advertisements or photographs - everything had to be more or less "real." That made it more fun to cross things off our list, and a bit like "I spy" when we were in museums and castles...)

I think we just might make a list like this any time we travel. Perhaps I will make it a "take a pic" list next time, because some of the things we saw really should have been photographed, and I think the kids would enjoy either taking the pictures with disposable cameras of their own or occasionally getting to snap pictures with Mom's good camera. We'll see...

If you're interested in pictures of what else we saw and did, you can check out my album on facebook. We really enjoyed our trip as well as our list!

Anyway, here is our Munich list. I think it tells a lot about our adventure, too. Items with an asterisk indicate those that we didn't see, but still hoped for. Any guesses as to which items were added by whom?

three little pigs

an angel with wings made of feathers

a fish

a golden star (we actually saw 28 of them, Calvin kept the tally)

a silver bell

a big blue ornament (more difficult to find than you would think)

someone on stilts*

a wooden baby Jesus (woodcarving in Oberammergau is amazing)

a metal baby Jesus (we counted one made of gold)

a sailboat (the Deutsches Museum has quite a collection)

a cuckoo clock

a real, live baby lamb* (not one included in the live animal nativity we saw in Nurnberg)

a red train

a snowdrift taller than Dad* (although we did some serious playing in the snow!)

a knitted scarf, hat and mittens that all match

a soldier

a rooster (part of the mosaic on the floor od King Ludwig's throne room)

a golden bed (Calvin thought of adding this and then was not that impressed when we actually saw one!)

candles that clip on a tree

a castle made of gingerbread (actually, it was made of marzipan...but quite impressive)

a castle on a mountain (we saw two, and one palace on a mountain)

a fountain (it was frozen, but still spitting water out of its mouth - most of the other fountains were covered with little wooden huts to protect them from the cold)

a big black mean stray dog*

someone riding a bicycle (in the snow!!)

a lady with a red fur coat

a sweater crow like in Kiev*

a menorah

a ruby or sapphire (amazing collection in the treasury of the Residenz)

a butterfly ornament*

a Santa Claus with a real beard (who happened to be riding a bicycle in the snow!)

a sausage that looks like this: (a drawing of a spiral)

a tower

a rocket

a bird smaller than Mom's hand

a man wearing lederhosen*

a grandma with red cheeks

a building with purple stripes (the stripes were created with Christmas lights)

an elephant

a bridge in the mountains

a horse-drawn carriage (we rode it!)

a fairy

a man in a turban

a snake

a big frothy mug of beer

a 5-mile tunnel (going 190 miles an hour on a bullet train!)

orange Christmas lights

a feather pillow as wide as Calvin's arm span*

a string of jingle bells*

a music box

a drum

a man with a Peter Pan hat

a serving wench (ours weren't as buxom and young as one might like, perhaps)

a monster truck (three!)

a camel

a four-horned goat (which WAS included in the live nativity we saw in Nurnberg)

a giant Christmas tree


Linda Stahr said...

It sounds like your trip was amazing. I'm surprised that you didn't see a real live lamb... but there's always next time! I thought about you this Christmas as I was pondering which town on the other side of the world to send my oldest to because of her behavior (she actually did get some real live coal in her stocking) and thought about your little elf who watches the house. I'm going to have to get me one of those...

Hope all is well - c prazdnikom rozhdestvo xhristovo!


Anne said...

What a brilliant idea! If we are ever crazy enough to go on vacation as a family again, we are definitely making a list. I am impressed by how many things you found!