After Amsterdam, we found our way to Maastricht, where we calmed down in my father’s aunt and uncle’s cozy house. The girls were ecstatic for there was a lot of playmobil, and having only each other as toys for 2 months, they lost no time building their imaginary worlds. The house Tante Riet and Oom Jos live in is amazing! They explore the world too, except in smaller increments. I can imagine every year or so they take a big trip, which is evident from the house; it’s filled with things that come from all around the world. My sisters were so immersed in their worlds that my parents and I took an afternoon and walked around Maastricht, which has the feel of what I can imagine as an old-fashioned town.
Next was Düsseldorf, where we met more family: my mother’s brother and his wife and 2 kids, our cousins. We had a great time! They had a beautiful house, which was built as part of a little settlement where there is a real sense of community; there are little paths and no cars, instead there is a community garage and community house, which anyone can use. There were beautiful woods nearby where we took walks and some portraits. The Düsseldorf Christkindl markt opened and was explored. I love the atmosphere of Christkindl markets during Christmas time; it’s cold and you can see your breath, but little warm stands are lined up next to each other with lighting that gives the same effect as candles burning or sitting by the fire. There are all sorts of things to look at and somehow the cold seems to be there just to keep you awake.
We visited the Neanderthal museum, which was established near the site where they found the bones of a pre-historic man, then aptly called Neanderthal. The museum was well done, with not just the bones and explanations but also all sorts of related questions and answers, like the path of evolution and human aggression. Lego had done an exhibition in the basement. They had built a scene from different ancient times; ancient China, Greece, Rome, the Vikings, and so on… Then everyone could build their idea of the future. The details and care put in are amazing! There were even bats in the dungeons of the Medieval fortress. We did some home schooling and relaxed and had a good time together. Soon we were on the way to Munich, looking forward to seeing each other again during Christmas.
Emilia’s birthday rolled around on the 25th; she turned 8! We went to the movies (As Santa Claus fell from the Sky in German) and were the only ones there; so we had fun dancing around during the previews. At home Emilia had a homemade cake and received a splash proof camera (she is fascinated by photography). An old close friend of my grandmother is hosting us and her hospitality really spoils us! Yesterday we threw a party in my aunt’s house where we had family and friends over, like a big reunion. Everyone had a great time (I hope so at least). We played some traditional games, as well as tried out a new one we saw on Minute to Win It, with some slight variation. Tomorrow we are going to school with friends of ours; we will see how that goes!