Mommy, I can’t believe we almost missed the train!

The last week of our European vacation, saw us travel to Germany, as Shawn had to attend a work related event in the exhibition city of Hanover. Hanover hosts more than sixty different exhibitions every year. Shawn was there for Domotex, the largest flooring trade exhibition in the world.

Travel - Domotex

What do two girls do alone in a foreign country, without dad to lead the way? A bit of retail therapy perhaps? There’s nothing like January sales in Europe. All you need is a credit card, comfortable shoes, and it’s a girl’s dream come true. Map in hand, Zee and I made the trek from our hotel, for a girls shopping date.

Once the two days at Domotex were done (we went with on the second day), we had one last adventure before saying goodbye to Germany – a day trip to the awesome city of Berlin, Germany’s capital. Getting there started out with a short train ride from the hotel to the main train station. From there, we boarded a bullet train to Berlin. 280 kilometres in just over an hour, including a stop in Wolfsburg, the city which is home to Volkswagen. The bullet train was awesome! Silent, comfortable, aeroplane-like travel, with onboard screens telling you what speed you’re traveling at.

Travel - Germany bullet train

An hour and a bit later, we arrived at the glass roofed train station/mall, Berlin Hauptbahnhof. What an incredible station this is! It’s built in the style of a shopping mall, but with trains coming and going, above and below. Outside it was minus nine degrees Celsius, and white with fallen snow. Before deciding where to go, a quick coffee or hot chocolate was in order, to warm up. Of course, we ended up at a coffee shop which also doubled as an ice cream parlour, which didn’t go unnoticed by Zee. After all, who needs warming up when you’re an invincible toddler? So white chocolate ice cream it was! 😋

Travel - Berlin station

Travel - Berlin station outside

Travel - ice cream

With only a few hours to spare we decided to buy tickets to the hop-on hop-off bus, the best way to see the city, with commentary in your language preference. Berlin had lots to offer in the way of sight-seeing. The Berlin wall was an amazing site to see, with sections of it still in place, built round on the tops to prevent people from climbing over. The Ritz-Carlton hotel was another highlight. The rich and fabulous stay here, and the building is rumoured to have cost 100 million Euros per floor.

Travel - Berlin wall

Travel - Berlin wall

Zee wasn’t all that impressed though, as all she wanted was to sit on top of an open bus, like she did in Paris. Inclement weather isn’t a hindrance when you’re a three year old super-girl! To add to her frustration, we chose to stay in the bus, instead of getting out at the stops. So once we arrived at the main shopping stop, we decided to take a walk.

Our shopping spree went a little longer than expected, and we had to wait for the next bus. Fortunately, it arrived within a few minutes. Unfortunately, we had to spend almost thirty minutes waiting for it to leave again. We were quite a distance from the station, and our tickets back on the bullet train to Hanover were booked for 4pm.

Each stop the driver made was more painful than the last, as we seemed to be running out of time fast. We asked the driver if he would get us to the station on time, or if he thought we should get off at the next stop and take a taxi. Smiling, he advised that we should stay on the bus, and he’d get us there with time to spare. So we stayed put.

What we didn’t realise though, was that Shawn had made a mistake when he checked the departure time. The train was actually scheduled to leave ten minutes earlier than we’d thought. And you know what they say about German precision, even when it comes to punctuality. We only discovered this error a few seconds before approaching the station.

Immediately, I scooped Zee up in my arms and headed towards the bus door. Hubby followed, backpack on, carrying the stroller, camera bag, and shopping bags too. We flew out that door before it was even fully open! At that moment, it didn’t matter that we had so many layers of clothing to contend with, or that we were carrying way too much stuff, we ran like there were Olympic medals at stake!

As we arrived at the platform, we were greeted with the most beautiful news – German precision had faltered, albeit for ten short minutes, and our train had been delayed! It arrived about two minutes after we did, and I’d never been that happy to see a mode of transportation in my life!

Who says you need to be a thrill seeking, mountain climbing, bungee jumping, adrenaline junkie to have an adventurous vacation? I say give me toe-numbing temperatures, a bullet train, a toddler in a stroller, and I’ll give you a day you’ll never forget. 😀

So many people told us we were crazy to take Zee with on our holiday, but I’m so glad we did. We got to share this incredible experience with the tiny love of our lives, and she still remembers the holiday. Just the other day she told me out of the blue, “mommy, I can’t believe we almost missed that train in Germany!”

 

TMG – Making our voices heard

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Twitter addiction isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If it weren’t for my newfound obsession with this form of social media, I may not have discovered The Magnifying Glass (TMG) as early as I did.

TMG is a brilliant new website, designed to give South African bloggers much needed exposure. Bloggers, even newbies like myself, are given the opportunity to contribute to the website, thereby getting their blogs out there.

Regular contributors also go into a rotation pool, and when TMG receives sample products to review, these are passed onto the contributing bloggers. TMG is truly giving South African bloggers a voice.

I was incredibly happy – and equally nervous – when asked to contribute to the website. I decided to go with a travel post, and it was published on the website yesterday! 🙂

Find TMG here – http://www.themagnifyingglass.co.za/

And you can read my post here – http://www.themagnifyingglass.co.za/travel/petit-paris/

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Euro Holiday – With A Tiny Tot {part 3}

As promised in part 2 of this Euro Holiday – With A Tiny Tot post, today I’m sharing a few parade pics from our first time at Disneyland Paris.

What an incredibly special holiday this was – our first big overseas trip, with our very own baby girl. WIth the majority of our trip being spent in a city all three of us came to love immediately. Paris, you’re everything… and then, even more.! The memories will live forever, close to our hearts always. And I’m happy I can share just a tiny bit here, of time spent making some of those memories at the happiest place in the world. ❤

Our holiday was actually at the perfect time, as it was Disneyland Paris’ 20 year anniversary. As if there isn’t enough cheer all throughout the place, all of the time, now they had a huge reason to celebrate too! 😀

A central part of the celebration was the 20 year anniversary train. Our little person absolutely lit up at the sight of the super colourful, super cute train! And she nearly lost her voice screaming to, and waving at all her favourite characters! Then again, many of the adults reacted exactly the same way. I know, taking it all in, actually realizing I was really there… I could hardly contain myself too! 😋

The fireworks, lights, and water spectacular, “Disney Dreams!” was another breathtaking part of the 20 year celebration. What a magnificent production! And they put it on every single night! The show takes place at Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and with the use of projection mapping, we’re taken on a magical journey. We stayed to watch it twice, it was that good!

Donald & Daisy
Donald & Daisy
Snow White
Snow White
Ariel
Ariel
Woody & Jessie
Woody & Jessie
Sully
Sully
The main man, Mickey, and his lady :)
The main man, Mickey, and his lady 🙂
Happy 20th anniversary!
Happy 20th anniversary!
The "20 years of Magic" parade :)
The “20 years of Magic” parade 🙂

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Sleeping Beauty's castle, sparkly & pretty, before the Disney Dreams! show
Sleeping Beauty’s castle, sparkly & pretty, before the Disney Dreams! show

 

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