Easter in Germany is a 4 day affair. Almost everything closes on Good Friday and apparently in some spots in the country you can actually be fined up to 1000 Euros for making too much noise as it is a "quiet day." Saturday most places are open again, but in the usual Saturday altered hours way. Apparently there are many Easter Fires to be had around the country that celebrate the beginning of spring by bringing the heat to scare the cold away. (It worked, as long as the sun was out too btw.) Easter Monday is similarly holiday-ish with many festivals and things going on and most people not working. We took advantage of the 4 day weekend by having some amazing adventures around the city. We've been having soo much fun! Here is a summary of the awesomeness that was our long Easter weekend in Berlin.
Despite knowing it was a "quiet holiday," we threw caution to the wind on Friday made the trek all the way into the city to Alexander Platz where they had a big Easter Market going on complete with gigantic sausages, pan seared mushrooms with yogurt sauce, tiny wooden shacks filled with knick-knacks for purchase, and nominally expensive and hilarious activities for the kiddies. After determining that Annika was not heavy enough to go on the trampoline-bungee waistband activity, we made our way over to the gigantic hamster-ball things where for only 5 Euros they filled the ball with air, sent it afloat in a blow-up pool, and let her run and goof-off for 5 whole minutes. Annika called these the "slippery balls" and frankly the name was appropriate.
After the slippery balls, the next activity was the mechanical bull. Yes, that IS my not quite 4 year old laughing her head off on a gigantic mechanical bull situated in the center of a blow-up American flag circle thingy. She was definitely the smallest to try it, and she held on as long as he kept it on the slowest setting--about 3 minutes. It was pretty great to watch, AND the first time I actually heard Annika yell a German word. "SCHNELLER!" (FASTER!)
Monster Ronson's Ichiban Karaoke!! I rocked out some Raspberry Beret in tribute to my 2 friends who had also studied in Minneapolis, and even got to whip out my extremely rudimentary Dutch skills on a group of boys there for a bachelor party. Good times!
Saturday...hmmm...what did we do Saturday...OH yeah, NOTHING! We practiced a little "dulce far niente", mostly because the weather was rainy and in the 40s, but also because mama wasn't feeling so well. You know you might be old when you go out the night before, get home at 4am, and can't sleep past 8am! I also know I'm old because I KNEW I was sick and not hungover. It wasn't pretty, but at least it's over.
We had originally planned to take the girls to an Easter Fire as recommended by some German friends of ours. Alas the crappy European viruses and weather conspired to keep us indoors that day. Andy went to the grocery store with Mayzie, but that was about it. When we opened the front door, we found that the Easter Bunny had been there early (aka: one of our awesome neighbors anonymously left our daughters chocolate)! The girls were sooo excited and I was moved for sure. Despite Mayzie's bored look here, I assure you she was surprised and excited!
Then came Sunday! The Easter Bunny DID make a stop at our house, and our girls were ECSTATIC! Those adorable faces were covered in chocolate for the next hour. It was great. I think. Andy mostly took the pictures so that I could see them, when I finally woke up from my 13 hour nap.
Citadel there. You really must love a Medieval Festival situated in a fortress built in the 16th Century.
We ended the day by taking the girls on a carousel. Are you sensing a theme here? In a medieval twist, this one was MAN powered. After everyone was loaded, two men would position themselves on opposite sides of the carousel and push it around while running. (Not a job I would sign up for, though it did look like quite a workout!) Here's the action shot.
Domaene Dahlem for their Easter Egg Hunt. They were giving out free bags of goodies to the first 1000 kids, so we made sure to get there early--though I'm not sure that was really necessary in hindsight. This was no American egg hunt to be sure. When we arrived, we stood in a long winding line of parents and kids waiting to get these bags. We stood in the line for 20-25 minutes, and then each kid received a bag filled with organic candy and one colored egg. The only hunting to be done was when the parents would randomly place the eggs or other treats they had brought for their kids around the farm. Several times I noticed one parent placing eggs or toys, only to have some other kids notice them before the intended recipients "found" the gifts left by the Easter Bunny for them. It was a pretty adorable game that the parents were playing with the kids, and much different than last year. (Last year was a rainy Cleveland Easter when we got to watch Annika and hundreds of other kids "look" for thousands of candy-filled eggs all over a hockey rink in the Cleveland Heights Community Center!)
Here is Mayzie enjoying her loot this year.
Here's Annika enjoying her chocolate too!
All in all, I'd say we definitely enjoyed our family Easter Weekend here in Berlin. I've left off the bits about the screaming tantrums and public scrutiny on purpose here. I want to remember the weekend like this. I want to remember the fun times and not the insanity and exhaustion of parenting two small children when taking them out for adventures--or pretty much 80% of the time. Sadly, Annika ended the weekend with a fever, so we may pay dearly this week for taking her out and gathering all kinds of crazy germs. It was worth it in my book.