Miles and Holly appear in the Feb edition of “SWG e.motion” which is the local free paper. They’re in an article about baby swimming lessons at Die Welle. I haven’t got round to translating it but there’s no need really, it’s going to say “Come to baby swimming, it’s a good introduction to the water, we sing songs and splash about.”
Detmold has Germany’s biggest open air museum apparently. It’s certainly pretty big, about 100 historic buildings which have been moved brick by brick from all over Germany to one park and are now set up in little villages based on region and period with appropriate furniture and artefacts in.
It’s not just old furniture though, there’s a working water mill, windmill, pig and sheep pens and a horse and cart ride. Based on Holly’s experience from last time, this time we got the cart up the hill rather than walking up and carting down. Even the bakery where we bought this little maus was historically accurate.
There are also the usual range of slightly less historical cafes and a nice picnic area which had a stream for paddling in.
Dolce Vita is an ice cream parlor in Marienfeld. We visited on the only warm day we’ve had so far this year, on our way home from an Easter egg hunt on PRB. Germany has a lot of ice cream places and this is a good one, recommended by people who’ve been here much longer than our 18 months. I don’t know what I had, I have a habit of ordering whatever I’m least able to translate and it usually pays off . They have a takeaway counter (which we ordered from) and waiter service to seats inside and outside. We stopped and had a look at the menu which had a wide selection of gigantic ice cream and cream constructions but decided just to go for a cone.
Note the concerned look as I try to intercept ice cream before it falls on to my jeans.
With a small amount of trepidation we attempted to have dinner in an actual restaurant with a toddler, not lunch in a cafe attached to a soft play area, dinner. Pre-Miles I would have considered this to be an unexceptional undertaking but post I know that this is meddling with bedtime and that is not something to be done lightly. We might not have been brave enough if we hadn’t had a visitor staying with us and I’m very glad we did.
I hadn’t heard of Vapiano before but I now know that it’s a massive European chain that happens to only have two restaurants in the UK, both in London. We went to the Bielefeld branch. It has a fairly standard pasta and pizza Italian menu with a bit of a quirky way of serving it. You get given a credit card thing on arrival which you use to order at a counter. If you go to the pasta counter, they cook your meal in front of you, preparing (and customising if you want) the sauce while an automated fryer basket type thing cooks your pasta. If you order at the pizza counter you get a pager which tells you when it’s ready.
While Holly and Dan ordered, Miles and I explored the funky decor of the restaurant, we had a bit of a chew on the leaves of one of the many basil plants on the tables, stroked the indoor wall of ferns, pointed at the big fire and then changed his nappy on the floor of the gents because there was no baby changing, it’s not really that kind of place. Then we went back to the table and sat in our chairs. This was a mistake. He was happy in the chair and made several new friends by waving but by the time his food turned up he had been in the high-chair for long enough and wanted to get out and walk around rather than sit still and eat.
The food was good and we liked the fact that they focused on the preparation rather than the delivery, Miles is a bit of a connoisseur of tomato pasta (since that seems to be the only child meal not following the X-and-chips formula so he gets it a lot) and he liked his too. We also like the fact that we could mit nehmen the tiramisu in their glasses (with a €2 pfand). Miles even went to sleep as normal at the end of it.
Hollywood Safari Park is split in to two bits, a safari section and an area with a zoo, rides, and food.
For this visit they were still on winter timings and therefore there were no shows but that’s probably good. We had visited when we first got out here, when Holly was pregnant and saw the show which was a weird Austin Powers themed magic show, in German obviously but that doesn’t really matter for magic. Good fun but probably beyond the limits of Miles’ attention span. The winter timings also meant that it was cheaper and almost completely deserted.
First things first, Lions are what everyone wants to see and they put them right at the entrance so they’re the first thing you drive past. That seemed a little rash to me, the rest is bound to be a disappointment right?
Wrong. After we’d finished the safari section (tigers, mixed herbivores) we parked up and went on the Monkey train. It’s a train which runs very slowly round the monkey enclosure while the monkeys clamber all over it. From our previous visit we’d noticed the unBritish lack of concern about feeding the animals so this time we were prepared with popcorn. The popcorn was very popular with the monkeys as was the monkey-fur hood of Holly’s coat.
It looked like a lot of the rides weren’t running, actually they were but there were so few customers that you could watch for a long time before you saw anyone going round. I was excited that Miles was tall enough for the log flume so we had a go. He was happy with most of the ride but couldn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to walk around during the long, slow, boring ascents and he really didn’t like the final drop where you get splashed.
There were a few food stalls, a burger bar by the water play area (we didn’t go on that, too cold) a log cabin wine bar place and a Casablanca themed cafe. Only the decor was Casablanca themed, they sold schnitzel and sausages just like everywhere else in Germany. It was completely deserted, we were there over normal lunch time and didn’t see anyone else at all which is a bit weird in a mass catering place. The whole park must haemorrhage money over the winter but I suppose they can’t just close it like you would a normal theme park because the animals need looking after anyway.
There is a very full day of entertainment here even in the winter when you can’t see the shows or use the water play. On a warm spring/autumn day that gets you an empty park for less money which is brilliant. In the summer it’s even better but you’ll struggle to fit it all in.