What's meant to be, will be

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Germany, Denmark, Sweden

The last part of our trip was spent in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. We spent a few relaxing days in Germany, visited Anne and went to Labori (a week long festival with music, food, rides, and shops), saw our Great Great Aunts who still live in Germany, and went to Marieke’s house for dinner, before we went to Denmark for the weekend. We stayed in an airbnb outside of Copenhagen. When we got to the village where the house was, we were a little confused because everyone parked their cars in a parking lot and walked to their houses… Then we got to our house, which was very cute on the outside, but when we walked in, Jeff saw a spider within the first minute. Something you should know is that Jeff is terrified of spiders ever since he got a bad spider bite a year ago… the spider sightings continued for the whole three days we were there and Jeff only begged to sleep between Hannah and me once. Also something that should be noted is that when we walked in the house, there were 2 plastic Tupperware containers on the kitchen table with a note that said, “Please do not kill the flies… Catch and release”… So that was entertaining for about a day, but then we started having contests to see who could kill the most. The village had a really cute park with a soccer field, zip line, trampolines, and pond and all of the people living there were very friendly. A neighbor came over to see if we needed help with anything and she asked us how we liked the eco-village… when we found out is was an eco-village, the fly catching, the no car rule, the compost bins, and the spiders all made more sense. For the record, I do not support keeping flies or spiders living inside a house. No, thank you.


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That nice decorative bowl in the middle of the table was actually a compost bowl…


We thought about getting one of these for the house


We drove into Copenhagen for a day and the 6 “kids” walked around alone for most of the day and Mom and Dad walked around on their own. We went to the Little Mermaid Statue, to Freetown Christiania, past Tivoli Gardens, by the water, and through 9 miles of streets. Theo wore his slides the whole entire day and we had to stop and wait for him to rest his feet because they hurt from walking so much. It rained for pretty much the entire day and we were soaking wet. I don’t remember the last time I was in the rain for such a long amount of time. Theo and I were walking next to each other and we were talking (I guess you could call it complaining…) about how wet we were and how our fingers were pruney and how we couldn’t even look up at the view because rain would go in our eyes. About two seconds later, we walked past a brown paper bag that was soaking wet on the ground and it said “It’s a good day” on it. It was the best reminder and I have thought of those 4 words every day since! Who would’ve though that a soggy paper bag would be so inspiring? We even laughed when a lady tried to dump a bucket of water on us from her apartment… Joke’s on her because we were already wet.

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One of the many breaks Theo took for his feet

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Theo after Jeff pushed him down this wet hill


Between the slides, the bird that pooped on him, sliding down the hill, and getting this beautiful scrape, Theo was killing it

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Take a look at this fit man riding his elliptical/paddle board around the water

We drove across a super long bridge to Sweden. The bridge was very impressive and we maximized our time on it because we had to pay a steep toll to go across… 108 Euros to be exact. And 54 Euros on the way back because we got lucky and they made a mistake. We went to Malmö and went to the beach. It was a little chilly, but we put our feet in the Baltic Sea. Helen got all the way in the water, but after I saw a jellyfish, I was too nervous. I’m still scarred from our experience in Italy. We went to Lund and walked around for a few hours and got lunch before taking the bridge back to Copenhagen for the rest of the evening to go on a boat ride.

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Helen, fully submerged in ankle deep water

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I was using her as my model for the day and she was clearly over it

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On our way home (to Germany) from Denmark, we stopped to see Peter and Vera and baby Jakob! We had a short visit with them at their house. The last time we saw them, they were getting married and now they have a cute little baby 🙂 We spent some time back at  the Thiele house and went to Wuppertal and rode the suspension railway with Anette before heading to Frankfurt where we stayed on our last night in Germany. We will miss adventuring through Europe, but we are excited to be heading home to sleep in our own beds!


Budapest, Kraków, Berlin

When we were driving from Italy to Hungary, we were in 5 countries in one day. We started in Italy (1). Our next country was Austria (2). When we drove across the border to Austria, there was a sign for all cars to exit and for some reason, Dad thought it was optional, so we skipped the passport check and border control and drove straight on into the country. We drove through Slovenia (3) and we stopped at Lake Bled. We had a picnic lunch and Theo, Helen, and Dad went swimming in the lake. After Slovenia, we drove through Croatia (4). We stopped in Zagreb and met Desi, another one of our cousins. She walked around Zagreb with us and showed us her house before we left. We finally got to Hungary (5) late that night. I fell asleep in the car and when I woke up, we were driving into Budapest. It is one of the prettiest cities at night… All of the bridges and buildings were lit up with white lights and it looked like a movie.

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Kat met us in Budapest and we spent a full day doing everything we could there. We were there 6 years ago, but we liked it so much that we wanted to see everything again. One thing that we saw this time that we didn’t see last time was Saint Stephen’s Basilica. It is beautiful and huge. We got Goulash, which is traditional Hungarian food, at a really cute restaurant… They had the best lemonade I’ve ever had in my life. That night Hannah, Kat, and I went to a ruin bar. It’s basically just old ruins that have been turned into a bar, but it was so cool. I obviously don’t have a lot of experience going to bars, but I have a feeling they aren’t all that cool.

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Oh yeah, also we took a boat ride and we saw these crazy people on top of the bridges


They’re either being sweet and having fun, or they’re plotting something… It’s hard to tell

Our next stop was Kraków, Poland… We got a tour of the Jewish Quarter, took a walking tour, saw the castle, went in the churches, ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (because we are Americans and we love refillable drinks and good burgers), went to concerts at Mercy Festival (the week before World Youth Day), danced with nuns, joined a conga line through thousands of people, went to mass in Saint Mary’s Basilica, and went on a carriage ride through the city at night. The main square and streets of this city are stunning and it is full of incredible history.

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Here we have a picture of some drunk guy in a costume who was convinced Dad was Tony Hawk and wouldn’t stop talking to the fam… He kept hugging Dad and that is what is happening in the back of this picture 😂


Every time someone walked past, this cute boy smiled so huge at them… How could you not give him money!?



And here’s a picture of Mom… With a crooked smile and one eye open… that’s how she used to think you were supposed to smile when she was little and we made her show us on the carriage ride

On our way to Poznań, we stopped in Wroclaw, Poland. It was a short stop, but the buildings here are so colorful and they have dwarf statues all over the city that were a Polish anti-communist movement, so that’s pretty neat.


We got to Poznań just in time for dinner and we all had pierogis… a real polish meal. The square was all lit up at night and some of our relatives from my mom’s side of the family came from Poznań, so it was such a cool opportunity to be able to go there.

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The next morning, we drove to Berlin. We stayed walked all around the city during the day and we went for a walk to the Brandenburg Gate because it was close to our hotel. We took a 7 person bicycle (we made it fit 8 people) around the park and through part of the city before working on our diving and synchronized swimming in the hotel pool that night. In the morning we went to Checkpoint Charlie, one of the crossing points between the East and West sides of the Berlin Wall. There is a museum there that I could spend a week walking through… well actually I couldn’t because it’s unbelievably hot in there, but if they installed some air conditioning, I could spend a long time reading everything in there. There is so much history in Berlin, but I think that the highlight for the boys and Helen was getting to sit in a Lamborghini… of course.

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We had been country and city hopping for a couple of weeks and we were so happy to be headed back to Remblinghausen. It doesn’t have an 8 person bicycle like Berlin, but it has our family and that’s where we like to be 🙂




Germany & Switzerland

Every time I plan to go back to the hotel and write about what we have been doing, I get back and realize how tired I am! So… now I am going to have to catch up on everything we have done in the past several days. We flew from Dublin to Frankfurt, Germany. When we got off of the plane, we were so happy to feel the sun shining!! We stopped at Rammstein AFB and went to the commissary to stock up with snacks for the next several weeks. We basically bought the entire store, so I don’t think any of us will be starving while we are in the car…

That day, we drove to Remblinghausen to the Thiele house! The Thieles are our cousins in Germany. It’s kind of complicated to explain, but their mom is our grandpa’s cousin. Their house feels like another home to us and we always love being there. We got to see Ronald, Martina, Marieke, Anne, George, Pauline, and Matthias. We are hoping to see Peter, Vera, and baby Jakob (who was born on July 4th!) when we are back in a couple of weeks. We got to eat home cooked meals, swim in the Henesee, watch the Euro cup final, go to the bakery, and walk around their village. One night I even let Hannah give me cornrows… We just wanted to try it out. Theo and Jeff told me that I looked like Rhonda Rousey… There are pictures, but I will not share any because you will never be able to unsee it. We had such a good and relaxing time that I actually hardly took any pictures there…


We went on a walk that overlooks Remblinghausen… If that view doesn’t make you want to move to Germany, then nothing will


We were so happy that the weather was nice enough to go to the lake. We had a lot of fun in the water and we tanned and ate waffles simultaneously on the beach. Please, judge us. We don’t care

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This is my new favorite picture of Theo. He is so funny and in this picture he was giving Jeff a hard time and cracking himself up

After Remblinghausen, we drove to Heidelberg to visit Kat and see where she has been for the last 5 months. If I were her, I don’t know if I would come home in a few weeks. It is such a beautiful city with some pretty great gelato and schnitzel. We also got to see Walker there before he flew home!



Here’s the whole fam checking out the view…


It’s a view worth checkin’ out

We took Kat with us and left Heidelberg to drive to Strasbourg, France. We took a little detour because we wanted to get baguettes, croissants, and macaroons. Dad took French in high school and he ordered the food in French… He kept reenacting it in the parking lot because he was so proud of it, and then an actual French lady heard him and came over and corrected him. It was so funny, but you really had to be there. She was very surprised and impressed when she found out he was American though. We walked around Strasbourg for an hour to stretch our legs and we were back on the road.


Hello, beautiful France


We basically bought the entire bakery…

All 7 kids fell asleep in the car for awhile and when I woke up the most beautiful view of Switzerland was out the windshield. There were huge mountains surrounding a turquoise lake. If the others hadn’t woken up right after I did, I would’ve woken them up because it was a view worth waking up for. We drove to Täsch and parked our car there and took the train into Zermatt. There are no cars in Zermatt, only a few electric taxis and buses. It was a little chilly, but we walked around that night. It was cloudy and misty, so none of the mountain tops were visible. Everything is so expensive in Switzerland… We brought our own food, so we didn’t have to buy anything while we were there. Except for Swiss chocolate. We did buy some of that 🙂


This is one of the electric taxis. They are so quiet that you actually can’t hear them until they are right behind you honking their horn


We love the Alps. I mean look at them!! They are very lovable…

In the morning, we woke up early and it was a little sunnier than the day before. We went for a walk before breakfast and we could see more of the Matterhorn. We felt like we could see a lot, but we asked some guys who were hiking and they said that it was only about 2/5 of the mountain!! We wanted to see the top so badly, but there were so many clouds around it. It was really testing our patience and we were afraid to leave because we didn’t want it to come out while we were inside eating breakfast. We ate and when we went back outside, most of the mountain was out of the clouds! We could see that there was clear blue sky coming, so the 7 of us  sprinted up the street until we had a good view. Mom and Dad walked and met us there… We were so excited!! We were yelling chants and singing and people probably thought we were crazy. After we saw the top, we felt like we could leave Switzerland with no regrets.


All 7 of us together 🙂



Three boys and their mom were herding these goats down the street. It was so funny to watch because the goats were trying to eat every plant in sight and they were jumping all  over the place. All of the goats had bells on and they took up the entire road. We walked with them for a while… We really had no choice because they took up the whole street, but we loved it

I have yet to go anywhere that I don’t want to go back to again one day… I’ll save all my pennies so that next time I’m in Switzerland, I can buy a meal (I could live off chocolate though). Next up, Italy… Where the weather actually feels like summer!!