It's been quiet around here-- and this is why. My family and I visited my wife's home in Germany, to have our youngest child, Silas, baptized by her father. Due to his recent birth, this is the first time we've all been back in Germany together in at least two years (it may have been longer since I was there-- I'd ask my wife, but she and the kids are all still in Germany, whereas I had to get back home and slave away at my job).
I usually suffer terribly from jet lag, but this time I tried a new strategy. I got very little sleep the night before I flew, then tried to make sure I slept on the transatlantic flight with some Dramamine. Once I realized I was flying on an A 330, I chased it down with a few tiny bottles of wine to achieve what the wrapper warned was "marked drowsiness." It seemed to work, with me sleeping about six of the nine hour flight, something of a record for me.
It was a good thing that I did, as we hit the ground running. The next day, we visited the Urwelt-Museum Haff fossil museum in Holzmaden. This was a small, but very nice museum consisting of sea fossils found in local slate beds. After visiting the museum, we went to a local slate quarry where for €1.50, you got a hammer and a chisel and got to go at it. The kids had a blast, but we would up with thirty pounds of rock to lug back to the US... Still, we had a few nice pieces, and everybody agreed it was fun.
The next day we drove through Holzmaden and out to Legoland Deustchland. I had no idea what to expect, but had really pushed to visit since my oldest son, Sammy, is a huge Lego fan. It turned out to basically be a Lego themed amusement park, with a good number of rides and such like any other amusement park you've been to. However, the center piece of the entire park was an incredible display of famous German and other European country landmarks recreated in Lego. They were displayed in the style of a Garden Railway, with real plants representing trees and such. Many vehicles and boats moved like a railway, too. It was really impressive.
We did several other things-- visiting Schloss Rosenstein natural history museum, celebrating my daughter Sophia's 10th birthday with an African dinner, visiting the State Museum of Württemberg in Stuttgart's Altes Schloss, visiting Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, and spending time with the family.
The main event, though, was Silas's baptism in the chapel of Schloss Solitude, the same place my wife and I married.