I had expected to spend the weekend with friends, re-visiting the Keukenhof, but they bagged the trip Thursday night and without the lure of their children to play with ours, we threw the towel in ourselves.
I'm missing the chance to see the gardens at a later stage of development than we have in the last three years (this year's visit was disappointingly early), and if we had known that they would not make this weekend, we would have gone last weekend. But it is what it is.
So, instead, we 1.took the kids out to practice bike riding. Not that T1 needs to practice, but T2 is gong great guns on practicing her pedalling. The 12" bike that we have for her (garnered through freecycle Berlin) would normally suit her for at least the next year, while we waited for her to grow over 110 cm to fit a 16" bike, but the seat height control is busted, and according to our local bike shop, irreparable. We also discovered at the local bike shop(s) that although there are 14" bikes, they are not really available in DE (although they are in the Netherlands and Belgium). Now there was our reason for heading to Leiden anyway— if only we had known!
It turns out that they are available in Berlin, although at Spielwaren (toy shops) rather than bike shops, and at quite the price (we couldn't find one under €149).But we found one for about half online, in T2's desired lieblingsfarbe of blau. We should have it in a few days and just in time: T1 and 2 switched bikes and it was a bit of a circus act, with T1's knees up around her ears and T2 only able to stop by falling over (her feet couldn't reach the ground)!
then we headed over to Idee, to pick up materials for a craft project that T! found online: a witch's broom in Snow White colors.
We followed up with a quick trip to Ikea, so the kids could play in the "Marienkaeferplatz" (the playground) but, due to remodeling in the cafeteria, our usual follow-up of salmon and new potatoes with bottomless lattes and apfelschorle was derailed. When we asked at customer service, no one could tell us when the remodel would be done, real tables and chairs would be replaced, and whether the play area would be returned. I was very annoyed and next time we will head to the Spandau outlet instead. We did get the desired wooden spoons (for the above project) for .49 cents and the German had a latte while we sat and waited for the kids at the downstairs table display.
Why couldn't anyone tell us when the remodel was expected to be completed and whether a play area would be reincorporated in the design? Ineffective management.
On Sunday it was raining again, but T1 had a Maidchen party that the mother of one of her classmates was throwing and we bundled her off to the announced crafting and painting party. We had hoped to get some quality time with T2, but she fell asleep in the car and we carried her home and let her nap: it's tough having a sister who is an early morning bird and wakes her to play, while T2 is definitely a late owl.
The crafts were great- a pot with a flower (for Mutterstag:)), a little box painted in acrylic, and they had pizza. Lots of fun.
We were sorry to miss the final opportunity to see the Keukenhof (it's closed after next weekend and we have other plans), very sorry to miss our friends (T1 was very sad- she is in love with the baby!), but very glad not to have a 14 hour road trip with intermittent rain, especially since the volcano canceled flights again and the German needed to take the train back to Munich this morning.