Another week, another bank holiday or so it seems. This time the weather was glorious so cue all good Germans (and us) running off to spend the day at the local Freibad.
For the uninitiated among you, the Freibad is the outdoor pool (as opposed to the Hallenbad which is indoors). Usually, come May, these open across Germany. We're not talking a small open-air pool/lido affair here as you'd imagine in Blighty - oh no.... Here, the Freibad is not just a pool, but a complex of pools (children's/leisure/diving/serious swimming) set amongst rolling parkland - with trees, sun loungers, play park etc. For what seems a remarkably good price - our Family ticket was less than EUR10 - you get a whole day out!
Of course, being a whole day affair, there are certain things which you need to get right. Getting there early enough to secure your pitch for example. We caused a bit of a hiatus with our group as we needed to be near the baby pool as L is only 2 and so needs the paddling pool. Our friends had set up camp under the trees at the other end of the park - but were actually very accommodating in the end and moved down to the children's area - their children are all older with their respective youngest being the same age as my eldest.
So you've got the ideal spot - spread out your towels to make sure you stake a claim to as large an area as possible, you need then to turn your thoughts to provisions. Well you should have done it at least the day before as you can't shop on a Bank Holiday to pick bits up on your way there - and 'picnic food' is not readily available to buy pre-prepared.
Now I have to admit I failed miserably in the planning stage here - we were meeting friends and their children at the pool and as I'd been somewhat busy organising the Eurovision Extravaganza, I was not very well prepared in the picnic stakes. I managed a couple of bottles of water, some paprika crisps, some contraband cadburys fingers - oh and a couple of packs of raisins in the bottom of the changing bag! What the hell I figured, there's always a Grillstand - or ice cream if we get desperate.
Of course we'd been there about 10 minutes when the Kindling decided they were hungry - they proceeded to snack all day so my meagre picnic supplied would never have been enough. Our friends had provided home-made cake, home-made Frikadellen, fruit, biscuits etc etc. So having been outdone on the picnic front, it was all we could do to get the Pommes und Wurst in. Cue satisfied children at last - well at least temporarily until the badgering for an ice cream began - and seeing as this was probably the hottest day of the year the Schlange for the ice creams was snaking its way around the park.
We queued and queued and finally conquered the ice-cream stall. By which time we were rapidly coming to the end of a lovely day - plenty of sun (too much for some unfortunately), a lovely relaxing time spent pootling in the water and warming in the sun, children running round entertaining themselves for the most part - and thankfully wearing themselves out. So much so that we had to beat a hastey retreat at the end as the Kindling were overtired. At least they slept well.
Hopefully, next week's bank holiday (did I mention there's another holiday and bridging day - so another 3 day week, life is hard!) will be equally as sunny as everyone has requested a return visit. Definitely a success!