We just came back from three, fun filled days in Europa Park, Germany’s biggest theme park. It was a Disney-like park with all kinds of rides and roller-coasters. It wasn’t quite Disney, but fun and adventurous nonetheless. They even have a mascot – “Euromaus”! Of all the animals they could have chosen, they chose a mouse!
Come on! It’s okay to compete with Disney but surely you shouldn’t go that far to also chose a mouse as your representative! Oh well, I guess it made sense to someone high up in their management. Come to think of it, I think Euromaus was a she, cuz he always seemed to have a slightly feminine air about him/her. Whatever gender he was, the kids enjoyed seeing him and taking pictures with him… or her.
The place was next to the historic city of Freiburg, not too far from the Swiss border. It’s by the Black forest, a truly beautiful area. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend Europa Park.
Our holiday is coming to an end soon. I want to share some thoughts and observations about this holiday with you.
I saw virtually all my relatives here except for one cousin, but he comes to Bahrain relatively often so it’s okay. There were two cousins that I haven’t seen in five years! It was great seeing them again, but at the same time it’s sad when family that is so close lives so far away. But at least we did all see each other. Someone once said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, which I think is true.
On my grandparents:
They used to both be so active. Its’ strange seeing them so fragile. At 90 and 87 they need walking sticks and help getting about. Their hearing isn’t as good as it used to be and conversations with them often turn into shouting matches – with a lot of loud “what?”s. Seeing them has inspired me to write a blog post (article) on ageing and ageing gracefully, so stay tuned for that.
On the German diet:
I mentioned in another post that I enjoy German cuisine (if you can call it that) but the truth is it’s really unhealthy. They eat a lot of sausages that are high in fat and nitrates. They also drink lots of beer, which is extremely high in calories. Still, on the other hand most Germans lead relatively active lives with lots of walking and bicycle riding, and most of them do their own house work, which compensates somewhat for the poor diet. However, as far as I know they have Europe’s highest obesity rate, and sadly -like many parts of the world- the obesity rate here is rising.
On the German countryside:
Absolutely lovely! I think there are way too many laws here (not to mention taxes, like rain tax! – no joke) but one thing they are doing well is introducing tough laws that make it hard for developers to kill the greenery and the natural beauty. The greenery here is just breathtaking, it makes Bahrain look grey in comparison. I love Bahrain, but it makes me cry to see how the greenery is systematically being destroyed. We had lots of walks in the forests here.
On The German Autobahn:
Autobahn means motorway. It’s well known that the autobahns don’t have speed limits, but what’s less well known is that not all of them have open speed limits. In fact the stretches of autobahn where you can really drive fast are few and far between. The roads are a lot more crowded than they used to be, and many autobahns do have speed limits. I did manage to cruise at around 180-190 km/hr for a few minutes on some autobahns, which was a lot of fun. There should be a picture here somewhere of me driving my parents’ 20-year old Mercedes at 180 km/hr.
On the weather this summer:
Well, we came to escape the heat form Bahrain and we got caught in a hot European summer. I think it reached around 38 degree Centigrade, which is not bad for Bahrain but really hot for here because very few places have AC’s. It was really hot and humid in Europa Park. You feel the heat here a lot more than in Bahrain. How ironic!
On Fuel prices here:
Oh my God!!! It cost Euro 116 to fill up the aforementioned car! That’s BD 68 (USD 180)! Can you believe it?? Some people can’t afford to drive to work anymore, it’s crazy! I’d buy the world’s smallest Diesel engine car if I lived here. Thank God almighty I don’t live in Europe, the Middle East is not perfect, but I’d choose it any day over Europe.
On prices overall here:
It never ceases to shock me how expensive things are here. What might cost one or two hundred fils in Bahrain might cost one or two Euros here. It doesn’t seem expensive when something costs a Euro but when you remember that one Euro is 600 fils you suddenly realise that things are bl**dy expensive! For example, today the kids rode some children’s cars near a miniature Golf place and each ride cost 1 Euro, i.e. 600 fils! That’s even more expensive that our overpriced mall rides!
It was a great holiday. My wife and I loved it and the kids had a blast. Germans can be a bit pedantic and too logical, but an interesting lot overall. It’s time to go back to reality and back to the long hours at the office(s). I shudder when I think of my in-tray and inbox.
There’s one more thing I’m dreading more than anything, which always manages to spoil a holiday after you come back… the credit card bill! What seemed like a good idea at the time of purchase comes back to haunt you when the dreaded envelope arrives!
Well, that’s all for today my friend. I hope you enjoyed/are enjoying your summer. Please do leave a comment with your thought or your own summer experiences.
Lastly, here are some photos of us in Germany. Enjoy!