We travel a lot, and with five kids we garner attention. We are the ones clogging the public restrooms, talking too loud, running around everywhere, taking far too long to order fast food, and getting in other people's way. We get plenty of attention from others.
For all of the attention we get though, it's The Little One in Curls who always seems to be the star of the show. Wherever we go, she is the one who seems to be able to melt away the ubiquitous German scowl. She makes friends wherever we go. She's the one they're talking about when we hear someone murmur "suß kind" ("sweet child"). When they look at us and smile or laugh, it's usually because she smiled or laughed first. We don't know what casts her spell, whether it's the curls or the always-on smile or petite stature - maybe somehow a recipe that she mixes together to create some sort of charm.
Last week Jazlynn went on a walk with Melissa to run some errands. They passed a local vegetable market they visit regularly. As they walked by the owner's son recognized Jazlynn and stepped out to give her a free Apricot. They walked on and then back some time later to the vegetable market, where the same man - seeing her again - gave her a free cherry. After picking out some vegetables, Melissa stepped in to pay where an elderly woman - the man's mother - occupied the register. Jazlynn gave her a smile, and in return the woman gave her a shiny red apple. Evidently the smile grew, because the woman then reached behind the register and presented Jazz with a nice new stuffed rhinoceros as a gift. Jazz beamed with the prize, and as they left she must have still been beaming, because the young man outside slipped her a free banana.
Those are the travels of Jazz.
Jazz atop Burgruine Wolfsburg in a light snow.
Studying a curious memorial at Buchenwald Concentration Camp, Weimar. Attracting the attention of strangers on a wooden unicorn - Salzburg, Austria. Sometimes a barrel just needs a hug. I love this picture. While all of the other children are passing the time - Anna looking away, Chase looking down, the other kids and adults preoccupied - in the middle of all of the indifference, Jazlynn is having the time of her life. Wine Harvest Festival in Neustadt
Cool day on Utah Beach. Posing below the Alps in Austria.
Not to be consoled on Omaha Beach. Once again, having the time of her life on the hold-on-for-dear-life slide at the Speyer Technik Museum. Signalling that she is a little tired of the Louvre, Paris. Concentrating on the art of the swing in Höhe Loog. Looking smug at Germany's Highest Waterfall in the Black Forrest. Here's hoping she always looks up to Dad.
Zell am See, now this was Austria. Sometimes the best trips we have are blind luck. We decided we didn't want to drive far so we skipped over to a local town for something to eat. It turned out to be the highlight of the trip. A beautiful blue Alpine lake in the shadows of the mountains, a cable cars to the top, a hike through the Alpine forests with an adventure course for kids, pristine emerald rivers, and views that seemed to come right off of of a Sound of Music dust jacket. In addition, the day we visited happened to be "Festival der Jungen Chöre", where youth choirs serenaded the downtown throughout the afternoon. Found this video of a youth choir performing by the lake from the day of our visit. Pictures below, or see the slideshow with captions.
City of Salzburg, famous for scenes from Sound of Music, for the birthplace of Mozart, and now a huge tourist draw. It wasn't bad, but I think we sort of left with the feeling that once you've seen one Altstadt - you know, with the cathedral and the shopping area an that old castle nearby - they start to all look the same. But that isn't to say it wasn't worthwhile, especially for the view from the fortress above. Full size slideshow in Picasa.