The Germany Journals (Ger-nals?) Part 2

This was the day we would make the trip from Frankfurt to Berlin.  While my wife and I packed, my brother took Shark Boy outside.  The next thing I knew, he’s asking me: “You know your son can ride a bike, right?”


To rewind a bit, Shark Boy does a great job on his glider bike and can balance and steer no problem.  Still when we’ve tried to move him up to a regular bike, he’s stayed fixated on the idea that he needs training wheels.  He even threw a fit when he saw me remove them from his new Ultimate Spider Man bike.  Getting him to ride it has been semi-successful, but he still didn’t seem that close to being able to go it alone.  A couple of days watching his older cousin ride a bike, and away we go!  Swimming … biking … can Kids Of Steel be far away?


Before our train departure, we walked around downtown Frankfurt for a bit, which I recommend for those that like modern architecture and/or high-end clothing stores and had some lunch.



Sandcastles in downtown Frankfurt.


The Inter City Express is a world famous fast train – I was excited to show it to Shark Boy after he’d read about it in books; although we were on it last year he didn’t notice much – a stomach bug had turned him into a near-zombie.


We had a cabin “reserved” – the 8 Euro extra charge didn’t make much of a difference as we had company the entire 4 hour trip.  I guess the train was too full – I’d have thought two small children would have been more of a deterrent to solo travellers. It turns out, you can only reserve the seats you sit it, which makes a certain amount of sense, I guess.


I spent most of the train ride carrying the Lightning Kid through the cars of the train (including ones that were identified as ‘QUIET’) from one end to the other.  Someday I’m going to write a post about all the calories I burn on the kids that I don’t get to count…Both boys fell asleep with all of 45 minutes left on the train ride.  Still we arrived in Berlin (Spandau Station) excited to start the next phase in our adventure.


A little too excited in the boys’ case! The new environment seemed to be an over-stimulation which combined with their over-tiredness to make for a very late, tedious bedtime routine – bad news for their jet lag adjustment.


DAY 6:


Thanks to our hosts taking the boys on first thing in the morning, I had a bit of a sleep-in .  We took them into Tegel for some shopping – riding a double-decker bus is a big draw for Shark By and the Lightning Kid seemed to like it too.  The effects of the night before were felt heavily as the kids seemed to need lunch and their nap times an hour or two earlier than expected and hopes for getting a run in while they napped in tandem were dashed.  I took the Lighting Kid to my favourite playground in the stroller.  I hadn’t changed out of my jeans but my plan B was successful – he fell asleep on the way there.  I used the park benches and playground for

  • Incline Push-ups
  • Tricep Dips
  • Negative Phase Pull-ups
  • Squats
  • Single-leg lunges on the swings
  • Inch worms (on the train set – plank across two ‘cars’, then bring feet forward to the car your hands are on, move your hands forward into another plank, etc.)
  • Planks
  • Side Planks
Tricep dips on one of the ‘train’ cars



I was doing a side plank on a park bench, looking at a (rare) blue sky, listening to the birds chirp and thinking about how peaceful it all was when I heard “WAAAAAAH!” – the Lightning Kid woke up.   Still, everybody had gotten what they needed: fresh air and exercise for me, sleep for everyone else.  We had a very pleasant rest of the afternoon as a family.


DAY 7:


I don’t really want to write about this day.  The only undertaking was a trip into town for a few things and the promise of ice cream.  It was a nightmare as the kids’ nap and eating schedules were still off, so there were a lot of tantrums and screaming.  AND THE ICE CREAM CAFE’S MACHINE BROKE DOWN SO I COULDN’T GET SPAGHETTI ICE CREAM!


Side note 1: If you don’t know spaghetti ice cream, it’s soft ice cream pushed through a press to come out in noodles, coated in strawberry sauce and either grated coconut or white chocolate and the whole pile hides a little mound of whipped cream.


Side note 2: I might as well take the opportunity here to talk about one of my favourite things here in Germany.  When a house uses radiators for heat, it’s hard to stay warm if you’re in the wrong spot and we’ve had unseasonably cold (and wet) weather here this trip.  The plus side is these incredibly practical radiators in the bathrooms (and sometimes in a front hall).  Back home, between swims, gym workouts and showers not to mention regular hygiene I go through a lot of towels so I’d love it if I had one of these that could not only quick dry a used towel, but warm it too.



DAY 8:


In spite of continuing cold and rainy weather we braved a trip to the forest playground – Shark Boy rode his bike the entire way there while my wife chased him and I pushed the Lightning Kid in the stroller through the drizzle.  He fell asleep again before we got there and while Shark Boy played with his mother I snuck in a few push-ups, step-ups and tricep dips.  The playground is somewhat sheltered by the trees but when the Lightning Kid woke up and the rain worsened we opted to return home.  After an early lunch we got the kids down for a tandem nap and instead of the run I wanted to do, I did a living room workout instead.
  • Push Ups (100 Push Up workout 5 sets – 20, 30, 18, 18, 34)
  • Negative Phase Pull-ups
  • Lunges with 3 kg dumbbells overhead
  • Side Planks

I also developed and exercise with
  • no weights/equipment
  • functional compound movement
  • whole-body muscle recruitment


My idea is to create an alternative burpee (my wife dubbed my creation “burpees for engineers” finding them somewhat complex).  I’ll share it in a future post, but for now let’s stay on topic.


We had arranged for an afternoon playdate for Shark Boy with a friend of my wife’s and her 4 year-old son that afternoon at the same time that my father-in-law was having visitors who came by boat.  What ended up happening was that he was effectively kidnapped (I’m sure there’s a term for nautical abductions) for a few hours and our poor 4 year-old visitor had to split his time between the 19 month-old Lightning Kid and the grown-ups. Yuck!

Luckily Shark Boy came back in time for them to spend a good hour or two torturing me with silly faces.  We watched the all-important Champions League (soccer) final between two German teams: Bayern Muenchen versus Borussia Dortmund being cheered on by my wife and I respectively.  What can I say? She sure can pick a winner – she married me didn’t she?

2 Replies to “The Germany Journals (Ger-nals?) Part 2”

  1. Congrats on your son's bike riding skills! And nice work on getting the workout done, regardless of the circumstances. I swear, sometimes it just takes a little fresh air to make all right with the world 🙂

  2. Congrats on your son's bike riding skills! And nice work on getting the workout done, regardless of the circumstances. I swear, sometimes it just takes a little fresh air to make all right with the world 🙂

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