We are about to have a visitor from Australia: my brother is coming to visit. For months, we have been counting down the days and now he is almost here.
He will only be with us for a week but we are very excited. I was going to say that Miss M is very excited, but the truth is, we are all very excited. We don’t get that many visitors from Australia – it is a long way! – though this is my brother’s third trip.
One of the great things about having family visit is that you get to be a tourist in your own town (and see parts of Europe, like we did when my Dad visited). Peter grew up in Solingen, so he had already seen the tourist attractions ad nauseam on school trips. For Miss M and I, it is still quite new. Visitors are our excuse to go and see some of the sites that we might otherwise neglect.
What are we planning to do with our visitor from Australia?
As it is his third trip, there are some things that my brother does not need to see again. He also has some idea of what he wants to see (apart from us, of course). I plan to blog about some of the highlights of his visit:
Burg Castle is a medieval castle that was built in 1130. It has fantastic ramparts that you can walk around and a keep that has just reopened after extensive renovations. We have been before, but we plan to go and see what’s new.
Burger’s Zoo is one of the biggest zoos in the Netherlands and one of the best in Europe in our opinion. It has been more than a year since Miss M visited and, truth be told, I don’t think she remembers much of it (she was not quite two at the time). So it is time to visit again!
My brother is always up for a good zoo and this is so much bigger than any he would remember seeing (he doesn’t remember much of a family trip to Toronto Zoo as a child).
Cologne or Düsseldorf
A visitor from Australia normally means a day in Cologne or Düsseldorf, or perhaps both.
We live in the middle between the two, and neither are far (Peter works in Düsseldorf). My brother has already seen the sites in Cologne, so it might be Düsseldorf this time.
Knife shopping is definitely on the list whenever we have a visitor from Australia – and my brother has already mentioned that he wants a new one.
Solingen has been famous for its blades for centuries. Currently, there are no fewer than seven knife manufacturers and numerous scissor manufacturers with factory outlets, as well as a number of manufacturers who don’t sell through outlets. Appropriately, there is also a blade museum and an industry museum (in an old scissor factory), and most of the main tourist attractions sell local knives.
We also have an annual flea market named after the small bladed kitchen knives that are produced locally, but my brother won’t be around for that.
As an added bonus, we will be meeting up with my brother and sister-in-law in Berlin. We are going to a Metallica concert but will be seeing some of the city, too. You can expect a post on Berlin with a small child and probably also one about the Natural History Museum (Museum für Naturkunde) and its dinosaurs (because we need more dinosaurs in
What to do with a visitor from Australia
We don’t often get visitors from Australia, so when we do, we try to fit in as much as possible. (That’s code for “