Playmobil and ancient wine in Speyer

Playmobile

I’d been wanting to go and see the “40 Jahre Playmobil” exhibition in Speyer ever since I saw a poster advertising it back in December (yes, I am 30 going on about 7…), so when Jan asked whether I wanted to do anything on 1st May (a holiday in Germany) and the weather forecast said that anything outdoors was definitely not a good idea, I decided it was the perfect opportunity. Jan didn’t seem tooo enthusiastic, but he had asked what I wanted to do, so he agreed to go along with it.

The exhibition was taking place at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz (History Museum of the Pfalz), Pfalz or the Palatinate being the region that Speyer is located in. We arrived in Speyer at around noon and joined the queue of small people with their parents… apparantly I’m the only childless person in Germany who wants to see toys 😉 Once inside, we purchased our tickets, which included both the special exhibition (Playmobil!) and the permanent exhibits. We decided to check out the Playmobil first, just in case the queue got even longer later! I never really played with Playmobil as a child (I remember briefly having one set, with swings and a roundabout) and I still prefer Lego, partly because it encourages children to be creative in a way that Playmobil doesn’t (there’s no building your own things with Playmobil!), but also because you can do so much with a basic set of Lego. With Playmobil, you have to buy a separate kit for everything you might want to do – a castle, a pirate ship, a circus… with Lego, you could theoretically build anything you wanted to yourself (if you’re more creative than me!). Nevertheless, I was fascinated by just how many different Playmobil kits there are! And the look back at Playmobile through the ages was pretty interesting, too – as you may have gathered from the title, the point of the exhibition was to celebrate 40 years of Playmobil. Here are some of the photos I managed to get (actually quite a difficult task with all the children buzzing around!).

They also had some Playmobil inspired art, including this painting that I really liked!

Playmobil

Playmobil done, it was time for something more grown up… wine! The Wine Museum area included some interesting wine barrels, including this one that can hold five different types of wine at once. Clever!

Wine barrel

The museum also has what’s thought to the oldest still (semi-)liquid wine in the world, from Roman times… around 300 AD to be precise. I can’t say it looked particularly appertising any more!

Tasty... ?
Tasty… ?

Once we’d had a look at the wine museum, we had a quick snack stop at the cafe. We both went for Currywurst, opting for the “Scharf” (spicy) variety. I dread to think what their normal Currywurst was like… sausages in plain old ketchup? The Scharf certainly wasn’t very spicy! Never mind. Having finished our snacks, we had a quick look at the rest of the museum. There was a fascinating Roman street map that we spent quite a while looking at, before heading upstairs to check out some random finds from the local area. There were some hideous china ornaments! (No photos, I’m afraid).

When we left the museum, we found that the rain had briefly stopped so I was able to grab a few photos before the heavens opened again. Here’s the Speyer Cathedral:

It soon started pouring down again, at which point we actually had to leave anyway because we only had the car until six. But before getting on our way, we stopped to buy some fresh strawberries from a little stand in the carpark, which is what we ate for desert once we got home. All in all, it was the perfect way to spend a horrid, rainy day!

Strawberry stand

I am counting this as my May 2014 trip for Claire from Need Another Holiday’s Take 12 Trips challenge.

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Happy Birthday Paddington!

Google UK just told me Paddington, the marmelade loving bear featured in the books by Michael Bond, is 50, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to say Happy Birthday to one of my favourite bears.

I used to have a Paddington Bear when I was little. He was about 15 centimetres high with a red hat and a blue duffle coat that could be fastened with real wooden toggles. He was brilliant. I knitted him a scarf once. I was about 6 or 7 and someone had bought me a kids knitting set for Christmas (with red plastic needles). It was probably my Grandma – she was always into knitting. I got some bright pink wool to go with it so I decided I was going to knit a scarf. I had only knitted a tiny, miniscule scarf (maybe 10 centimetres long) when i got bored of it, so I announced that it was going to be a scarf for Paddington, as if that had been my intention all along. And so it became Paddington’s scarf. Not too long after that both Paddington and scarf went missing – I suspect it happened during our move from Northern Ireland back to England. Lots of stuff went missing during our various moves. I was quite upset about losing Paddington. After all, I had loved him enough to knit him his very own scarf.

Now I have a new Paddington. I spotted him at Heathrow airport the week before last and told Jan, who doesn’t know the Paddington bear books, the story of how I knitted my Paddington a scarf and lost him. I must have sounded pretty nostalgic because Jan promptly counted out the last of his English money to go towards buying me a new Paddington. Naturally I chose one with a red hat and blue duffle coat – some had them the other way round but in my memory Paddington’s coat was blue! My new bear is holding a briefcase and has a label round his neck – “Please look after this bear”. His toggles aren’t real, but that’s ok. I still love him, and I love my boyfriend for spontaneously deciding to buy him for me.

Happy Birthday Paddington Bear! May you continue to eat marmelade sandwiches for another 50 years.