As I live and work at different installations (a 10-12 minute drive), transportation alone gets me off post everyday. We've especially been making an effort to get out during the weekends. Dawn bought a public transportation pass for 7 consecutive Saturdays (coinciding with the German school holidays) that allows our family of 5 (Ginger the dog can join us) to travel by bus, streetcar, or subway anywhere within the greater Stuttgart area. We went downtown a few weeks ago, and that was a bit draining. Last weekend we drove to the zoo and botanical gardens in Stuttgart (see: http://www.wilhelma.de/nc/en/home.html ). In addition to having some really cool animals in some very nice and open facilities, the grounds are covered in flowers, plants and trees. More than once it made me wonder if the Garden of Eden could be as beautiful. Peacocks and Peahens stroll around the grounds looking for scraps from picnicers. Dawn shot the picture up top of me and the boys watching the Orangutans swinging playfully, yet lazily, in the cage. It was really quite humorous: something revealed more clearly by Ben's facial expression than ours. Also cool were the monkeys that lived with mountain goats. Their behviours contrasted--the goats rather careful and serious and the moneys chaotic and rambunctious. It was a fascinating to watch them together.
Each of the boys got to ride a pony. Jared rode the Shetland, which pleases Dawn that he's still a little boy and not growing up too quickly. Dawn bought us an annual family pass; it's a high quality attraction, so we'll get our money's worth. Both Dawn and I have a German driver's license. (Driving in Germany can be intense, but the scenery is captivating. We got a GPS that makes navigation fun; they're so cool!) When we got home the boys were toast. Jared missed his nap, but quickly made up for it.