It's been awfully quiet around here this week. That's because our resident chatterbox and bundle of energy Boy10 has been away on a five-day class trip to a youth hostel in the small town of Otterndorf on the North Sea in the region of Cuxhaven close to the mouth of the Elbe River.
Boy13 is enjoying the silence - no one following him around the house, coming into his room and touching his stuff without permission or making silly faces at him from across the dinner table, but I think he does miss his little brother a tiny bit.
The school kids explored the village, did some biking and visited an indoor wave pool. But the big highlight, at least for Boy10, was taking part in a Wattwanderung - wadlopen (really a Dutch word) or mudwalking as it's more commonly called in English. Whatever you call it, involves slogging through the muddy sand of the Wadden Sea at low tide and getting very, very dirty.
Boy10 phoned us last night,(as he had done every night since Monday - I think he's homesick!) and told us that the Wattwanderung was really great and that his rubber boots and socks got completely wet and muddy. In the summertime, many people go mudwalking in their bare feet, but it's a bit too cold for that at this time of year, so rubber boots it was. I've heard it's the most fun when you sink in right up to your knees and Boy10 apparently achieved that goal. Concerned mother that I am, I asked him what he had done with his soggy socks, if he had perhaps hung them up to dry somewhere. "Nope." he replied, "I just stuffed them back into my boots. And, sorry, but my pants kind of got wrecked too." I can see I've got my work cut out for me when he gets back. ChicagoKarl's kids did some mudwalking earlier this year and just look how they ended up. Boys will be boys, I guess!
Just a note on the pronunciation of Wattwanderung should you ever have the chance to use that word in casual conversation. The "watt" part isn't pronounced the way the English word watt would be, it's more of a "vhaaahhhht" sound. Say it with me - vhaaaahhhtvonderoong. Got that? Perfect. I knew you could do it.
The children arrive back in town tomorrow at lunch time and I'll be there to pick up my muddy little guy. I've missed him and can't wait to see his 1,000 watt smile when he gets off the bus.