Double the Monkey Business

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Top Places to Visit in Germany

Top Places to Visit in Germany
As our time living in Germany comes to a close. I look back at our Top Places to Visit in Germany. Don't miss this if you are planning a visit here soon.

Have you ever wondered where the top places to visit in Germany are?

Have you ever thought about visiting Germany for a weekend or a family holiday?

Germany has been such a surprise to me.  I had not even visited Germany, until the day I moved here four years ago.  I didn’t know anything about it, didn’t speak the language and didn’t appreciate its beauty.

Over the four years we have lived here we have visited some stunning places.  Just before Christmas I did a post which detailed some of my favourite Christmas markets so far. To follow on from that this post looks at the best places to visit for a holiday or mini-break.  Some places you will have heard off.  Some – I am guessing – you have not….

Berlin

Top Places to Visit in Germany - Berlin

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

Let’s start with the most obvious one first shall we?  I don’t think you can do a top places to visit in Germany list without mentioning Berlin.

I love Berlin, it is such an interesting atmosphere.  It has a cosmopolitan feel, as you would expect from a big city.  But it has such a laid-back and relaxed feel to it as well, in a way that I have not felt in any other capital city.

When the boys were two, we hired a little apartment just a few streets away from the metro. My mum and dad came with us and we had one of the nicest weekends away.  We were lucky that the sun shone when we were there.

We managed to fit in a lot of the popular tourist sights; Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate and the Jewish Memorial. We also got to sample a lot of the delicious food that Berlin had to offer.

You could also spend a whole day wandering around the massive Tiergarten (park) in the centre of the city.  With plenty of space to walk, boat rides to enjoy and cafes in the centre to sit and enjoy your surroundings.  There is also a zoo here to keep little ones entertained.

Getting around the city was easy, the metro takes you most places and there is the hop-on-hop-off bus tour for those limited with time.

I think it is fair to say that this is the perfect weekend break for city lovers.

Hameln (Hamelin)

Top Places to Visit in Germany - Hameln

Our first visit to Hameln, the Pied Piper and a rat…

I was pretty excited to discover when we moved here that we were only one hour away from Hameln.  The architecture is stunning and has remained largely untouched over the years, so that in itself is a reason to visit this beautiful town.

Some may recognise this as the home of the Pied Piper.  The town doesn’t shy away from this either, with regular plays in the centre of town reenacting the famous story.  All around the town you can see little rats on the ground, the kids loved the adventure of hunting them down as we wandered the pretty streets.

There is a museum in the centre of the town which is well worth a look.  There is an awful lot packed into this small place from throughout the years, including a room dedicated to both World Wars.  The Pied Piper mechanical theatre is also worth catching, this is run regularly throughout the day.

While I am not sure there is enough here to warrant a full holiday here, I would urge anyone near this area to go and see it.  It will be well worth your while.

Bavaria

Top Places to Visit in Germany - Bavaria

Bavaria in the sun

It is actually quite tricky to put Bavaria into just one section.  There is so much to see and do and the Bavarian region in Germany is expansive.

We have been to Bavaria twice now, once in the summer and once in the winter. We loved both for very different reasons.

The summer months are generally warm and pleasant in Bavaria.  We were lucky to stay in a lovely farm, which you can read all about here if you missed the post.  We visited Northern Bavaria, were minutes away from the Czech border and could visit Cham and Regensburg with ease.  Germany is very much land-locked, however in the hot summer months you can still enjoy a cool down at one of the many man-made beaches which surrounds some of the local lakes, where you can enjoy a cooling swim.

Top Places to Visit in Germany

Bavaria in the winter

In the winter, we went skiing in Southern Bavaria.  Unfortunately there was not much snow when we visited over New Year.  That said there was enough for the boys to have their first skiing lessons, as snow machines are set to work on the nursery slopes.

There was plenty of other options to keep us entertained though, including an incredible trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, which some may recognise as the castle from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Lake Constance

Top Places to Visit in Germany

Lake Constance, blue skies and plenty to see…

Pretty Lake Constance (Bodensee) is – I think – one of the best holidays we have had.  We stayed at a Euro-camping style resort and it was perfect for families with young children.

This place is simply stunning, it is not called the German Riviera for nothing! Lake Constance is the largest lake in Germany and is surrounded by pretty towns and villages. There is plenty to do for all the family, including an abundance of water sports and boat rides to be enjoyed.

Lake Constance allows for day trips to Switzerland, where we went to the Schloss (castle) Laufen which stands tall over the Rheinfall waterfalls.  Breathtaking doesn’t do it justice.  I did a blog post here, should you want to read more about our visit.

Cologne

Top Places to Visit in Germany

A view of Cologne

We have only visited Cologne during ‘Christmas market fever’ and I would love to go back again when the sun is shining.  I have a friend who lives there, so it has to be on the to-do list before we move.

Cologne struck me as a very grand city and it felt like there was a lot more hustle and bustle that Berlin.  I definitely loved the feel of Cologne, which is why it has beaten Dusseldorf to a place on the top places to visit in Germany list.

Like all big cities there is plenty to see and do.  On the to-do list has to be going inside the imposing Cathedral which dominates Cologne’s skyline.  From outside it is impressive, so I can only imagine what it is like inside the grand halls.

Boat rides are always a hit with the boys, so that has to be on the list and there is – of course – a zoo which always comes in handy when the kids get grumpy!

Paderborn

Not far from us is the city of Paderborn.  A small city, I will give you that, but it boasts a lot of activities to keep families entertained.

I have not spent much time perusing the town centre of Paderborn, although we have nipped into the centre to keep little boys fed and watered.  As much as it is pretty, it is not the reason I picked this out as one of my favourites.

I have picked this out for two reasons: the computer museum and the Schloss Neuhaus.

The computer museum is impressive.  It presents technology over the years, from the initial telegram system through to modern day robots and computer games.  There is plenty to marvel at and games for children to keep entertained.

The Schloss Neuhaus is a beautiful castle to visit with young children as the gardens are vast, with plenty of room to burn off energy.  They also have events held here throughout the year, including a wine festival!

Bielefeld

Top Places to Visit in Germany

Sparrenburg Castle

I am told Bielefeld doesn’t exist, or at least that is the myth. I can confirm, however, that it definitly does!!  More than that, it is a pretty city as well and definitely worthy of making the top places to visit in Germany list.

With the Sparrenburg castle looming over the city from the high ridge, to the many lakes to be visited, it is well worth sampling what Bielefeld has to offer.  The local Tierpark is a great place to see bears and wolves in their natural habitat – or as close as it gets – and there are some impressive indoor and outdoor pools on offer in the area.

There are a couple of festivals of note throughout the year, with a festival at the beginning of summer, a wine festival in September and – of course – the Christmas markets in December.

I love this hidden gem and would encourage anyone to pay a visit at some point.

Hamburg

Hamburg at dusk

I am cheating a little bit here but having spoken to friends who live in Germany, I have it under good authority that Hamburg is definitly one of the top places to visit in Germany.  However, it is not a place I have managed to see … yet!  I really want to ensure I go before I move though, not least because of the notorious ‘Beatles’ connection!

There are lots to see and do in this fine city.  However, I think the boys would love the Miniatur Wunderland.  This is a model railway attraction and the largest of its kind in the world. I would be happy to put money on this being something to see.

The best of the rest

I have tried to pick out cities / towns to visit for this top places to visit in Germany post.  However, there are a few other things that don’t quick fit into this category, which I think is worth a mention:

Movie Park Germany: We had so much fun at this theme park last year.  There were more than enough rides to keep everyone entertained for a whole weekend.  The boys absolutely adored the street parade, where they got to high five Chase from Paw Patrol and the Ninja Turtles!

Dino Park: This dinosaur theme park – with life-size models & a covered hall with fossil dinosaur tracks – is perfect for old and young children!

Barfusspark: These barefoot parks is exactly what you might expect.  You take your shoes off at the door and negotiate the terrain barefoot.  Maybe one to do on a sunny – rather than muddy – day.

If you have visited Germany or live here, then I would love to know what your top choices are for visiting Germany.  Leave me a note in the comments or on social media.

I’ve joined up with some of my favourite bloggers and they are sharing their top places to visit where they live. If you live or are visiting any of these areas, you should take a look.

Just click on each of the badges and you will go straight to their post…

 
   
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NEW LINKY WITH DEAR BEAR AND BEANY – #CRAFTYCORNER

NEW LINKY WITH DEAR BEAR AND BEANY – #CRAFTYCORNER

We are seriously obsessed with crafts in this house.  Well I am anyway, I think the kids might be humouring me!

It is my go to when the weather is raining and the walls are closing in on us.

I hate it when cabin fever sets in.

I honestly cannot stand it and the kids DO NOT want to leave the house when the weather is rainy, any other weather they are persuadable.  But not rain!

So we end up being house bound – or going to soft play ***shudders***

Paper Plate Animals | Quick and Easy by Yvonne **click on the image to see the blog post**

When we have been doing these crafts and activities, I have been popping them onto the blog.  I always find I get such a brilliant response to those posts.

The kids love to help with the photographing these posts as well.

They have a lot to say about where to position their latests creations and what background to use! Although they are getting so used to doing this they want me to photograph EVERYTHING.  Even their latest lego spaceship creations!

Easy Toddler Easter Craft…Hiding Bunny! by Laura **click on the image to see the blog post**

I really wanted to find a way to see what other bloggers were doing with their crafts as well,  I love to see what other people are up to. I spend a lot of time browsing through Pinterest thinking about ideas and looking for inspiration.

It hit me that it would be fab to host a linkup with this theme in mind. So, I have teamed up with Laura from Dear Bear and Beany to start one.

Ladies and Gentleman may I present to you #CraftyCorner. A place for you to share your creations with us!

Children’s Crafts with the Letter A by Yvonne **click on the image to see the blog post**

This exciting new linkup will run monthly and will go LIVE for the first time on Saturday 1st April.  You can link up anything so long as it is craft themed and we would love for you to join us.  We can’t wait to be inspired and to browse through your creations.

So, why not join us, grab a brew and be inspired?

The Kissing Hand Pop-Up Card…Crafts for Valentine’s Day by Laura **click on the image to see the blog post**

Laura and I can’t wait to have you join us at #craftycorner!

 

Double the Monkey Business
#CraftyCorner - A place for you to share your creations with us! This linkup is run with Laura from Dear Bear and Beany and starts on April 1st!
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#SMB – Google+Week – Grow Your Community!

#SMB – Google+Week – Grow Your Community!

There are so many pieces and parts to running a great blog, it’s hard to keep up with it all. Social Media helps you to connect with others, get your posts seen and shared. Are you blogging to yourself? Do you want to be noticed but don’t know how to get there?

Running your blog in a vacuum is a futile process. “Build it and they will come” is just a line from a movie. Instantaneous Stardom rarely happens in real life. You have to be seen to be noticed.

Social Media and Blogging

Social Media connects us with others who find value in our posts. It helps to grow our audience and hone our skills. It will put you in the position to be noticed by Brands. Brands who do business with bloggers.

Social Media and Monetizing your Blog

Brands want bloggers that are connected. Not only are they looking for a large following, they search for bloggers who have an engaged following. You may have a million followers on Twitter, but are you interacting with them? If not, you won’t be as valuable to a Brand as someone with 5,000 followers that are interactive.

Building a large, committed platform can take years. It’s a lot of work and it takes a concentrated effort. Let’s work together to speed it up a bit.

Meet your hosts:

Social Media Blast. Thursday at 9 PM EST Bloggers working together to grow our social media platforms. Brands are looking for large, engaged communities, let's work together to grow and prosper.

Nikki from View From In Here Jessica from Adventures of a Cavemom
Lindsey from Lindsey Tradup Yvonne from Double the Monkey Business
Rena from Fine, Whatever Blog Gidget from Mommy Perfect
Leah from Elm Photo Studio Leanne from Smiles and Sundays
Tinese from Inspired by A3  

 

Social Media Blast

We have partnered together to bring you the Social Media Blast. Each week we will feature a different social media platform, link up your account and follow the others in the linkup. Your social media numbers will grow, but follower growth is just one part of the equation. We can help you with the numbers, it’s up to you to make the connection.

When you are clicking through to each social media account in the linkup, take some action. Like a few status updates, comment or share. Make a connection.

If you are working to make yourself attractive to Brands, size does matter. Honest. Brands want to work with Bloggers, make them take notice of you, take action and grow!

Grow Big and Grow Quickly

In order to grow quickly and begin making money from your blog you need to build your platforms. The quickest way to grow is to join with other bloggers, working together to build each other. Add your link below, follow and be followed! Let’s work together and make 2017 a phenomenal year.

Social Media Blast will be live on all of our Blogs each Thursday, giving you the opportunity to hang out with us and meet our Social Media Following.

There will be a different Social Media Platform for you to build each week, we will focus on the platforms Brands and Sponsors like to see. This is where the Blog Karma sets in, the more people you follow, the more that will follow you.

Social Media Blast Requirements

ONE Add the link to your Social Media Account. It must be a Public account or Facebook PAGE not personal.

TWO Follow everyone in the linkup, come back later in the week to follow those that have joined after you. This linkup will be open for a week, so come back and follow more as the week goes on, and get followed back! This is not a link dump, if you aren’t following others your link will be deleted. Thanks.

THREE Share. Click to Tweet. The more people that link up, the bigger we all grow.

Social Media Blast. Thursday at 9 PM EST

This week we’re focusing on Google+

This week, link up the URL to your Google+ Profile (NOT YOUR BLOG URL), follow others on the list.

To find the URL to your Google+ profile, open up your Google+ account, click profile, grab the URL in the browser bar.

My URL is:

https://plus.google.com/u/1/b/113921717635170127787/+DoubletheMonkeyBusiness

Yours should be similar!

Why Google+ Is So Important

You may not have thought that focusing on Google+ was a priority, but you may want to rethink that. Brands and Sponsors ask for your Google+ connections and it’s great for sending you organic traffic from Google. So let’s work together to grow our accounts.

Compelling reasons why you should be using Google+:

As of June 2014 there were 343 million active accounts in Google+ (and even more use it indirectly, such as by uploading mobile phone photos without opening the app). That is far less than Facebook’s 1.28 billion, but quite a lot more than Twitter’s 270 million. It’s certainly not a slow market that you can choose to ignore.

 

If you want to sell your product or service, you would be crazy to pass up the opportunity to put your brand in front of qualified leads, right? Whether lots of people use Google+ or not, the truth is that Google loves it when you play in their sand box. Today 68% of searches are conducted on Google, so if we told you Google+ can help your company rank higher in their search results, wouldn’t it be worth looking into it?

 

Everything you post on you Google Plus for Business page is immediately indexed by Google. Thus, the content you post to your page can rank in search results even if your website doesn’t. This is huge for companies and professionals, because the websites that appear on the first page of Google, and especially in the first few positions, get 54.8% of all clicks from users (Optify).  Business to Community

 

If you’d like more info read the whole article from Business to Community

Now let’s work to grow Google+

By the way, share this, let’s reach out to as many bloggers as we can, we’ve made it easy to Tweet above. Let’s make 2016 a year for blogging community!

PS did you know that Brands will pay you good money for large, active Google+ accounts? The larger and more involved your Google++ Following the more money you can be paid. Let’s get some dollars in your pocket! 


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Chocolate London

Chocolate London
On the blog we have been reviewing the fab Chocolate London set from Wicked Uncle. Come and join us to see what we thought of this unique product.

Last week, we had the pleasure of reviewing Nutty Putty, which we ordered from Wicked Uncle website.  This week, we returned to Weird Uncle to try the equally-exciting Chocolate London set.

The boys were super-excited to try this out because: a) we are moving to London in just under 4 months time; and b) like most four-year-olds, they love chocolate.  So all-in-all, this was pretty much a hit before it was even delivered.

THE WICKED UNCLE WEBSITE

As I said last week, I really loved browsing through the Wicked Uncle website. It was simple and straightforward to use – and they deliver to BFPO addresses, which is a major plus!

The website has so many amazing gift ideas, and will definitely be a first-stop for future birthday pressies for the boys and their friends.

What do you get in the Melt & Make …. Chocolate London set?

Melt and Make Chocolate London

  • Chef’s Hat – very popular with my boys, as you will read!
  • Chocolate buttons – more than you need which is a major bonus!
  • London moulds (including Big Ben, car and a London bus)
  • London scene to colour in

My kids love to bake, cook and create things.  You may have guessed that already from the blog.  They were so excited about this as it was so very different to anything we had done before.  They had so much fun melting the chocolate.  The hardest part though was making them wait for the moulds to chill in the fridge.

Construction of Chocolate London

Once the chocolate was ready for construction the boys were very excited. We spent a fun afternoon, melting the remaining chocolate and building the structures.  It didn’t take long, however, for the boys to devour the chocolate.  They did share with mummy and I have to say the chocolate was lovely and creamy.  Very tasty.

L was also very taken with the chief’s hat.  He wore it everywhere for the whole weekend – to his first proper football match, to brunch, to dinner and to the park.  The hat was a surprising and pleasing additional hit!

Verdict

I am beginning to think that everything we order from the Wicked Uncle website is going to be a hit with my two.  The kids have adored both products we have tried so far.  I have to say, I have loved them as well.  They have been fun to make, educational and – particularly with Chocolate London – incredibly tasty!

I would love to know if you have tried this product.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Disclaimer: We were gifted these products in return for providing a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

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