The funny thing is that I ended-up picking Air Berlin for the travel, and then ended-up with multiple delays both in Arlanda and Berlin Tegel. This resulted in flight time being prolonged from 3.5 hours to whopping 8 hours - at which point it meant my nephew and niece could not wait for me at the airport.
Somewhere in-between the waiting I also found-out that Air Berlin is apparently insolvent and going bankrupt, which made me scratch my head a bit on what will happen with the return flights as well. "Luckily", the delays were most likely caused by bad weather, and no issues happened on return flight.
While in Germany, it was mostly about relaxing and just hanging out.
Some goodies were delivered in form of Marabou and Fazer chocolates, Swedish schnapps collection (my personal favourite is O.P. Anderson), Pickled Herring, and two packages of coffee (Swedes are into coffee, so you can get pretty good stuff even in regular stores).
Surprisingly, the kids did not like the chocolates I bought. The fatal mistake was picking chocolates with stuff in them (e.g. with mint, orange etc). That should teach me to buy plain milk chocolate for them next time...
Sister-in-law, however, has enjoyed the coffee and schnapps, although the coffee was not strong for her morning cup - but worked nicely in the afternoon.
Brother will hopefully enjoy herrings coupled with schnapps since he liked the combo the last time I brought them (my sister-in-law's comment before coming over was "You're not gonna force us to eat raw fish again, are you?").
The main present for kids, though, was two Fender ESC80 guitars - their first ones. This was bought on-spot from Thomann store after some deliberation on what to do since my planned Yamaha CS40 model was out of stock. There were some cheaper guitars as well, but remembering how much I enjoyed when I got my Taylor 314CE, I really wanted to make sure they have a decent sounding and decent build quality guitars - and this proved to be nice for the price range as beginner guitar.
During the stay I did some shopping for myself as well, and bought some running equipment, as well as pyjamas (which, apparently, are not easy to find in Sweden for whatever reason...). As a birthday present for me, I received a nice new man-purse too (an essential item in my collection for all the equipment etc. I carry around with me).
Not wanting to give-up on running, I did test out the new running equipment (mainly warm stuff) during the stay, which helped to take care of those extra calories from all the beers we had.
In order to be a good guest, I also made a couple of dishes - the Beef and Guinness stew, pull-apart bread, Carbonara, and some avocado-feta-paprika warm sandwiches.
Once again, kids did not like either of these, opting instead to eat bread with jam and butter, or white toast with salami. Go figure...
On positive side, both sister-in-law and my brother enjoyed all the dishes (funny thing being my sister-in-law commenting all the time how women do not like men that cook that much, while munching on the pull-apart bread :).
We had a couple of small trips to surroundings for sightseeing/beers, and since I timed the visit a bit with Oktoberfest, we also went for Munich. We entered the carnival there, had a couple of rides with the kids, saw some rather, erm, skimpy-looking dresses, and then proceeded to Englischer Garten to have a beer outside of the noise of Oktoberfest.
All in all, the I enjoyed the visit a lot (thanks bro!), and it was especially nice to hang around with my (sometimes nice, sometimes not so nice :D ) nephew and niece.
As for the guitars, good luck wit that - since now the kids have to learn how to play, and I probably need to finally learn how to read notes since I can only assume some online lessons will have to be provided :)
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