The Heat is ON in Bavaria

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32 degrees today! What Summer feels in Bavaria

This is the real thing now, the heat is ON in Bavaria !

What Summer fun are you engaging now?

Nevermind  the plague of Wasps and bee season, summertime is finally here and in Bavaria, in my old little city, everyone is just feeling ecstatic of the fine summer breeze, or rather, toasty winds since we have 32 degrees now!

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A very inviting Lake where we had picnic and splash. This is just one of our pit-stop from our cycling en-route (35kms) .

Have you seen summer flowers yet? They are blooming, giving us perfect backdrop for outdoors. From our garden to the nearby parks, summer flowers can be so exotic just like the Echinops Ritro!

I came to Germany last Summer, and I’m telling you, this season is probably the best season to enjoy Bavaria. To make the most of beautiful nature, lots of sun and water fun is essential. This week we have temperatures ranging from 18~32 degrees C . With this we have all the reason to spend time outside given the favors of so many holidays. Staying in when the weather  is perfect as this  is  definitely a S-I-N. Generally, Germans, or the typical Bavarians, adore the sun. Soaking up under the sunshine until the last ray of the sun until 9 o’clock at night. You can see them  sunbathing in the banks of the river Danube, lying in the grass in the parks, or just right in their balconies.

With the kick-off of the festival season, the Spring Pfingstenvolkfest,  Die Welt is bunt, Bürgerfest, and strawberry season, it feels like summer arrived early since we have a very sunny spring. I have written countless times that from the moment the day breaks, people here are out, (including US!) and ready to explore— and yes, with their dogs, clad in outdoor clothing, in their bicycles, with their walking sticks, off to the lake, and drinking beer in the bier garten promptly at 10 a.m on weekends!

So here I wanna share with you some of the fascinating things  about ‘Summer Feels ‘ here in our region. Whether you are just visiting tourist or a local, sure thing that you don’t wanna miss out on these activities!

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We do BBQ like the German way!

Grillsaison ( or Grilling season)

Summer is not complete without BBQ and Germans really take their grilling to the highest level! You know its summer when you breathe in the smell of BBQ in almost every house on a fine weekend. Since we have 9pm sunsets, this is a perfect way to bond. Be it in an open park, garden or in the tiny balconies of apartments, German take their grilling time seriously. Months before summer starts, we are flooded with different kinds of grill paraphernalia, from the garden tents, lounging seats, and yes, ‘the meat and wurst‘. About 70% of Germans have BBQ every  weekend and its typical to see a grill machine in every garden. Pack a picnic, a mat and  head to the lake, throw a piece of sausages ( wurst) and meat cuts into the charcoal grill and drink beer. This spells the perfect “Gemutlichkeit “or what the Dutch called “Gezelligheid” .

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The Grillsaison has finally begun!

Poppy fields  and wild flowers everywhere!

When summer time comes, in between wheat fields and every single empty space is filled with this fragile reddish-orange wild Poppy flowers. When I run and cycle, I can’t help but to stop and just be amazed by how  these simple wild bulbs can change the whole neighborhood and the way I feel. Sure, Tulips are my favorite flowers , but then there’s something about a field covered in Summer poppy blooms. It looks so calm, peaceful and so pretty!

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Close up encounter with red Poppy flowers last week when I was cycling.

 Eis Eis Baby! 

Who doesn’t like Ice Cream?

Ice cream parlors and shops are finally open here since late Spring. On warm, sunny days, there’s even a huge line outside. You really need to sweat out first before you enjoy their wide selection of Eis ( ice cream). My daughter is crazy about the richly flavored popsicles and ice pops which comes out in watermelon, kaktus, and yogurt ice cream. One is not enough, eating ice cream is definitely a threat we always enjoy during summer especially after we are all sweaty from cycling around.

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Eis Eis Baby!

Make sure to eat “spaghetti eis”: We promise it’s only a stupid name. This concoction is really just a strawberry ice cream sundae with vanilla “noodles” and strawberry sauce with white chocolate flakes standing in for the cheese. Guten Appetit!

Sunbathing in a make-believe beach!

This is the photo of the Donaustrand, a place made to look like a beach beside the river. It is the platform located in front of the river Danube and facing the New Castle. During summer, this place is a magnet for Germans and all outdoor lovers to enjoy a relaxing time, especially during sunset. This is a place a for  open-air concerts and the ” Live Orchestra Nights” where you can enjoy live music, drinking with friends, and lounging in recliners and sunbathing like you are in the beach .This is such a cozy place.

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A shot I took while lounging in the Donaustrand and enjoying sunset drinks.

Hanging out your clean laundry outside

There is nothing like the smell of clean laundry, hung out to soak up the fresh air. Hang out your sheets before the drying racks take over your apartment for the winter.We have a huge space in the garden and I just love how the sun do wonders on the sheets! I love this since it really saves time from tedious long cycles of drying. Natural is always better!

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Skinny dipping in some lake

Skinny dipping and baring it All !

Oh yes, Germans are very liberal and no-nonsense people when it comes to nudity. In some lakes, there are areas which are particularly allotted for “nudist”. Here, people are no hang-ups in baring it all and soaking up the sun from dawn to dusk.Germans think nothing of stripping to sunbathe. They do it on beaches, by lakes, and in heavily frequented urban parks. It’s very common to see unclothed people on regular park lawns or topless on balconies. Germany is one of the few places in the world where naturism occurs not just in secluded areas, but in the heart of major cities. German-style public nudity, known as Freikörperkultur (or “free body culture,” and usually shortened to FKK), dates back to the 19th century; it’s not just an activity, but a culture intended to reshape behavior.

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Pack a picnic and your mat and head on to the secluded fresh lakes!

For some people who are not into this and for families with children, there are lots of areas in the lakes for them to swim.We love to discover lakes where my daughter loves to play and here, they are just plentiful!

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Running through the Lake with this view.

Fitness everyday

In summer, I see a lot more people getting active and staying fit. People do things “manually” and live more. They love to do things by themselves. Mowing the lawn, tidying up their garden, people here loves to do things—no maids or house helpers! People run and cycle no matter what the time and temperature. They walk more and use the car less as much as possible. With abundant jogging areas, nature can be best enjoyed while getting fit. Germans adore the  “pig”and heavy pork-lovers, but even if they sit in the Biergarten everyday and eat sausages, seems that they don’t get fat! Everyone looks so impeccably fit.

Summer Cocktail Drinks

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PROST!!!

It is very typical to see bunch of people hanging around in the lake, or in the park enjoying a nice picnic and sharing summer cocktails. Of course, the beer is always the easiest way to create a cozy gathering but cool drinks and smoothies are always something pretty special. When it comes to picnics, Germans can be proud of their lifestyle!

What about you, what do you love to do during summer?

There are more on this post so I think I will make a post #2! Stay tuned.

Strawberry Fields forever

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Long wait is over, Summer is finally here!

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Fresh strawberry bunches sold in the erdbeeren Punck-Bayern, Unserherren Fields, Germany

Did you know that Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen each Spring?

We can’t even get over with the ‘Spargelzeit’ (White Asparagus season) yet and now here comes the season of one of my favorite summer fruit : Strawberries  ( or Erdbeeren)! Since we had a sunny Spring, strawberries came earlier here in Bavaria. In Germany, it is very easy to distinguish what time of the year it is, just look at the seasonal fruits displayed in the shops and you’ll know. Strawberries and Raspberries are flooding the grocery shops, as cheap as 2.99 Euros for 500 grams! Last time, I bought a bunch of strawberries for only 1.99 Euros!

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A walk in the strawberry fields with a Toddler
So last Sunday, we decided to spend quality family time on a sunny Ruhetag by visiting the Strawberry fields and pick strawberries by ourselves. It was our first time to go in the fields so we are all excited!  I am so thrilled by this idea since I wanted to explore the strawberry fields here in Bavaria and for my daughter to pick strawberries by herself. All over Bavaria, from the start of Strawberry season,  there are so many fields are open, for locals and hungry-pickers to enjoy!  These yummy goodness fresh- tasting strawberries can be harvested over six or seven weeks. In the second week of May strawberries grown in tunnels in the open field reach the market, followed by strawberries grown under plastic by mid-May. And the season reaches its peak with regular open-field strawberries from the beginning of June. In July the greenhouses are prepared for the next season that can be harvested from the end of September to Christmas.

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On Repeat : Tasting , Eating, Playing 

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The best strawberries in town, fresh from the fields
We checked out the site of the strawberry Fields in Bayern and we discovered that there are so many nearby fields that are opened for public picking. There are also remnants of the White asparagus being sold in the stalls, but a wide supply of  raspberries, honey, Bio-eggs, and ice cream  are also available for purchase in the same fields. It was such a lovely experience and the weather is just right to pick them.Families with small children ran around the fields, old people with their buckets, picking with smiles on their faces, eating and just enjoying the early summer sunshine. What a delightful way to spend a Sunday morning!

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One of our handful picks, half were already eaten along the way!
Strawberries belong to the favorite fruit group in Germany; the 3.4 kilos of strawberries consumed per person last year are proof of that. They follow apples, bananas and sweet citrus fruits in the ranking of most successful fruit. And a representative survey showed that strawberries are a proud favorite of consumers between the ages of 10 to 25.

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Toddlers and Strawberries are always a perfect combo!

Stop and smell the strawberries! They are considered members of the rose family, they give off a sweet fragrance as they grow on bushes.

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Father and daughter bonding time!
We got more than 2 kgs. of fresh, juicy and super delicious strawberries and we headed home to have a Strawberry -coma weekend!

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Toddler life: Eating hay, rolling in the hay
You bet someone really had a great time in the strawberry fields. Going home covered in hay, smelled like grass and mouth-smothered with strawberries are a perfect way to end our trip! While cycling back home, I can’t help but to hum the song “Strawberry fields forever by the Beatles… ”

Will definitely check out the other fields next time so stay tuned for more of our Summer escapades!

What are your summer plans?

How do you enjoy the warm sunshine? Don’t be shy to share in the comments!

 

How I embraced my new Life in Seasons

Last year ( June 2016) was the start of my life in seasons and this month is the mark of my 1 year stay here in Germany.Yes, time flies, it goes fast.

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Expat Life in Germany : Enjoying outdoors and getting active

I’m into running lately and the other day, I went for a run and as I chilled down in the garden, my husband commented : “You’re running now, you’re like the Germans..” I laughed and replied : I”m also like the Dutch, I cycle now more.. a lot…also I eat potatoes and sausages more than I eat rice”.

Mind you, I grow up in a completely different topography, climate of only 2 seasons– rainy and summer with a humidity that can make your blood boil.First time that I’ve seen a real snow in my life was last year in AustriaThis alone makes a whole lot reason why my Expat Life now in Germany is a life-changing one. For those of you who are following my Expat Blog stories, I am sure you’ve read in my posts and seen in photos how I embraced all these changes in my life. Ironically,  seeing all the different seasons here have changed me, at least from the way I look at life right now.

“Just like  seasons…people change..”

Now I  dressed differently and more functional, totally very -German-like, always prepared for the rain. I totally learned how to dress myself for what the weather calls for, every single day. I never imagined before that I needed separate jackets for winter, for summer, and spring or fall. All the heavy bundles of winter clothing and never-ending layers…and shoes for walking, trekking, hiking and for snow. My life before from 50 degrees Celsius  heat to frigid negative temps is something that I always recall and laugh how I’ve learned to appreciate each moment. Sometimes I feel that the weather really affects the way I go about my day.Can you relate?

I realized that just as the seasons are important in the nature’s cycle, it is also important in my own life.My days before were only composed of rains and heat, humid, stormy and for quite sometime, a scorching summer and delirious dust storms.

The thing is, experiencing a life in seasons is totally different when you only see it while visiting another country.  It’s another story when you’re just a tourist and wanting to experience snow in Winter compared to actually living in it everyday. The cold, long German winters and fickle weather drives me nuts but now I get used to it. I guess that if you’re an Expat like me, you would agree that adjusting in new seasons is always part of any Expat life.

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My first sights of Cherry Blossoms in Bavaria and in the Netherlands. Definitely a very beautiful first season of blossoms.

The current season of my life now is Spring ( or Frühling) , a few more weeks and comes Summer. I had the privilege to enjoy Spring to the fullest by seeing it in full Dutch colors, and that was made possible by visiting Keukenhof Gardens last Easter in the Netherlands. I really love tulips but they are very expensive  both in Manila &  Kuwait, it’s very rare to find it, sold  only in big flower shops. In Holland, they are an ordinary sight, like weeds, growing in every household and empty spaces.Before, I only feast my eyes on it in internet or in magazines and thought they were so beautiful to be real. Seeing all the spring flowers in bloom and watching how the plants & trees regain their ‘life‘ made me understand about the time of recreating myself, first allowing the growth to pinch in, so I can be a better ‘Me’ . Spring is a beautiful season where I rekindled my passion for drawing and painting. It’s like a part of me had resurrected and my dreams were completely infused with colors.

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Nature never fails to amaze me.This beauty is one of the early blooms in Spring in Germany along with the yellow Daffodils in our garden.

I believe that Spring is the season in our life of new growth. It is the period of our lives where we clear out the old to make way for the new. It is a time where we create new beginnings for ourselves and our lives.

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Summer adventure : Trekking the crater of  a Volcano in on one fine Summer day last year.

Then comes Summer. I arrived in Germany last summer. The heat without AC is also something I got used to. A 30+ degrees heat can also be  toasty here.Germans love the sun, oftentimes sunbathing and swimming. Germany is pretty in a sunny day with lots of outdoor activity to enjoy. Summer season is the return of the Dandelions, like a season to enjoy ourselves. It is a time sitting in Biergartens ( Beer gardens) , grilling and BBQ parties in the garden! During this period we feel bright and happy.

We are loving life and reaping the rewards for the positive changes that we have made.

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Discovering nature: The Echinops Ritro and wasps are a typical sight during Summer in Germany

Last summer after I left Kuwait and before going to Germany, I squeezed some time to visit my family in Philippines and let them see my daughter for the first time. I managed to get some adventure with my friends by hiking and trekking along the crater of a Volcano. It was a long time dream as well. I missed home and my island -hopping adventures . Summer has always been my favorite season, but not much during summer months in Kuwait and Ramadan period.  Summer in Germany has been a fascinating one as well. The 9 PM sunsets are always magical, long summer days gives us more time to wander around. I discover the Bavarian lifestyle and the enigma of Biergartens, German sausages and lots of outdoors. I tasted new dishes and explore our new home like crazy. I can’t get enough of the thought realizing that I am eating my dinner while the sky is still bright where in other parts of the world, it would be pitch-black already.

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Nothing beats summer sunsets, especially when seen behind bodies of water. I have watched numerous sunsets here in Bavaria where the sun turns the sky in pink and orange glory .Summer was and would always be a happy season in my life.

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Catching some amazing sky one fine Autumn in Bavaria

Oh then there comes Fall. Another first time for me .

I love all the nostalgic feelings I had watching the trees lost its leaves and everything just turned into golden, yellow rustic beauty. The sound of the crisp dried leaves when I walked on them is so therapeutic.The views in our old town is breathtaking during Fall. I have been obsessing in photography and its a time I appreciate nature even more. I have indulged myself in baking Apple pies and my first carving of a real pumpkin. My daughter enjoyed her first trick or treat, Fasching & Halloween here in Germany. I struggled with the language barrier and tried to integrate into the German culture so hard that everyday seems like a hurdle for me to overcome. Another life-changing experience was cycling with my daughter, another first time for me and having a taste of  Oktoberfest by seeing our local Herbstfest here in Ingolstadt. The Beer culture of Germany is really a pride and Bavarian culture is truly unique in this region. I love everything about the traditional German Tracht– Lederhosen and Dirndls!

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The pride and beauty of Traditional German Tracht ( Dirndls)

Autumn is the season of our life where change occurs and we need to let go of the old. During this period of our life we recognise and feel the need for change in our lives. In order for us to change we need to let go of things from our old self, just like the leaves falling from a tree. We may for example need to let go of negative feelings, bitterness, the past, limiting beliefs and traditions,and the most important — limiting forgiveness.

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One of my favorite photos of the beautiful Autumn  here in Bavaria
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A pavement of old self…giving way to a new season.

It was never easy. It is hard integrating into a new culture, especially when I can’t express fully what I want since I don’t know German yet.  I know that failure to let go causes me to remain stuck in my  life and hinders any positive change.  I needed to shred  my old self to finally give in to a new me, and Oh yes, I got my Aufenhaltstitel! I am now holding a legal and official  residency here in Germany. Just like the trees that undergoes harsh pruning time during Fall, their leaves must fall in order for them to grow. Pruning time comes in a natural way.

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My new life starts here…Bavaria, the land of Lederhosen & Dirndls, where the River Danube flows–my second home.
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Nostalgic moments in One fine sunset in Souk Sharq in Kuwait

This photo shows one of my favorite places in Kuwait. This was taken by my friend who made our wedding photos. This is the dock where the traditional ‘Dhows’ and fishing boats lazily docked after a busy fishing day. Just like the orange-red skies during Autumn in Germany, Kuwait has beautiful skies approaching Ramadan season. Remembering ‘Ramadan’ and my life back in Kuwait makes me grateful that I have the chance to see the best of both worlds.

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My first view of the great mountain, Alps in Austria.

Then comes Winter.

I was not really looking forward to the cold. I don’t even have winter clothes.My first Winter Wonderland experience in Austria has been unforgettable as well as exciting as we welcome the New Year . When I told my husband that its my first time to experience snow and winter, He really made sure to bring  me to a place where I had an unforgettable snow-coma! It was a pleasure seeing my daughter eating and jumping in snow for the first time .My first Winter is totally unexpected, exhilarating, freezing, but then it changed my views about snow and the long cold winter days.Do you know how hard it is to push a stroller in snow? or walk into an icy street that shouts “Achtung, glatteis!”

Honestly, I like snow, but not the cold. The cold makes me feel depressed and very un-motivated to do anything. Everywhere you see is white, gloomy and my feet is freezing plus the stress of dressing up a toddler in heavy winter clothes is always a struggle!

Winter is the season where we experience challenges and difficulties in our life. It can feel like a cold and lonely time. Our life may appear bleak. We may be dealing with storms in our life which creates fear and anxiety for us. However, we need periods of winter in our lives.

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Watching frozen berries with the Alps in the background.

These winter times provide us with important learning and understanding. It is through the challenges and difficulties in life that we learn our most valuable lessons. Winter also helps us to appreciate and be grateful for what we have. Without periods of winter in our lives we can take for granted all of the goodness that we experience.

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Christkindlmarkt ( Christmas market) and my first Christmas in Germany.

My first Christmas market experience, our first Christmas in Germany and my first time to make snow man with my daughter makes this season a festive one.This is also the season where I got so sick, both me and my daughter had colds, flu, and we felt like the grey winter is totally dampening our moods. Another highlight is the time when we walked on top of a frozen lake  which is  so nerve-wrecking !

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There is a time and a season for everything…

Indeed, time flies and I realized that soon, by next summer, at the end of this month, I will be 1 year here, I will be a year older, wiser, and integrating fully in my new culture and loving life in new intensity. I feel so much more at home now here, because I embrace the changes, I let myself grow. I have come to love “Ordnung“( or Order ).

Every season has special memories that makes me the person that I am now.

Any thoughts on this post? Have you ever relocated to another country? How was your experience? Are you also affected by the seasons?

 

 

Art created out of Mess | Order

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“ORDNUNG” ( The German’s  love for Ordnung or Order)

I love anything about Arts and in any form. If you are following my Blog, you knew that one of my personal interests are finding beautiful arts along the way, anywhere. Being an Expat here in Germany, I am very curious to see works of local artists and explore the German art in general. It’s a global trademark that Germans are known for their “Ordnung “( or order), in their lives. Their love for rules ( and obeying it!) and rigid lifestyle are bound to be effortlessly organized and everything should be in order. I’m telling you, Rules here are serious affair and obeyed. Having lived here now for almost a year, I have seen this by my own eyes and witness how they do it for real.The Economist magazine suggested recently that Germany remains one of the most rule-bound economies in the world. No wonder. It  really pays off.

To name a few examples, take their Recycling system.No Jaywalking.No Littering.Ruhetag (or  Sunday Quiet times).German’s respect on personal privacy. Punctuality. On time buses & trains.Falling in Line. Discipline and so much more.

All of these shows “Alles in ordnung“( All in Order).

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Artwork created out of a mess by following an orderly form.

But what can you say about an artwork  out of making things to be in order?

To be able to see and appreciate the beauty of an artwork created with an imposition of “order “ from the mess or clutter is something unique and interesting, something worthy of admiration. For me, this is one essential way of creating an original art. Take a look at these photos where you can see that the Artist have used “normal office (or  büro) materials ” to become a representation of artistic conceptual artwork.

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Normal colored office folders stamped together to create a giant collage.

” You needed chaos to create order and by this, give a definition to beauty “

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Normal Garbage bins arranged in synchronized manner creates a  3-Dimensional work of Art.
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Sets of neon rulers hung vertically to create an original artwork.

Visiting the Museum of Concrete Art came as a surprise to me and I was glad that I was able to see this exhibit. This museum is the only museum in Germany specializing exclusively in the presentation of concrete ( non- representational ) art.

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The Museum of Concrete Art ( Museum für Konkrete Kunst Ingolstadt, Bavaria )

“Chaos was the law of nature, order is the dream of man ..”

In an unusual architectural setting, right beside the banks of the river Danube, some 1,000 square meters of exhibition area illustrate the development of this artistic style,displaying various exhibits from local and international artists with its important components.

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Black and white plant photos used as Office ornaments

This  exhibit themed ” Office Art ( or Office in the Museum )  of Büro-Kunst oder Das Büro im Museum ” which will run from April 1 ~September 10, 2017. This exhibition is in cooperation with the Foundation of Concrete Art Design and the exhibition presents works and installations of the Concrete and Conceptual Art, which address the office as a symbol of modern society and its organizational principles.

Have you enjoyed this post? How do you explore a foreign culture?

What is your opinion about the artwork of the artist ? Let me know by writing your comments below.

 

 

 

This post is inspired by this week’s Photo Challenge |Order

PFINGSTVOLKSFEST Germany 2017

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Welcome to Pfingstenvolksfest 2017 in Bavaria !

Last Friday, June 2, signals the opening of the annual Spring festival called  “PfingstenVolksfest ”  here in Bavaria and will run up until the 11th of June. We have two major festivals here, one in Spring  (or Frühling)  and one in Autumn ( or Herbst) . Last year when I came here, I was able to attend my first Autumn Volksfest and it was awesome.  For an expat like me, experiencing this festival like a local is one of the great things that happened to me for my first year in Germany.

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Pretty German ladies in Dirndls { PfingstenVolksfest 2017}

The festival started as usual with a parade in Volk music and a grand Fireworks display. On top of the tower of the Pfeifturm, the Bavarian watchmen perform their traditional gun shots .The band who plays the music composed of different groups. Young and old, children and kids join the happy vibes in the show, even some migrants joined the parade carrying the Bavarian flag. Everything is so open and welcoming.Everyone is  dressed up in traditional Bavarian tracht, men in Lederhosen and women in beautifully made Dirndls. Seeing them, all smiles, parading in such a cozy atmosphere is such a delight to see.The huge horses which pulled up the carriages of the two major beer breweries here in Ingolstadt  ( The Nordbrau & Herrenbrau) are absolutely the star of the show. They are so huge, loud and yes, they can be wild once prompted.

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Huge black horses carrying the carriage of the Nordbrau { PfingstenVolksfest 2017}

The parade starts from the assembly area in front of the Alstadt /Rathausplatz and continues to go in the Festplatz where our Town mayor  officially open the festival  or  O ‘zafpt is ! Inside the fair grounds are huge arena full of different rides for children and adults to enjoy. There’s the giant Ferris wheel, roller coasters, carousels, and other head-spinning rides. If you are not afraid of the heights, I’m sure you will have a blast here. There are also numerous stalls which sells traditional goods, 2 large Beer tents, and other beer gardens.Outside the tents are lines of  food shops which sells finger foods, sandwiches, hotdogs, Pretzels ( or Breze), currywurst and other sausages, crepes, burgers,cheeses, Lebkuchen and other sweet delicacies, and so much more.

You can never get hungry inside. If you opt for more appetizing meals, there are lots of grilled foods you can find inside the beer tents! Pretty waitresses in Dirndles would be so glad to serve you.

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Ferris wheel and other rides  inside the fair grounds

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O’zapft is! The tapping of the first barrel of Beer, signalling the opening of the festival.

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Shops selling the traditional Bavarian Tracht ( Lederhosen and Dirndls)
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Horses taking a spin while waiting for the horse show to start

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Volksfest is a festival for all ages.When you visit Bavaria, you will really feel the authentic and “Bavarian thing” in the way they celebrate things. This is totally different compared to other parts of Germany and here, festival like this is more than just a mug of beer. Oktoberfest is another thing but during Volksfest, I see all people, expats and locals, children, young and old celebrate in their own ways. The tables inside the Beer tents are full of smiling people, enjoying the day drinking their beer, singing, dancing, and gathering with their love ones.

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PROST!!!!
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Currywurst swimming in sauce and Pommes – A Volksfest best snack !

The festival grounds are always well maintained and clean. There are ample parking spaces for bicycles and cars and the traffic is moderated. Compared from last year, I noticed that there are more security persons roving around the place, but not harassing.There are plenty of toilets and bathrooms, even Baby changing rooms. What can be more cozy than seeing a group of young men in Lederhosen playing their trombone, flute, and singing Bavarian music?

With the warm weather we are having now, visiting the Volksfest is a perfect time to spent as a family and with friends. They have different programs everyday, like on Wednesday afternoon is the Children’s day , Tuesday afternoon is for Senior’s Day were discounted prices are offered to make the feast more enjoyable. There are also special programs where big companies like Audi and Ingolstädter Schanzer Football club have their own special gathering.

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If you have the chance to travel to Germany during the months of June and September, make sure not to miss seeing an event like this, it is definitely a showcase of the Bavarian culture. Even if you are not a beer drinker, there is always an activity that will suit your lifestyle. For the many times I have visited Volksfest, I have never seen a drunk person ran amok or making a scene, totally not a German thing.

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Bavarian Lebkuchen !

Have you ever tasted a German Lebkuchen?

Do you know that this yummy cookie is best known for its authentic German flavors? A typical Volksfest memento that you could bring to your loveones!Read more here.

See you in the Autumn Festival this year and yes, don’t forget to say PROST!

If you enjoyed this post, please make sure you follow my Facebook page/ JustbluedutchArt  for my personal Artwork gallery  and if you are in Instagram, connect with me by adding me as your friends. Thank you for reading and Frohe Pfingsten! 

Wasps in Germany , Sweet menace in Summer

 

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Enjoying outdoors last Vater tag ( Father’s Day in Germany) in the Donaustrand, sans the Wasps!

It’s summertime again! ( feels like it already!)

The last few days, it  feels like summer already here in Bavaria. People are all over under the sun , engaging in any outdoor activity you can imagine. Swimming , doing Sports, devouring Eis ( ice cream) sunbathing in their balconies, grilling, children are playing without shirts all day in the playground, BBQ everywhere, cycling til they drop, walking their dogs, lounging in Beer gardens, crazy over running & Triathlons, and yes, sleeping under the sun!

With the long weekend holiday celebrating the Ascension Day  last May 25th, the same date as the ‘Vater tag'(Father’s Day)  here in Germany, we’ve got  the perfect mood and  weather for it. As I always share in most of my posts, Germans love to be outdoors the moment the sun is up. We are having a simmering 25-32 degrees C nowadays and I can tell you, this pool season is also a signal for the Wasp season . This is one thing that I observe to plague Germany, especially here in Bavaria when the temperatures gets warmer.

In summertime, the flowers are blooming and super radiant. Our little garden is already full of roses and colorful flowers, I love this season!  But if you think that Wasps only hover on any pretty flower, then you are mistaken.

 

Two years ago sometime in August, I first met the nasty crazy German wasps. On our trip going to Moselle and Trier, we had a stop over in one of the restaurant and we decided to eat outside since its very warm. My daughter wants to walk around and I already noticed so many critters flying.It’s hard to ignore them especially when they are literally hovering all over you.Also,it is very rare to find a restaurant in Germany that has an air conditioning. This is one of the times where I really missed the all year/all day AC we have back in Kuwait. When summer comes, it can really feel toasty here, added the annoyance you get from the flying wasps. Inside the restaurant, there are ornaments filled with wasps and bugs caught by the sticky fly swatter and nets.

How can you eat when in your sight is a giant plate-full of wasps, flies, and critters?

Wasps love to fly over your food and they can really sting badly. This is why I don’t want to mess up with them. As a kid, I had been stung by a bee and it’s something I  don’t wanna experience again, let alone watch them sticking to my Schnitzel, or to my curry sauce. I am very careful about this because I have a daughter who is crazy about critters, lady bugs and spiders. She thinks they are cute ‘toys’ and she is chasing them!

I know you might wonder, what’s the difference between Wasps and the normal bees?Though both wasps and bees are relatively harmless unless provoked, it is good to know the difference between the two.The German wasps – called yellowjackets – have a nastier sting than the common wasp and are currently at their angriest.

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Wasps are members of the family Vespidae, which includes yellow jackets and hornets. Wasps generally have two pairs of wings and are definitely not fuzzy. Only the females have stingers, but they can sting people repeatedly.German wasps are bigger than normal wasps but smaller than hornets, have three black spots on their face, and can sting repeatedly.

 

Bees are fuzzy pollen collectors that almost always die shortly after stinging people (because the stinger becomes embedded in the skin, which prevents multiple stings). Bees don’t die each time they sting, though; the primary purpose of the stinger is to sting other bees, which doesn’t result in the loss of the stinger.

You might be interested to read on these basic facts ;

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If you see German wasps in your garden the nest is usually less than 500 metres away. The cold kills the wasps, apart from the newly hatched queens in the autumn. They look for a warm dry nook to hibernate over winter. If you are planning to enjoy your coffee and cake in the outdoor cafe, don’t be surprised if you have someone to share it with. They just love to destroy summer picnics and cling on to any sweet fruit or fermented drinks.

I hope the above info could help you be aware of this. 2015 was a terrible year of wasps in Germany and thinking of the rising temperature, they are bound to be hovering everywhere and swarm over your face! So, don’t let the bug carried by these wasps destroy your summer mood.

Have you enjoyed this post?Tell me,  have you ever been stung by a bee? or a wasp?

 

 

 

The taste of Dusk | Evanescent

“Dawn comes slowly, but Dusk is rapid..”

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My Expat Life : One fine but swift taste of Dusk in Kuwait

If you live in the Middle East, like for example in Kuwait, you would probably shun the abundance of the sun, but I have never met a sunset that I did not like. With the heat during summer that rises up to 52 degrees C, and that needs to getting used to, the mild 25~30 degrees now that we have here in Germany feels like a tropical summer sans the humidity.But in real life, it’s impossible to completely divorce our perceptions of the sun scenes from our awareness of the hour. These times are both crucial, first getting ready to start our day and the latter is ending it, rushing to get home.

How do you really know the taste of dawn from the taste of dusk?

Back then I used to live in a flat located at the upper floors and I always enjoy watching the sun rising up, slowly, sluggard as the date trees swaying on an early morning dawn. I could take lots of photos while enjoying it changing the horizon from reddish, purplish, to burnt oranges. We have large windows and during sunset, I love the way our place is filled with these colors. A sweet and yet swift moments to enjoy.

I love jogging along the Arabian Gulf on early mornings and watch the sun’s  masterpiece almost every weekend and when I have the chance. If not, our bedroom window is like a giant screen showcasing this beauty. With the sea in the backdrop, life back in Kuwait is full of precious, evanescent  sunsets.

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A fiery show in the sky during dusk here in Bavaria during Fall.

But then thorough watching dusk is a different thing. Or is it only me who notices this. Now I have written before why I adore watching  sunrises and sunsets in my life, whenever I have the chance and wherever. In different place, there is a different magic that happens when the sun sets. It is a swift, rapid, retreat. From coming home from work, I can watch the sky while the sun sets, or when I passes by the sea nearby our home or watch the boats docked in the harbor create a magical atmosphere, like a graffiti artist burst his colors on his canvas. Here in Germany, where we have 9PM sunsets , more often I am too tired to stay outside to watch it or I am too caught up with putting my daughter to bed.

I have read an interesting article how to distinguish the difference of dawn from dusk. I couldn’t really tell if its true or not but it says that the first is in our heads. At sunset, our eyes are daylight adapted and may even be a bit weary from the day’s work, or eyes might be strained already. As the light fades, we cannot adapt as fast as the sky darkens. Some hues may be lost or perceived in a manner peculiar to sunset. At sunrise, however, the night’s darkness has left us with very acute night vision and every faint, minor change in the sky’s color is evident. In short, you may perceive more colors at dawn than at dusk. [Red-Green & Blue-Yellow: The Stunning Colors You Can’t See]

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As swift as a ride back home, the skies changes into a rapid kaleidoscope of colors.

Great thing to know, right?

I’m sure if you are a keen observer, you will distinguish these colors, as evanescent they might be.

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Watching my life away during sunsets in Kuwait

The most important thing is, a peaceful sunset, watching the sun sets can really change the way you feel about your day, a proof that any bad day can still end up beautifully. This is by far the best mantra that I wanna keep.

Do you love this post?

If so, when was the last time you have let yourself get lost in watching the sun sets and tasting Dusk?

This post was inspired by this week’s DP Photo Challenge |Evanescent

I made it! My First Biotope- Cycling tour in Germany

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My cycling-mania is still ON over here !

To think that the cycling season have just started  here in Germany and summer is still a month away, more fun begins as we continue to enjoy cycling .The other day, I’ve written about how we are falling in love with our bicycle and guess what—–we joined our first cycling tour!

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Biotopradwandertag 2017 route map

Yes, with my husband and our little Adventurist, off we go for a Biotopradwandertag for a sweet 30 kilometer cycling tour. This is my very first time to experience going on a bike tour like this so I’m definitely excited. The distance and the event itself is all new to me. At first I was hesitant, thinking that maybe my daughter will get bored and as always, I kept worrying about the weather.What if it rains, or  what if she gets  cranky because its her nap time as well.

But then we made it to finish line!

Sweating, hurting my ass, but totally energized. My knees where shaking when I am doing the uphill part and my heart is pounding at some points during the trip but my stamina is still up. I don’t wanna give up. My endorphins are on high and I am very glad that I made it. I haven’t cycled for years and to be able to participate in an event like this makes me feel so at home here in Germany.

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Active Germans ready to cycle!

Believe me, cycling can do wonders on your mood.

The Biotopradwandertag is a cycling tour to promote awareness of the region of a habitat associated with a particular ecological community all around in Ingolstadt and the regions surrounding it. This year was the 29th Biotope Cycling Day ( May 21, 2017) and was personally organized by our city mayor. This Bike tour is an annual event in any weather.

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In my first Cycling Tour !

I saw this ad in the newspaper and after googling a bit and translating, I asked my husband and few friends to join this tour. Good thing it falls on Sunday, and the weather was perfect. A bit cloudy in the morning but up until the end, we cycled under a carpet of beautiful sunny skies.

The tour started at 9 AM, we get the tour map & information from the Stadt theater and I was really impressed how organized the event was. The trails were properly signed, there were visible sign posts for the directions for the cyclists. Along the way, there are guides who helps us go in right direction. For a fee of 3 Euros per person ( kids under 16 are free), all Finisher receives a gift, drink & food vouchers that they can enjoy after the tour. Major sponsors are Willner/Farradzentrum, Nordbrau and Sparkasse. Emergency help lines are also set-up.

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Pit stop in this beautiful lake.

Along the way, the scenarios are really beautiful. So fresh, and the air feels so clean. Acres of Rapeseeds, a sea of wildflowers in different shades, and  very clean neighborhoods. I didn’t expect that Bavaria can really be so green ( literally!), with hills and fields, and to discover all these while cycling is the best way to enjoy our Sunday.

My mind is meditating, relaxing , my muscles are working, and  my body is rejuvenating.

After 2.5 hours of cycling, at about 2/3 of the trip, we had a pit stop in the check point where we have time to stamp our papers, get free drinks and food, and a bathroom break.I saw Germans of different ages, from toddlers to the not-so-young anymore, but are still very active in cycling. Everyone is having a great time.

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There is always a reason to stop because I see so many sights and I don’t wanna miss it.We finished the tour on time and we had  lunch provided by the organizer. The whole Stadt theater was converted int a Beer garden where people devoured their beers, Schnitzels, potato salad, bread and assorted drinks!

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Bikes and All Bikes!

Cycling with toddler stress-free is possible here in Germany and I am glad that my daughter has the chance to experience this on such a young age. Children should not stop us from doing what we are passionate about. I am sure I’ll be doing this again next year, maybe a bit more farther!  If you have the chance, I highly recommend to join this type of outdoor activity, it’s healthy, fun and it’s best enjoyed with your whole family! I think more than the hype, it’s all about doing what you enjoy and what makes you feel good.

 

Have you ever engaged in a tour of your favorite sport ? What are your favorite summer activities?

 

If you enjoyed this post, Make sure to follow my Blog for more of my Expat Lifestyle stories and if you are in Instagram, please connect with me to see more photos of my adventures here in Bavaria.

40 Little things that (really) matters

“It’s the Little Things that make Life Big … “

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Cherry Blossoms from Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, The Netherlands

Today I wanted to make a “Gratitude post”.  I want to share with you the 40  Little things that really matters to me personally and to everyday life, and that I am forever grateful for. Many times, my mind is cluttered with worries as a mother, nuisances as a woman and grievances of a normal human being. I’m sure I am not the only one who feels like this, but our responses to situations could be different.

Sometimes I felt like Life can be so big and I become  so overwhelmed by it. Maybe I am overreacting but  would you believe that I am constantly worrying about the weather, on my future, of the health of my love ones, or would I pass the exams after I finished the course I registered, or  would I really be fluent in German? Everyday, I’m plagued with questions on what to feed my tiny human ( or does she eats enough?), or when will she completely potty-trained?, on how to  improve my painting skills, and what have I accomplished in my life? etc.. etc…

Just the other day, I asked myself after I put my daughter to bed : “Am I being a good mother to her? Is this the best that I can give…? and my mind drifts far away…

Social media can be  superficial. Our real lives is not as perfect as the perfect Instagram feeds, or the flawless Blog posts. Sometimes, or rather unsolicited and unwanted, my feed is  full of materialistic things that make me feel so little, giving me pressure to follow the trend and desire to get appreciation from others. The way we see things affect so much on how we respond to it. I decided to change my perspective and shift into being optimistic. Rather than focusing on my worries, why not list down things that REALLY matters to me. I realized that through this, I felt thankful, I felt even more grateful to be able to realize this.

Have you ever thought of “What really matters to you?”

 

 

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Dramatic beauty of cherry blossoms in the Netherlands

“Never get tired of doing Little things for others, sometimes those Little Things occupy the biggest parts of their Hearts…”

During our first legit Bike tour last Sunday, I learned a big lesson.

When cycling, especially on tour, it is so easy to focus on speed and missed out. The thing is,it is  very vital to enjoy the journey.  I took time to notice the fields, the glistening lake against the sunshine, the only red Poppies flower among the vast green fields, the yellow rapeseed farm with the ICE train passing by behind it, the heavily ornamented spire of the church, the clouds and its formations & so on…At the end of the tour, I felt so grateful that I had experience all of these, sweat, aching muscles & everything!

I have tried to find beauty in everything. I took notice of the LITTLE THINGS!

Here are my 40 personal “Little Things”that makes a BIG part in my life:

1.Our little garden. It’s a haven for us.

2.Warm Coffee before the toddler wakes up!

3.Making hand made cards for my friends and love-ones.

4. Tulips! having a vase full of Tulips in our home really makes my day. Anytime.

5.Peanut butter and blueberry jam sandwich.

6.Reading my mother’s offline messages to me, facts of living in different time-zones!

7.Watching the  sunrise and clouds every morning in my kitchen while I prepare breakfast.

8.German Brötchen, and warm bread straight from the oven for breakfast.

9.Lazy sunday walks.

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Glory days for the Cherry Blossoms | Keukenhof, the Netherlands

“YES, Small things, matter..”

10.My husband. For his love , support, tolerance and when He comes home in time!

11. Dutch Gevuldekoek and receiving surprise goodies from my parents in law !

12.Running along the woods, nature parks , river, and a lake all within 30 minutes!

13.The smell of fresh laundry.

14.Eating German pretzels ( Brezen)!

15.Beach walks.

16.Complimentary buffet  breakfast in hotels.

17.The muscle ache after I run, it means I got active.

18.Living 10 minutes away from beautiful nature and river.

19.Painting sessions in my kitchen counter top.

20.Smelling my favorite perfume.

21.Shopping in IKEA .

22.My Father-in-Law subscribe and reads my Blog!

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Pure beauty…No filter needed.

“Each morning, we are born again.What we do TODAY,is what really matters most… ~Buddha

23.Playgrounds in Bavaria. They are heaven’s gift.

24.Listening to  my real soundtrack music ( a break from the nursery rhymes!)

25.My daughter’s hug every time she wakes up.

26. My  very kind neighbors.

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“Enjoy and be grateful for the little things in life,for one day you will look back and realize they were the BIG Things…”

27.Eating ice cream in Spring.

28.A great comment on my Blog.

29.Roses in our garden that blooms wildly and taking photos of it!

30.Making and receiving hand written letters, Snail mails!

31.BBQ’s in our garden in Spring and Summer.

32.Watching sunsets.

33.Cooking home-made meals for my friends.

34.Cards from the mailbox ! Especially from someone unexpected.

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It all starts from a bud. | Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter…~ Martin Luther King Jr.

35.When my new German friends invited me to their homes just after they’ve met me. I feel flattered.

36.A good running shoes.

37.Cycling  on a sunny day.

38.When people  want to buy ( & actually bought) my paintings!

39. A jeans that perfectly fit on me .

40.A smiling stranger that I come across the street and say  “Morgen“!

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Don’t miss out the little things, they can be really Great!

“We can not do great things. We can only do little things with great love…” ~ Mother Theresa

 

 

What about you, what are the ‘Little Things’ that matters to you?

 

How to fall in love with your Bicycle this Spring

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Cycling through the golden fields in Bavaria

I want to share with you how I developed a new-found love-affair with my bicycle this Spring time.

No, it’s not the current trend here in Germany, nor a health fad, but yes, it’s the number one outdoor sport choice! Fortunately, I am married to a Dutchman, from The Netherlands, the land of cyclists. The land where Bicycles and people are like Bread and Hagelslag  or sprinkles (totally inseparable!).

For the record, Dutch people revolved their lives in Fiets ( Bicycle) and from the country with much more Bicycles than inhabitants, so yes, they have a serious affair with bicycles. Add the fact that I am  living in a country where cycling is ingrained in everyone’s mind. Cycling is a big part of German culture. If you will move to Germany, it is likely that you will buy a bike! It is very rare to find an adult German who did not grow up riding a bike and whose children, parents, and even grandparents probably still ride bikes. My neighbor who is almost 80 years old,  still rides her bike gracefully, twice a week doing her groceries by bike and doesn’t mind cycling during winter.Amazing, right?

So, I am inspired by this.

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I am not in the lowlands but I am cycling under a carpet of Cumulus clouds.

The weather nowadays is at its best here in Bavaria.Thinking that for the past 8 years I got used to 50+ degrees C temperatures outside, here on the other hand, a mild 10-25 degrees in a bright sunny day is absolutely amazing! Not too hot, not too windy and the chill is just right.

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16- Kilometers of cycling with a toddler rewards us some photo-ops in the Stables with lots of horses so shy from the camera.

My little old town, Ingolstadt,  can be explored extremely well on a bicycle.The cycling tours will take you through a typical Bavarian agricultural landscapes, Asparagus fields, and hop gardens scenic views to the south, up to the foothills of the Altmühltal nature park to the north. Pretty villages with public houses and Biergartens ( Beer garden) line the route.

We are joining our first Bike tour ( Biotopradwandertag 2017) this coming Sunday, with my toddler of course, so stay tuned for my stories later about it!

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Toddler and adventures kind of day!

However, much more than one day is needed to discover everything that Bavaria has to offer.If you are a tourist, a trip to the historical sites in the pedestrianized Old Town is a must.The easy-to-follow- biotop adventure path, with a total of 11km in length is also another option.The path consists of 18 stages. At each stage you can find out about the habitats of animals and plants and why do we need to protect them.This is an interesting cycling path for the nature lovers and for active cyclists.

Do you live in seasons? What’s the best way for you to enjoy Spring?

For me, soaking up under the sun, cycling til my ass hurts,BBQ and picnic outdoors, admiring the golden rapeseed fields, and chilling’ in beautiful gardens full of spring blooms! Sure thing I do miss the beach back then in Kuwait and the island-hopping in the tropical islands back home in Ph, but then, spring time in Europe is not that bad. It is actually a whole new experience for me.

These are the moments in Spring that feels like summer–like having BBQ with friends in our garden, grilling the Bratwurst ,indulging in fresh green salads, eating ice cream almost every day (OMG! burn the calories through cycling! ) and finally, wearing sleeveless shirts and shorts!

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Always looking forward to the next cycling adventure!

I have a 2.5 year old toddler, and it’s absolutely not a problem! We bundled her up in the kindersitze and she also can have fresh air and outdoor times. Packed with lots of snacks and bag full of patience, off we go! Last week, we did a 15km ride to the East side of the city with my daughter and it was great. The great thing about cycling is that you get active, relax, meditate, at the same time enjoying some quality family time. I never imagined in my life that cycling could be this good, it will leave you craving for more and more. Once you learned to create adventures with your Bike, you’ll be cycling for life. Also,this is what I love about Germany–spending outdoors with family is a matter of priority!

Through our bicycle trips, we discovered many playgrounds. A pit stop to a nearby Spielplatz (playground) always makes the day and erase boredom from sitting in the bike.We always make it a point to explore nature, local sightings, and fun kid-friendly activities.

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Along the way, finding beauty in everything comes naturally. No filter needed even if I only uses my iPhone to capture photos because its handy.

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Orange poppies can be so lovely!

A pit stop in another lake on the other side of the city was totally worth the hours of cycling. The lake, surrounded with trees, boats sailing, swans swimming, and a cheerful crowd busy having BBQ’s, picnic and just lazing around the lake. The waters still too cold for a swim but I can see so many people put up their tents, camping and fishing. This place is a picture of a simple, serene escape from the busy-ness of the roads in the city.

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Old ladies chatting up with each other, under the tree, beside the lake.

Watching the time goes by while cycling and Wandertag with nature is the perfect Spring past time.

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Having some quiet time along the river

Cycling through the river Danube is one famous bike trails in Europe.The Danube cycle path is one of the best- known and passes through the unique,natural areas.There are many other interesting routes to explore, such as the Via Raetica along the historically Roman road. I live 10 minutes away from the banks of Danube river and this photo above is one of my favorite place to stop and just breathe in. It’s so peaceful!

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Discovering the beauty of Peonies

One can enjoy the scenic river views and enjoy the splashing from the little creeks with the ducks swimming by.  If you have time to kill, you can even catch your dinner from this point.This is also a great place to catch a sight of some birds. The extensive Donauauen ( the wooden areas on the banks of the Danube) stretch from west to east, making it a great starting point for any outdoor activity. If you got tired and needed to rest, there are enough platforms along the Danube to rest on and watch the flow of the river.

In the end,how far can you cycle will depend on your level of fitness.

 

Do you like cycling?

What’s your Bucket list for Spring?

If you like this post, make sure you followed my Blog to follow my Expat life stories here in Bavaria and Hey, do you like Art? I have a gallery of my personal Artwork posted in my Instagram, if you’d like to follow, you can view it Here.

Thank you for reading my friends, hoping everyone of you are enjoying the weekend!