Ladies Run Germany 2020

One of my Bucket list is doing a Marathon Run. Yes, I wanted to earn something like that, I wanted to do running, but then I know it takes guts and sweat. I think I would drop at the first kilometer or so. And nope, I am not looking for a new Hobby because I think I have too many already…but anyway, why run?

Then one day I just decided to do it…

The goal is to run and finish it…

I think it´s just human nature to dream about something, or putting something into a goal, even if its scary. I have a fast metabolism and I can say that I´m a very active person. I can only count the days where I feel sluggish or couching.But I´ve always felt that despite of this, I don´t feel physically fit, I feel tired, exhausted and though I don´t have too much cellulite to loose, I felt like something is missing in my stamina. I read a lot about running and it really strikes to me as something radical.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a numbers person, there’s no way you can ignore the stats on daily running and reduced cancer risk. According to medical science, if you run a mile every day, you have: 42% lower risk of esophageal cancer, 27% lower risk of liver cancer, 26% lower risk of lung cancer, 23% lower risk of kidney cancer, 16% lower risk of colon cancer, and 10% lower risk of breast cancer. Amazing, right?

I didn´t know that running can make me feel so good like this…

Running after all is not all about winning a race. It´s all about taking care of yourself, of finding the inner peace and doing good to your muscles and health being. There are also many cons about it but then it doess more good to your body. I love the fact that it elevates the happiness-induced chemicals in our bodies.

“When you run, your brain pumps out two powerful feel-good chemicals, endorphins and endocannabinoids. “

Besides, who can complain when you are running with a view like these?

I´ve always admire people who are into Sports, esp. runners. Those slim, lithe, strong ladies who run fast as fast as lightning and have beautiful athletic legs.they are invincible! For me, they are like gods, they are resilient and STRONG.I know it requires training, but then I know that what they are doing scares and challenging me at the same time…I´ve always asked myself If I can also do it?How far could I go, 3 km, 5 km, 15km, or 25km?

Running on a sunny day with the view of the River Danube

But that is a good kind of scare.

I actually did not expect my first run to be a virtual run! Of course because of Corona virus. Running with a goal alone is totally different against competing with others. As a beginner, It is a real struggle and no joke.It´s not actually about winning, its about doing something that you have never done before, and this is something that I have never done befogre. I was always hesitant and giving in to that small voice inside me that tells me to quit and don´t do it.

Is cycling better than running?

But then because of the Corona Virus Pandemic, marathon and sport running like this comes with restrictions! Running without the great crowds is also not that bad, in fact, it works for me the best. No distraction, no contact with others. It doesn´t matter where you are, with your friends or alone, Ladies Run Germany is definitely a good cause. This event is only for ladies who wants to run and do Nordic Walking for at least 5km as a start!

Nevertheless, it was a great experience and I absolutely will do it again and again.I think I got addicted to the end feeling when I am purged with sweat, plustered, worn out and stomach- empty! I can´t explain it but it´s a great feeling.When my muscles aches, it´s a kind of hurt that I am proud of. When I saw my dirty shoes and my wet sport clothes goes into the laundry, I know I got rid of something that I never like. It´s kind of getting addictive and I really look forward to run because my body feels better , stronger and healthier!

My Ladies Run Finisher Medal

I know that I finally found what sport I really love to do for the rest of my life. Now that I can still run, then I am going to do it.If I don´t run now, then when ? I am very grateful that I live in a neighborhood that people loves to run and we have great nature to enjoy. There are plenty of running paths to choose from. Aside from my usual leisure walkings, now I have more stamina to do long runs. I run almost 5 times a week, which I did mostly in the morning hours, sometimes late in the afternoon . It actually varies depending when I am free. Running on late afternoon is also great especially when I avoid too much heat from the sun.

Ladies Run Germany is a virtual run organized by Hikimus Events.Once I saw the advertisement about this event, I immediately registered to join the run on July 13, 2020. I only paid 25 Euros for the “Gold” Packet which includes a T-shirt, finisher medal, a certificate, and a chance to win the Event Game. It was an easy transaction and I received my packet on time before the event. I absolutely think that It´s a great idea to have something like this during this hard times.We need to be reminded that our health is our number one priority nowadays and we should do whatever it takes to protect us from Corona and staying fit.It´s great seeing all the other ladies all over Germany doing the same as I did, in fact they did more!

I admit that it was never easy. My muscles ache and my feet hurts. I gasped for air and I felt like giving up on the first days of my running routine.. They say that it takes at least 28 days for you to pick up a habit and It´s true.Everyday I desire for motivation and put back myself together to get it done. What helps me is also doing cardio exercises at home.

I run together with a friend and it was really fun.It helps to use a running App to track your distance goal and your progress each day. I realize that running for a daily mile is something doable–its not always because you want to lose weight. For me, it paves more for more time spent outdoors and staying fit.

You must do the things that you think you can´t do….

I know that for busy mothers like me, adapting anew sport and schedule can be challenging. But then, we need to be healthy as well to take care our kids.That’s an extra advantage for busy women who can’t seem to make other workouts or classes fit their lifestyle.” And remember: The best workout is the one you’ll actually do.

What´s the last thing that you have done that challenged you?

Summer days with Poppies

Standing bold and bright, fragile and beautiful against the wild sun.

Have you ever wondered what are the flowers included in the Flower of the Year Campaign (Blume des Jahres) in Germany?

I have no idea whatsoever, not until I came across this interesting list over Here. I find it really worthwhile to know that here in Germany they have such cause of protecting the Endangered Plants, let alone wild Flowers. Who would have cared? for others, they are just type of grass or weeds which grows wild on fields. Not so here ! They called it “Stiftung zum Schutze gefährdeter Pflanzen” , which was initiated by the wife of former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in 1985.The purpose of this campaign was to create public awareness about the ecological impacts and importance of wild flowers and protecting the endangered ones.

They published the flower of the year every October of the year in order to promote this campaign. I love plants and everything and I normally used to illustrate flowers as well using watercolor .I looked forward every year seeing them bloom like crazy in Spring through Summer !

I recalled writing about 2017´s Flower of the Year for Germany is the common Poppy, or well known as “Klatschmohn, or Papaver Rhoeas“. This year 2020 its the Bogbean or the Fieberklee.If you are curious about the official list of flowers, you can read more Here. I also found a very nice film about the Flower of the Year Fieberklee .

This Summer, I have done quite a lot of running and leisure walks to capture them. Even when we do some family trips, I tried to photographed them and these one are by far my favourites these year! If you are in Instagram, you will see that they are on top of feeds of people who love nature and plants.

I love the fact that they exude a different aura even when the sun is about to set. For those of you who are new to Germany, a sight of Mohn blumen feld is something to behold. I always love to take a walk in every flower fields nearby to admire them.I guess I love seeing them better than tall buildings!

Poppy flowers in Bavaria

I am planning to create a Flower journal and printed them once I am done compiling them. I remember when I was a child, we always made a calss project out of dried plants and flowers. We put the flowers and leaves in between the pages of book and let them dry for a while. Dried flowers have another charm and it creates a bit of nostalgia.Nowadays, I do it with lavender flowers!

During this time that we have restrictions because of Corona virus, out in the green nature is one of our favourite pastime.We love leisure walks and staying out of crowded areas is far by the best to get going. I am doing my runs in the morning and seeing them in different forms is enjoyable.Gazing at the vast flower fields for a moment is a time well spent and for me, never wasted. Wildflowers are reminders that seasons and nature go by their own course even without human to interfere. They just pop out of the blue!

Lovely Poppy fields I saw on our way to see a Castle
A quick stop and snapshot during a run

Compared with the mighty Tulips and Dandelions, they are quite humble beauties. The don´t need much, except lots of sunshine and rain to thrive.Streets and fields would be so dull without them I think.

Poppy flowers hidden with bushy weeds, creating contrast of pure wilderness

Speaking of flower love and urban gardening, I would like to put into writing how much I appreciate my local town when it comes to their love for plants and flowers. Every one is crazy pampering their own garden and balconies with plants! It´s a fact that Germans love gardening and plants, in all seasons.Because of Corona crisis, the Landesgartenshau 2020 were canceled so we were not able to see the flower show here in Ingolstadt. But the thing is, Landesgartenshau gave so many flowers and garden plants to people of Ingolstadt. We were one of the lucky recipients of the box filled with 6 different flowering plants donated by them.their aim is to bring joy to all plant lover and give them a bit of the flower charm in every garden here.People driving Audis and expensive cars lined up just to get these free plants!

I guess summer days would not be complete without Poppy flowers and the rest of wildflowers. Together with Sunflowers, they remind me that sunny days and warm feelings are free gifts to enjoy without a cost.Now that we are still under Corona crisis, walking into nature is one of the best theraphy that we can reward ourselves!

What´s your favorite flower?

Chasing Castles and Ruins

A hidden gem, the Burg Eltz in Rhineland Palatinate

Do you love castles?

I grew up dreaming of it and hoping that I see some in my lifetime. The moment that I moved in Germany, this dream have became somewhat reachable, and doable.See, we don´t have much palaces and castles from where I grew up, and in Kuwait where I also short-lived, there´s not much royalty castles to visit, although there is the Bayan Palace, the grand palace and official residence for the Amir of Kuwait. I see it everyday on my commute to work but I never had the chance to explore inside. I remember as a child, I normally build castles out of sands from the beach and for me, those are awesome.

Anyway, in a short period of time that I am living here in Bavaria, I have discovered (some ) castles and ruins that are worth sharing. If you´re in the vicinity, you might try to visit them. Actually, its not easy for me to visit castles and ruins, given that I have a young child with me that easily gots bohred in closed places! With that in consideration,it´s actually not her “ playground” and she cannot run around especially when there are things bound to break . We avoid the long tours and we always take her into consideration whenever we have the chance to visit and explore one.A child easily gets bored and most castles have steep stairs, dark, and somewhat eerie for a child.Nevertheless, the display of Knights and royal mementos can somewhat amaze a young visitor!

Germany is definitely a land of castles, and ruins. There´s plenty of it that its hard to choose which one is the better than the renowned Neuschwanstein and the long list of other beautiful ones! What I found so interesting is that most castles in Germany are built in strategic locations—either on top of a mountain, hill, on a cliff, or to something of a hidden route.In most castles that we´ve seen, we always need to climb up, trek and do some hiking before we where there.It requires an effort but good thing most of them are accessible even to handicapped persons. Mainly because practically, they are built for defensive purposes, and yes, they are a symbol of power during Medieval times!

I can only share a few which we visited but I still have a long list of castles that I really love to see someday. Some castles have been well maintained, but then some are totally left in ruins.Anyway, let´s get acquainted with different German terminologies regarding Castles. You might find this very helpful why they have so many names about it where the rest of the world only refers to it as “castles“.

This view awaits after the hike to explore the ruins of Rabenstein Castle , the oldest of the three castles .Once you reached this far, you will have a magnificent view of the main Danube canal, Altmühl valley and the Prunn Castle from a far.
On top of the ruins of Rabestein Castle in Riedenburg, in the vicinity of Altmühltal valley in Bavaria
Not only Kings and Queen lives in a Palace, also Knights in shining Armor.

In Germany, we have “Burg” (Castle) which means strong, fortified buildings. Then we have” Schloss ” where a certain Royal family lives, a king or Queen have lived here. Schloss can also mean a large Manor House where noble families lives.” Festung” is Fortress, which by the name denotes means a fortified ,large and secured castle.It is normally surrounded with walls and built up on high place.

The first castle that I´ve seen and made me developed this quest is Burg Eltz located in West Germany, in Rhineland-Palatinate. I travelled here with my 1 year old daughter way back then. I love the mystery it holds, right upon the first time I ever saw it. It is well tucked in the middle of the forest and getting there is really something.This castle dates from 12th century.It is very well maintained and the tour inside is impecabble.This castle has been owned by the Eltz family. Location wise, it is a very beautiful castle.It looks so romantic, and really brings you back to Medieval times!I am glad I was able to see its 850 years of history! It´s not surprising that it is considered as a German treasure since it is once featured in a 500 DM note from 1961-1995! Writing this makes me dream again of seeing it once again.Here´s my fairytale trip in Burg Eltz.

Here in Bavaria, southern part of Germany, Schloss Prunn is known to be the jewel of Riedenburg, the heart of Altmühl valley. Prunn Castle is one the best preserved Knight castle in Bavaria.It is located 70 meters above the Altmühl valley so its famous for a wonderful panoramic views.We visited this castle during Corona times , we were the only guest inside the castle since we were early to avoid the crowds.The view from above is amazing!

On top of the mountain sits the ruins of Burg Randeck.
The neighborhood of Knights ( Burg Randeck)
Panoramic views of Altmühltal valley

After Burg Prunn, we drive in the vicinity of Essing to check out the ruins of Burg Randeck.This is another lovey area within the Altmühl valley where we see well preserved bridges.Burg Randeck is a well preserved castle ruins known to be ” Robber Knight´s nest ” which is now owned by Essing Market.Burg Randeck provides us once again with a marvelous views of the nature valley of Altmühltal.The ssuspension bridges against the blue green rivers are sights not to be missed as well as the quaint little town of Essing. Make sure to climb up the ruins up to the Castle dungeon and Hunger tower because it will reward you with breathtaking views especially on a clear sunny day.

My everday view, our very own New Castle here in Ingolstadt, here shown on the background photo from Klenzepark.
Falcon show at Schloss Rosenberg ( Falkenhof)

Another fascinating castle in the vicinity of Altmühltal valley is Schloss Rosenberg also known as Falkenhof.This is another castle situated high ridge of the Altmühl valley.We had a unique experience of seeing the Falcon show where we see amazing art of training Falcons, eagles and owls.There is an outstanding Museum about the history of Falcontry,as well as birds of prey and other local wildlife.

We did another hike and explohre another ruins which really took us by surprise.The ruins of the Rabenstein Castle is located on a mountain slope near Rosenberg.The trek was narrow but then the views are very beautiful, this ruins is from a small medieval castle, probably from the 12th century, and is the oldest of the three castle complexes in Riedenburg. It is believed that the builders were the Rabensteiners, since an Albert von Rabenstein was mentioned in a document in the 13th century.What is amazing is that we saw Burg Prunn and the quaint town of Riedenburg.

On a cycling tour to chase some castles in Neuburg an der Donau with this one!

We did a 23 km cycling tour to Neuburg an der Donau and here we saw “Jagdschloss Grünau“. The Grünau Castle is located about 7 kilometers east of Neuburg an der Donau and is in between the largest forest in Central Europe.This castle is an example of early Renaissance architecture.the Wittelsbach Count Palatine Ottheinrich had it builht as a proof of his love for his wife Susanna.It was originally built as a moated castle, but the trenches have now been silted up.

Grünau´s castle´s impressive Facade

Also in Neuburg an der Donau is another beautiful palace called Residenzschloss Neuburg.Some parts of it were under renovation during our visit but then there are so many highlights to be seen including the inner courtyard.This palace is an important early Renaissance building built by Count Palatine Ottheinrich from 1530 to 1545.The palace chapel is the oldest churh building in Bavaria and the Frescoes were done by Hans Bocksberger.The castle courtyard is equipped with a sgraffiti facade, which shows scenes from the Old Testament by Hans Schroer (after 1555).

Beautiful Frescoes in the Rezidenzschloss Neuburg
The beautiful town of Neuburg an der Donau

We made a daytrip and went to visit the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg. The historical “Kaiserburg” also known as the the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg is the most important symbol of Nuremberg. Though this city was heavily bombed from WW II, the city has restored most of its iconic structures including this castle. Just like any other castle, this castle holds an important part of history. This castle is in fact one of the most important fortresses in the whole of Germany and was first mentioned in 1105. From 1050 to 1571, all holy Roman Emperors resided in this castle. One of the largest and most modern youth hostels in Germany is located in one of the former Imperial stables.

The tower of Nuremberg Imperial Palace against the blue skies in Bayern.

Hiking this palace with a stroller is quite tough.It can be challenging gainst the warm summer so if you want to explore this with children, better to schedule your trip wisely.The views from above is worth the effort.

Nuremberg Castle

Notable things to check on in this Xastle is the Deep Well . The well house is located in the center of the outer Bailey. The shaft of the well was hewn into the rock to a depth of 47 meters. A highlight of the visit is also the round Sinwell Tower (“sinwell” Middle High German = very round), which was built as a keep for the Imperial Castle in the 2nd half of the 13th century; the topmost storey and the interior wooden roof construction were built in the 1560s.More about this Castle will be found on my separate Post about Imperial Castle Nuremberg.

Our very own Neues Schloss in Ingolstadt. Here standing like a magical palace beneath the snow during Winter.

Of course how can I forget about our very own New Castle located here in Ingolstadt.New Castle (Neues Schloss) is propably one of the most important Gothic secular buildings here in Bavaria.Now it is the home of the Armee Museum in Bavaria. One of the worthwhile things to see is the ray of unique Cannons with lion heads.

How about you, when was the last time you´ve been in a castle?As for me, I love castles, but not fairytales. I think we can never be royals, but then we can visit Palaces and Castles

Until next time on our new Expat adventures! Bleib gesund, stay healthy and Tschüss!