Neuschwanstein Castle: A Fairytale land in Bavaria

Schloss Neuschwanstein, a Fairytale castle in Bavaria

Defintely a dream come true for me.

Since I came here in Germany, I put this castle in my top Bucket list to see.I was bent on seeing as many castles and Palaces anyway, so I think I just hit one of my top pyramids! Schloss Neuswanstein is indeed beautiful,unforgettable, charming,and a place that you should see once in your lifetime!

Have you ever seen a place so beautiful that you just can´t believe if it really looks the same in real?

Neuschwanstein is like that. It is something to pursue. It was not an easy trip to go there,nor short. It takes time and difficulty to see something like this….but then it was all worth it.

From the moment I saw a glimpse of it, I was really excited. I am fidgeting from the moment we drive through the Castle roads and enter the parking area. I have been waiting for this for a long time and now I can´t believe that I just had a peek of its towers hidden from the trees. It´s dirty white towering peaks and slender towers looked so graceful against the sun, she looked so fragile, so beautifully hidden in the trees, right up there on top of Säuling mountain, surrounded with beautiful lakes and nestled on top, with twonderful views of the Bavarian Alps. I love everything about Schloss Neuschwanstein, no question about it. First, I even thought that it is not real castle and only a product of multimedia drawing. Now I understand why Walt Disney was inspired to use this castle for his Disneyland fairy tale Castle for Sleeping Beauty. He himself and his wife visited this castle before opening Disneyland in 1955. He also had to see it first and believe!

Neauschwanstein Castle, the Castle that survived 2 World Wars

Just look at it…even from a far its a dream to see!

I still actually can´t believe that finally I have seen it with my own eyes. The rumors were true and photos from Internet didn´t actually do justice. It is real and not just a tell-tale inspiration from a Disney movie.Everything about this Castle is beautiful, majestic, unbelievable, and unique.Thanks to one and only —King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

If you see Neuschwanstein, you will think about King Ludwig II.

I live in Bavaria (or Bayern), the southern part of Germany, the land of Lederhösen and Dirndls, where Beer is gold and home of some of the world´s finest cars, where Castles and Palaces are as many as Sausages.This region is the largest “Bundesland” in Germany so knowing about King Ludwig II came naturally for me.He was so young when he ascended to the throne as a King at the age of 18 and start to build Neuschwanstein at age of 23.Bavaria is full of remembrance of him. Streets, Halls, Restaurants, churces, schools, Libraries,etc…all attributed to him.

One thing; He loves to build over the top, and beautiful things—and Neuschwanstein is his masterpiece.

He has a magnificent taste and vivid artistic imagination. He is not an engineer or an Architect but he had for sure a clear vision. Some called him Märchenkönig ( Fairytale King), and the Swan King, but then yes, He is born to rule Bavaria, he has noble blood, and he surely want a beautiful place to spent the rest of his life.His life did not have a” happily-ever-after” ending, since he died in a tragic way, but then He managed to left his legacy. He allowed us to enter into his dreamworld.the world he created where we can visit now.

Some call hime crazy, lunatic, eccentric King of Bavaria, but imagine if its not for him, then there would be no Neuschwanstein Castle to this day.

Just imagine that...

New Swan Stone Castle ( or Neuschswanstein)

Now I know why this place is definitely the number 1 tourist destination in Germany, (apart from Oktoberfest) and of course to the whole world!Every year, approx. 1,3 million people visited this castle in a year.More than 61 Million people already visited this castle since it was opened after King Ludwig´s death in 1886.We visited this castle in late Summer, so I know how it really looks with all the crowds. Despite the Pandemic, it´s unbelievable that as many as 6,000 thousand tourists a day rushed to see this beauty especially in summer season.

Even Corona virus cannot stop people from seein this beautiful castle!

Enough said, Neuschwanstein offers the majestic views of the German Alps.Perched on the top of lush greens of Säuling hilly landscape, it offers a panoramic views that can make anybody realize how beautiful the nature in this area.It creates an enigma, it can be mesmerizing to just gaze upon.

This photo I took while we are hiking through the Pöllat Gorge ( Pöllat Waterfalls). It was not an easy hike but looking at this castle above me kept me going.

It is crazy that this castle is as big as 65,000 square feet,but then it is built intended to be King Ludwig´s home.He wanted to live here, and make this place as his holy retreat ground, his dreamworld. It is even ironic that it has a Throne Hall inside, but then there is no throne at all.

Majestic views from the Marienbücke, the Höhenschwangau Palace, the Alpsee and the beautiful valley of Schwangau and Füssen, with the Alps in the background.
King Ludwig II certainly chosed an idyllic location for his Fairytale Castle.

I was really thinking why did he choose this location to built Neuschwanstein.But then, I know he has good reasons…just look at the views! and we know that it´s not only because of the views.

Probably this castle is his ultimate realization of his imaginary kingdom…

He was born in Nymphenburg Palace in Münich which is another beautiful Palace, with nice gardens. He spent most of his childhood in Höhenschwangau Palace, in Schwangau, near Füssen, in Southwest Germany. From Höhenschwangau Palace, you can view the Neuschwanstein , and same as the other. This palace serves as his family´s summer residence. It´s no wonder he got fond of the idyllic surroundings of the lush green Alpine foothills, Pöllat Gorge ( Pöllat Waterfalls) and the turquoise waters of the Alpsee, and the large Forgensee Reservoirs.

The Neuschwanstein Castle, the renowned 19th century Romanesque Revival castle, inspired by German Knights and Castle.
A lovelock attached to the historical Bridge over a Waterfall, the Marienbrücke ( Queen Mary´s Bridge)

King Ludwig even built a bridge named after his Mother, Queen Mary of Prussia, the Marienbrücke. This bridge is very important, its like a gateway to enter a dream of fairy tale that He created. Nowadays, this bridge is a place where people like me can see from a far that this castle is a work of man, nestled in a sacred sanctuary of the mountains and surrounded by the glory of Alps.This is one of the best locations to take postcard worthy pictures of the castle.Imagine that in Summer, thousands of people stand in awe in this bridge just to admire this castle.

On our visit last week, we viewed this castle with a mask, we walked through this bridge and forget for a moment about the scare of the virus and just felt thankful that we are still alive, and blessed to see such sights!

Neuschwanstein is on top, literally and figuratively.It´s the Number 1 Tourist Magnet in Bavaria, and in Germany.

If you ever wondered how does it look inside, then here is a sneak peek and more details how the interiors were built.

This place is indeed an escape from reality. It´s a great monument where dreams of one man became to life. It depicts the life story of a one man, a King who became engrossed with musicals, theater, poetry , opera and myths, but then created something that lives up up to this day. You can never avoid thinking about King Ludwig II once you´ve seen Neuschwanstein.It is impossible.

Neuschwanstein made me realized that Fairy tales, knights in shining armor, kings and queen, and horse driven gold carriages are tiny bits of dreams made into reality.During these crazy times of Pandemic, where the scare of Corona virus is larger than life itself, seeing this place made me feel grateful, hopeful and at least reassured, that there´s still more to this life. That the beauty of nature is healing, and one man can do great things. Despite the Corona restrictions, we had the chance to see this beautiful dream...even for one day…

I am sure this won´t be the last time that we will visit this Castle…

Sunday Stills : Nymphenburg Palace München

“Pluto”
Another Pacale added on my Chasing Castles and Palaces quest in Germany— the Schloss Nymphenburg in Münich

It was no ordinary day, since its not everyday that we can walk through the Palace grounds of the renowned Summer destinations of the Royalties of Bavarian Kingdom, the former rulers of Bavaria, the Wittelsbach Family.Spending the morning walking through the garden park of Schloss Nymphenburg in Münich is indeed a worthwhile experience especially during this time of Pandemic.

Through A9 Autobahn, we reached this place in schedule, with only manageable traffic due to road repairs. Its still summer vacation (Ferien) here in Bavaria so schools are not yet open until 8th of September.We took this opportunity to do some short daytrips and Munich comes in hand. Here, no large crowds, at least no need for social distancing (although the Palace is strictly adhering to Corona measures as well as everywhere) since the park is really big, approx. 200 hectares, too bad we were not even able to explore all of it. I know that there are far more grand than this place but then the sight of it overwhelms me already. It spans at a frontal width of 632 meters and considered as one of the premiere Royal Palaces in Europe.Maybe not so famous as the Rezidenz palace and not as worldly as the Schloss Neuschwanstein, but then, it´s a beautiful and an elegant palace.

How many people or staff does it takes to clean the whole of this Palace?

How many hours does it takes to even clean it?”

Come to think of it, it was built within 4 centuries timeframe. Anyway, the Royalties and grandeur lifestyles are too much for me to dissect as of this time. I just went on admiring the Palace´s Facades, Architecture and Landscape.I have seen many things that I love about this place. Here looks so peaceful and tranquil. Maybe because of the water element and being surrounded with greens.It is a garden that you can let your worries about Corona virus swayed away. Beautiful flowers and schrubs surround the grand pathwalks . Ducks and swans are swimming gracefully in the calming waters that cascades in rhythmical motion.

Few runners ran past over us and I quite envy them. I know it would be wonderful to run and be lost in the Palace´s gardens.So many little nooks and pathwalks with hidden figures as well.

We wait for the Fountain to start.

The thing about being here early here is that we have the place by ourselves. Only the gardeners and few staffs can be seen at around quarter to 10. I saw the gardener raking the soil and making zen patterns on the ground, busying themselves caring about the plants and watering them.The weather is perfect, not to hot, and not a single sign of rain.Slowly, we are saying Goodbye to sweet but short German summer.

I snap some photos of some of the fine gold details I saw while entering the castle.The lamps and carvings of the doors and windows are quite enticing.We decided not to do the Tour of the interior of the Castle because my daughter gets bored with it and I just dont have the energy to deal with the drama.

I can´t have a good panoramic view of the whole palace but the entrance itself is so large and grand .Just imagine in the ancient times many Royalties driven by their golden horse carriages hop and stop in this entrance many times. I can´t imagine that King Ludwig II was born here as well.his collection of carriages are still displayed here.

This reminds me of the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg. I always love these ancient Greek and Roman God and Goddess sculptures spead all over the entire garden. They are like stone guarding the Palace.Come to think of it, most castles and palaces are heavily accessorized with sculptures and statues. The more, the grandier.Moreover, what´s not to love about statues? If they can talk, I am sure they tell us different stories from what we have read or heard.

The Stone Lion with the Palace´s Seal.What a dominant character that you can see all around Bavaria. Lion´s head is almost everywhere.In Berlin we go crazy looking for Painted Bears, but here, all we see is bunch of Lion´s statues, heads and sculptures.

I have heard that the palace also houses the Naturkundemuseum Mensch und Natur (“Museum of Man and Nature”), the Porzellanmuseum (“Porcelain Museum”) for the on-site porcelain manufacturer Nymphenburg, and the Marstallmuseum in it’s wings.

While roaming around the vast of the gardens, everyone can enjoy and discover numerous other smaller attractions: In addition to the Badenburg, Pagodenburg, and Amalienburg summer residences as well as the Magdalenenklause hermitage.There´s also the picturesque lake and streams and Fountains. Some of the attractions are unfortunately can only be viewed during summer seasons.

This is the Schlosscafe´in Palmenhaus. A green Oasis right inside the Palace garden´s premises. A place where visitors can enjoy warm drinks and cool their senses with ice cream surrounded with Palm trees.Of course, you can´t get in without a mask!

 Today only twelve (12) statues remain on the Nymphenburg Garden and four have been moved to the Grand Cascade. Generally male and female deities take turns. Most of the statues are made from Laaser and Sterzinger marble, the bases are made of Red Tegernsee marble or tuff.

Indeed it was a great day spent here in Nymphenburg Palace. Glad that I saw it in Summer. It looks quite dreary in a freezing Winter!

Interested about Castles? Here are some related Posts:

Chasing Castles and Palaces in Germany

The Fairy Tale castle of Burg Eltz

Kaiserburg Palace, Nürnberg

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!

For the love of Statues

I love to take photos of statues. For me, the weirder, the better. Small or huge it really doesn’t matter. The element of story behind it adds a super wow factor.Here in Germany, statues are part of every region, city or vicinity. Each city has its own distinctive statue, most especially famous persons that is being dedicated to.Since this is an Expat Blog, I thought it might be a great idea to share with you some of the things you can see if you happen to admire statues and monuments.

The Ludwigsbrunnen in Paradeplatz here in my old town of Ingolstadt in Bavaria, Germany

But not all statues can get your attention because somehow it just looks like a boulder. It takes something from the carved stone, bronze or wood that really caught your gaze. Then when your gaze is caught, you kept on staring, and searching, and then you look for more details. That’s the point of interest. Well I may not know all the facts about each statues, but anyway, I had fun gazing upon them.

What do you look in particular for statues?

I think travelling allows us to see different statues or by reading. The most common tourist trap is that people would always love to photograph something famous just to put it into journal of memories.Most people loved to pose beside it, making them as endless photo stop-pits. Everybody loves a selfie beside a famous sculpture or statues, because yes, it’s the thing nowadays. It’s a total giveaway saying “I’ve been here”… or “I have seen this!”

What are your favourite statues? Do you recognize them?

Here I wanna share with you a gallery of my photographed statues.I got them mainly from our short staycations here and over there. Some are famous, some are not. Some are great for me, but others really made an impression.The thing is, they have caught my attention and I love the fact that I’ve ever seen them.

A rather peculiar statue near the Dom of Utrecht, the Netherlands
Trains to Death, Trains to Life statue in Friedrichstr. in Berlin
The very loud and exquisite statues of Marriage Carousel

What’s your favourite so far?

Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Netherlands
The Giant in Wattens, in Swarovski Headquarters

I’ll be writing once again in the second part of this series especially that I have more photos of different statues that I’ve seen here in Germany.

But for now, I’ll say Tschüss, thank you so much for reading and following this Blog and have a safe week everyone!

Twisted |Golden Skeletons and caged Angels

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Golden Skeleton with scissors and a frantic Angel

I love visiting churches. I am not a religious person but I am a lover of beautiful buildings and architecture. Be it Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance or Modern Art, a great work is timeless. Speaking of churches, I love the peace and tranquility of being inside a solemn place of worship. I also felt the same amazement when I marveled  at the beauty of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait. Here in Germany, there are so many beautiful churches, in fact, too many to mention. In every city we visit, I always find time to visit historical churches and I am always left with wonder. They kind of look all the  same, all had distinct beauty that is worth of admiration, some  have captivating details and carries a legendary tale. Even for half an hour or so, I always felt being recharged when I let the silence while being inside a church. Walking through the marbled floors, sitting and saying a little prayer, marveling at the lines of statues and gazing up through the illuminated wall decorations and stained windows can be a worthwhile experience. So is the saying that when you travel, you become silent, then it makes you a storyteller in the end.

But churches can also be exhilarating! There are so much to see and so much history. One thing, what about the famous priests of kings buried in the crypt, the artists who painted the frescoes, or the reason why it was built?

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Beautiful frescoed ceiling of the Asam Kirche in München done by Cosmas Damian

The solemn stillness of cascading lights through the Holy Altars and grand statues of saints is more than enough to feed my curiosity. A quick look of the Rococo and Stucco designs, the elaborate paintings, or the exhilarating ceiling  vault designs can be stressful, at the same time interesting. Especially on a busy day full of sightseeing in a new city, churches provides an accent which makes any trip worthwhile.This is one of the reasons why  most churches here in Germany are  full of visitors, tourists, and of  religious groups.

Last week, my parents-in-law visited us for a few days so we decided to take a day-trip to show them a bit of  München. The weather was fine and as usual, Munich is super busy. After our visit in the Dino World in Olympia Park, we strolled along Marienplatz and along the Sendlingerstrasse   to check out Asam kirche, also known as St. Johann Nepomuk church. This church had left a lasting impression to me ever since I saw it last year. But this time, I saw another fascinating, yet twisted detail.

Just below the statue of St. Nepomuk lies a captivating golden sculpture of Skeleton, with a  giant scissors and about to cut a thread that an anxious Angel holds. In most churches, sculptures and statues of angels, saints and heavenly divinities are a normal sight, but this one is something different.If you’re keen enough , the skeleton signifies Death and He holds the scissors to cut the thread , obviously the Thread of Life that a frantic angel holds.

Twisted? Creepy, or unusual?

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The Golden Skeleton can cut the Thread of Life anytime

Asam Kirche is a Baroque Church in München, in southern part of Germany.Built around 1733 to 1746 by Asam Brothers, sculpture and stucco plaster Egid  Quirin Asam  and Architect/Painter Cosmas Damian Asam. They work closely together and are considered to be one of the prolific Artists in the Late Baroque period.Their notable works spread throughout Germany, particularly in Bavaria, and in Austria. They are also responsible for the impressive church that we have here in the Old Town of Ingolstadt, the Asam Church of Maria Viktoria.

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Details inside  Asam Kirche in Munich

They built the Asam Kirche for personal place of worship, in fact, they can see the church from their private dwelling house.If you love Architecture, then this place has full of notable details for you to enjoy.The gold-accented ceiling fresco “Life of Saint Nepomuk“is one of the masterpiece from the work  Cosmas Damian Asam.

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The elaborate ceiling fresco by Cosmas Damian

 

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With all the oddities and twisted allegories, this church is worthwhile to check out if you are planning to visit Munich. I must say that  the Asam Kirche is a hidden jewel, “klein aber fein ” ( small yet beautifully done). There’s a lot of hidden surprises that awaits for those who are willing to explore it!

 

 

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

 

Further Reading :

Majestic Dom in Trier , the oldest city in Germany

Architecture above the Liebfrauenmünster

Frauenkirche, the Church with the Devil’s Footprint

Rediscovering the Streets of Regensburg

 

 

 

Silence | If Statues can talk…

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Bronze statues in the Hofburg church in Innsbruck

Innsbruck has been marvelous so far, as it offers us complete diversity of things to see and explore. So far, we didn’t just marble on the magnificent snow-capped mountains , and devoured plateful  of  delectable Kaiserschmarrn, but we also found ourselves silenced and impressed by  these 28-larger than life Bronze Statues inside the Hofburg church, or formerly a Court church located in the Altstadt of Innsbruck, but now houses the cenotaph for one of the most important person in  history —Emperor Maximilian I, 22 March 1459 – 12 January 1519] the Holy Roman Emperor or also known as The King of the Germans.

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From what I’ve read and seen in this museum, He seemed to be a very  important person, just look at how grand his cenotaph is and considering the numerous tributes for him. Actually, the Hofkirche ( Court church) is built by his Grandson, Emperor Ferdinand I as a memorial for him,  and also houses the tomb of Tyrol’s  national hero, —Andreas Hofer.

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If Only statues can talk…

These large statues (200-250 cm) are really impressive. Compared to the white-washed busts we’ve seen in the Walhalla, these bronze statues are actually the ancestors, relatives, and heroes during the lifetime of Emperor Maximilian I. My daughter was delighted to see all of them. She keep on asking me who are they and what are their costumes? She is not even scared. I felt eerie for a moment especially looking at the fierce faces of the women, and the strength these figures emanates. They are even larger than I am so its really like seeing them for real!

If only  statues  can talk and tell stories by themselves…

 

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The cenotaph of Emperor Maximilian I lies in the center of the church

The great thing about visiting places like this is the experience itself. It is so much better to see this place rather than just reading about them. I know that it’s quite normal everyone that during Museum visits and the like, silence is observed, noise is forbidden most especially for religious relics like this.

Yes but how can you even make noises while visiting a cenotaph or a tomb?

The moment I stepped into this place, I was silenced by its beauty. The grandeur and  solemnity of this church, the architecture itself is a history in the making and the story behind this church. Imagine, the cenotaph itself took 80 years of construction!It is so true that when we are in awe, we are silenced.

Silence  is  golden for statues like these in Hofburg. Since only through silence that we can be able to fully appreciate the art behind it, the legacy of their existence and their part in history and in our modern times.

Silence is respect, paid in full, and observed in willingness.

It is just right that they have a place in history and we marvel in them.We should be silent. We can’t add anymore for their life story, it has been written and impregnated through their magnanimous effigy.

But then, If only statues can talk…

 

 

 

Inspired by this week’s DP Photo Challenge |Silence

800,000 Crystal Clouds In Swarovski Kristallwelten

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Crystal Clouds in Swarovski Kristallwelten by Andy Cao & Xavier Perrot 

Happy New Year to you my friends! Thank you and warm welcome to the Blog for my new followers.It’s great to see you all in this brand new year!

I am so sorry for a long absence and updating this Blog. All through out Christmas, my daughter has been sick and I was busy both studying in my Deutsch class and with the 2-weeks break, despite the silence and hustle of the Christmas season here in Germany, we manage to get through with everything!

We spent New Year’s Day visiting the world-famous headquarters of Swarovski Kristallwelten in Wattens, near Innsbruck, Austria. The weather was grey, gloomy and constant snow showers dampen our mood but we can’t afford to go up in the mountains due to bad weather so we decided to wander off to the hilly village of Wattens, a half-an hour drive from Innsbruck. It’s  New Year’s Day, so it was busy as usual,the arrival hall of the Crystal world is packed with many tourists from different places. The entrance ticket costs 19 Euros per person which gives a full admission through the museum. As for me and my family, we’re so glad to see this place because it really exceeds our expectation.  I was totally impressed of how magnificent the crystal world until I saw it with my own eyes. All my life, I have known Swarovski only  as the  crystal and fashion icon and its beautiful  jewelry line, nothing less. But seeing this place, I was really grateful to have this chance. More than the crystal jewelries I have seen in the store, I had no idea how beautiful the world can be with crystals and artistic craftmanship.

It’s winter time, the place is covered in snow.The  company is situated in the foot of the snow-capped Alps mountains .On the day of our visit, I noticed that the company  is undergoing a tremendous expansion, with its modern Arrival’s hall facing the face of Swarovski, the Giant” ,lying in the verdant hills of Wattens, the foliage-covered giant who spews a waterfall from his mouth and guards over a dozen fantastical crystal chambers beneath a hill. It is designed by artist André Heller, who guards its entrance into the shimmering wonderland.

All of these are owned by Swarovski— the 16 Sparkling Chambers of Wonders, the spacious 7.5 hectares  garden surrounding the Giant, the Play Tower and play area,the Labyrinth, Arts in the Garden, but the most impressive thing that caught my eyes is their “Crystal Clouds and the Mirror Pond “. 

With the gorgeous white snow-capped mountains on its background, the Swarovski headquarters evolved into a stunning place for everyone to enjoy. Now people of all ages can visit this place and not only see gems, and crystal jewelry but also left in awe of the wonders inside this place. After we enjoyed a delicious lunch in “Daniel’s Kristallwelten” restaurant, my eyes caught the display of greyish net-like stuff suspended in poles in the spacious garden and wondered what are those. So after we ate, we went out and explore this wonderful work of art.

Talking about Crystal technology of course, the new crowning piece of the beautiful garden is the Crystal Cloud, created by Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot. Formally trained as landscape architects, Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot embrace serendipity, trusting intuition as their guide. They juxtapose the landscape medium with unexpected materials: recycled glass, mother-of-pearl, crystals, fishing line, etc. These materials come to life in outdoor settings, releasing or refracting light, elevating the inherent imperfections as beauty marks.

This monumental installation drifts above the black Mirror Pool, inviting visitors to pause for moment and be inspired.  I, too, have gazed long enough to admire the concept behind this and wished that I have seen this in the night-time where the lights make it like a magical world or while its shimmering against the sun.

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Give the Mundane its beautiful due.

With a surface of around 1,400 square meters, this mystical masterpiece is the largest work of its kind in the world. The Crystal Cloud consists of around 800,000 hand-mounted Swarovski crystals.  Imagine that! The forest of columns holding up the crystal-laden, cloud-like wire structure is proof of this. Visitors can walk along a ramp that drops down into the middle of the pool, allowing them to experience the interplay of light and colours from the height of the water’s surface.

I found a beautiful video of how the Crystal clouds shimmer against a bright sunny day.

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800,000 hand mounted Swarovski Crystals in the Crystal Clouds in Swarovski Kristalwelten in Wattens, Austria

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A Beautiful work of Art in Swarovski Crystal World, Innsbruck, Austria

A descending path draws visitors to the Mirror Pool where the crystals’ light is captured like stars shimmering in the nocturnal sky – even in broad daylight. The innumerable fireflies create magic light; as if in an enchanted fairy tale garden, they flit and dance through the air and accompany the visitors across the footbridge.

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” Making Diamonds affordable for anyone”

The 1,400-square-metre Crystal Cloud is the centre-piece of the 7.5-hectare park, which opened in Wattens on 30 April. The cloud and pool are located in a shallow depression surrounded by graded banks and birch trees. Contoured mounds separate the park from the surrounding area.

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Crystal Clouds in the Swarovski Crystal Worlds

On December 3rd, 2015, CAO PERROT won the Best of Year 2015 Award in the installation category for the Crystal Cloud at Swarovski Crystal Worlds, Wattens (Austria). The award has been presented by the US Interior Design Magazine for the past 10 years. This year’s winner was decided by almost 60,000 voters from the architecture and design industry.

Do you own a diamond?

Not everyone can afford  real diamonds, but  Daniel Swarovski’s vision was to make “a diamond for everyone” by making crystals affordable, and it definitely become a dream come true for myself.

Fake diamonds or not, Swarovski crystals have proven that whether or not you could actually afford anything studded with actual Swarovski crystals, the Crystal Worlds is an incredible sight for anyone with a love of fantasy and this is how we spent the first day of this brand New Year!

How did you spent yours?

 

 

Thank you for reading my friends, Stay tuned for more posts about my Innsbruck holiday, and spending New Year’s Eve and enjoying winter pleasures in the Schlick 2000 Ski area  even if you have a motion sickness riding the cable cars!

Tschüss!

Hundertwasser and Kuchlbauer Tower : When Beer and Art meets

 

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Beer and Art? Why not, Welcome to Bavaria!  the world’s Beer capital and home of amazing architecture! As we continue with our trip to the Romantic & Historical roads of Bavaria, after Regensburg and Walhalla, our next stop was the quaint town of Abensberg.

Have you heard about Hunderwasser?

If you love Architecture, then I am sure that the name Hundertwasser rings a bell. He is one of the most successful painters of the 20th century. The famous and legendary Artist/ Architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser made it possible when He conceived from his amazing talent the birth of Abensberg’s famous landmark of Kuchlbauer World of Beer  : the Kuchlbauer Tower.

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The KunstHaus in Abensberg ( Designed, planned and built by Peter Pelikan, as inspired by works of Hundertwasser. )

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The Beer garden with the view of the Kuchlbauer Tower

The  Kuchlbauer Turm ( Kuchlbauer Tower) originally a 70 metre-high tower, planned  by Hunderwasser for Leonhard Salleck, the owner of the Brewery, but the tower of this height could not be built. After his death, his plans became the inspiration  for his long-standing Draftsman, Peter Pelikan who re-designed and planned the present tower. One look from these structures will tell you that they are crazy, and yet amazing work of art , a Beer Art Tower, architectural project which has becomes Abensberg’s most famous landmark as of today. It’s no wonder that this tower has been incorporated into Abensberg’s town logo giving it a distinct sense of obligation and responsibility. It’s not just a tower of Brewery, it is a symbol of legacy, a pride of Bavaria, and a tourist’s magnet.

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My Little Travel Buddy enjoying the view and the colorful artwork of Hundertwasser inside the KunstHaus

A tribute to Bavaria and its breweries, the tower symbolizes all the elements of beer and the art of brewing from which the region of Bavaria is world-famous for. Beer and Art  is a perfect combination, actually a great design concept to create something that art enthusiasts called “Masterpiece“and truly a work of Art. This is how I describe this place when I saw the Kunst Haus and see some of the works of Hundertwasser. If you want to know the tower’s conceptual meanings and symbolism, look into this. The Kuchlbauer Tower is also the place for Abensberg’s Christmas Market and attracting tourists from different parts of the world during Christmas season.

The KunstHaus Abensberg

Beside the Kuchlbauer Tower stands another beautiful work of Art —- the KunstHaus. A beautiful gallery and art museum that was designed and built by Peter Pelikan, a long-standing friend and Draftsman of Hundertwasser and the one who completed this project.  He worked closely with Hundertwasser and this structure reflects  the Artist’s famous dictum : “Beauty is a Panacea” ( or Schönheit ist ein Allheilmittel). It houses a souvenir shop, where one can buy the famous beer from the Brewery, an art museum which pays tribute to Hundertwasser’s life, paintings and artworks done all over the world. There is a multi-media room at the basement where shows his  life and teachings about Art, architecture, nature and life in general. This place is amazing and even though there are many stairs, my daughter loved to follow the colorful patterns in the floor, the models, and the old oven used by the Artist in his home in the province in Austria. Even the bathrooms are super colorful and I am sure that I am not the only one who couldn’t resist to take photos of it. Every corner has a fun, colorful detail and lovely patterns.

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Colorful bathroom inside the KunstHaus

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For Hundertwasser, art was not to be limited by any framework. An artist’s work should have an effect on all areas of life, be it on clothing or, through articles for everyday use, on daily life. Hundertwasser also created many objects intended to express his quest for beauty and for variety in all areas of life, but also his concern and commitment for the environment and for nature.

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A taste of the Beer legacy in Abensberg

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Nice details on the foot of the tower

A Beer Garden with a View

The tour ended with the visit to the Beer garten just beside the Tower. Included in the fees is a Beer and a Pretzel. How cozy it is to drink beer while we admire the tower behind us. It’s like a page in a fairy tale book. I was even thinking that I am in another world when I looked at the tower. We spent some time admiring the fascinating details of the tower and my daughter busied herself from the play areas in the Biergarten.

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Even before seeing this place, I was already inspired by Hundertwasser’s works and detailed approach in painting. I love his natural approach and technique. His style is very original, aesthetically appealing, and always amazed me. I reflect that Hundertwasser wanted to restore beauty and romanticism to their place in everyday life.

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I have painted a piece inspired by one of his works and learning more about his life and seeing this place for real makes me realize that even from his early days, his sense of unusual sense of color and form is very dominant. A true artist by heart which made a wide contribution to many parts of the world. I love everything about Mosaic painting and detailed paintings so I am really happy to visit this place. I am looking forward to see more of Hundertwasser’s work and I hope to visit them someday.

For now, I  will continue to do my passion, to paint from my heart.

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My painting inspired by Hunderwasser’s famous dictum: Beauty is a Panacea

So you see, Beer and Art are two prominent things in life, but art is eternal.

What can you say about Hunderwasser’s work and the Kuchlbauer Tower?

Is it too crazy? or larger than life?

If you love to see more of my personal artworks, make sure you check out my Instagram Page and  follow JustbluedutchArt’s facebook page. I want to thank those people who continuously appreciates my artwork, and supporting me as an artist and buying my paintings.

Until then, thank you for reading friends, see you in my next travel stories!

 

99 Names of God | Grand Mosque in Kuwait

The dome of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait is probably one of the most beautiful things created by man and the architecture influenced by Islamic faith in Kuwait.This unforgettable sight is also the center of this mosque (masjid al- kabeer ) and contains the 99 Names of God written around it.The dome of the mosque is 26 metres (85 ft) in diameter and 43 metres (141 ft) high, and is decorated with the Asma al-hosna.

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Dome of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait where the 99 Names of God is written.

According to tradition (hadith) there are 99 names of God in Islam, known as the ʾasmāʾu- llāhi l-ḥusnā (Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنى‎‎) “Beautiful Names of God” (also أسماء الحسنى asmāʾu-l-ḥusnā “Beautiful Names”).

I have made hundreds of photos in my 4 times visiting this Mosque together with my family and friends and each time, I always find so many notable architecture details worth mentioning. Now, as I remember my Expat days back then in Kuwait and exploring the local sightings, the Islamic touch always fascinates me, totally unforgettable .

What about you, what kind of local attractions attracts you the most?

This post is in response to this week’s DP photo challenge |Names

Early morning with a view | Neues Schloss

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Relaxing morning with a view of Neues Schloss

I love simple pleasures in life and one of those is having early morning reflections.Lately, where the air gets crisp and colder each day, there’s no better way to spend a quiet morning with a relaxing view like this, with the Neues Schloss seems floating along the peaceful Danube river. I am even grateful when the sun decided to bring sunshine even for a few hours. I have posted about New Castle for numerous times here, seen from different perspectives, but I just love to capture it also  in different seasons. I am bent on making better photos because I wanted to do justice to the beauty that’s in front of me.Nowadays that almost everything is covered with fog, frost and the other night, we had snow, well I think it’s that thin, drizzle of fresh snow! I am not so looking forward to the cold, but a sight of snow gives an excitement in my heart. Couldn’t believe that its only few more days, and then it’s Christmas. It will be our first Christmas here in Germany and so far, alles gut!

So again, I thought of dropping by a  visit to my favorite spot in front of the river, just in the front of Reduit Tilly where I can have a perfect view of the Kavalier and the Neues Schloss. I love the open Shanz architecture  and I found more details every time I visit. I love this particular view where I see a different perspective of the castle.Even with the blunder, the castle in the background always brings a nostalgic effect to me. This is the best postcard that I brought home from last week’s  Wandertag.

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A wire coated with frost creates a beautiful blunder for the castle

 

I have always been fascinated with castles and dreamed  of seeing one someday. It’s always been a childhood dream. I have always been looking forward to see real castles and even be inside of it! The thrill, the excitement, the sight and the whole experience of finally making it real is unforgettable.When I visited the Burg Eltz , I fell in love at it first sight, more like a fairy tale trip.First, Burg Eltz was a beautiful castle tucked in the middle of the forest. That makes it even more enigmatic. Walking inside the steep stairs and those grand cellars and viewing the  halls was a delight even thought I have a wiggling toddler wrapped in front of my chest. I grew up thinking that the Walt Disney’s Disneyland castle is the best, but then I moved to Germany and learned that there are so much  more than castles and fairy tales. That my Expat  life is even larger than what I think…it has its own reality bites. I am telling you, it’s not always good. Some days there are times I find myself clueless how can I get by especially now that I can’t speak ‘passable’ German yet. Even my thoughts are just a minute of a fraction of what I could be able to conceive from life itself.

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A new perspective of the New Castle,signalling a new chapter in my life.

But then, I know that in the absence of everything, then ANYTHING is possible. I know that the new castle in front of me has something in store for me here. Having new friends, learning the language, and finally integrating into a new culture gives me whole new motivation everyday.

For now, I feast my eyes from the beauty of nature that offers me everyday. Feeling grateful, and full of hope for better days.

How about you, do you like Castles?