Fields of Gold: Rapeseeds in Bavaria

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The power of Rapeseed flower, a source of efficient and inexpensive source of energy.

April flies so fast, leaving me with its willful rains, hail and  more spring chills. With May now in my doorstep,  I know that summer is fast approaching, I notice so many sudden changes everywhere. I love changes, but sometimes, I felt like everything goes in synchronized motion and I need to keep up in my own pace. Here in  Bavaria, changes are so evident, my surroundings becomes greener once again. The grass gets luscious and growth is seen in everything. I asked myself, have I changed as well?

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The Yellow fields of Rapeseed in Germany, Spring 2017.

I wonder how on earth these plants grew up so fast! they’ve grown so much overnight! A month ago, the trees are still so bald and now, they are towering again with their succulent leaves.

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The charming Canola ‘Rapeseed’ flower

Yesterday, it was a beautiful day. We decided to take our bicycles and went for a spin with my daughter. Around 7a.m., the streets are already flooded with active Germans ready to soak up in the sun. We cycled and we were surprised that in the west side part of the city lies the ‘Fields of Gold’ or the massive ‘rapeseed‘ blooming with yellow  blooms. It was a surreal feeling cycling along these fields. I mean, I can’t stop but feel cheerful when I’m seeing this kind of view. No one can’t miss this sight especially when they are driving along this area, add the fact of the pungent odor that you’ll smell when you are near to the rapeseed fields.

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Rapeseed fields with the tower of the Liebfrauenmünster in the background.

I had the same feeling when I gazed upon the gorgeous Tulips fields in Lisse, in the Netherlands, but I didn’t know that just a few kilometers away from where we lived lies a scenic view that we can enjoy on a fine, sunny day! Personally, I am not immune to the allure of Spring, I love everything about blooming flowers and fascinating flora that showcase their beauty during Springtime. I know it’s an allergy season, but at the same time, a time of ‘Deutschland Dust ‘ season, or the pollen dust, which mainly comes from rapeseed flowers and other fragile wild flowers.

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Germany’s golden field of Rapeseed.

The first time I saw these fields were in the hilly side of Wurtzburg and from Hannover and Ostnabrück countryside.  I thought they were just normal weeds, I didn’t know their name.  Back then, I just thought they are a pretty sight! Yes, they are pretty, but they are one mighty source of ‘Biodiesel’, a very efficient and inexpensive source of energy.When combined with methanol, it yields rapeseed oil methyl ester. This is increasingly used as fuel in automobiles, although at this point, only about one to two percent of German cars are designed to run on it.

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One fine day with the Rapeseed fields..

Rapeseed, Canola flower fields are a typical Spring sight all over Germany.This plant ,or ( Brassica Napus)  is a bright yellow flowering member of the mustard or cabbage family along with 3,000 other species. “Canola” is a trademark for a hybrid variety of rape initially bred in Canada. Close relatives of this crop have been cultivated for food since the earliest recordings of man.Rapeseed, or rape, is used for vegetable oil; in fact, it’s the source of canola seeds and canola oil.

Quite interesting that most farmers plant Rapeseed after the Fall harvest, one can easily mistaken it as a simple ground covering for the cold winter months, but then , after 3-4 months, these plants turn a dull, grey fields into one scenic golden valley of golden blooms. Think about smart farming!

What do you think of German countryside?, isn’t it beautiful?

 

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Thank you for reading friends, wishing everyone a great week ahead!

 

 

National Tulip Day in the Netherlands

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Fresh tulips in the house
Yesterday was  National Tulip Day in the Netherlands. Everyone is free to pick tulips in the ‘picking garden ‘in the Dam square in Amsterdam. Bursting with around 200,000 tulips on display, an event that should not be missed if you’re in town. More than 10,000 people come and pick their own free tulip, and you know what makes this event really rocks?  

You pick FREE tulips of your choice, with its bulbs,so you can bring Spring to your homes,All for FREE! The special theme for 2017 is ‘Mondrian to Dutch Design’, as the Netherlands celebrates 100 years of De Stijl.

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National Tulip Day in the Netherlands
I don’t know about you , but one of the things that I love in this world are Tulips!  Although tulips originally came from Turkey, the Netherlands and Tulips are two things inseparable! Just like Curry wurst and Germany. Yesterday, my husband surprised me with a handful of fresh bulbs of flaming yellow-red tulips, as he always does. He knows that I loved them. The aftermath, of course, me taking some photos and getting some inspiration from it.

There’s something about its slim perfect skinny stem, the fresh long green leaves, and it’s cup petals  bursting with unique charm and beautiful vibrant colors. The “flames” and mosaic in the petals is a total stunner, a nature’s wonder. Tulips  is the ultimate symbolic flower for grace. No wonder tulips (Tulpen)  is  3rd world’s most popular flower! Such a surprise that I married a Dutchman and that tulips is just right in the doorsteps!

Did you know that the first Dutch’s financial bubble is because of tulips? Can’t believe that a single bulb of tulips could cost more than 10 times the annual  income of a skilled person! So precious…

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Tulip mania
The Dutch love affair with tulips during the Dutch Golden Age of the mid-1600s paved way  to tulip bulb bubble or also known as “Tulip Mania”.  Generally considered to be the first recorded financial bubble, the Tulip Mania of 1636-1637 was the time in which tulip bulb prices were propelled by speculators to incredible heights before collapsing and plunging the Dutch economy into a severe crisis that lasted for many years. Incredible, right?

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Graceful tulips
While it’s not the fanciest flower in the garden, the beauty and grace of a simple Tulips means it has become a symbol for many things. Here are some interesting facts about this flower that I have found out;

  • A dark or light-colored center contrasts against the petals and can symbolize a broken or light heart respectively.
  • Bright red is the color of passion and perfect love. Don’t send a bouquet of these flowers to a family member or you’ll be sending the wrong message!
  • Tulips are edible but not medicinal. They become emergency food during WW II.
  • Perfect, enduring love between partners or family members
  • Undying passionate love, whether the passion is spurned or returned
  • Royalty and a regal nature
  • Forgotten or neglected love
  • the 11th wedding anniversary
  • Abundance, prosperity, and indulgence
  • Charity and supporting the less fortunate

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The beauty and grace of a tulip flower
I fell in love with tulips even before I have seen a real one. Seeing it from the magazines and in TV made me dream to see it for real. I am just so engrossed in its form, and how delicate it looks and yet so proud. Same as an obsessed gardener, I have this urge to plant dozens of bulbs into our garden. Spring is still  far away from our doorsteps and yet, the sight of tulips in flower shops makes me dream of  bright sunny days ! There’s nothing compares to the sight of  fresh bunch of Tulip  in your hands, in a vase full of these inside your living room, even a single stem can really make a change in the ambiance of your place.

I can’t wait for Spring for our Easter trip to  finally see and visit Keukenhof  gardens to  indulge in the sight of these babies up close!

But for now, this sight is enough for me to look forward for more beautiful days!

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Tulips and a freshly baked Angel Food cake with warm cup of tea equals a perfect  winter weekend treat!

“A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different from a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower.” – Marianne Williamson

 

How did your weekend go? Have you seen something that inspired you?

 

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To love winter is a Privilege

From our recent trip to Austria where I have seen  surreal images of the beauty of snow during a cold Freezing January , I admit I was in love of this pure whiteness all over me. To tell you honestly, coming from one of the hottest country in the world,and grew up in a tropical climate where I only knew humidity, rain & scorching summer, the sight of the mountains, especially the Alps covered in snow, and walking through a gush of  a heavy snow fall, all day, all night, sure thing its a pretty sight. It’s overwhelming for the first time! My husband said ; you are asking for snow, now you have snow!

I can’t stop staring and capturing these moments. All the more that I was immediately smitten when I saw  from Snowmeltssomewhere  her wonderful captures of  the silence, beauty,  and the low visibility in the Finnish Lapland, covered in pure whiteness, almost unreal for someone who experience snow for the first time.

Then comes the second day, the third day and the rest of what we called nowadays, it all becomes…pretty normal. Almost everything. It’s still a winter wonderland, but the “wonder” diminishes gradually.

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To love Winter is a privilege

All I wanted to say is,  to love winter and snow is a privilege.

Because not everyone experience these changing seasons. I, myself was one of them. There are people from the other side of this planet who have never seen a single snowflake in their lives and for them, seeing a place like this is an absolute paradise. They would fly miles away just to see a winter wonderland and experience White Christmas, dressed up in winter clothes and  soak in the winter atmosphere. Yes, they have the right to brag about it. I remember seeing people in Kuwait during the months of December ~January  who dressed up in winter boots, faux fur coats and  wool jackets in a temperature of 10 degrees on a sunny day . Meanwhile, we would all be cycling and taking walks here in Germany in pullover and light jackets. Here in Bavaria, even with the minus temps & snowing, people still cycle to go to school and work, jogging, bringing out their kids in the cold, and walk their dogs on a freezing day. Same routines.

Not everyone have the chance to grow up in a winter wonderland place. I used to dream about snow and a white Christmas too. I wonder how a snowman is being built and how does it feel to ski or even ride a sled. I longed to know how does it feel, and taste the snow, and watch the magical snowflake falls on my face. I was so eager for this experience like a child.

But the fun ends and I won’t lie, I have these secret emotions and I don’t expect that every one of you can relate. Despite the beauty that I’m seeing, I can’t deny that I have these blues that engulfs me whenever I see all these whiteness and exhilarating coldness. I know complaining never helps because I don’t hate the cold, I am not just used to it.

Can anybody relate to my feelings?

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A walk into this winter wonderland.

This biting cold. It creeps to my bones and I can’t stand anymore even 3 seconds without my gloves. One time, in the middle of my Wandertags and my whole body  feels  a surge of panic to get inside immediately or else I couldn’t even  feel my face anymore. I’m afraid I might get a frostbite. I dunno what is a frostbite. No, not yet. That on weekends, I was dying for a bike ride but continuously hesitated, dreading the freezing wind in my face and I know my nose will just be stuffed and becomes runny. How annoying it is to remove your gloves, get a tissue, wipe your nose–all in repetition? Oh well if it itch somewhere, then…

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A christmas Ball covered in snow.

This panic of layering clothes. I am not so conscious but what exactly is Winter fashion?  Here in Germany, I can’t think of any fashion— only Function! You need to dress up for the weather. They say that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. But how much is too much? Is 3 layers enough? Unless you’re attending a very important meeting, your impeccable dress doesn’t matter. At home, dressing up a wiggling toddler is something that we do in haste nowadays, oftentimes leading to drama. Please tell me if you have any tips how can I make my daughter put on her mittens/gloves because it’s always a fight for her to keep it on. Before I could even put on my shoes, she already removed it.

 

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Time to work the messy work in Winter

It’s a hard work pushing! Winter is a lot of work. If I managed to push my daughter’s stroller in the snow-covered streets  for even an hour, then I don’t need to work out anymore. I needed to be cautious in my steps too, or I’ll end up landing my ass in the streets. Even buses I’ve seen have snow chains since roads with ice can be so slippery. Not fun at all. I’m just glad if we survive on a daily basis. Besides,  my toddler might ask me why we need to take walks in these minus temps, freezing cloudy days ,  when all the playgrounds have disappeared, literally!

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A Submerged Mercedes-Benz  in snow .

I’m sweating the moment I get in.I thought I felt cold but why I was sweating so much?  I should blame these layers that I wear. I can’t wait to untangle my scarf when entering a shop but dreading to put it on again after 5 minutes. Is it only me who thinks that drinking Hot chocolate everyday  makes me feel so bloated? I admit I have drink more tea nowadays more than I have ever drink tea in my whole life, also countless trips to the bathroom.

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A  statue covered in snow.

Happy hour is nowhere. No leisure walks outside means no sunsets to watch. It’s just grey & white there,then black. When I am dreading the 5:30 a.m wake up call knowing it’s still pitch black outside and that our days practically ends at 4:00 p.m when everything turns dark. Am I supposed to have early dinner and what else? go straight to bed?  Remembering back in Kuwait where we put on dark curtains just to shield out the bright sun and children are playing up until 1 am in the morning in the park. In winter, all fun is indoors after 4pm. Now that we are living in these changing seasons, the only time Germans go crazy to rush to go outside is when the sun decided to show up. It is a sunny day, but also very cold.

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Snow everywhere and a frozen bird house.

 

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A perfect  natural White Christmas Tree

These Heavy. Winter. Garb. The daunting feeling when you’re about to go outside and start getting dressed, and you grab your winter jacket, boots, hat & gloves. It has become your daily uniform. For quite sometime now. The streets suddenly become narrow  with all these people walking in their stuffy jackets. I wore 2-3  layers of socks sometimes and yet, my toes still feel cold. I must add that wearing tights & leggings becomes a daily struggle.

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I’m not stopping  by this time!

When some friends made  comments about how much they LOVE Winter and the only words that comes out from my mouth is–Yes, it is.  But deep inside, again, these silent emotions– the reality bites of winter. I am thinking how to give a polite answer with all these things in my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I love winter but sometimes it’s utterly depressing. I see it as everything is hibernating!  I love seeing the snowfall today, and I would love to watch it tomorrow ,again & again. I love-making snowman in our garden with my daughter, after all, I just had a complete winter garb this year, great finds I must say. I love everything about White Christmas too. My first Christkindlmarkt and our first Christmas here in Germany is all good memories although I’m not so fond of Glühwein! But…

 I  hope the warm sun touches my skin again and see  beautiful sunny days…can’t wait!

What about you, what do you like about Winter? Which one of the seasons is your favorite?

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When the sun stood still

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When the sun stood still…

Wordless Wednesday

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?

 

 

Last sunset for November

 

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Last Sunset in November
Yesterday, November ends with an intense fiery sunset. As I recalled, the day started with chilly winds and the frost hugged the hedges, fallen leaves and the grass felt crisp, stiff and frozen. As the day ends, I was able to make some photos when I peek into the sky and see the magical sight. If you don’t notice how beautiful the colors of the skies around you then I don’t know what else can amaze you…

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Fiery sky during the last Sunset in November
Sunsets are magical…as always it never fails to amaze me and this time of the year,the year’s shortest day comes at winter solstice. But, for Northern Hemisphere, earliest sunsets happen around early December. Did you notice that November flies quickly? Autumn will soon be over and the season continues to change. It has to make these changes.A month ago, I saw the trees still covered withtheir beautiful colorful leaves, but now they are almost bald, bare and stiff. Most plants are on their pathway to decay…only few leaves are still holding on. The air keeps getting colder and colder each day and there’s no stopping that this year will soon come to an end.

 Are you ready for the remaining days of 2016?

Each and everyday there is something new presented and it is for this reason that the breathtaking sunsets are one of my favorites aspects of the day  approaching the winter days.

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Last sunset in November 
Before saying Hello to December, I was left with postcards of beautiful sunset, a keepsake that reminds me that in another time, the sun will come out again, in full colors and once again, displaying its beauty,always there to bring wonders.

How did your November go?

 

Modern nomad

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A Day in the life of a vegetable vendor in Kuwait

Typical sight inside the Souk Mubarakiya in Kuwait, during the not-so busy times inside the wet market. Almost half of this old man’s life is spent as Expat in Kuwait, inside the souk working as a vendor and rumbling in the streets of Kuwait City. “Baba”  whom I fondly called him as I haggle for the fresh vegetables he is selling. Like the story of one Tea Boy ,life goes on like this, counting the days where a certain “magic”could happen and change the course of his routine, in his life spent as a modern nomad , or also known as Expat.

Do you like visiting wet markets? What fascinates you the most?

 

 

Atmospheric optics

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The view from our Kitchen this morning.

After grey skies and rain almost everyday, I was surprised to watch something different this morning. The colors of the sky is just too beautiful for me to ignore. While everyone was still sleeping and the cold wind is creeping into my pyjamas, I put on my jacket, get my camera and through my sleep deprived-eyes– I watched in silence as the sky shows its atmospheric optics. I began to take some photos,and savor the fleeting moment.

Watching this particular sunrise made me wonder what is Atmospheric Optics? Red, orange and pink clouds occur almost entirely at sunrise and sunset and are the result of the scattering of sunlight by the atmosphere. I have written about my amazement when I witness an hour of Fireworks display but this one beats that Guinness world record, mainly because this one is natural, uncontrolled, raw, and genuine work of nature. As every sunrise is different everyday, a beautiful sunrise is already a  Priceless world record.

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Beautiful sunrise today right in our neighborhood
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Priceless world record : Atmospheric optics today Nov. 18,2016

I have already shared many times  my reasons why I love sunrises and sunsets, and even now that I’m living here in Germany, I still do. It is my habitual habit to always look from the window and check the skies. I would always get up early just to witness anything like this. It’s really worth it, because some things are really not!

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My own private party in the sky this morning

I feel sluggish waking up so early but this beauty is so overwhelming. It’s like a free slideshow, doesn’t cost anything, and all I have to do is get out there and witness it. What If I decided to wake up til my alarm goes up? For the past days I am feeling gloomy because of the weather and today I had been out for a treat. I don’t know about you but gazing up and sun-gazing provide healing for me–not in a way that I am sick, but it just made me feel better, about myself, and of the world. Now I know why our ancestors worship the sun for so many reasons.

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The tiny houses looks out-of-place from the beautiful trivalent backdrop caused by atmospheric optics display.

What’s the first thing you do upon waking up and before going to work? If you respond by taking shower then you are definitely missing out on something.

Take time to look outside from your window–even for a brief moment,your inspiration might be there. I just did.

Goodnight my friends and thank you for stopping by to read! Hoping that you all have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

October thoughts and Autumn spells

Chilly winds, foggy mornings, kids going crazy about Horse Chestnuts, pumpkins all over, Bavarians in wool sweaters, hot chocolate drinks, dried crispy leaves, edgy boots on sale,warm leggings and wool socks, the smell of freshly baked pies, and of course, Halloween mania. Halloween here might be unique since Frankenstein was ‘born’ and created here in Bavaria.

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Drenched in October rains…
When Sharon of Sunshine and Celandines brag about her Wildlife snaps in October, I thought it might be a great idea to document a post about how Fall looks like here in my side of the world and putting into writing my thoughts on it. After all, I live here now, and I’m trying to integrate as much as possible, living like a local. Seeing things like a local does.

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Thoughts on October : One of the hardest things to do in life is letting go of what you thought was real…and moving on.
I have been looking forward  to my first Autumn here in Bavaria. As I walked around, I could  see that most trees are still green but starting to fade away. Now that it is only  mid-October, temps could go as low as 2 deg C and definitely not a leggings weather for me anymore. Almost everyday , foggy mornings greeted us in our doorsteps, making it so hard to wake up.

Sometimes I think that it’s so strange to find everything so beautiful during Autumn, where in fact, everything is actually dying. Don’t you think so?

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Autumn leaves I have collected from our walks.I am planning to make a wreath out of these or just let the Toddler crush it.

Autumn, the season that teaches us that change can be beautiful. Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall.  I still couldn’t believe that it’s been a quarter of the year already that I’m living here. Would I still feel the same after 3 years? Would I still be amazed by Autumn? Maybe still too early to say, but then I’m starting to get a hang of the changes.Living here is actually not that bad.

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The only leaf and budding flower leaf on this tree.

There is something beautiful and revitalizing about October. I have done some leaf-watching and I observed that when the leaves fall the world is surrendering, letting go of the pieces and parts that can no longer serve in a positive way.

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The season where molds shows its best colors too!
While wandering on my weekly Wandertags, I noticed that trees hold strong to their core and survive the storms; but every good tree knows that as time goes by, the leaves will come back and we all get to start again.I still need to be more like the trees, and let the dead leaves drop. The good thing about wandering, you get so close to nature and you witness how beautiful they are despite what changes in season they are in.

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The colors of Fall in Bavaria
Of course, Autumn won’t be complete without comfort food, and home made baking. Recently,I got inspired by one of my dear friend, Ann of GrubbsnCritters for doing some Fall baking. You’ve got to love her crazy spooky Casper’s  Pannakoek (Pancakes)  and so I decided to go hunt some new ingredients to make something yummy as we snuggled up in this sweater season.I started it by making some German Chocolate Almond Pudding. I was invited by my German friend on her birthday last week and she made one so I grab her recipe and make one for my family. I’ve learned that during birthdays, they are making their own cakes here. Not like in Kuwait that there’s so many bakeshop where you can buy cakes for any occassion. I’m planning to make some more, maybe the Orange Vanilla next time, or yet, the Pumpkin Spice.Thanks to google translate that helps me shopping for baking ingredients.

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My German Chocolate Almond Pudding 
You see,October here in Bavaria is turning out to be a beautiful month, and I wanna see it all in full bloom.

How’s Fall in your area look like? Do you also have a Fall Bucket list?

 

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Just write them on the water | H20

There’s a famous old Filipino saying  “Isulat mo na lang sa tubig “ (or Just write them on the water) . This phrase literally means;  forget it or erase from your memory ,or swipe it off. The thing is, any beautiful memory from water is too good  to forget. Unforgettable.

I just can’t write them on the water.

It lingers in my memory. It stays there & from time to time that I see images which relates to the place of bodies of water that I visited, the memories are enliven. I still remember how the water bubbles up in the crater of Taal Volcano that I visited last summer. The serene calm waters of the Mosel River viewed from the castle ruins in Landshut. I have fond memories how the waves play their music on early morning walks along the Arabian Gulf while the birds stand by the shore,awaiting for the sun to shine.Last week, I have the wondrous time chasing the Fog along the banks of the River Danube.

Every single encounter with H2O is unique. Every single memory of water is precious.

These certain H2O memory. Unforgettable as always.

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My Postcard memory of a Lake early this morning.Unforgettable, once again.

This morning, we cycle along the lake and I had to stop and take a photo of the water’s reflection in the water. Such a view that totally made my day.The crisp Autum breeze, the grey skies, and the sun barely peeking against the clouds makes this another panoramic memory that will linger in my mind.

Do you still remember the first time you swam in the beach, or in a river? Or how was your first dive? snorkeling perhaps? or even your first sailing trip?

 Does water really can hold memories as much as our brains do?

This post is in response to this week’s Photo challenge | H2O