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!

Bavarian Jura, wooden bridges and 18th century fountain in Essing

A painter´s dream , this wooden bridge is undeniably the most photographed landmark in Essing.

Last Sunday we took again another short trip to the nearby town of Essing. Essing is a small town in the Altmülhl valley , a few kilometers away from the vicinity of Kelheim and to its neighboring town of Riedenburg. Essing actually is a great stop over when exploring the Altmühl valley and Donaubruch. Nowadays,we are on the bent on exploring more and more of the bits of beautiful Bavarian Jura and nature sanctuary of Altmühltal. I guess we can´t explore them all in one time because every town has its own unique attraction to offer so we take it one at a time.

The impressive Holzbrücke in Essing

With much anticipation, this little town of Essing give us quite an impression and we would definitely go back to explore more. I still can´t get enough of the beautiful rock formations that we saw when we did the boat trip in Kelheim seeing the Weltenburg narrows, and again, we were surprised to see the same things here. We visited on Sunday so naturally most shops are closed. I don´t mind that shops are closed since we have no plans to mingle with crowds because of the worry of Corona infection. We always make it a point to restrain from crowded areas and always stay at a distance with other people. Besides, we prefer to absorbed ourselves with nature and fresh air always do us good.

Who can resist a beautiful, calming b-view like this? I took this photo above the Holzbrücke Tatzwürm in Essing overlooking the lush green nature, the magnificent rock formations and the calm waters of Danube river.

I noticed a crowd of hikers, some with bicycles and hiking sticks all flocking around and standing in awe admiring the beautiful landscape as much as we did.We arrived at around 10:30 in the morning,but we haven´t antcipated that it would be a chilly and windy, but nevertheless, the weather is great for walking so we moved on.First thing that gets my attention was the impressive suspension wooden bridge, the Holzbrücke Tatzwürm. For me is great because for one— it is really wood! It makes a squeaking sound and swing a bit once we run and walk. I heard that its one of the longest suspension bridge in Europe and span along the main Danube canal.

Designed by Architect J.Dietrich, the 200 meters long wooden bridge is the greatest contrast in the beautiful landscape of Altmültal valley.

I have read that this type of suspension bridge is quite common in the Altmühltal valley eversince the Roman times.They already made it in history when they built a large rope slope bridge over the Danube in Weltenburg.With so many modern bridges nowadays, I find it fascinating that they have kept their tradition and they maintain it through the ages.The total length of the bridge is approx. 193 meters, the clear width of the walkway is 3.20 meters. The construction is designed for a traffic load of 500 kg per m².We have enjoyed this bridge alone without any other people so we really had a wonderful view of the calm waters of the Danube, the rock formations, and the quaint row of houses along the canals.The scenery actually reminded me so much of Innsbruck, Amsterdam and Utrecht where they also have rows of houses , cafes and restaurants.

This place is definitely a place between limestone rocks and river. It´s like the early civilization here forged their way of live and history from the mosaic of Bavarian Jura , from Castle ruins to nature valleys to lakes, Danube river, and limestone bedrocks. Take for example their historical fountain located in front of the Town Hall ( Rathaus).This old fountain is the root of Essing since it is the first well that they have drawn fresh spring water.Decades ago, this fountain was the well of life of the people who lived here. They even preserved this legacy up until now by providing the story of this fountain as an integral part of this town.

At the other side of the other bridge ( Bruck and Bruckturm) besside the town city hall is a statue of a civilian soldier named Josef Deifl ( 1870) who wrote a diary (Tagebuch) about his gruesome experiences about the Napoleonic wars and his wish for eternal peace. He wrotes that he taught himself to write and read and that writing is not an Art, that he only need it for reading.

Writing about wishes for eternal Peace
The town´s city hall (Rathaus Essing)

We continue to explore the scenery beside the river and the majestic view of the mountain rocks. They also have a very nice art installations along the river.We were trying to look for a nearby playground but we are already getting hungry so we decided to try one of the Biergartens along the river. Biergartens are opened once again but let me tell you what has been changed. We chose the Schneider Biergarten which happened to be a hotel and Brewery as well. Of course we need to make distance, wear masks when going inside aside and provide our contact data to the reception.This is actually our first time again to eat out eversince the Corona Lockdown begins. We were always cautions about the infection so we are careful of the places we go.It feels weird actually, it is not the same anymore.

One thing still the same, a great ambiance and food makes the journey even more worthwhile.The Biergarten is not that full when we came in but then at around lunchtime, more and more people , mostly with reservations are coming in. There were also people waiting outside picking up their take away orders. I guess the great weather and the calming view of the waters is a great factor. We had a nice time, the food was great and the charm of this lovely little town is heartwarming!

How about you, how was your weekend so far?

Until next time my friends, thank you for stopping by and see you again in our next adventure! Tschüss!

Spaziergang– the one with mystical flair

After the rain where mists and dew become one

Let me share with you a really nice German word that I personally love, it´s Spaziergang. For non native German speakers like me, Google provides a simple and easy to digest definition of this word.

Spaziergang means ” a walk, taking a leisure walk ” or a ” stroll”

Etymology : Spazieren ( verb) + gang (spa*zier*gang)

Spaziergang ( M) (genitive –Spaziergangs or Spazierganges, plural – Spaziergänge)

Example when used in sentence : Viele Menschen machen am Sonntag einen Spaziergang mit ihrer Familie. / On Sunday, many people go for a walk with their families./

This morning I gazed outside the window and I saw a familiar face of one old man walking. He really takes a walk everyday, maybe 1-3 times a day and today was no exception. This is probably one of the word where I can perfectly describe my German neighbours and almost general here.They just love to be out, any time of the day, regardless of the season, in quarantine or not, people here loves to go for a walk or ” spazieren” . The other day, I was talking to some relatives in the Philippines and I have learned that they haven´t made a ” walk” for quite some time, all for various reasons. I have no time, I am too busy today, not allowed, too lazy, it´s raining, it´s hot …excuses are there and so on. Sometime its understandable, quite logical in these dire times of Pandemic. I just realized that there is really a huge difference between characters and lifestyle issues here and over there that I would not want to reiterate since its not the call of the hour.

Trying to recall my dreams from the day before today.

Now back to my story about this word .Spaziergang in other places where I lived is quite different, especially when the weather is quite challenging.In Kuwait, I often take long walks along the seaside. When I was pregnant, I walked in the seashore many times just to ease my aching feet . Seaside is very famous that almost everyone knows it, you can never get lost. Its a long strip of beach , the Arabian Gulf, beaming like diamonds in a blistering 48 degrees summer heat. It´s a nice scenery there especially during mild winter days, and also on very early summer mornings as well as when we don´t have dust storms. I missed those days where the only music I hear is the waves…. I have watched the tides being low and high, calm and clear…now going to the beach for me is quite a luxury.We are surrounded now with different kind of bodies of water which is also another paradise.

Here in Germany, people loved to take leisure walks. It is really a lifestyle that stands out everywhere. When people doesn´t cycle , you know they are walking. Sometimes I feel like if you don´t get out at least an hour a day, you are commiting a sin.I watched people of all ages do this, including myself. Germans takes walks for various reasons as well, but mainly, they loved to be out.Walking along the Danube river, in a park or forests can be a daily adventure trip. Walks are used for relaxation, recreation for families, or just simply observing and thoughtful leisure…or killing time, especially on Rühetag Sonntag ( Quiet Sundays).When the sun is out, people go out and take a walk to get under the sun, having a friend beside you walking and chatting is quite extravagant.Breathing fresh air, exercising in a form of ” brisk walking” is like a common changing your ” wallpaper”. You see,walking helps you see a different backdrop from nature especially during the change of seasons. A walk in the city is totally different experience from a walk from a quiet valley or countryside. A walk done through the weekdays is probably feels different when its on weekends.Here in Bayern, its very normal to see people walking with sticks, they say it makes walking easier, although I see it more frequently with old people.

Looking on the bright side side of life
Mornings reminds us to be grateful, to be thankful of life´s simple wonders

All of the above reasons, I did it all, all for the sake of ” walking”. In the early days, I would take a walk with my daughter in the stroller. In this way, I´ve got to know my new city and meet new people. Through “Spaziergang” , I have alearned to appreciate nature more, and made more pauses just to linger more with nature. It´s some kind of therapy as well. It´s a form of relaxing yourself aside from it is naturally healthy. I ´ve took a walk with my family, with friends, with my daughter, and yes, most of the time, I treasured the me-times or alone. There is a great consolation that I get when I took an early morning stroll and having a place all by myself. Most of the photos and inspiration from this Blog are the product of my daily Wandertags ( or strolling).

These photos are the ones I´ve took last week when we took a walk in the nearby town here in Ingolstadt. We were so early ( we always go out early to avoid crowds) that the trees and shrubs still have wet stems and misty. I totally got excited to take many photos and experiment with my camera.

When was the last time you took a walk? Have you enjoyed it?

Until next time friends, Stay safe and have a great week!

My Return to the yellow Rapeseed fields

After I saw them last year , I swore that I will be back again…and now I set my feet once again to the Golden Fields of Rapeseeds .

Back to the Fields of Gold in Germany

At this time of the year, from middle April up to mid May where we have mild Spring weather, acres and acres of golden sunny yellow bulbs of Rapeseed is my favorite Spring backdrop. And what´s not to love about them?They don´t cost a penny, but the experience is really nice. They are shiny, beautiful, glowing golden yellow in the bright sun! Everything about nature, especially the raw ones is a genuine stress reliever for me,and personally , I needed a different view aside from being contained at home for the past 42 days now! Due to Corona lockdown here in Germany, we stayed at home, maintained social distancing, don´t go out for unnecessary errands. We are not prisoners, we try to live as normal as possible.We are allowed to get out ( Only if we want to..!) to take a short walk with family members,exercise and do sports outside or just have a quick breath of fresh air because its also good for us ! Staying under the sun can boost your immune system.

The serene and tranquil beauty of the Rapeseeds fields in Bavaria, Germany

I looked forward to see the Rapeseed fields as early as the first days of Spring. I know that better and warm days are bound to come as soon as I see yellow bulbs in our neighborhood. With the daily stress of worrying on keeping ourselves protected from the deadly virus, and isolated, I have found refuge with nature. Here in Germany, I see people are living as normal as possible. Of course we are diligent in following the rules, but then I observed that people here are really disciplined, organized and bound to fight the spread of the virus.They also take care of their health, people of all ages exercise and move as much more and do something active.Yesterday, I felt really grateful living in this place where the government really care about the citizens. We finally received free masks !

And this is what the message I get whenever I view the Rapeseeds, they remind me that these too, shall pass.Just like these fields, one stem of this flower can´t bloom without the others. They need each other to make an impact.

In Germany, the Colza oil that is derived from this wonderful plant is used to fuel mainly machineries.The leftover from derivation is feed to pigs.

If you are an expat like me, I am sure this is one of the typical landscape views you see here in Germany.One of my favorite is seeing people cycling beside the fields and the view in the early morning where calmness plays a big role. If you happen to visit Germany during mid Spring , you´re in luck to see these natural wonder yellow fields. Most vegetation in the outskirts are beaming in yellow during Spring time, even on the sides of Autobahn! This landscape is also typical in other neighboring countries like Netherlands, France, Denmark,Poland and Belgium.

Yellow, Yellow, Yellow
If you prefer to enjoy the beautiful roads with a view here is WHERE you can take to enjoy them.

The good thing about lockdown is that we have more ( or at least a bit!) free time to do our hobbies, or things we loved to do…aside from eating and snacking! Anyone else gained weight ?! 🙂 Weekends are special to us so we tried to make it special despite the isolation. I totally enjoyed taking photos of my daughter and family to share with my friends and family abroad. After our walk, we cooked Spargel ( Asparagus) with potatoes and ham ,the traditional Bavarian dish that is in season , and enjoyed a bit of music in the garden.

Last week was supposed to be her Photoshoot in the Kindergarten.But due to the Pandemic and lockdown, kindergartens are still closed and we have no idea until when will it be opened again.So we made an idea to do her 5 year old Photoshoot with the Rapeseeds as background.
When Dandelions meets the Golden Fields!

Weekend is almost over and tomorrow is another week. Can´t believe it´s May soon. Back to work again and for some students here in Ingolstadt, especially the graduating class, it´s the first day starting tomorrow after the long break from Corona quarantine. I am really wondering what will be the effect of the easing of measures in our region.Another thing, tomorrow, 27th of April is the “Maskenpflicht” or wearing a mask is legally enforced here in Bayern.

How was your week so far? What fun things have you´ve done lately?

Until next time my friends, I wish you all a lovely week ahead, stay safe everyone!

Creative hand painted rocks Project (Steinschlange Corona)

May all beings have a happy life– Gautama Buddha

Paint your own stone, and join the FUN!

Today marks my 34th day in quarantine at home with my daughter and there´s no greater idea than to celebrate it than creating something creative with her. Oh yes, we count the days because our calendar have gone empty, all the scheduled activities were cancelled because I am sure you know why! The only legal activity we have nowadays is grocery shopping, walking, playing, cooking and cleaning. I´m not gonna lie—it is never easy! Millions times during the day, I am hearing THIS WORD : Maaaaammaaaa!!!!

Sometimes I am wondering if she knows other word than that! Day after day, I go on tidying up, and again tidying up and again tidying up. A pleasant routine indeed.But then…the moment she hugs me and say ” Mama, I want to be good” then everything would feel just fine. 🙂

Sooooo, today we cycled a bit and enjoy again Spring colors outside , breathe in fresh air while the rest of Germans are still sleeping. We stumbled nearby to us a very interesting and engaging art project , and what we love about it is that —we just need rocks! I´m sure that all parents out there with kids at home during this Pandemic are looking for many ideas to entertain their kids at home. So I think this is a perfect activity for families to do on weekends and yes something to ease the boredom!

Keep on reading and scroll down the photos if this interests you.

Aside from unbelievable Corona Balcony parties in my neighborhood, my favorite Germans loves to cycle, walk and wander in small forests ( we called it here Wald wanderung) especially on weekends and Sonntag Rühetag. Taking a quick break outside, parents loved to bring their toddlers , altogether getting lost in the forest with a playground adjacent to it. But because of Corona, playgrounds are closed and we are confined to stay home and practice social distancing. But there is always something else to do, I realized it as I am a parent myself. Right there inside the nearby forest we found this line of colorful, very creative, painted stones.This creative project, called Projekt JAA ( Jugendliche Anonyme Anmaler) where children and also parents are encouraged to paint their own rocks at home and design it as per their own wish , then putting their rocks in the line to join the connection.

Just look at these wonderful stones! Some have even encouraging message like “ Stay healthy, and best wishes..” . My personal favourite is the one with the Buddha and ladybug.

A friend of mine sent me a message about this and immediately we painted our rocks and brought it there. My daughter was delighted to see the names of her friends also there and she even mentioned to invite her other friends! We are looking forward to see how long would this line of rocks would be in the coming months.

You can create this even at your own backyard. If you don´t have one then on your window sill or decorate your balcony. All you need is a handful of rocks, paints and a bag of creativity! For sure it could keep your kid busy for at least an hour and that´s 60 minutes of sanity for parents!

An update, I saw in another nearby area, a kilometer away from us is another painted stone project done by kids. It´s beside the Kindervilla, near the Glacisbrücke going to the direction of the city. Let us see if it even reaches the town proper!

How was life with kids during lockdown at your side? Have you ever thought of doing a Happiness rock painting project?

A day in the Life and Spring is back!

Thank you to the ever industrious city gardeners for providing us beautiful Spring flower cases.Who says you can´t enjoy some nature beauty alone? This is in front of our local Rathaus ( Cityhall) where its normally flocked with people everyday but during the lockdown, its all empty. Here I´ve witnessed the change of plants depending on the season. I am so proud that I live in a place where nature puts at its best and given for public to enjoy. Garden and parks are well maintained despite the Pandemic and that is really worthy of praise.

The other day I was desperately needing a nature boost and a couple of hours spent outdoors to breathe some fresh air is always good. I was greeted by lovely spring atmosphere and new foliage colors. The magnolia and blossom trees from our neighbour signals the change of season and we are all loving it.I watched it everyday from our window.I noticed that everything is slowly, or rather incognito turning back to life, exuding a rare confidence of vibrant spirit during the dire times of pandemic. Of course we can´t sit out in Biergartens or meet with friends. Sunshine on my face feels great, I ´ve missed the light sting it does on my skin. I´m thankful that I´m still alive and I am bent to continue writing for this Blog. Last weekend I decided to visit our local park and saw that the Daffodils were on their last blooms.I observed that some flowers have served their purpose already, slowly on the bend, downing for their final bows…I guess soon it will the turn of the Dandelions and sunflowers to amaze us!

Lovely surprise! A bed of Flowers to say thank you to all Ingolstädters!!!
A piece of a bed of spring blooms is now open for citizens of Ingolstadt to enjoy, arranged by the gracious people behind the Landesgartenschau 2020 which is unfortunately not expected to open up until May 29 until October 4,2020. More information about the actual events is on their website Here.

One of the events that I certainly looking forward to attend this year was the Landesgartenshau 2020 here in Ingolstadt. It´s like bringing Keukenhof here in Germany. I have written many times how I admire all the plant loving people here in my town and how much it inspired me to start gardening as well. I love plants and everything inspired by nature so for me, this is one of the highlights in Spring and the coming warmer months. It was supposed to open this April but considering the health risks we are facing because of Corona, it is not yet sure if it can be open for public even up to latest of May.We don´t know yet when will everything returns to normal.The acres of magnificent Garden site and flower show is already built and the exhibition is set off to kick off soon but then for the meantime, everything is put on hold.

Can you imagine the loss that the small entrepreneurs and flower shops including garden shops are facing right now due to the crisis?

From last weeks´s weather that reached up to 23 dec Celsius, I thought Summer came early! It felt warm and my daughter is asking me if she can swim outside! Finally, it´s time to ditch the layers and wear shorts and tshirts! Despite the corona lockdown, people here managed to go out for a few hours. Aside from usual shopping and errands, children are running in the streets, cycling and people keep on walking, but of course with distance! Bottomline is, people just kept on, moving forward. It´s hard not to enjoy the inviting sun especially when outside breathes a lot of fresh blooms. Just look at them…!

Of course it´s still a day in the Life of Quarantine so the much needed tranquil and peace is out there. Every morning I hear the chriping of the birds. I usually watch them from my window when they fly back to their nest and sometimes they stop on top of the hedge. Out in Klenzepark, a park where we frequently visit because it has a lovely playground, I admired once again the field of blossoming white and yellow Daffodils, here its known as Narzissen.This park used to be full with sunbathers and families trying to wiggle off the dust of boredom and gasping for fresh air, letting their bundles of joy run around like crazy in the open field, especially on weekends. But now everything is empty, so serene.What a difference when everybody else is staying at home, except for the few brave ones who still needs to go to work. I guess nobody wants to make loud noises these days.Here, Easter went off quickly and our foolish thoughts were grilled right there in the comfort of our balconies, listening to music, and getting away from the family drama. A number of lithe people still sweating their limbs as they go on with their fitness and sports regime, exhaling the numb sounds of fear and succombing to the natural call of the hour— which is to keep on living and staying healthy.

Until next Springtime Dandelions!
My walking photograpy Spring tour
This is a magnificent view but sometimes I really wonder if the air that we breathe in is still clean or already infiltrated with the virus? Haven´t you wondered about this too?

How does Spring looks like in your area?

How many times were you out since the lockdown?

I am looking forward to discover new nature on my next walk and hopefully I could take better photos by then!

Until next time my friends, Stay safe!

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!

The Scribe from Utrecht

Roaming the streets of Utrecht, the Netherlands
Here is some fascinating views in the garden beside the Dom Cathedral

Wordless Wednesday