One fine view and forgotten History

Power of the Dam
Admiring the stunning views of Kaprun’s Mooserboden Hochgebirgesstauseen.

In between high peaks and lush greens, my eyes feasted on this view. I felt so small and weak compared to the powerful force of nature. It’s so primitive and yet so striking. This is the view of the mountains surrounding the Hochgebirgsstauseen in Kaprun, the high water reservoir dams which took my breath away but then also had a sad forgotten history. As I was reading more about how these amazing Dams were built, I got more hooked knowing that it has a sad history worth telling…and should not really forgotten…Ever.

Let me tell you more why and what’s so special about this place.

The Glacier above in between the mountains is one special thing about this place.No question why this place is called the birthplace of a Legend.

The Mooserboden reservoirs sit at an altitude of 2040 meters and have a sad and dark history. First building plans were drafted in the 1920’s but it was only during World War II that they were realised. The Nazi regime forced around 4000 prisoners of war and 6300 forced foreign labourers to construct the dams. The commemorative plaque on the Pagan Church tells you that over 120 prisoners died here between 1940 and 1945. German speakers can find detailed information about the Nazi past of the reservoirs here. After the war, the dams were finished and became a symbol of post-war reconstruction, and until today many people are not aware of the dams’ Nazi past .Some just appreciate the beauty that they see and doesn’t care about the past anymore. But come to think of it, it is so great that the process of building this giant reservoirs has a sad story and that makes it even more important to know and remember history!

Climbers trying to climb up in the Dam

The Tauern power plants were originally regarded as one of the most important projects of the East-German electricity industry and were declared “preferred hydraulic engineering“. Forced labourers and prisoners of war were used to build the power station and work on the dam above it in the valley. These workers came from twenty-four (24) different nations, including Polish, French and Soviet POWs, Italians, people from the territories of the Soviet Union (‘Ostarbeiter’) and Jews. An unknown number died due to the harsh conditions, particularly in the mountain camp where the dam was being built. At one point a British air raid triggered a flash flood in which 1,200 people, half of them Soviet forced labourers, were killed.

Living here in Germany have opened my eyes for so many things. Before, I never knew in details about the victims of war and Nazi regime. Our knowledge about Germany is so limited. When I studied German, I have read so many books about it and watched many films about the dark past of Germany and sad stories about war, let alone forced labor and concentration camps.

It is no joke working hard ( deadly working conditions) up in the altitudes of the mountains. Imagine these people forced to work in winter times.

Looking at the beautiful in front of me made me feel grateful, grateful for nature, for the powerful force of the mountains, and high respect for those people who have worked hard, in worst conditions, probably even through ice cold temperatures just to build this dam. I saw lots of people around the world visiting this place and wondering about the beauty of the dam, but I wondered who appreciate the history behind it.Most of all, the story is past behind us now.No more wars.

 About 120 forced labourers were killed between 1940 and 1945 on this construction site. The suffering and trauma of these people is often forgotten when telling the success story of Kaprun. These people, who were abducted by the Nazi regime to work on this building site, should be given special consideration now. The memory of the terror of the Nazi regime remains awake even at this place.”

It’s the blend of human engineering with natural creations that makes the dams above Kaprun such a special part of Austria.If I will show Austria to a friend, then I would definitely bring them to Kaprun! My daughter enjoyed playing in the playground in the Mooserboden. She doens’t know yet the story about this place.Maybe when she grows old and revisits this place then I hope she would appreciate this place as much as I did.

Can’t get enough of Kaprun? see the gallery online Here and another Post about Hochgebirgsstauseen Here.

Happy weekend everyone. Tchüss!

Cruising through two rivers, from Kelheim to Weltenburg

Oh hello September and Servus from Bavaria!

Yesterday was the first day of school here in Bavaria, for most parents like me, it’s one of the times we anticipate. We can’t afford a vacation of more than 6 weeks so we’ve survived the “Urlaubzeit” (or summer break) by doing “small vacations“. Budget wise and travel-wise, it’s all our deal to keep the little one busy and for us to keep the day going keeping with our day jobs!

We’ve been to the Hops fields which get us up close and personal about the raw material of German beers, One of the most memorable thing we’ve done was cruising into two rivers in one day without breaking our budget!And yes, toddlers enjoy boat trips as well!

But first, what do you think of the view below?

Bavaria, you are beautiful!
One of the best kept hidden beauty in Bavaria– cruising in two rivers from Kelheim to Weltenburg and ogling the Danube Gorge.

Yes, we sailed by boat through this Gorge! On the heat of summer , we discovered another nature adventure, and yes, we didn’t need to travel so far. Just approx. 1 hour max. (55 kms) drive from Ingolstadt, we head towards to the tranquil city of Kelheim. Kelheim is another beautiful town here in Bavaria which is known for its Kings, Celtics and Dukes and the relaxing boat trips along rivers of Bavaria. Thank God for the Dutch husband that discover this excursion trip, if not for him, I wouldn’t be able to see the hidden beauty of the Danube Gorge! Kelheim is also famous for its natural attractions because of its nature reserves, adventure hiking trails, cycling adventures, and the city’s cultural heritage. It lies within the proximity of the Danube river and so close to the Naturpark Altmühltal. Together with my parents in law and my ever active 5 year old story teller, we got our Tickets and boarded our boat ( MS Ludwig the Kelheimer ), that’s going to sail us through two rivers — the Danube and the Altmühl!

We decided to take the ship and explore the Danube Gorges up to the Monastery of Weltenburg but the weather kept on bothering me. But then we stick to our plan and off we go. In the middle of the trip, we were greeted by fleets of heavy delusions of rain that we almost cringed and wanted to go back home! How on earth can we have a boat trip in this rain? But then we continue driving. Tell you frankly, this trip reminds me so much of the boat trip we made when we are in Regensburg where we made an excursion up to the Walhalla, or the German Parthenon!

For those of you who doesn’t know, Southern Germany is famous because, it is Bavaria, the only Bavaria, the beautiful region in southern Germany where Castles and dreams go together so good. Plus, we have King Ludwig. When he is on his rule, he kept himself busy building his dream castles. He is really a one of a kind.The king of sky- is- the limit , and has extraordinary imagination and lover of great architecture. In Bavaria, he built so many beautiful Castles, Halls and gigantic monumental structures that made Bavaria a tourist magnet as it is now.One thing, he likes to build either on a high hill, on top of a mountain. It’s always like we need to climb, hike, travel by boat or with a Bergbahn or just walk, in order to reach his memorable hideaways!

Schiffahrt Kelheim and Personen Schiffahrt im Donau & Altmühltal are some of the companies who runs the boat trips and departs from the dock of Kelheim on a close schedule, daily ( Summer schedule, from May to October).For the updated boat trip schedules, do check their detailed Fahrplan in their website. Their prices is pretty decent and affordable. For this Summer vacation, they even have discounts for students and if you’ve got a grade of 1, then you can even have a trip for Free! If you’re interested about this, you can check the full information Here. Our ship was pretty full. Aside from the normal group of tourists and elderly people, I noticed that in our ship that its full of cyclists with their bikes, mountaineers, and families with small children. It’s really an adventure trip for all ages! A trip to Kelheim offers cruising the Danube narrows , trekking , rock climbing, canoeing, paddle boat rides , swimming and exploring the nature reserves and cycling with a view until your Adrenalin drops! Your pets are even welcome on board!

The weather was a bit gloomy but still we have fantastic views from Kelheim and the Liberation Hall located on Michelsberg. It was built between 1842 and 1863 by order of King Ludwig I of Bavaria to commemorate the Wars of Liberation from Napoleon, above all the Battle of Nations in Leipzig.
The extraordinary mosaic of cliffs exposed to the summer heat, shady forests, tranquil abandoned river channels, and the cool stream of the River Danube provides habitats for numerous plants and animals. This place really deserves to be declared as one of the oldest nature reserves in Bavaria. Definitely a natural heritage of European significance.
The Danube Gorge –here the river is only 80m wide. but depending on the water level, it can reached up to 20m deep. It is the narrowest and deepest part of the Bavarian Danube.The flow velocity is at mean water level of about 2.5 m per second.

The bee-Hive or hollow stone–Here we saw that the lower part of the rocks are almost white, it shows the height of the “Flood of the Century”at Whitsuntide 1999.At that time, the water level was about 5 meters higher at mean water level.
The spectacular Rock formations in the Danube Gorge that evolved from Jurassic period.This nature reserved was declared since 1978 and one of the most beautiful Geotopes in Bavaria.
A beautiful baroque pit-stop !
On sight is the oldest Benedictine Abbey in Bavaria—the Monastery of Weltenburg which was founded in 620 A.D. The Abbey church was built between 1716 and 1751 by the Asam Brothers and its famous for its great Baroque decor!

The Weltenburg Barock Dunkel is a dark bottom fermented beer specialty is being served in Weltenburg for generations.Where else can you see a Brewery, restaurant, Biergarten in a Monastery in front of a benedictine church?— Only here in Weltenburg!.. and yes–Only in Germany!

Fascination for the Little Wanderer!
One of the best discoveries we had in Weltenburg and Danube Gorges was the “Wipfelsfurt” .This circular basin with a diameter of 150m was created about 15 million years ago when a meteorite hit the ground and formed a crater. Wipfelfurt is the shallowest part of the Danube between Ingolstadt and Regensburg.
Enjoying a late sunshine on board !
Tourists and visitors enjoy a beautiful backdrop of the Danube and the rock wall formations .
Besucherzentrum in Kloster Weltenburg
In the deciduous forests, which are near naturally cultivated, some fascinating birds can be found like the Woodpecker and Stock Dove. This museum is situated in front of the restaurant and in here visitors can learn more about the history of the Monastry, the Danube nature reserve and the construction of the Asam church.

It was quite an enjoyable smooth boat ride with only occasional showers and soft winds.Inside the boat is a restaurant which also serves different refreshments and dishes so you won’t really worry about being hungry on board. There is an audio guide Tour on run so we are informed on every significant details of the boat tour. Right on time, we made it to the Monastery of Weltenburg after 45 mins. and we hopped off from the ship to explore the oldest Benedictine Abbey in Bavaria. This monastery was built by the Asam Brothers who are famous with their Baroque masterpieces. I’ve seen quite some of their works in Asamkirche here in Ingolstadt and the Asam church in Munich. If you love Baroque, then you must really see this church

It’s almost lunchtime when we arrived in the monastery and just in time for us to grab some bite at the Weltenburger Wirthaus-Bladl. We are in Bavaria so even after a boat trip, we sit ourselves in front of the Asam church which is adjacent to the restaurant. What’s so special about this restaurant? It is actually the oldest brewery in a Monastery, and famous for its dark beer. Here you can enjoy the famous Kloster dunkel bier ( dark beer) and Bavarian traditional dishes such as the Weiss wurst (white sausage eaten with sweet mustard), Klosterwurst, Klosterkäse ( Cheese), and their Klosterkaffee.

Big discoveries for Little Wanderers!
Making a pose at the oldest Monastery Brewery in the World. The oldest Benedictine Abbey here in Bavaria was founded by the monks of St. Columbanus. It is situated near the entrance to the scenic Danube gorge, on the northern slopes of the Arzberg mountain, near the site of the ancient Celtic settlement of Artobriga. .
We leave nothing but footprints, but we took along giant bags of memories, wonderful photos, and worthwhile experience.

What kind of family adventure have you’ve done lately?

If you’re in the vicinity of Regensburg, you can combine this nature adventure trip with a boat trip along the Danube, and to its neighboring town of Riedenburg where you can see the largest Crystal group, or if you are in the mood to discover some amazing Art while drinking Beer, then you can head on to Abensberg to see the Kuchlbauers Kunsthaus . You can also check more on Here.

Thank you for following my Blog and until then, see you again in my next family adventure! Tschüss!

Let’s paint the town Purple!

Purple beauty among the weeds

As I was scrolling down in my photo gallery, I noticed that I have photographed so many Purple flowers! They are collections from my walks and frequent garden visits. I realized how many different purple hues we have with different types of flowers. They are all simply gorgeous and bring a calming effect to the senses.

Etchinos Ritro wonder ball

Hope you enjoy it!

Tell me, do you like purple flowers? which one is your favorite?

One more day and it’s weekend, wishing everyone a great time, until then . Tschüss!

Beauty carved in centuries: Partnach Gorge (Partnachklamm) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Have you ever been into a Gorge ? ( or Klamm in Deutsch)

I’ve been spelunking 2,500 feet underground inside the caves in the Philippines and hiking through waterfalls but I have no idea what is a Gorge! I had to google it first when I was looking for something to see in GaPa. Personally, this is my very first encounter with this unique nature wonder . Luckily, this summer we were able to see the flaming mountains in Mittenwald and explored around again the Zugspitze area in GaPa or also known as Garmisch-Partenkirchen . GaPa is another beautiful Bavarian city that is well-known magnet for Ski enthusiasts and winter sports because of the Zugspitze (the highest peak in Germany 2,962 m). It’s only approx. 2.5 hours drive from Ingolstadt, Bavaria thru A9 and A95 and only an hour trip if you’ll be coming from Munich!

You know you are in Garmisch-Partenkirchen when you see these girls

Our summer this year were mostly into nature, mostly wandering in beautiful valleys and playing tourists! We grabbed the opportunity to do short trips because its Sommerferien here in South Germany ( Bavaria), my daughter had almost 3 weeks vacation ! Me and my husband divided our vacation days to stay with her while the Kindergarten is closed and in between the weeks, we both had vacation days from work. We’ve been trekking mountains, admiring glaciers and exploring the giant Alpine water reservoirs with my Little traveller , cruised into historical rivers and visited the oldest Monastery , following torquoise -blue lakes, soaking into the mighty waterfalls, and not but not the least–hiked through glorious Gorges- the Partnachklamm!

Visiting this gorge should be on your bucket list if you’re around Munich or southern Germany. The 5 Euros entrance fee is totally worth it. I’ll share with you some pictures I’ve took from our hike but I think photos don’t do justice when you see it personally. Now I understand why it is being visited by roughly 200,000 people every year!

Carved beauty through centuries : A glorious 702 meters beauty hidden in the hollows of the Reintal Valley and Zugspitze

First I did my research because I cannot really write about things I don’t know. So if you’re willing to learn something from Geography, here it is.

What is a GORGE exactly?

A gorge is a narrow steep valley formed millions dinosaur years ago and usually a powerful river flows and cut through the rocks and forms deep incisions. They’re like gaps in between mountain rocks! A walk inside a Gorge will leave you speechless and you will really cramped your neck looking up high and ogling through the narrow slits and limestone rocks! If you look closely at the rock textures, you would be amazed from the amount of beautiful changes it went through to be in its state now. They even found numerous fossils on the rocks so imagine the living things that thrived all through those centuries in this place. But just imagine the amount of water that gushed through these rocks!

View from the parking area of the Olympic Ski Stadium in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Partnachklamm is the most famous Gorge in Bavaria. It lies in the Reintal Valley in GaPa and strategically located near the Olympic Ski Stadium in Garmisch-Partenkirchen . This stadium is quite famous for Winter Olympics 1936 and this is where they held the Winter Olympics long time ago (yes, during the Nazi regime ) ! You can even see where Hitler stood to watch the games. The gorge is 702 metres long and, in places, over 80 metres deep. It was designated a natural monument in 1912.

I need to mention it here because this is actually the place where we managed to park. Going to the Partnachklamm from the Ski Stadium is reachable only by walking ( ON FOOT!) around 2 km for half an hour doable hiking. We actually enjoyed the scenery going to the Gorge, it was quite peaceful, and the sound of the waters is really relaxing. If you feel lazy or challenged, then you can also take the horse -drawn carriage for 5 Euros per person. We took this option on our way back to the car because it was raining and it would be a challenge for my parents-in-law to walk again and my daughter is already whining because she is tired.

It’s really a beautiful experience for all of us. So imagine my wonder when I’ve seen these massive walls of rocks with the massive thundering sound of water gush. It was deafening, intimidating, and overwhelmingly beautiful. I am appalled that beautiful things are always hidden and you really need to exert an effort to find them.

One thing, the water’s color is crazy beautiful! For almost an hour, all I can hear is its thundering gush. The showers and foaming vapors in rage and the color changes from clear to icy bluish then greenish and torquoise are really unforgettable! I have read that when rocks weathered down through times, the minerals from the rocks are dissolved and small pieces are released into the water causing color changes. Iron, manganese, and calcium carbonate from limestone rocks can cause the water to change colors.It is a long natural metamorphosis. I have observed this as well when we were in Kaprun in the Hochgebirgsstauseen and watching the Salzsach river in Salzburg.

Experiencing the Partnachklamm with my 5 year old is also very special as she is so bewildered by the stones and walking in darkness. The trail going to the Gorge is safe for all ages, properly marked and with guide railings. The only thing that I regret was I wore the wrong shoes! My poor white shoes was a total fail! I was not prepared with the right shoes but at least I have a waterproof jacket on because we were drenched by the showers and water splashes.

If you’re around GaPa, make sure you pass by to Partnachklamm and be amazed by this natural setting. Another adventure is to experience it in Winter where the frozen water formations is something different. Seeing the icy stalactites is also something on my list.It is a great family excursion to combine with other activities you can enjoy around the Zugspitze region. If you’re ambitious and in good shape, you can continue on for another eight or nine hours to the glacier near the top of the Zugspitze!

If you are interested on doing a hike through the Gorge, you can check it in Here for more details on opening times and prices. Other interesting places to combine with this activity can be found Here.

Now I can’t forget how I celebrated my birthday this year.What a threat indeed. Partnachklamm, you are beautiful!

How about you, what family adventures you’ve been doing lately?

Interested to explore all the Gorges in Bavaria? Check out this informative article Here, also what do you think of this piece of Art?

Thank you for dropping by, and see you next time in my next Expat adventure! Tschüss!

Sunflower fields, summer is not yet over!

Random shots I took from the beautiful sunflower fields last Saturday.

Nothing really beats more than more Flower power which reminds me so much of the Golden Rapeseeds , Fields of Gold , Summer fragile beauties, Dandelions secrets and the Showoff Starlet Forsythia .

But in the end, I would always love to go back to the most beautiful Spring garden in the World!

Anyway, summer is not yet over ,right?

Have a lovely week!

The Flaming mountains, dirty shoes and edelweiss flowers

Waking up in a room with a view like this.

As Goethe quoted “A picture book come alive “ is the the best way I can describe this little town in the Bavarian Alps. I had no idea what is this place all about and I was totally clueless. All I know is that we’re going somewhere near Garmisch-Partenkirchen . While on the road,the element of suprise was there for sure and as the days went by, I am just glad that we visited this place. We spent 4 days in Mittenwald and Garmisch-Partenkirchen area and there are bunch of things that really stayed in my memory.

Someone asked me “Why do you always go to the mountains?” I thought, why not?

For me, mountains are so special as beaches are gems in my life, they have such magic to them that nothing substitute. I think ,nature absorbs boredom and everything. It’s another world up there. I wrote here in my Blog how many times nature provides solitude and peace for me personally. I always love a great adventure but somehow I am always guilty that I am scared of heights and altitude. It really takes time to get used to all the deadly curves in the high Alpine roads and the crazy mountain culture. Maybe it is the fact that mountains are can be so dangerous or maybe it is because they make me feel so small, both figuratively and physically speaking.

I was even bewildered seeing myself that finally now I have proper mountain shoes! This is really what expat life does to me.

Tired feet and dirty mountain shoes

I felt that even if I don’t normally climb the mountains so to speak, the mountains really has a way to call you, its like wanderlust.

Beautiful small villages and towns with ornate walls are tucked in at the foot of the Alps

As a parent of an active toddler, we visited many playgrounds that are way up in the mountains and I really find that super exciting. The views pays it all plus the children really have unforgettable experience as well as eating in restaurants with the panoramic views of Glaciers and mountains covered with snow! I have this feeling that all my problems in my life dissolve when I am around them or that life slows down a bit . All that I can tell you is that after spending time surrounded by them, my views about everyday routines were changed. For me, its priceless just to drink my cup of coffee surrounded by these gigantic peaks. It’s pure luxury for me because I don’t have them everyday.

A charming find from the valleys

The mountain views we have from our balcony everyday and the richly ornamented houses especially in Mittenwald’s inner city (or Obermarkt) are really worth the effort. I really wonder if the people living there know how lucky they are.

View of the mountains from our balcony, not a bad birthday threat, right?

In Mittenwald, we rented an apartment with a direct view of the mountains (Karwendel) in our balcony. I think its definitely better than a penthouse view! It’s like having a giant wallpaper changing non- stop. I can’t forget how it looks in any time of the day. At one time covered with clouds, on a rainy day, dawn and dusk and one time with the full moon hovering over it! In the surrounding countryside, the scenery of the Wetterstein and Karwendel peaks constantly changes and one lovely afternoon, it looks like flaming and turns to burning orange! The feeling can be surreal that I can watch it nonstop.

Whenever I see these mountain peaks it directs me to a goal.I wanted to see and explore more but I always wondered how it is to be on top. I can still remember the time we are sitting on a cold winter day on New Year’s day in Fulpmes in Schlick 2000 where we have the snow capped mountain views for hours while I watched my daughter playing with all the skis. It’s becoming a habit now that we celebrate special occasions with mountain views! This summer, my five- year old daughter had her first walking stick when we trek up to view the Krimml Waterfalls where we reached up to 1,390 m (Bergerblick Platform) and wandering and playing through the Mooserboden at 1,200 meters. I think we are getting used to these altitudes more often. What is even fascinating is that mountains nowadays are not intimidating because of the high technology lifts that brings you up in minutes!

The mountains are calling and I must go…
Watching the clouds dissapear from the peaks is magical, like a time relapse!
The elusive mountain flower –the Edelweiss ( Leontopodium nivale)

It’s a surreal feeling when I finally got to see the Edelweiss flowers which are totally highly treasured and valued. The Edelweiss flower symbolizes the Alps and prefers rocky limestone places of about 1,800–3,000 metres (5,900–9,800 ft) altitude. Now I understand why its called the cliffhanger’s flower!

Don’t look at the whole mountain take it one piece at a time…This is something you will come to understand. You will learn to never give up; to know that the reward will be worth the work it takes .
Mountains that teach me to value the small luxuries in life. It taught me how to treasure a great jacket to protect me from cold winds and chill.
I’m sure, every mountain that I see now in my life taught me a lesson.

At the end of the day, its only the good things that we cherish that matters. Flaming mountains, dirty mountain shoes, loaded backpacks, 200+ photos in my camera and empty water bottles meant only one thing : FUN.

Until next time , Tchüss and Have a happy week!

Hiking through the Krimml Waterfalls in Salzburg

Krimml Waterfalls in Oberkrimml, Salzburg

“The principle of all things is water, 
as water is everything and to water everything returns”

Feel the power of water moves you!

Everyone expect something different whenever they go to a foreign place. Something unique, something extraordinary, out of the beaten path, or rather the one that is famous for. Others only found it unexpected, came out from getting lost and came out from the spot. For the adventure, thrill seeking individuals, their Adrenalin drives them to search for beautiful places. Most of them are away from the city, hidden paradises, and sparkling oases in the midst of forests and wilderness. Some looks for the greatest, tallest, or somewhat record-breaking. For us, we go in the mountains!

Getting up close and personal with the Krimml Waterfalls
Nature tripping plus getting healthy activity is always in!

Visit a Waterfall, and get healthy!

I find it really interesting that visiting a waterfall can actually do some good to your health. I have read it from the brochures and it really made me curious. My daughter is sensitive and have allergies. Her skin is very sensitive and she have some bronchial problems ( that is why I never liked Winter and cold!). Upon knowing this, I was excited to find out more about this facts, but also, I know, it takes energy to hike up!

 Walking through a vast, luscious green forests of Hohe Tauern National park and being active is really good. I thought for a minute that we are always surrounded by mountains, they are everywhere. The high peaks can be overwhelming! But have you ever wondered why the air smells so fresh near to waterfalls ? Here’s a food for thought :

Waterfalls spells NATURE. It’s like a giant humidifier. Everything about nature tells us about organic matter. Water and its power can be a spell binding topic but one thing about it, is that waterfalls has NEGATIVE IONS, a.k.a anions, which are negatively charged atoms, abundant in the fresh air close to moving water.In Krimml waterfalls, you will be actually bathing in water sprays. You’ll get drenched in minutes if you are not dressed up properly. I experienced it myself.

Studies shown that the benefits of fresh air and its abundance of negative ions are numerous includes reducing free radicals, revitalizes cell metabolism, enhances immune functioning, helps to purify the blood, balances the autonomic nervous system, promoting deep sleep + healthy digestion, promotes biochemical reactions that increases the levels of serotonin, alleviates depression and stress ( of course its FUN to hike through the waterfalls!) and lastly, it boost daytime energy! In short, a hike through the waterfalls is pure fun, healthy and adventure!So definitely, this activity is IN for us! Now its time to enjoy the fun part!

We are all ready and geared up for a hike through the waterfalls! My little wanderer had her very first own walking stick!

For me, my choices of activities were changed because our travels nowadays include a child, so everything should be kid-friendly. Our destinations are more family friendly and at least all the options for all the family members to enjoy. Looking for a playground to play and have a quick bite and break is almost our everyday itinerary. At one point, I was asking myself why would we want to go and hike up more than 4kms with a 5 year old to see this waterfalls?

What’s so special with it?

Well, I have seen many waterfalls in Philippines but I wanted to share with you why this experience is quite extraordinary.

The sound of the water is so powerful!

Be warned: you will be wet, drenched, but these showers will just fuel your adrenalin because you can never take your eyes off from the waterfalls again. You’ll just end up looking ans drooling over its beauty.

Nature teach us so many lessons in life. If we let it stays as it is, we can enjoy its pristine power .

One of the highlights of our short trip was visiting this place. We drove early to the picturesque little town of Oberkrimmler in Salzburg from the region of Pinzgau in Austria to avoid big crowds. It’s still summer vacation for us here in Germany so everyone is in vacation so we expect that there will be more tourists in this region. The drive to the foot of the waterfalls was quite short, about half an 25 mins from where we stayed in Kaprun. There we need to get to the Wasserwelten Krimml ( or Krimml Worlds of Water ) and parked in P4 level to get entry tickets to go up and hike through the waterfalls. We went on a sunny, fine day and we were already parked and settled at around 9:30 am. We’ve got the combi- ticket where at the end of the hike, we can be able to explore the Wasserwelten Krimml as well.My daughter was immediately overjoyed when she saw the climbing net in front of the ticket center.

Steinbock

The Krimml Waterfalls – biggest in Europe

Unparalled the biggest in Europe, with a height of 380 meters from the waterfalls’s drop, and 5.6m3 of water per second plummets into the valley on three stages. The waterfalls is situated perfectly with the vast greens and the National Park Hohe Tauern as our backdrop. You can even see the waterfalls from a far and it really looks like a giant pack of milk poured consistently in between rocks and greens. This waterfalls attracts 400,000 visitors per year and considered to be one of the top attractions in Salzburg in Austria. But the most interesting fact that I’ve discovered is that visiting a waterfall like this range has tremendous impact on your health. It is actually a healthy destination! Aside from the amount of trail and hike that you will do, you will definitely sweat and experience something not so ordinary.

Our little Mountain Hiker

If you visit the Wasserwelten Center, you will learn much of this waterfalls. The Krimml Ache is the source of the Krimml Waterfalls. It begins at the end of the Krimml Ache Valley and first gently flows through approx. 20 km of level Alpine ground, then becomes a thunderous glacial stream at the entrance to the valley before plunging down in the mighty stages of the Krimml Waterfalls.

Some nice little flowers I’ve spotted in the mountains

The catchment area of the Krimml Ache is 100.7 km2, approx. 12% of which is glaciated. The Krimml Ache is thus a typical glacial stream with an intensely changing water flow. Hence, for example, 30-40 times the February volumes flows in the months of June and July. As the meltwater takes 9-12 hours from the glacier snout to the waterfalls (=18 km), the daily maximum outflow is from 9 pm to midnight.

The Waterfall Trail

The trail itself going up to the peak is 4.15 km, with difference in altitude of 431 meters. It is quite a climb up to the peak but the great thing about this journey is that we have a shaded path. It is so exciting for all of us. This is actually my first waterfall experience here in Europe and my daughter got her first Trekking stick with an Edelweiss engraving. This trip is really for all ages and very good for families. I have seen families with small babies, on a body carrier, with strollers, and elderly peoples. I find it even funny to see everyone walking with a stick.In many stages of the climb, there are viewing points where you can actually feel the power of the water, hear its thunderous sound and feel its power. I cannot describe what I feel when I am so close with the waterfalls. I was also wondering if my camera will be okay because I was totally wet from the water sprays. On the first stage, there are big boulders of rocks and a good pair of shoes is really needed. We reach the lowest waterfall on foot in 10-15 minutes. From there the serpentine Waterfall Trail leads up to the uppermost waterfall (approx. 1.15 hours on foot) and further to the Krimml Ache Valley. It was quite a busy day and the crowds were staring to get thick.

View of the valley from above

For the different levels and stages, you can read more from Here. From the first stage, we were already overwhelmed by the sound of the waterfalls. Wet, drenched, excited and curious were the mixture of ourselves when we finally get up close and personal with the Krimml waterfalls!

I think I have takens hundreds of Photos from this waterfalls. But I found a great collection of “My Waterfalls“which is a collection of different images captured by visitors who have gone to see this place. It is great to see different perspectives of water power. It is really magical and quite an experience. Every nature escapade leads us to basic roots of happiness. I highly recommend this destination to enjoy with your families and kids. My daughter took her own photos and marvel at nature, collecting rocks, watching the waterfalls at different viewpoints and hike by herself. Okay there are many times as well that she complained of being tired and whine, but the key is to keep her motivated to reach the goal.For parents, don’t worry, there are various play areas where your child can enjoy playing and you also deserve for a short break.

More little flowers we spotted up during our hike

Enjoying a panoramic Lunch at Bergerblick

We made it up to the Bergerblick Platform at 1,390 m which also happened to have a very nice panoramic restaurant /Hut on top. It was just in time to have lunch and feel refreshed from hiking. Up there was numerous souvenir shops, restaurant and bathrooms.It was quite an achievement to have hike like this with a five year old. As I saw the faces of other parents in the restaurant, I can totally relate to how they feel. But it was also lot of fun!

More peaks to go !

Visiting the Wasserwelten Krimml

Additional plus points of this place was the Wasserwelten Krimml. It is a discovery center right at the side of the parking areas for visitors to learn more of the waterfalls. The best thing is that it is interactive. It has numerous water playing areas! Everything about water and its numerous forms and diversions. They have an outdoor play areas, all about water and the whole family can enjoy.I actually had a hard time controlling my toddler in this place because she wants to explore everything!

Almost at the top!

There is also the Waterfall centre  with underwater adventure world Aquaszenarium, is a view terrace with waterfall view, gastronomy, WasserWunderBar and shops with numerous souvenirs and delicacies from the region of Pinzgau. I got here some Murmeltier and Edelweiss soaps locally made.They also have a restaurant and clean bathrooms .

I find it interesting to check out the Haus des Wassers, or ( House of Water) which has various exhibition with exciting experiments, information on the Hohe Tauern Health initiative, WasserKino interactive cinema and Swarovski telescope for an accurate view of the Krimml Waterfalls. Going through the Aquapark outdoor area is free from the combi tickets and I am sure that you can spend here roughly an hour if you want to kill some more time.

Up close and personal with the powerful waters of Krimml Waterfalls

If you wanted to make memories with your children and love ones, i think this is a perfect place to visit.If you’re visiting near the areas of the Hohe Tauern, then this place is a must to visit. It takes time to go up, it might be a challenge but the view on top is really worth it.In the end, the higher you get up, the better the view!

Enjoying the view together!

Read more about the Krimml Waterfalls and be amazed of this wonderful jewel tucked in a well preserved forests!

Have you’ve ever been to a waterfalls? How are you guys spent your summer?

After visiting this waterfalls, then we are so ready to visit the famous Alpine Reservoirs in Kaprun! Stay tuned for more of our family friendly adventures, because summer is still not over!

Until then and Tchüss!

Hochgebirgsstauseen : Kaprun Alpine reservoirs

High altitude reservoirs in Kaprun, Austria

Last few days ago, I had a wonderful discovery in our trip to Austria and I can’t wait to share with you, but this time, it is without the winter wonderland ! In Summer, Austria is ever more grand! Imagine, over 2,040 meters of altitude, I was not prepared to see an incredible mixture of nature and great engineering! For Asians like me, the sight of a dam or water reservoirs up there in between three thousand meters Alpine peaks is not so ordinary, i thought for a minute, how did they ever built that in the mountains?!With my own eyes, I was able to see that it is a masterpiece and a modern technical wonder. It is like walking into a different world surrounded with different inter layers of glaciers, mountain peaks, blue calm waters, green pastures and beautiful rock formations, plus the highly engineered tunnels and reservoirs. Kaprun have it , it’s there in the Hochgebirgsstauseen ( or simply translated as high mountain reservoirs ) in the quaint village of Kaprun in Austria.

Kaprun Hochgebirgsstauseen: A blend of nature and Technology
A paradise in between three thousand meters mountain peaks

I think Austrians are crazy for building a dam up there in the mountains, but indeed they are brilliant! This place is a blend of nature and technology. Kaprun is not only famous for the Kitzsteinhorn- or the THE Glacier and the Grossglockner High Alpine road– which is the best panoramic road in Europe. It has so much more to offer for adventure-seeking individuals, nature lovers, families and for people who are looking for new experience, and that includes me.

We started our journey after having breakfast and packing our day’s essentials especially for our 5- year old daughter. The trip going there is enough thrill.We drove to Kessellfallstrasse up to the leveled parking area and there we’ve got tickets to go up the Hochgebirgssteuseen. One important tip – park on the highest possible floor, the way out is at the parking roof and there are no lifts, only tiny stairs. But the big bonus is that there is no parking fee!

Small , winding roads leads to bigger discoveries. I am so amazed that mountains as high as this can be reached in minutes!
The largest diagonal lift in Europe !

There are also public buses ( Bus 660) which can bring you up to this place and to the Kassa (or Ticket center). Don’t forget to bring your Guest/ Summer cards because you can get reasonable discounts if you show it to the cashier.From there, we took the 1st Bus ( approx. 6 minutes) leading to the Furnicular ( or an inclined lift which is not for the faint hearted!) and another bus ride through the tunnels up to the dam.The well-known Lärchwand inclined lift is one of the highlights of our trip to the high mountain reservoirs. It is Europe’s largest open elevator and overcomes a 431 meter steep step on the way up before continuing on the higher road towards the reservoirs. It feels like riding an escalator without the steps and what is best- you feel the fresh air on your face!

Beautiful layers of Glacier and mountain ranges

It was quite a very tranquil ride. I am totally impressed of the road construction and the ride going up! I never felt a bump and the scenery of going up is an adventure itself.Another attraction that you pass by on your journey is the herb trail from the Mooserboden mountain restaurant to the Fürthermoaralm. In about 45 min. Walking time and over 237 vertical meters, you will learn a lot about local herbs and enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding peaks of the Hohe Tauern. At the Fürthermoaralm you should take a break before you take the bus back to Mooserboden. This pasture has an exciting story to tell as it had to be relocated during the construction of the reservoir. The original Alm lies at the bottom of the lake. Among other things, the new alpine pasture was used to host construction workers on the high-alpine construction sites, which is regarded as the cornerstone of today’s commercial alpine pasture in Pinzgau.

A hidden paradise is no longer a myth

The two dams- the Mooserboden and the Wasserfallboden are like Fjords sandwiched in between the Alps mountain ranges and the way the reservoirs was built is really impressive. The views that awaits you on top is really wonderful. There are a couple of restaurants on top, an exhibition center of the Hydroelectric power system. The Moosersperre dam towers 107 meters almost straight up and at the same time curves across a width of 494 meters between the rocks .A walk through the dam is really great and my daughter enjoyed it as well. There is a beautiful playground just beside the restaurant and endless picturesque panoramic views for nature photography. The best way to enjoy this place is stay a bit longer, explore, wander and linger a bit longer.

An easy hike for the families and little children!
Lovely little flowers along the banks of the dam

We enjoyed a hearty lunch in the restaurant, the Bergrestaurant Mooserboden ( at 2,040 meters) and tried their regional dishes and delicacies like “Kaiserschmarren” , chicken schnitzel and Rind Gulash all at reasonable price. The service was fast,the restaurant has great ambiance, cozy and quiet despite the volume of costumers and they have clean bathrooms! This unique location on the Mooserboden reservoir offers us wonderful views of about 3,000 m mountain peaks while eating and enjoying our drinks. We had luck because we had a wonderful weather during our visit. On one note, this place is only open from June up to October and closes in Winter.

This place offers lots of hiking paths and nature wander tours.What I’ve enjoyed the most is really watching how the mountains envelops this place, its like a painting came alive. The colors, the symmetry and the way the Glacier on top spreads is simply mesmerizing. I was totally blown away of this beauty. Honestly, this is one of the most beautiful nature I have ever seen. The water changes from different colors from the levels where I’m standing. From emerald green, blue, seafoam green and torquoise. This place reminds me that we can leverage nature by not destroying it. I think this is one of the reasons we love Austria– it is really a nature jewel.

View of the day in Kaprun, Austria
A lovely view from the Restaurant Mooserboden 2,040 meters high

If you are visiting around Kaprun, Zell am Zee or nearby to Höhe Tauerns, make sure to drop by and see this place.You will not regret. It is very kid-friendly and you can even bring your pets up. I have seen a couple of families with their dogs with them as well as strollers for babies.It is unbelievable when I see almost newborns already being brought to this heights! One thing more– I gained high respect for the bus drivers and their route plans in the mountains—simply impeccable!

If you want to learn more about how this structure was built and how the inner system of the dam works, then you can join the tours they offer. It takes every 45 mins and meets directly at the Mooserboden kiosk from 10 a.m up to 3 p.m.

Admiring the rock formations

I think for many people who have never been to Austria and to Kaprun, this place may mean a MYTH. Kaprun means one thing above all: the birthplace of a myth. High above the Kaprun valley, a world of wonders of technology emerged in the post-war period, which was already ahead of its time and has lost nothing of its myth even today. The two high mountain reservoirs in Kaprun are almost like fjords. Especially when snow melts in spring, then they are bulging and the turbines, hidden behind the mighty dam walls, are running at full speed. In the mountains above Kaprun, electricity is generated at 2,040 m above sea level, a lot of electricity. It is not just for touristic purposes, it is really built with purpose. This is promoted throughout the year and for many decades. You have to see it by your own eyes.

Hiking adventure for the whole family

When visiting in Summer, make sure to wear appropriate clothes and shoes. I am glad we all wear hiking shoes as it is a must for hiking especially through rocks and steep areas, plus it is safer for your feet. This is not a place for your sandals or open shoes. It is better to always bring a summer jacket or something to protect you from winds. It is always great to check the weather before going as this place needs a clear blue skies. Other activities you might want to try while visiting this place are as follows ;

  • Walking and learning with children – there are 6 adventure stations that will allow young and old visitors to find out more about nature and technology in a playful manner.At the cash desk, children are handed a leaflet with a plan and directions on how to experience the kids trail. A great surprise awaits at the “Electricity Adventure World“.
  • Enter the depths of the Interior of the Mooser Dam – how was the gigantic dams built in the middle of the Alps?
  • Explore the Electricity Adventure World-this is a wonderful exhibition showing young and old can immerse themselves in the world of hydropower and the myth of Kaprun.
  • Last but not the least — lie down in the wooden benches along the dam, close your eyes and breathe in nature! Don’t forget—Take really nice photos!
Adventure hiking in Hochgebigsstauseen in Kaprun, Austria

Want to learn more how to visit this place? I have posted here some helpful links that can help you with your trip.

Kaprun High Mountain Reservoirs

Family Summer holidays in Kaprun Zell am Zee

Until next time ! Tschüss!

Summer fragile beauties in Germany

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need..”
{Marcus Tullius Cicero}

Goodbye Spring and Hello Summer!

My old little town here in Ingolstadt in southern Bavaria has a beautiful bed of mixed summer perennials or wild blooms spread all over the town. Germany is indeed a beautiful country but these little country details made me feel at home even more. I lived 5 minutes away from a lush walking forest and 10 minutes from Klenzepark. I think it’s such a new experience for me to see great nature instead of a bunch of cars parked outside or pile of garbage. Also cycling everyday made me appreciate my neighborhood and notice this details about flowering plants.Here, parks and gathering areas are normally decorated with real plants, not plastic.Aside from the fact that most Germans love gardening and plants, they are also crazy about buying cut flowers and bouquets! Everyday, most shops have fresh cut flowers and they are on a decent price. I am totally impressed that here, the outdoor landscape changes in every season and that they are taken cared of by the city gardeners. There are even wild spaces that is full of bright flowers that really looks amazing. I was even thinking how do they plant different varieties that the outcome is raw, and authentically beautiful.

For almost three years of living here, I’ve got already the trend when it comes to plants and flowers for every season. Summer perennials, or blooms are a reminder of the bright golden days ahead full of warm sunshine and colors. Flowers like Poppy, cornflowers, pansies,peonies, roses, zinias, and petunias etc. are blooming like crazy. They are so lovely to look at. I’ve always wanted to stop and gaze upon them. At home I know that summer is at my doorstep when my lavenders are in full swing. The proud stems full of blue violet flowers gives a fresher, brighter look in our place, its an enigma.

I was too busy for the past days that I haven’t had the chance to write about my own garden update and my first ever raised-garden ( or Hochbeet). I was even more thankful that my little “Roses corner“in our garden are now in full bloom to think that Spring is not even officially over! If you live in Germany, I think you know that Germans start to raid the shops for gardening stuff even before Spring arrives. Every balcony, patio, garden and every tiny window is transformed into a botanical garden. Germans love gardening, plants and yes–flowers! This is one of the reason why I am into plant propagation and planting my own herbs, flowering plants and cultivating my indoor pot garden. Through time, I have learned which plants to cultivate, which plant survives the frost and cold winter days and so on.When it comes to flowering plants, my crew is limited because most of them doesn’t survive the cold and I don’t have enough space to place them. I was thrilled this year that my Chrysanthemum survived winter last year and now continuously growing.

Are you also excited for Summer as I do?

I am thrilled when I looked up the weather forecast for the coming days and saw that warm days are coming, finaaaallly! The other day, I even went to work without a jacket! To tell you frankly, Summer has a brand new meaning for me here. Finally people sit outside and tan under the sun and having a drink for hours! Aside from so many constructions going on in the streets, people are cycling like crazy! What I mean is that here in South Germany, Beer culture is a real thing and is part of our daily grind, so sitting in Beer gardens is just as important as going to work. I am Asian and the hot weather was also so real , it’s a daily struggle to battle with humidity. I knew how it is to live in a “hot”city like Kuwait where temperatures reaches up to 48 degrees and the so called “spring and winter days flies so fast” and we don’t have summer blooms to admire, only palm trees! But here in Germany, summer signals for something else. Summer here for me means vacation, shorts, grilling and BBQ, sandals, garden, my plants are alive and blooming flowers!

So let me share with you my private gallery of my favorite summer fragile beauties.One of my pastime is to photograph nature, just like going to my favorite nearby lake. I’ve always said that you can never go wrong with nature. It’s one of my favorite subject. Last week during my free day, we went out to our local park and I’ve took some photos from Labyrinth garden and the Rose garden. I was just in awe of the simple beauties of the colorful blooms that looks so eager to welcome the warm sunny days . I called them fragile beauties because their beauty can be so dainty and fleeting like wonderful Tulips, too much heat and they also wither, and to think that summer days seems to be so short, they go so fast.

These bright violets flowers for the weary heart but do you know how the mystery behind the Cornflower?
I cannot simply stop staring at them. It might look violet or dark blue under the sun.
This one is a total eye-catcher with its fluffy petals and sunshine yellow pistils.
The wall of Roses
A walk to remember in the rose garden where history is written in the walls and the crawling roses are the storytellers.
They are warm reminder that good things comes to those who wait.

What about you, what do you love about summer personally? What is your favorite summer perennials?

If you are looking for ideas on how to spend your time nature tripping and wondering about the fragile summer flower beauties in Germany, these posts below might interests you. If you have time to kill then go check them out. This is going to be exciting because I’ll be posting and writing more for the upcoming “Landesgartenshau 2020 ” will will be held here in Ingolstadt and it’s all about plants, landscape, flowers, music, arts and everything exciting and last but not the least, I want to share with you 10 cool reasons why people over here go crazy about the Audi Sommerkonzert !

Until next time and thank you for reading !

Showoff Scarlet Forsythia

Fields of Gold, Rapeseeds in Bavaria

Bavarian Summer Flowers

Sunflower fields in Germany

Tschüss!

New Year’s Eve in Schlick 2000!

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My view last New Year’s Eve, up above, 2,240 meters above!

It’s my first time to celebrate the New Year away from home. Normally, we celebrate it at home, staying in with the family and watching fireworks. Not so this year.

We decided to go up high in the Alps and enjoy the view from above.

Well, even with an active 3-year-old toddling with us, then why not?

For a couple of weeks, and a week before Christmas, I felt so stressed out, I am like pulling the days to end to finally start the Christmas break. I had my Deutsch class up until the 22nd of December but I badly needed a holiday. I don’t care how long it is or where it is, I just want to be out and have a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, my daughter got sick, she caught a virus right after the other so she was really running on high fevers, coughs and colds. These lasted up throughout Christmas. It causes us a lot of stress and at the end of the week, I also got a nasty sore throat and I am not really up for the holidays.

We are blessed with a fine weather on New Year’s Eve when we climbed up the Schlick 2000 in Stubaital, in Fulpmes, a winter wonderland village, half an hour away from Innsbruck. Our family apartment has a wonderful view of the mountains as well and we enjoyed it in different views. I especially cannot forget how beautiful the last Sunset that I watched in Tirol.

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The view of the valley from above the Schlick 2000

Now who can’t say NO to this view?

I have seen another beautiful side of the Alps. The snow-capped mountains are really living gems of Austria. Looking at the cloudless horizon with the glistening mountain peaks and the serene atmosphere above makes this a whole new experience for me. Though I was really motion-sick while going up through the cable car rides twice to finally get up to the viewing area, my stomach has a nasty somersault while I looked down at the steep slopes. I couldn’t sit still while I hold my daughter’s tiny hands in between my hands.I am just so glad that it went so fast. I was feeling so sick !

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A Winter Sport Paradise in Innsbruck

This view is totally worth it! We found the top piste packed with Skiers and tourists. Young and old, clad in shiny, colorful winter garb, all set for an adventure in the slopes. Some are just lounging , enjoying the sun, sipping a beer, and probably napping. Well, yes, this place looks like a Beer garden up above 2000+ meters!  My daughter was super thrilled to try on different sticks, helmets, and roll over the snow.We left Germany full of snow as well but I was not even happy about the sight of it. But here, I saw the snow with a different charm. It looks like the snow fun is waiting for us. I couldn’t get off my eyes to the gigantic  mountain ranges full of snow in front of me. They are like giants, but I don’t feel small. The great thing about Innsbruck, it gives us the time to just relax and enjoy.

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I personally love to just have a peaceful getaway up above the mountain and admiring the grandeur of the Alps. To reach as far as my eyes can see. I can cover with my thumb an entire village and follow through the clouds that shrouded the whole valley. Everything around me is just magical. A special winter pleasure.

When I looked at my daughter, all my worries are gone. I know it’s another year to face, another challenges, and yet, she made me feel brave to face everything. Remembering that she was crazy sick and finally back to wellness gives me enough strength. She deserves to catch the sun. She deserves the world! Also, I am super grateful that my husband brought us into another winter wonderland at the very start of the year. Austria will always be special for our family. This time, we never felt isolated there because we are only a few kilometers away from the vibrant city of Innsbruck. We could even catch a glimpse of  it. From the windows of our apartment, we watched the fireworks and watch the lights danced in the mountains. It is totally different from the way I grew up celebrating the New Year!

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My Little Explorer!

Cheers to New Routes… New Possibilities.

We are ready to face the New Year!

 

 

 

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Celebrating my Anniversary with WordPress ! Cheers for more Blogging adventures!

Today also marked another special achievement for my Blog, Justbluedutch!  It’s my Blog Anniversary with Word press. It has been 2 years now that I am sharing with this wonderful platform my life in photos, stories, adventures, my artworks, and my Expat Life. I have met great people here who have shared with me their life stories as well. Reading about their life experiences made me appreciate the beauty of Blogging.

I wanted to specially thank all the people who followed my Blog and gave wonderful comments. There are lots of genuine-kind hearted people who totally inspired me and appreciate my Artworks. It means a lot to me.

With the start of the new year, I hope you stay with me as I continue to write about my life experiences here in Germany .It has been a pleasure to share my life and adventures from my Expat Life with all of you.

 

Danke Schön! Thank you and Salamat!

 

If you like to connect with me and follow my Expat Life, please visit my Instagram page and also, if you love Art, you can check out my Etsy shop  and get inspired by authentic, handmade, original Aquarelle and Acrylic paintings!

 

Tchüss !

~Christina