Romantic Road trip in Bavaria : Füssen

Strolling through the old Town of Füssen where we spotted the famous Stadtbrunnen, depicting St.Magmus defeating an evil.

Sun, sipping coffe in Cafe´s , street music, with a view of the Bavarian Alps!

That is the mood we´ve seen once we´ve entered the romantic old town of Füssen.Many people overlook the charm of this town, because mainly, people think of it only as a stop over when traveling to Neuschwanstein Castle in the nearby Höhenschwangau area. That was my thought before.I was totally mistaken. Your Romantic road trip and sightseeing will not be surely complete if you don´t see the hidden gems of this famous 700- year old town.

Fussen is also located on the scenic German Alpine Road which crosses Bavaria from Lake Constance in the west to Berchtesgaden in the east.We went to Füssen from Nesselwang after we visited Legoland Deutschland last week in Günzburg. We spent here an entire half day after we visited the Neuschwanstein Castle .It was a short, quick sightseeing, but then it was all worth to stop by. I wish we have more time to explore more but then, here are some of my impressions on this lovely town.

Just look at the architecture of the old town buldings, even the normal Apotheke ( or Pharmacy) is so detailed and intricately designed!

Beautiful Architecture in Füssen´s old town, the Stadt Apotheke

Like a normal old town in Germany, this tiny city is charming, and exquisitely adorned with old carvings, Bavarian themed wall paintings, carvings and Alpine decorations. This town is famous in Bavaria mainly because from here, it starts the exciting trails to the world famous Fairytale Castle of Ludwig II, the Neuschwanstein. If you´re driving, you might even have a lucky glimpse of the foothills and there you can already see the magnet of this town, the castle´s peaks! It was almost hard to find a parking area since the streets is packed with tourists but after a while, we found a spot right just before the entrance of the city.So a piece of advice, if you are heading to visit here , better be off early.

Mädchenbrunnen in Füssen

Walking through the old city allow us to see its quaint little nooks and corners filled with statues, Biergartens, restaurants, street musics and of course, Bavarian flair!Füssen is located north of the Austrian border,

When you´ve spotted something as beautiful as this, you´ve got to get inside. Füssen is very laid-back, comfortable and warm in Summer. Despite the Corona restrictions, people flocked in the streets to sip their coffee, hear some lovely street music and well, people watching!

I saw the strance to the Stadtmuseum and we checked out the innercourts and it was lovely!

Beautiful churches in Füssen (Hospital Church of Füssen)
Loving the great window details in this South Bavarian town
Idyllic wall carvings and paintings

We walked for about 15-20 minutes away from the city to find the Lechfall and we were not dissapointed. The moment that I hear the water gush from the Lech river, I knew something spectacular is somewhere near and we will not leave this city unless we see it.Take note that this is also another very touristy spot and there is not enough parking so the best way to reach this place is by walking.

Through the quiet streets, we finally arrived at Lechbach , a man made waterfalls and Gorge. Normally we have seen Gorges in the mountains, but here, it´s right in the city! Look at the pristine cystal clear-waters! It´s opaque Torquoise blue, so clear and so beautiful against the sun!

The Gorge itself is magical. It´s slate grey stone against the blue waters is really a delight to see. This Gorge is small so you can visit it within 10-15 minutes. You can choose to explore it a bit further, and go down to banks as well.Because of Corona, we decided not to blend in with the crowds and continue to just admire this nature from the bridge.

The man made waterfalls of the Lechbach in Füssen
The turquoise Oasis in Füssen, the Lech falls

Of course, the main attraction of this place is going through the Romantic Castles of King Ludwig II. Both the Neuschwanstein Schloss and Schloss Hohenschwangau is just within a few kilometers away from Füssen. The High Schloss (Höhe Schloss) of Füssen is also not to be missed!

The Fairytale Castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Schloss Neuschwanstein

If you are a nature lover, then Füssen will not dissapoint you. You can hike through the virgin mountains of Säuling, and do the Pöllatschlucht trail where you can see the Waterfalls that won King Ludwig´s heart.

Another thing that made me loved about this place is the Food! We dined in a classic Knight themed restaurant—the Ritterstuben, its like we´re taken to a Middleage era, where Ritter (Knights) and Castles are the new reality! If you are in Bavaria, you´ve got to sample the delectable Bavarian dishes!

We found this restaurant directly in the old town´s city square .Since its almost lunchtime, most restaurants were already full and we haven´t found a place to sit outsid. But then it was okay since we have the restaurant inside all to ourselves! Don´t forget that because of Corona virus,we need to wear masks, and we are asked to sign up with our contact details everytime we visit a restaurant.

The “Lautermacherbrunnen” in the old town city of Füssen

If you have more time to spent in Füssen, you can check out more of the hidden gems that this city offers here. What about another stop over in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to view another beautiful Gorge? The easiest way to reach Füssen is by car. It takes around 1 hour 40 minutes from Munich, 1 hour 25 from Innsbruck and 2 hours 30 from Zurich.

Until next time, Tschüss!

Pöllat Gorge ,the waterfalls that won King Ludwig II´s heart

Pöllat Gorge, the Waterfalls that won the heart of the Fairytale King of Bavaria, Ludwig II

Now I know why seeing Neuschwanstein Castle is so special. If you are planning to see it in the future, this might help you. And this post will show you why.

Nope, we didn´t see Knights in shining Armor or let alone Princess or golden carriages there.Instead, we saw and followed the Pöllatschlucht, the waterfalls that King Ludwig II loved.

Actually, I did not expect that during our hiking adventure to see Neuschwanstein Castle that we would be able to see a waterfall ( or a Gorge) let alone the ” eccentric” Field od Stacked stones.This is one of the reasons why this trip was really unforgettable since along the way, we have seen so many nature spectacles!

Look at that pristine waters gushing…

This trail to Neuschwanstein Castle was approx. 4,7km, and it says that its doable within 15 minutes. No, don´t believe that because it didn´t happen to us.We took our time to hike since we have a child with us .At first , the trail started smooth and easy because its flat ground and we are surrounded by shade. Its still summer so I already anticipate the big crowds of tourists. Very important though that because its Pandemic, I would like to isolate ourselves as much as possible from the big swarm of human traffic.

Sorry, but we prefer to meet trees rather than people at this time…

This is the view that surprised us after we took the middle-rough stage.

I´ve heard that this path was closed from the public, maybe because of maintenance and for safety reasons.Fortunately, during our visit, it was open. It´s kinda scary just looking at the big boulders of rocks besides us ( probably because of erosion..) but then the metal steps going up on the side of a rocky part of the mountain looks safe enough. I just felt eerie whenever I looked down.

This hiking trail is definitely the best for families and kids. It requires a bit of strength but then its doable.Besides you can take your time as long as you want to avoid crowds.It´s perfect if you go early in the morning so you have enough time to waste to admire the scenery. It is very well maintained, and enough signages will never get you lost.

Once you meet “Charlie, the Tree” ( or Charlies Baum) then you know you are in the right track…

Whoever Charlie is I am sure he has seen the Fairytale Castle as well and followed the Gorge.

Some of the sightings that you will see along the hiking path.

I have seen this bush all over our hiking trail, both through the Pöllatschlucht and from another hike we´ve took on our way down all over the vicinity of Höhenschwangau.I don´t know exactly its name, but I find the flowers beautiful so I took a picture. It´s late summer blooms and it really makes the whole place picturesque!

Just look at this tree that grows actually on a rock! Those roots…!

And again, the higher up we go, the waterfalls is just beside us.It´s really rejuvenating to see the waters cascading through the rocks, and hearing only the birds chirping…and of course, my camera clicking!

This hike took us about half an hour and at the end we met the surge of Tourists. Be warned that Neuschwanstein is a very touristy place.Right on the entrance of the Marienbrücke, there is a control monitor signalling the number of people already in the bridge.The bridge is divided into 2 lanes, one for entry and the other is for exit.People should mask and practice distance. The tail of the line is really loooooonnngggg so be prepared to entaertain your kids.With Corona virus restrictions, you need to prepare yourself for this hike.

Waiting is worth it, because the views here are amazing!

On top of the Marienbrücke, I was able to snap this photo to capture a part of the Waterfalls as seen from below, but I felt giddy and afraid that my phone would fall, so it was just a quick look. The views are magnificent above the waterfalls. I don´t even know where to look anymore.

The panoramic views of the whole valley, the lakes, the quaint town of Füssen and Höhenschwangau, and of course, the proud Bavarian Alps, the Fairytale Castle in front of me, and below the bridge is the Pöllatgorge —-all in one perfect view.

It´s really worth all the sweat we´ve got from this hike!

It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day […]; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world.” –King Ludwig II ,from his letter to Richard Wagner

King Ludwig II is defintely a landscape Artist. He had a whole vision where he wants his Castle and the surrounding elements is very important.This place really wins his heart….and as expected, we were also won by this waterfalls! It is one of the prettiest waterfalls I have ever seen.

Do you love hiking with a view?

What about hiking through the Krimml Wasserfälle next time?

Or hike though the Hochgebirge Stauseen , the world renowned Alpine Reservoirs that has been built through Nazi era and see Glaciers and Turquoise waters, plus your kid can play in the playground above 2,000 m high! The trip going through an open inclined elevator is never to be missed!

Or just be amazed of the thunderous waters in Partnachklamm?

If you still have time to kill, then why not just follow the river in Lechbach in Füssen?

Summer flowers in the Botanical Garden in Munich

The ultimate Green Oasis , the Botanical Garden-Nymphenburg in München

A green oasis in the city. An outdoor urban jungle with vast variety of Flora & Fauna kingdom right in the heart of Bavaria.A place where the scare of the Corona virus seemed forgotten, keeping our minds at ease for a moment of rest… and where going back to nature is the truest form of self-respect. Standing in awe of the flowers and plants have kept our hearts happy and our senses revitalized.

After a long wait, finlly we visited the Botanical Gardens in Munich , just after we saw my daughter´s Exhibition in the Internationale Jugendbibliothek in Schloss Blutenburg.This Garden happens to be near to the Nymphenburg Palace so we decided to spend few hours here.Just like everywhere, Corona restrictions is observed. We need to wear masks upon entrance and sitting in Restaurant and of course maintain distance. But roaming around, we can go without.There were quite few visitors but not that we called many. It was a great day and I am totally in my happy place.

The garden is big, but not too huge.It stretches up to 21 heactares and houses approximately 14,000 species of plants .Unfortunately, we were not able to view the Greenhouses because of the current situation but then maybe its another reason to return to this nature paradise.

I feasted my eyes on the beautiful landscape. The garden is beautifully adorned with different plants.It has the late summer blooms that makes it so alive and refreshing. I felt that the air there is really clean and the only sound we hear is the water splashes and buzzing of the bees.I get busied taking phoos of bees feeding on lovely flowers. I am kinda magnetized on these sights so I took plenty of shots capturing this beautiful partnership in nature.

Here, its very evident that plants compete with one another. Every single plant exudes their vitality and charm, and bees were there to abserve them.I´ve read that bees ´s senses are adapted to the signals emitted by the plants and know their scent.They even know how to recognize colors!they love yellows and blue…Hmmmm.

But they cannot see red.So imagine, they onls see Red Poppies as a single black hole.I observed this more often in our garden where bees always flocked to my Lavender plants from the moment they start to bloom up to the last blooms in Summer.bees are indeed loyal to flowers!

Every single flower is unique.The patterns and colours are so rich!

I recognize quite a number of many summer blooms.But still, there are quite many that I am amazed to see.Great thing every single flower /plant is labelled. I took note of the great color combinations.The rows of Roses in full blooms are fragrant so far. My favourite was the light Purple one–I think it was pretty!

The Iris Garden is also something! Facing the grand pond with waterlilies and more Dahlias and Zinias, this place is quite captivating.Green and light blue shades of Iris are so soothing.There are many Parrot sculptures spread across the Garden.I really don´t know the meaning of its symbolic meaning but then it adds grace to the garden.

My daughter wants an ice cream so we tried the Restaurant.It was ok but I think it was a little overpriced and the service took so long.Maybe next time we will just bring our own snacks!

I have heard that this Botanical Garden attracts more than 35,000 visitors a year and now I can understand why. It may not be as grand as the Keukenhof Gardens and the Orchideeen Hoeve´ in the Netherlands but the 16,000 + plant species they are keeping are quite a collection to ponder about! I am sure that for any plant lover—a place like this is never to be missed! I am not surprised if it is the top visited Botanical garden in Bavaria!

Visiting green Oasis and Gardens has been our favourite thing to do during this Pandemie.We felt safer being surrounded by plants, maybe because they signify life. I am grateful that we have access to see gardens like these and costing only a few Euros.I would be writing for sure again about this garden when we return to see the Greenhouses once it opened again.

Watching nature´s metamorphosis is one simple pleasure in life that we should not take in for granted.

Do you love Botanical Gardens? When was the last time you visited one?

Whether you only need a moment of ME-Time, or you feel like taking some pictures of lush greenery for your Instagram and social media, or some ideas to post in your Blog,visiting your local Garden is quite an option! You don´t need to travel far and spent a fortune.

Personally, I´ve always wanted to learn more about plants and maybe be a part of a volunteer group for a Gardening or just to learn something or do something for the environment, then I would be happy…

If you love plants and green Oasis, here are some related Posts I have written as well. Tschüss , stay safe everyone!

Labyrinth Garden

Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, the Netherlands

Poppy Flower, the beloved German flower of the Year

Fragile Summer Flowers in Bavaria

Yellow fields in Bavaria

Chasing the Fog in Summer

The row of trees hidden when the clouds touches the waters

I went out as usual with my morning run and the moment I stepped out of the door, a blanket of Fog greeted me. I thought what is this?! A misty morning? or Autumn came early?

Its like stepping into a surprise illusion where I see drizzles and rain just about to pour the heavens out of me.But honestly speaking, German weather never fails to surprise me!It changes everytime and you can´t do anything about it.

A rough chilly wind also came into gush but then I went on with setting my running app. No time to waste since we have lots to do on this day so I went on. I thought this would be an exciting run since its actually my first time running with a Fog, mist, clouds on the ground or whatever you call it so I better get into my goal as well.

How is fog possible in warm summer days?

Almost zero visibility that It feels like I am in another world

Visibility in fog is less than 1 km so it can really be eerie. I remember one time we were driving along Autobahn and there was a thick fog and it looks dangerous!Beautiful and yet dangerous, that´s what fog brings. I have read quite something about this so then it makes sense to me now. Both mist and fog are caused by microscopic water droplets suspended in the air. The visibility depends on how far light can travel before too much of it is randomly scattered by hitting droplets. The bigger and closer together the droplets are the smaller this distance is. In mist the droplets are very tiny, in fog they are bigger. When droplets exceed about 200 micrometres in diameter they tend to fall earthwards and are called drizzle!

It felt surreal running with thick fog in front of me. I am looking alert if there is someone cycling in front of me. I started slow because I wanted to enjoy as well the beautiful landscape.Looking around brings me memories from my frequent morning walks in Autumn where it is always “Neblig” in German ( German word for Foggy ), btw, Nebel is the German word for Fog.

Staring at spider webs caught in a mystical tangle

I pursue running and as I was bent on finishing my target distance. I also know that fog dissapear quickly so I quickly took some photos before its gone.I don´t like to quickly wake up from a sweet dream.The more that I am distracted by the Fog, the more that I find it mystical.We always have foggy mornings here in Germany especially in Fall, but in Summer, this is not the ordinary.

Looks mysterious and yet exciting.

I remember the Autumn days where I am also chasing Fogs. I love it, I love the mystery , the quest and everything. Think of something so precious but then it doesn´t last long.

I think there is something about when clouds touches the ground and bring a nostalgic charm on ordinary days. It had been raining for 3 consecutive days over here and the waters of the river and the dam is monitored. Too much rain, too much water, so the fog wants to join in.

Cycling on a foggy morning over Glacisbrücke

I think trees doesn´t mind the sudden change in atmosphere either.They had a great rainshowers, bent and feeling overwhelmed by wetness and they wanted to kiss the river as well.There are lots of picturesque looks of nature on a weather like these but then here are some of my favourites…

Dewy kissed flowers

Once I reached the other side of the river,I took a short break and gasped in surprise. The river looks like a flood of chocolate drink being stirred by unknown force. The wind is chilly and the sound of the loud waters keeps on bothering me. It looks scary enough, the current is really strong.This is definitely the day to remember when the clouds finally kissed the ground and melts with the waters of the river.

The wild fields covered in a morning Fog
The Danube river is shrouded with thick Fog
Not your ordinary day
Let us learn from the trees about resilience
One fine day where I see when the clouds touches the grounds.

The fact is, I don´t have the right to complain about nature´s priceless beauty. I am just thankful to be alive and was able to see today´s wonderful miracle.

There is a light at the end of the road

I wonder when will I see Fog again..maybe tomorrow? or maybe soon…

More of my Fog stories can be found Here… and also another interesting throwback about the Big Balls of Bavaria, also a beautiful scenery shot in a Foggy morning. Or what about watching some wonderful Sunrise and sunsets for a change?

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!

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!