Ooh Shiny: What summer means to me, the Sunflower fields

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What summer really means to me : Sunflower fields!

Ohhhh Sunflowers! 

I have never seen sunflowers in my life for I think more than 8 years and seeing them once again brings back summer memories. Back then in my home country,  I saw them quite often but not in Kuwait. Yes, I saw some bulbs in flower shops, but not really the same wild sunflower fields that I knew.

The last few weeks here in Bavaria have been pretty toasty weather. Great time to stay outdoors, more water fun, and when its sunny, the sight of summer flowers can be refreshing. Fields of  blooming sunflower is what summer means to me here in Germany! These golden-yellow shiny beauties are my favorite summer flowers and here in the southern part where we are rewarded with more sunshine, they grew beautifully wild in many fields. I’m telling you, it’s such a beautiful sight. They are a complete distraction when we cycle along the countryside. I don’t know with you but the sight of them makes me happy, makes me somehow excited. Something about them  gives sunshine to my soul.

Standing in front of them, while you can hear the  sounds of nature, crisp winds,  buzzing of the bees, swaying of the golden glow of strong, fresh sunflowers against the blue sky is to die for. I love the peace and serenity it brings. So simple, so raw, a pure nature’s delight. They are the brightest replica image of the sun. They simply brings warmth!

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Sunflower fields in Bavaria on a bright sunny day

For me summer is no summer without the bright, shiny , golden sunflower fields! Remember how I shared with you how I bursts out in excitement when I saw the tulip fields in Keukenhof, and gazing at those gazillions of multi-colored tulips?

Or my delight when we visited the Rapeseeds? almost as golden-yellow of goodness as the hundreds of sunflowers looking up through the sun. I actually cycled for many times going through the same fields, I can’t get enough  of them. I need to indulge in them before Fall comes and turn these fields into grey, empty and dullness of hibernating earth.

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Summer goodness

I guess this summer we explored so many fields, not only of summer blooms, but also of many different crops. Just beside every sunflower fields we drowned into the acres of sweet corns too. I noticed by now the certain crops that grow in each season. This sunflower fields is the same Rape seed fields that we’ve been ogling for months last Springtime!

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My sunshine

You can see that my daughter was quite enamored of the big yellow sunflower. But hey, she is just as crazy as the wasps who flutters around it! She’s bent on chasing them! Brought her in many sunflower fields many times and she knows how to bring the sunshine home.

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Cycling with my most favorite travel Buddy along the Sunflower fields

A bike ride with this Little One makes it even more special and I can’t complain for anything. Visiting sunflower fields on hot,summer months gives us that holiday feeling for an ordinary day .Here in Bavaria, we have plentiful of these and you can pick them up by yourself and self-pay. The flower fields also have so many different kinds of lilies, and other summer flowers.

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Wandering in the sunflower fields

Sunflowers become one of my painting inspiration. Their image is left in my mind so I decided to paint and make some cards out of it, of course, I didn’t forget to get some bulbs to brighten up our living room.Wild sunflowers are often photographed with their tall stalks and bright petals stretched towards the sun. This interesting behavior, known as phototropism, inspired a motif that has appeared in many ancient works.

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Flower art therapy

Though they are a crop planted with a purpose, their bright colours spread an instant happiness and positive energies. They look pretty, they give us healthy seeds to eat and oil for our cars.  Sunflowers are the ultimate sign of summer and I love their simplicity and versatility.

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Some of the cards I’ve made  inspired by sunflower

Do you also have a sunflower story? I think for a flower that reflects so many of the sun’s positive characteristics, it isn’t surprising that people enjoy basking in the sunflower’s warming glow so much, just like I do.

How about you? How are you spending your summer?

What’s your favorite summer flower?

This post is inspired by this weeks’ photo Challenge |Ooh, Shiny!

Prost! Biergarten and the Beer Culture in Germany

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Beer tasting in Abensberg, Bavaria ,Germany
What is it about Germans and their Beers?

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Prost! 

Or what about  German Beer tents, Lederhosens and Dirndls and more Beer?

 

 

Imagine, I’ve been living here in Germany for almost more than a year now, and I realized that I’ve never written anything about Bier— the “liquid gold” of this country , or worldly known as Beer.  My daughter has been obsessed  with Pretzel ( or Brezen)  been into Beer tents and Volksfests, and I, shamelessly confessing my love for German Beer culture.

 

I think it’s  just fitting that I write about it for a fact that I am living in the Beer capital of the world : Bavaria! My personal views are honest observations as an Asian expat who have learned to embraced their Beer culture, (and loving it!, of course )

“Where people brew beer, that’s a good place to live!”  {an old Czech saying}

Unique, Bavarian Beer

I don’t know any other place in this world where in Beer is regarded as important as staple food in everyday lifestyle. I grow up knowing that beer is seen as a drink of pleasure. I have never had a liking to it, I find it too bitter and I hate frequent trips to the toilet as I am not a drinker. Here in Bavaria it is considered more as a basic food. It’s no wonder on average a Bavarian consumes from birth to the grave some 150 litres (40 gallons) of beer per year. Just like German’s world-record breaking number of Breads and Sausages,  For the record, Bavaria is known to have 40 types of beer, over 600 Breweries and approximately 4,000 brands! Imagine that! It all depends on your preferences, and of course, the price. You can read more of it Here.

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Biergarten in front of New Castle
Need I say more, I told you, Beer is THE BIG thing here.

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Biergarten with the view of the Church on a hill in Walhalla.

Biergarten is the place to be!

Where else is the best place to enjoy Bier ?

Biergartens ( or Beer gardens)  are normal garden halls or part of the restaurant under shady green trees, with wooden benches, and shared tables in a cozy setting where people meet together, eating, chatting, lounging, and of course—with a beer. Every meeting is best celebrated with a cold, tall glass, pils or  Maß  of bubbly beer. All Biergartens are closed during Winter and  officially opens during beautiful weather around May in true style round the maypole with traditional May dances and a barrel of tasty “Maibock”. The moment you see those tables and chairs laid down, you know, good times are bound to come.

The thing is, most people doesn’t know that Beer is not just part of German culture —it’s their  culture, life, lifeblood, a legacy  and undying tradition passed on to generations to generations.

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German pride!

Back then in Kuwait, people spend more time in shopping malls because of the heat outside. Here in Bavaria, especially on warm summer months,  Biergarten is the best place to go, or celebrate everything. It’s not just a place to get drunk. I once saw a wedding reception in the Biergarten and family gatherings. For the locals, the moment the sun shines, people flocked here as early as 9 A.M . As a mother, I find it so cool that some Biergartens are kid-friendly. They have “spielplatz”or play areas , and even have kids meal and kinder beer. Families enjoy time with their friends while kids can play.

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Beautiful Biergarten beside the well-known Kuchlbauer Brewery and Kuchlbauer Turm.
When we visited the “Kuchlbauer Brewery”with the Kuchlbauer Turm inspired by Hundertwasser in Abensberg, the atmosphere in the Biergarten is super cozy. Imagine, they even built a tower to honor beer! With a nice view of the tower, everyone is having a great time! Bavaria’s largest beer garden (and probably the largest in the world) is Munich’s Hirschgarten that can cater for some 8,000 people. Here in Ingolstadt, here are some of our favorite Biergartens to visit.

It’s also typical in Bavaria where  old people regularly meet in Biergartens, locally known as “Stammtisch”. Sometimes they even have games, party, dancing, with traditional Volk music, and yes, all throughout Sunday! Another unique thing is that people wears their traditional “Trachten“, the Lederhosen and Dirndls! 

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Biergarten above the hill in Nürnberg

Only Pure Beer

Did you know that in Germany, especially in Bavaria where it all originated, the German Beer Purity Law rules, the Reinheitsgebot is a L-A-W. 500 Years of regulated law for Beer Brewing is no joke. Its a serious business, and for Germans, there is high respect for this regulation.

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The German Beer Purity Law
“Reinheitsgebot, also known as the Bavarian Beer Purity Law and Bavarian Beer Ingredient Law, was enacted in 1516 , in Ingolstadt by the Duke of Bavaria, so that only beers made with just three ingredients — hops, barley malt and water (yeast was unknown at the time) — were allowed to be labeled a “pure” German beer and fit to drink “. This law has 3 aims :

  • To protect drinkers from high prices
  • To ban the use of wheat beer so more bread could be made
  • And to stop the unscrupulous brewers from adding “dubious”toxic , even hallucinogenic ingredients as preservatives or flavourings.

Everything sounds great, right?

They included herbs and spices such as rosemary and caraway, henbane, thorn-apple, wood shavings, roots, soot or even pitch, according to the German Brewers’ Association (DBB).The DBB claims that the Reinheitsgebot is the oldest currently valid consumer protection law in the world. Germany exports 1.5 billion litres of beer every year, and the country is pretty proud of its beer and the purity law.

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A Festival is no Festival without Beer

From the time that I’ve lived here, I have never seen a German as drunk as hell, swaying and getting wasted in the streets, let alone getting amok because of  beer intoxication. During Oktoberfest, if you see a wasted man or woman from the festival, it’s most likely that He/ She is a tourist. Germans sits in the Biergarten for 3-5 hours on Sunday and still rides their bike afterwards going home, even old people.

In Germany,  beer is more than the  Beer Festival  in Munich or the world known as “Oktoberfest”. Before, I only knew of Oktoberfest as a time to get totally drunk and wasted in club or in a bar, drinking buckets of beer,watching live bands–having a great night out—that’s it. While living here, when I first have a taste of my very first “pure” Bavarian beer” , I realized how little I know. Germany has more to offer than just Oktoberfest.  It has so many festivals celebrated all throughout the year, all celebrated with beer. Starting with Frühlingsfest ( Spring Festival), Herbstfest-Volksfest ( Autumn Festival) , Oktoberfest ( Beer Festival in Bavarian capital-Munich) , add the Easter, Bürgerfest, and the Christkindlmarkts ( or  Christmas Markets) —everything is celebrated with O’zapft is!  or the tapping of Beer barrel.

Drink, Eat, Repeat

In the beginning of beer gardens, there was plenty to drink but nothing to eat. Because brewers were not allowed to sell food, many Germans brought their own pretzel and wurst to the beer garden. But nowadays, there are plenty of specialties to indulge, so there’s always a reason to taste the local delicacies especially served in Biergartens.Along with local beer, served in 1-liter steins, German beer garden specialties include:

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  • Brotzeit – a platter with cold cuts, artisan cheese, sausages, pretzel, horseradish, and cucumbers
  • Currywurst swimming in currysauce with pommes ( potato fries)
  • Obatzter – a soft, white cheese, mixed with onions and chives
  • Weisswurst – white sausage, complimented by sweet mustard and a pretzel
  • Kartoffelsalat ( potato salad)
  • Hendl  (Half-roasted chicken)
  • Schnitzel with pommes

Germans are best described as people who work hard, and play hard. Just look at their Beer and Biergarten culture and you’ll understand what I mean.

How about you, do you like to drink Bier? What do you think of their Biergartens?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walhalla : The German Parthenon

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Walhalla , the German Parthenon
Finally, we’ve reached our destination , the Walhalla , the German Parthenon as they called it, a revival from the one in Acropolis, in Athens. After  almost an hour of pleasant cruising along the Danube, we embark from the ship and set our foot in Donaustauf, directly looking at the foot of the mountain.

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Lots of green in different shades , cloisters, and castle ruins

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View of Walhalla from the boat
It was indeed a pleasant ride, add the fact that we are rewarded with scenic views along the river. I am so thankful that the weather has been perfect, a sunny, around 30-34 degrees, toasty, but nevertheless, we are happy that we were not bothered by rain, otherwise, we would have cancelled this trip.

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Took this photo of the scenic vista of Bavarian countryside up from the massive Walhalla temple, east of Regensburg
Guys, going to Walhalla with a 3-year old toddler is no joke. I wouldn’t even called it as an ideal destination to bring a toddler. It’s not a place to play.

I mean, yes, we are adventurous, strong and able, but not stupid enough to exhaust ourselves climbing the steep mountain with a stroller in hand. Looking at our group, I didn’t see anyone with a stroller, there are lots of bikes in the foot of the mountain, but no stroller. For a minute I thought that we  made a mistake in going to this place. Looking at the 300+ steep steps, the elevation, there is no way a stroller can go up there, nope. I wanted to go back, as I am already feeling tired. I am in the brink of giving up, and in a helpless blank mode, since I don’t know where to go. Taking a deep breath, I just smiled when I looked at my daughter, my busy talkative  Little travel Buddy . She said she just want to see the orca in Walhalla!

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Tourists braving the steps

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Colonnade
But my husband is my lifesaver. Google maps aren’t working but then He managed to find the foot path that leads us to the alternate route going up the mountain. Honestly speaking, I have high respect to German sites such as these. I knew it’s not a tourist trap. I knew from experience that they make sure that the place is accessible and always give considerations for the physically challenged, disabled, with wheelchairs, let alone strollers with very young children. I’ve seen even cows and horses goes up to the Zugspitze  or in the Alps, in a comfy cable cars! Why not here?

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Fine details inside the Memorial Hall
With the gigantic view of the massive Walhalla in front of us, we decided to head to the left side road, a small foot path leading to Walhallastrasse in the village of Donaustauf, in the direction of the backside of the mountain.We took the skimpy foot path where we came across a lady with 2 little boys who told us that the foot path going up the mountain is currently closed, and the one which goes through the forest is difficult to follow for lack of directions. We chose to stick to the highway that leads up to the main parking area, and climb  uphill. This is the best possible option if we can’t make the 358 steps.

The walk uphill is not that bad actually, it’s a 20-30 minute walk depending on your pace. The moment I saw from a distance so many cyclists and horses with people climbing up, I felt hopeful, and positive. We entertained ourselves by listening to my daughter’s ramblings and singing. She was just in a happy mood. We decided to climb the remaining steps and she’s fine with it. At the ride side of the temple, finally there is a ramp.

Hooorrraayyy, we’ve made it!

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The Hall dedicated to honor the notable Germans
Something about Walhalla

The Walhalla is located in a dominant position high above the Danube in the east of Regensburg. This Neoclassical building in the form of a temple surrounded by a portico with gigantic columns that  represents one of the most important German national monuments of the 19th century. Created by order of  Bavarian King Ludwig I (reigned 1825-1848). The Walhalla was built by Ludwig’s I favourite architect, Leo von Klenze (1784-1864), one of the most important Neoclassical architects of the 19th century. The foundation stone was laid in 1830 and the building was ceremoniously opened twelve years later, on 18 October 1842. Klenze’s design was primarily inspired by the famous Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens dating from 5th century B.C.  The combination of colonnaded temple and massive substructure and the free design of the interior however prevents the architecture from being a mere copy of the ancient building. The temple building, which is clad inside and out with precious marble, rises above the massive tiered substructure. This was originally intended to house the ‘Hall of Expectation’ containing the busts of people to be honoured in the future.

In short, Walhalla is one great site to see!!

 

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King Ludwig of Bavaria, the man who made all these things possible. Without him, we won’t have this place to explore.

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I find this door really intriguing…
 

The memorial  Hall displays some 65 plaques and 130 busts covering 2,000 years of history, beginning with Arminius, victor at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. Inside the temple is a striking hall, filled with busts of people, gigantic monuments and the ceiling is quite impressive. Notable people whom I recognized (at least  from which I am familiar with )  were Goethe, Richard Strauss, Alfred Einstein, Wilhelm von Oranje, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Albrecht Dürer , Erasmus of Rotterdam, Nikolaus Copernicus,Martin Luther,Johann Sebastian Bach, and of course, King Ludwig of Bavaria.

The rest I don’t know, or at least I haven’t heard of them. Most of them are really notable and made a great impact in German history, to be in this hall of fame, at least you need to be dead for 20 years…

I wonder whose going to be included in this list?

The columns in Walhalla are huge and gigantic. I find the whole place so majestic, like I imagine it would be, suddenly I thought about the Greek Mythology and the mighty Gods in Mt. Olympus. It’s a surreal experience to be on top. We arrived on a bright sunny day, perfect weather, and yes, as expected, packed with tourists, but the views are breathtaking. I couldn’t find a place in the front colonnade to be empty. Everyone was busy taking their photos, having a picnic, lounging in the floor of the temple, admiring the scenic vista in front of them. Acres and acres of different shades of greens, the graceful flow of the Danube and the beautiful skyline of this region. I never imagined that this place could be so beautiful.

I have a thing with vertigo and I am scared for my daughter. I can’t ever let her go, even for a second. There is  a warning and precaution for this place since fatal accidents  already happened if ever you slipped in the edges of the temple.

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Not afraid of the heights…
If you are exploring Bavaria and the neighboring cities like Regensburg, Weltenburg and Kelheim, this trip should not be  missed. Once you are at the top, you forget that you sweat out.Traveling with kids has never been easy, be it by car, plane or whatever means. Imagine the  chaos, but also imagine the joy you feel as you create memories as a family.

No matter how you choose to explore the beautiful Bavaria, it’s gonna be amazing!

What do you think about Walhalla Temple? would you consider exploring it with your child?

More information about this place can be found Here, and if you want further reading about spending 48 hours in Regensburg, then you might want to check out these links.

Exploring the Streets of Regensburg

Wurstkuchl: the 870 Historical Sausage Kitchen of the World

Cruising along the Danube

Hundertwasser and Kuchlbauer : When Beer and Art meets

 

Cruising along the Danube

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Sittin’ on the dock of the bay…

I guess everyone dreamed of  cruising along a river…I’m one of them.

The chance came and I just did! and it was a wonderful ! I remembered how I was enchanted by the beautiful Moselle river and by far, the Danube river has its own charm.This post is really special to me because this is something that I really enjoyed from our last trip. It was also the most exhausting one, but then, as the saying goes “when the going gets tough, the tough get going…”

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I wrote many things about the mighty river “Danube” (or Donau) in this Blog. How can’t I?, the river is just 10 minutes away from where I live, I see it everyday, it has become my daily backdrop and a favorite subject for photos. Seeing its different faces through all seasons becomes so normal for me. But  then we discovered something else about its charm. We’ve seen another phase of this mighty river in Regensburg. Cruising through its magical waters is different, especially if you are traveling with a hyperactive toddler. Yes, she loved the boat idea, but to keep her calm through the whole boat ride is another innuendo!

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The boat is turning around…
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And off we go…! Germans adore the sun , lots and lots of sunshine, so they prefer to sit in the open deck for better views and winds, but my daughter wants to jump off the water!

So anyway, last Tuesday, while we are in Regensburg, we decided to take a cruising along the Danube trip to visit one of the most notable off -the-beaten path destination——- the German Parthenon, a replica of the one in Athens, Greece, the Walhalla Temple. Another hidden gem in Bavaria and I think it deserves more recognition because this place is both educational and not for the faint-hearted. It takes guts to be up there, but the views are totally worth it.  Bavarian King Ludwig I (reigned 1825-1848) ordered his great Architect Leo von Klenze to build this place to dedicate to all great German speakers and notable persons. Quite extraordinary tribute, right? Aren’t you curious whose on the list?

Walhalla is a temple built high above the mountains, I thought, how are we going to make it there with a 3-year old plus a bulky stroller? Can we climb the hilly terrain plus  the 358 steps ?

From the cruising to hiking? Possible? YES!

But first, we relaxed and enjoyed the comfortable cruise ride to go to our main destination.

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We have some company in the river, so many ships and barges crossing over.

The Charm of the Danube

The river Danube seen from the Old Stone Bridge (Steinerne Brücke) in Regensburg looks so calm, graceful and deep. I spent quite sometime just admiring the view in front of me, with all the boats,  ships, museum, and cruise ships passing by me, and of course, a mass of people. Everyone just love to lounge in the banks of the river.

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Took this photo from above the Walhalla, the route where the ships go crossing the Danube.

Napoleon once referred to the Danube River as the “Queen of Europe’s Rivers,” a fitting title for Europe’s second-longest river. It measures 1,775 miles long and up to nearly 1 mile wide and touches 10 countries — Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, GermanyHungary, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine — and four capitals. That alone has made the Danube a vital transportation route for more than 2,000 years. The Danube cycling path is also well-known for cycling enthusiasts and wanderers. It is my dream also to cycle on one of its paths, maybe someday when  my toddler can also join this type of adventure.

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Today, ships can navigate 87 percent of the waterway’s length, meaning Danube River cruises can sail from the North Sea to the Black Sea. The Main-Danube Canal, which got its major start in the 18th century, was completed in 2002 when the final piece was put in place for the 106 mile, 16-lock waterway.

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The cruise experience from Regensburg to Walhalla

We got our ticket from the Regensburger Schifffahrt ( Klinger) and by 10:30 a.m, the boat docked in front of us and off we go.There was quite a crowd already but I am impressed that even strollers, pets, and persons with wheelchair can join this trip. The staffs are both helpful and mindful.

We found a place near the window but we often go to the open deck to have better views and took photos. There is an audio tour both in German and English so that was very handy for me. At the beginning, my daughter was so excited but then after 10 minutes or so, she started to get whiny and cranky. It was time for her midday nap.She crashed into her nap and woke up when we are already in the foot of the temple.

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Beautiful nature sights during the trip.

Cruising along the Danube is wonderful , especially for families. If you want to explore from what is beyond the norm then it’s a great break from the claustrophobic and touristy streets in Regensburg . The views along the river is very scenic, enough to put you in a trance. We passed by  some notable arches, bridges, and castle ruins in the hills surrounding the Danube. The atmosphere inside the boat is very cozy, the bathrooms are clean and you can order food & drinks as you like.

The trip lasts for more than 45 mins, from which my daughter just sleep through out the whole time. The drop off was easy and the guests are allowed to wander &  explore Walhalla for 75 minutes, after this, the boat comes back for the trip going back to Regensburg.

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The striking Walhalla Temple

Finally, we’ve reached our destination.We stood on this spot for quite sometime trying to figure out how to navigate this place, pushing the stroller, I thought, how are we going to be on top?

I’ll tell you more about the rest of our adventure in my post about this mighty Walhalla temple.Until then, thank you for reading my friends.

If you are visiting Regensburg, make sure not to miss this. The information about this trip is available in the Tourist Information in the Old Town of Regensburg and the ticket booth is just beside the Old Stone Bridge and the Wurstkuchl. It’s a hotspot location and you won’t miss it!

 

 

 

 

 

Hundertwasser and Kuchlbauer Tower : When Beer and Art meets

 

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

Have you heard about Hunderwasser?

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

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The KunstHaus in Abensberg ( Designed, planned and built by Peter Pelikan, as inspired by works of Hundertwasser. )
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The Beer garden with the view of the Kuchlbauer Tower

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

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

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

The KunstHaus Abensberg

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

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Colorful bathroom inside the KunstHaus

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

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A taste of the Beer legacy in Abensberg
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Nice details on the foot of the tower

A Beer Garden with a View

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it too crazy? or larger than life?

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

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

 

Discovering the streets of Regensburg

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The view of the Old town of Regensburg from the other side of the Old Stone Bridge.
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The city of Regensburg was added to UNESCO World Heritage Site from July 13,2006.

Bavaria, my second home here in Europe,  is a region in Germany where holidays from work is plentiful. I mean, here, I have heard of holidays which I’ve never heard before , like for example yesterday was Maria himmelfahrt ( or the Feast of the Assumption Day of Mary ) . So we decided to take another  trip and extend our nomadic bearings in exploring the Romantic roads and historical cities of Bavaria. This time, we chose Germany’s (another) UNESCO World Heritage site, the fascinating city of Regensburg, the medieval city of northernmost town in Italy.

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Houses along the Danube
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Walking through the Old Town of Regensburg

A little something about Regensburg

Before I don’t know anything about Regensburg, nothing at all. So when we tour this city, I was really surprised at how fascinating it is. My personal impression : Regensburg is beautiful, and has its own charm to be proud of.

But let yourself be warned, it is also very touristy and expensive. Most of the attractions can only be accessed with tours and entrance fees are high compared to other places we’ve been to.

For the record, Regensburg is the largest Medieval city in Germany. With two thousand years of thrilling history meets lifestyle on the Danube. It is one of the few cities in Germany which were spared from heavy bombings from WWII. Regensburg has 1,500 listed buildings; 984 of them make up the UNESCO World Heritage ‘Old Town with Stadtamhof’ ensemble.

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Quaint, narrow streets

Regensburg , a city that lies along the beautiful Danube ( or Donau) river was an important reloading point on the continental trade routes to Italy, Bohemia, Czech Republic and Russia.

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Not all those who wanders are lost…
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Tuscan inspired Patrician’s Houses

Impressions about Regensburg

Regensburg is a colorful city. I love colors and art so this city is really gives me a very charming atmosphere. Almost all of the important landmarks of the city are within walking distance so its easy to navigate. Although I don’t consider myself as a tourist here, I was intimidated with the massive amount of tourist that I saw. Compared to Nuremberg, the tourists flocked like birds, they are everywhere. There are plenty of ‘Tuscan style’ of the pastel coloured patrician’s houses which makes it really unique from other cities we’ve visited. The small, narrow streets contains so much detail which you can see from the windows, railings, and doors.

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Colorful details

 

Regensburg’s Old Town is an exceptional testament to the cultural traditions in the Holy Roman Empire and Christianity. In the inner city  alone, it has 46 churches.There are churches of different denomination in almost every corner we go. It has small, narrow alleys which leads one to the other and I find the traffic build-up rather annoying . We were exploring the city with a stroller so I find it hard to push the stroller on almost gut-end of the curb of the streets, add the hassle of the cobbled-stone pavements. Nevertheless, as same as in most parts of Germany, drivers are polite and always giving way to pedestrians.

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Is it Fall already in Regensburg?
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Flowers in the windows

What to see in Regensburg

Oh Regensburg has a lot to offer for all ages, especially for families! Be it for leisure, fun, adventure or a simple getaway from another city, this city is never a dull one.

Your eyes will feast on so many different kinds of beautiful architecture, monumental buildings, museums, churches, and the views that surrounds the city. If you are a lover of art, there are plenty of museums to visit. We skipped this part because my daughter can’t stand the long hours contained indoors in Museums and tours. Here are some of the highlights of our trip which I think you shouldn’t miss if you are planning to visit this city.

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Fancy finds

The Old Stone  Bridge ( Steinerne Brücke )

The panoramic view of the city with the large stone bridge dating from post-Roman times is completely a postcard-worth for photography! It is an impressive bridge , which were once considered as “The Eighth Wonder of the World”.This medieval monument has served as a model for many other bridges, including Charles Bridge in Prague.

Built between  1135 to 1146,with its original length of 350 meters, and 7 meters wide, with its fortifications with three towers.For more than 800 years, it was the only stone bridge over the Danube from Ulm to Vienna. Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa launched the Third Crusade from here in May 1189.

The views from the bridge and from its foot are really great. The view of the Danube over the Stone Bridge is a magical one and the view of the city’s skyline with its orange and rust colored-roofs is so impressive. I think this is the best landmark of this city. The only thing that bothers me is that a large part of the bridge was undergoing a restoration so half of it was covered in scaffolding so yes, the perfect shot that I wanted to make was unfortunately not possible.Nevertheless, I find it really impressive.

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Intricate detail found in the facade of the Altes Rathaus in the Old Town’s square
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Bikes everywhere…

The Old Town

The Old town of Regensburg is a maze of wonder, every alley has its own twists and turns, own charm and yes, it is quite a challenge to discover them one by one. Best way to explore them is by foot since streets are narrow and there are plenty of attractions for sightseeing. There are numerous squares and cafes for a pit stop and place to rest. I saw a lot of details in the rows of buildings, houses and shops. The best way to describe the  charm of Regensburg’s Old Town is through photos. You need to experience it for yourself.

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St. Peter’s Cathedral

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St. Peter’s Cathedral ( Dom St. Peter )

Since I moved to Germany, I have seen beautiful Cathedrals, and this one is no exception. At the heart of Krautermarkt square, you can’t miss St, Peter’s Cathedral.The exterior itself is already impressive and the twin towers are the best landmark of the city. Wherever you go, you always see the towers dominating the skyline.  This cathedral is famous for its ‘Sailer Chapel”, “St. Peter’s Window”, the “Smiling  Angel ” and its complicated , striking and yet  legendary Gothic vaulting. Big part of the Dom is undergoing restoration and during our visit, the front grounds is being prepared for the finishing program for a Triathlon race event (Challenge Regensburg) , so I find it rather in chaotic mode with so many boulders in front. Visitors with kids in stroller and wheelchairs can access the cathedral by way of the close ( Domgarten) to the north side of the Cathedral.There are guided tours ( 6 Euros) to access the cloisters, chapel of all Saints and St. Stephen but only in German.

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Musicians playing music in the public square
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Extraordinary find: The mural of David and Goliath right in the heart of a busy shopping area in the Old Town

The Old Town Hall ( Altes Rathaus)

I love the intricate detail of this 13th century old Town Hall ( or Altes Rathaus) which consists of the Town Hall tower, the Gothic Imperial Chamber building and the baroque Town Hall. From 1663 to 1806 the Reichstag Imperial Assembly met in the Imperial Chamber. It was there that the well-known expressions “to put something on the long bench” (to postpone something) and “to sit at the green table” (to take important decisions) originated.

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The doors symbolizes as openings and gateway for knowledge

Notable in this place is the imperial assembly hall and the torture chamber in the cellar where persons charged with an offense were “questioned”.This place can be accessed only with guided tour.Down the town hall is the Tourist Information Center where you can get any information you need to explore Regensburg.

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Fürstliches Schloss Thurn and Taxis ( Thurn & Taxis Palace)

We discovered this Palace by chance when we are looking for a playground. It is very huge. More like a version of the Buckingham Palace. The palace gardens are of private property , including the Prince of Thurn und Taxis Museums, their own Brewery– the Brauhaus am Schloss, the Cloister of St. Emmeram. I admit that when I saw the explicit and grand Carriage Museum and Princely Treasury, I was totally in awe how rich this family is. The name of the noble house of Thurn und Taxis is closely bound to the postal history of Europe.The family, which originally came from Cornello,near Bergamo in Northern Italy built up a postal system in the 15th century.For over 350 years, Thurn und Taxis managed the postal affairs in Central Europe.

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Porta Praetoria

Porta Praetoria

Not as impressive as the Porta Nigra in Trier, but if you love Roman architecture, then you are in luck. This hidden gem which shows the ruins and old Roman gate built without using a mortar. The twin arches served as a city gate until the 17th century. The parts that remain are the western arch, a section of the wall connected to the western tower, and the two-story eastern tower. The shaped stones were built-in layers without using mortar. The Porta Nigra, Trier’s northern city gate, was built at the same time, and the two are the only remaining Roman gates north of the Alps. For the record, Porta Praetoria gains significance as the only remaining gate of a Roman military camp in northern Europe.

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The ruins of the Roman Porta Praetoria

There’s so much more to see and to write about Regensburg, even my photos won’t do justice. All I know is that I can sit there in the dock of the Danube for hours, watching the ship, cruise, and boats take the toll of time. Feeling the wind in my face, smelling history as I looked at the skyline and watch the hustle and bustle of people, roaming around, paddling the waves of curiosity.

Every cobble stone is patched to create a mosaic of  rough patterns, transforming the movements of the locals and visitors into a myriad of tales, photographs, stories, and memories.Every photographs depicts a memorable time spent in new found land, a new taste of culture and wisdom gained from what the eyes conceived.

As the saying goes, “Travelling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller “.

What’s your story about Regensburg?

What do you think of this city?

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Someday I have a story to tell to my daughter…

 

Until then,  let the turning of pages continues. I’ll see you in my next travel story about Regensburg!

 

 

 

Wurstkuchl : 870-Year Old Historic Sausage Kitchen of Regensburg

 

I know, I know, I have written it before,  Germany is the land of Beer, Pretzel (or Brezen here in Bavaria) and these two won’t be complete without the Wurst, the king of every German’s table, or as the world commonly known as “Sausages“.  But let me tell you, among the ” highly acclaimed 1,500 types of sausages“, there is this distinctive sausage that we found right in the oldest Sausage Kitchen in the whole world —- the Wurstkuchl, or the “Historic Sausage Kitchen “.

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Wurstkuchl : The busiest “fastfood”along the Danube.

So does it mean that anything “old” is really good? Just like wine, it gets better with age, but does it goes with sausages too?

On the foot of the famous 12th Century  Old Stone Bridge ( Steinerne Brücke) along the river Danube, you can find this talk-of-the-town, small, tourist magnet,especially for food lovers, the contemporary and aptly titled “Historic Sausage Kitchen” that has been serving fine fried sausages to patrons for nearly 900 years.

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Original Regenburg’s home made sausages with Sauerkraut and mustard
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An Oldie but Goodie

It is perhaps the oldest continuously open public restaurant in the world. It is so easy to find, once you see a flock of tourists, mostly cyclists, in line, patiently waiting. It’s a perfect place to rest the tired feet , and of course with the Beer garten next to the river, it is a cozy place.

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The home-made sausages grilled in an old-fashioned coal grill

 

Historische Wurstküche zu Regensburg  became a restaurant named “Garkueche auf dem Kranchen” (‘cookshop near the crane’) as it was situated near the then river port. Dockers, sailors and the staff of the nearby St. Peter cathedral workshop were the regulars for the centuries to come. Almost all tourists flocked in this area to sample the famous sausages and probably because just like me, they are there out of curiosity.

When everyone is talking about it, there must be something about it and the only way to find out is to try it. 

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The busy kitchen of Wusrtkuchl

Just like the famous “Nürmberger” sausage boasted by the locals of Nuremberg, Wurstkuchl take their pride in their Bratwurst sausages with their exclusive secret recipe , only few staff knows the recipe and slow-cooked in its old-fashioned charcoal grill. These homemade sausages made of  purest ham of pork, served with Sauerkraut (Germany’s favorite side dish) fermented in their own cellar and of course, their original Wurstkuchl mustard following the historical recipe of Elsa Schricker.

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The bestseller through centuries; Regensburg sausages with Sauerkraut and sweet mustard
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A Taste of History

They have a take away counter where you can have a glimpse of how the sausages are being grilled. It’s a quaint, small kitchen and as expected, if you visit on busy Summer months, the crowds can be intimidating. There are seats and tables outside but you need to wait to be seated since almost all tables are taken. I think, all tourists in Regensburg are dying to try what’s in their famed sausages, and of course, a sausage won’t be complete without a mug of Beer!

As many as 6,000 sausages are served by the kitchen to guests every day. During the high tourist season in summer, additional wooden benches and tables are laid out in front of the tiny building.If you want to have an authentic taste of Regensburg, then you need to head on to this place. I think apart from the taste of the sausages, it’s the taste of the legacy, culture, and the atmosphere itself that this restaurant have that ‘s why it withstand up to this time.

A quick, delicious, filling  typical  German sausage combo meals is always a great reason to have a pit stop in this place. What more you can ask, you have a lovely location with a view of the Danube river plus the passing boats!

 

Have you’ve been to Regensburg?

Do you like sausages?

For more sightseeing fun to do in Regensburg, make sure you check out this;

Discovering the Streets of Regensburg

 

 

 

 

The Streets of Nuremberg

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Wandering in the streets of Nuremberg, Germany

Isn’t it  good to be out and have a short trip once in a while? There’s something about getting lost in a new city. Wandering through the unknown alleys, skimpy streets , clueless, and  eager is a feeling that is familiar to all travelers, backpackers and curious wanderers. There is always the mixture of excitement and ardent anticipation to see what is beyond over there, maybe on the look for a surprise, or even wishing for your imaginations to be real. Can you relate?

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Let me share with you our wanderings in Nürnberg, the second largest city in Bavaria. Nuremberg is a 950-year-old city with romantic flair, drawing in heritage buffs, foodies and artistic souls alike and yes, a haven for the little ones as well.

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Street sightings, intricate details

We decided to skip the museums since my daughter will surely get bored in it and since its a nice weather, we opt for more outdoor activities. But walking through the streets of Nuremberg ( or Nürnberg as the locals referred to ) offers anyone a great kaleidoscope of history, arts, and charm. It is impossible not to stop and take a closer look because there is so much detail to ponder about, making me think what is it all about. For the record, Nuremberg was once one of the most important residences of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and has an almost completely intact city wall. The distinctive pink stone gives the city a fairy tale atmosphere.Its not everyday that I see a city with a palace on a hill, the Kaiserburg, or the Imperial Palace looms in the view the moment you start to wander in the Haupmarket,so that must be very distinctive.

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Local art gallery

Do you also find  it fascinating to follow the current of the river while sightseeing? I find it so relaxing to have a few moments of peace while admiring the Pegnitz river , and when I turn my head around, I see the rows of cafes, filled with chattering tourists, and the streets filled with clash of cultures. There are two bridges, Museumsbrücke  and Fleischbrücke , crossing the Pegnitz river to the Hauptmarket .The main street north from here, Burgstrasse, runs up to the skirts of the beautiful castle which we managed to climb – the Kaiserburg. This is something we never regret despite the uphill part because we had lovely views up above the castle.

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Admiring the architecture and intricate details of the old and restored buildings.
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Getting lost in Burgstrasse,one of the busiest  street of Nuremberg

As we continue to explore, we head straight to the Haupmarkt ( Central Market), which is famous for the Christmas Market and Christkindlmarkt during Christmas season. This is a huge square with tons of sights to enjoy. On normal days, you can see a huge stalls of different local produce such as fruits, veggies, sausages, cheeses, honey, garden plants, souvenirs and so much more. There are so many street food as well. We bought some grapes and it was really good. On the right side of the square situated is the Frauenkirche, a beautiful church and you can never miss to see the Beautiful Fountain ( Shöner Brunnen).Aptly named “The Beautiful Fountain”, this is a major  highlight of the central market square in Nürnberg. It was designed in the 1380s by Heinrich Beheim, a stonemason, and was intended to top the Frauenkirche.It stands at an impressive 19 meters (62 feet) high and is bedecked in gold. There are 42 stone statues surrounding the fountain that depict allegorical figures, churchmen, electors and heroes. This fountain is always full of tourists trying to rub the copper ring  believing that your wishes can come true!

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The Frauenkirche and the Schöner Brunnen
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Wish I may, Wish I might…

Do you spot the precious ring?

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Das Narrenschiff or the “The Ship of Fools”

It’s a sunny day and we are eager to cool down, but knowing there is not much shops with Air conditioning in Germany, we decided to walk further to get ice cream then we found this  statue called “Das Narrenschiff” or The Ship of Fools. Children loves to swing in here,even adults, a famous meeting place. My daughter played here for a while so we spent an ample time looking at this bronze statue of a boat carrying seven people, a skeleton and a dog . It is planted in a main road, in an intersection, and catches the eye of travelers. Based on a popular sixteenth century book by Sebastian Brant, this piece was sculpted by Juergen Weber off of woodcuts by favorite Albrecht Dürer. This artwork shows an expelled Adam and Eve, their murderous son Cain and other violent figures. It is a scene showing the destruction of the world. Another fascinating fountain that we saw along the way and everyone should not miss is the Ehekarussell, or the Bitter sweet Marriage Carousel.This is my favorite so far.

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As part of discovering the local culture, you’ve got to taste the local food as well. With all the walking that we’ve done, it is imperative to eat. As I wrote before that as a foreigner living in Germany, the amount of Sausages can be overwhelming! But then again, in a country known for its bratwurst, many German cities have their own specialty sausages, including Nuremberg. An authentic Nürnberger Rostbratwurst is made from low-fat pork enclosed in a lamb casing, twisted into sausages that measure from 7 to 9 centimeters long.Another must-see and must-try to do is shopping for some authentic Lebkuchen! Just going inside this store makes me hungry. I love everything about the dainty bakeshop of  Lebkuchen Schmidt.

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Delicious and authentic Lebkuchen and yummy goodies!
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Tourist’s mementos displayed in the Haupmarkt

If you love shopping, visiting Nürnberg won’t disappoint you. Wandering in the city center leads you to one busy shopping district line up with shops, and yes, it’s that time of the year to not miss the Summer Sales so you can give it a go.

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The busy streets with shops on both sides.

Once you get tired, you can always grab a bite and drink and sit in one of the cozy cafes alongside the road. Another wonderful pastime is just watching people and taste the local beer.There are plenty of restaurants, clean bathrooms, and even changing rooms for your little ones. One thing that disappoints me is that I didn’t find any play areas near the city proper. Maybe they are nearby but it seems that I haven’t seen any directions through it.

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Hustle and bustle in Nuremberg

 So much to see, so little time. I leave the rest for you to discover by yourself. If you love street art, you need patience. You need to explore further. To find good street art in Nuremberg is really hard. Best is to get lost completely then your chances are high to find some nice murals. If you are not the history and architecture buff, you can always hop on to other off-the beaten path attractions in this city.

Nuremberg, I will see you again sometime soon!

Have you seen Nuremberg? Do you think it’s a fascinating city?

If you’ve been there, what are the other cool things you can add to this list?

La Grande Schmierage V { Hall of Fame Graffiti Art Spray Party}

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Es lebe die Schmierage! 

All for the love of Graffiti Street Artworks !

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Hall of Fame Street Spray Art in Germany

Do you like Graffiti Art? Do you even think its an Art?

Fo a fact, I must say that from a point of view of an artist, you can never contain Art.

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Just like this 250- meter old boring walls of an underpass bridge that becomes a world spectacle of art, talent and spray bottle becomes the medium of artistic expression. I love how a simple place like wall bridges turns into a beautiful display of unique designs and artistic expression—all in a form of the rebellious GRAFFITI!

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This morning , we went with our weekly Wandertag and hop into our bikes. It’s a cloudy Sunday and we have high hopes that it won’t rain.On our way , we made a little detour and it was a lucky start I must say, because as we are approaching the underpass of Unserherrn, near Ringsee, we saw people gathering under the bridge and Graffiti Artists are already absorbed in their work. We made it into the “La Grande Schmierage V “, Hall of Fame, the biggest Graffiti Spray Party happening now in Germany!

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Yes, the boring underpass becomes so alive and colorful with all the life-size wall sprayed- artwork of the talented artists, it was like walking into a street gallery!

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Artists came from  different countries — from Montréal, Barcelona, ​​Moscow, Bergamo, Slovakia and various cities in Germany, also from top-class artists of the international spray scene. From yesterday,  1st of July, and today, they all meet in the so-called “Hall of Fame”  to redesign the 250-meter wall surface of the underpass bridge. 

Graffiti  is something illicit, more like a rebellious symbol of expressing one’s ideas through drawings, writing or scribbling on public areas. Not everyone like it. If someone sprayed on your beloved personal wall, I bet you might be furious. You can never call it an art, its more of an invasion of your private place.

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Spraying can be an assault and may cause  damage to property. Others find  lubrication and illegal spraying so invasive and illegal, whether for the sake of  so-called hip art form , it’s still  something vulgar and oppressive. But not so here in Germany, here in our region in Bavaria, Graffiti spraying is legalized. Legal Spraying and Graffiti Art has established itself increasingly in urban areas as an expression of lifestyle and worldliness .

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As early as 1995 the gray concrete walls of the railway underpass were cleared for graffiti by the city of Ingolstadt and the spraying in the Hall of Fame was legalized. Since then, the walls are constantly being sprayed again, the hall often changes its appearance – and still counts as one of the largest legal halls in Germany.

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Meet the Artists through their artworks!

They are bunch of normal, messy, hip-looking men and women you can see in the streets. But once they hold their Spray, the world is their audience. Notable artists for the 2017 Spray meeting are as follows:  Five Eight from Montréal, Saturno from Barcelona, ​​Kram from Barcelona, ​​Zmogk from Moscow, Verbo from Bergamo, Kaisy from Slovakia, Omsk from Saxony, Bond Truluv from Leipzig , Rusl from Constance and Dater from Koblenz. In addition, two sprayers from the partner town of Kragujevac are expected. 

You can see their full profiles Here.

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I am so thrilled that even though I don’t know them each by their faces, I have seen them in their spray action. They are really amazing and full of talent! I could watch their drawings and draw unlimited meanings. Once you see their work, you will never see the same “old boring walls”the same as before– it’s like they have brought something to life. People stop and take a look, and observe. These walls deserve a look. No wonder it’s an international event! Some of notable Graffiti work that are worth to see are Here. My favorite was the work of Inti, a giant Don Quixote mural in Quintanar de la Orden, Spain.

The La Grande Schmierage graffiti meeting was launched in 2008 under the organization  of the City Youth Initiative and in close collaboration with Boris Schmelter. The organization and support of the artists are located at the FRONTE79 Youth Cultural Center in Ingolstadt.

 

Do you like looking at street wall art? Which one is your favorite?

If you want to read more about the La Grande Schmierage, here are some useful links:

www.schmierage.de

www.tumultfestival.de

 

One for the kiddo : Tiergarten (Nürnberg Zoo)

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My daughter is mesmerized by the azure blue waters and swimming seals inside the Blue Salon 

Do you like going to the zoo?

I didn’t know that once you have a child, you will appreciate the Zoo! Second to  playgrounds, the zoo is a place that we have learned to enjoy with my daughter.

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Entrance to the Blue Salon where you can see face to face the graceful swimming Sea cows or Manatee!

I think I’ve only been to a zoo a few times, I can count them, nothing special, more like an educational trip for school, or when I visited the Kuwait Zoo to kill time . The fondest memory maybe is  when my husband is visiting the Philippines and I decided to take a quick look at the nearby  Manila zoo ( because it’s on our way ) but then, while I was busy with my phone, a bird suddenly drop a bomb on my head. Oh yes, I was completely covered with bird poop! What an amazing zoo experience indeed!

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It was nice to meet you Bears!

Anyway, we finally made it to Tiergarten Nürnberg last weekend. This is the first zoological Park that I’ve seen here in Germany.  Last Spring, my daughter had a blast in the Petting zoo inside the Keukenhof Gardens and she can’t wait to see much more. She’s very into animals and she knows each of them by heart, both in English  and Deutsch! From the central station in Nürnberg, we took the Tram # 5 going to Tiergarten and within 10 minutes, we are at the gate of the zoo.It was only 9:30 in the morning and yet the zoo started to get crowded. We decided to come early since she will have her  midday nap and I know she can be a handful when she is cranky.

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Tropical flowers adorn the tropical Manatee house inside the zoo

 

Nothing but nature 

The moment we stepped inside the zoo, I was amazed by how green it is. So many trees and its like walking in a wild jungle park. We had lots of walking to do inside so shades from trees are a heaven! I love that the park has a natural lay out inspired by nature and the animals are kept as in their natural habitat as possible. The zoo was well-kept, maintained, clean, and easy to navigate.

I love walking into their Tropical forest  ( Manatee House) where its a replica of a tropical jungle where you can observe the Manatees  ( Sea Cows ) swimming under your feet.They are sooo huge and seeing them under your feet is a bit creepy. It’s a first time for me to see such animal. I even saw some plants that only grows in tropical climate like what the Philippines have. So many mature stock of trees, idyllic mixed woods and natural landscapes make this zoo one of the most beautiful zoos in Europe, at least from my own impression. Exotic animals live in harmony right next to a range of local bird species and mammals, and the craggy sandstone rock formations make generous natural enclosures for many animals where they can climb and relax.

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Watching the Giraffes having their breakfast
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A camera-shy Zebras

Now I understand why they say that whoever has experienced the wide variety and idylls of Nuremberg Zoo will come back again. The elegant movements of the dolphins and sea lions in the dolphin lagoon, the tropical atmosphere in the manatee house and the feeding of the polar bears in the Aqua Park provide an unforgettable experience.Compared to the Sea Life in Munich where we see more varieties of sea life animals but then it was  in a close area and a bit claustrophobic for me.

As expected, my daughter enjoyed watching all the animals. Too bad that we didn’t have the chance to see all the others and the rest of the zoo. It is a spacious zoo, built on top of a hill, with lots of areas to wander,  so it means lots of climbing. We went to each animal’s places but they seemed to be hiding in their cribs. Maybe its the heat? or napping? I don’t really know why but I find it rather disappointing especially when we are all excited to see the Lion’s den. All we found in the cages are the meat. On the other hand, the Zoo was so large that I don’t have the energy anymore to explore it and see it all. My daughter starts to get cranky and needed to recharge.

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A bird sitting on its nest

 

A lovely Surprise : The Aqua Park and the Manatee House

We chose to go to Nürnberg zoo because we wanted to see the Dolphin and Sea Lion show, and that is something that we really enjoyed. The show runs simulatenously with   feeding times at 11 a.m , 2 p.m and 3:30 p.m . .The open area has wooden benches where viewers can have a full-vista of the show. I must say that the training for the dolphins & seals are incredible and that was one great show! Nuremberg Zoo is very well-known for its sea cows, the manatees and the Dolphin show.  In the Manatee House, these gentle giants can be observed under water. The generous dimensions of the tropical house provide a colourful and diverse environment for sloths, turtles, butterflies, monkeys and numerous tropical plants. Beavers, otters, penguins, sea lions and polar bears are also at home in the Aqua Park, an extensive water landscape interrupted by a variety of small islands.

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A very lively Dolphin show !

You need an ample amount of time to explore and see all 3,295 animals from 292 species that can be seen at the Zoo. Yes, that is a LOT. I read that the zoo moved from the Dutzendteich to Schmausenbuck to make way for the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and during World War II, more than 90 % of the facility was damaged, actually Nuremberg was heavily bombed during the war. I am glad that we were able to see the  Dolphin lagoon and show which is actually the first outdoor lagoon for dolphins and sea lions in Germany. Good thing to know as well that the Nuremberg Zoo participates in 46 international breeding programs and is a partner zoo of the Species Conservation Foundation.

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Dolphin Show

 

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Amazing Dolphin performance!
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Beer garden inside the Zoo

We took our break and had lunch in one of the Beer garden up in the hill. It has a play area beside it so while waiting for our food, my daughter was running up and down again. I find the food simple, nothing special but its a great place to have a breather from walking.

 

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Souvenir shop for the little ones.

There are many souvenir shops, restaurants and adequate bathrooms inside the zoo so I find it really convenient. We got a cute camel souvenir with engravings since it reminds us of the stuff toy we’ve got in the Scientific Center in Kuwait.

If you have an active kids like I do, I highly recommend to check out this place. It’s for all members of the family and a great way to spend the weekend, but like I said, just be prepared to walk and walk.

 

For Admission Fees, you can find more information Here .

Other highlights of a day trip in  Nürnberg :

The Ehekarussell or the Bitter Sweet Marriage Fountain

Kaiserburg ( Imperial Palace)