Ramadan-A day in the Life story from a Non Muslim

Fanous (meaning Light or Lamp in Arabic) is an important symbol during the holy month of Ramadan. These colorful lanterns gives Ramadan a symbolic mood.

I could write a novel about my Ramadan day to day experiences while living for a long time in the Middle East. But then, summing it up, I decided to write it like a day in the life of a Non Muslim surrounded with Islamic culture.Good thing I have taken lots of photos to remind me and yes, as I look back in it, I still think it was all wonderful experience.

I am grateful , I am really glad.

A lady in black Abaya in front of the Murals with Arabic calligraphy

I was born Catholic and growing up with Christianity doctrines made me feel odd when I was exposed to Muslim Culture and religion.Kuwait is a very conservative country and very traditional Islamic state.Islam is the predominant religion and Arabic is the preffered language. Though lifestyle is modern and yes very competitive, in Expat´s eyes, all of these are just temporary living arrangements.

But what ´s the first thing you think when you hear the word Ramadan? Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word Ramad, meaning “intense heat.” So like heat, Ramadan is a chance to burn away bad habits and carry positive ones throughout the year and beyond.

The month of Ramadan is beautiful, I see it as a solemn time of the year.It is a month of goodness and self-inspection.Inormally view my days as work-home statistics, but then during Ramadan, I felt kinda different.It´s not all about self-righteousness, but more of looking at yourself and deciding to do more good.I´ve got the feeling that during Ramadan, people around me just become conscious of others, they become kinder, and yes,more considerate.probably because this is the highlight month where most locals are serving others, donating help and to sum up--strive for repentance and be good.

A local vendor prapare for another busy morning day in the Souk. Dates (or tmar) is staple for Ramadan, and well known food preference in breaking the fast. It can be stuff with cream cheese or eaten as it is .Have read that the date fruit is mentioned 20 times in Quran therefore its closely related to Ramadan. It´s actually quite impossible without Dates during Ramadan.I love dates and I truly missed eating the good ones…

I know its Ramadan when I hear these greetings .”Ramadan Kareem“(or May Ramadan be generous to you) is a muslim greeting I have leaned from my colleagues at work and I think this is better than saying ” Sabah el Khair” ( or Good morning).Another form is also “Ramadan Mubarak” (Blessed Ramadan) and at the end of Ramadan, everyone greets with ” Eid Mubarak” ( Blessed Feast).But if you don´t speak any Arabic, you can just simply say “Salam“.

While I was running today, I saw a small leaflet attached to a tree stating well wishes for everyone for a safe Ramadan. I totally forgotten that this is the second year of the pandemic, and as well Ramadan for my Muslim friends.The holy weeks of Ramadan started last April 13 and will end on May 12 and yes, my Muslim friends are fasting!

Fasting for Muslim is not a way to lose weight, I am telling you, fasting and abstinence from sunrise to sunset is NO joke, it´s hard and not everyone understands it and thinks its ridiculous.

Living in Kuwait have exposed me to this culture though I am not a religious person nor an Atheist. But I do believe in one thing, ” faith without deeds is dead“. I grew up in a very conservative Catholic country so my background is quite a mixture of all the religious beliefs I have learned as a kid and growing up in a multicultural environment.Coming to Kuwait had opened my eyes even more to such beliefs and traditions.Above all, I love trying out new things and living as an expat taught me a lot about respecting my host country and its culture just like how I am embracing German culture now.

Anyway, for Muslims ( as I observed from my colleagues), it´s not really all about fasting.I really commend their discipline and perseverance.I see them still trying their best to do their job and not compromising. I never heard them complaining.After a while, I got used to their behaviour and avoid doing things that is not allowed during Ramadan. I am not forced to fast but we respect it and avoid recklessness, loud music, or eating in public. It´s against the law and you could be jailed if you violate it.We should also learn to respect prayer times. Afterall, everything is quite common sense and self-explanatory.

Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and heightened devotion to prayer and repentance . I´m the only one at work that is not Muslim so everything was really new to me especially their bowing and reciting of Quran. In the office, it´s normal when the Quran is played.I find the whole thing ridiculous at first, but then through time I began to understand it all.They prayed numerous times during the day, starting at the break of dawn, but then during Ramadan, I observed that they do more. Most of my male colleagues take their yearly pilgrimage in Mecca and they really devote themselves to it. They saved money for it, and it´s a great achievement if they´ve done it.

At first I am quite excited when Ramadan starts because it means we need to work less.Many shops are closed during the day so people enjoy shopping until midnight and especially eating out in restaurants.Most restaurants have Iftar buffets and packages for companies, even Hotels offers the same.During this period, ( which practically lasts almost a month), our work schedule is shortened, and yes, we really have lesser output than the normal days. This means we need to do all the deadlines before Ramadan starts, and postpone all important meetings until Ramadan is over. Most inspections are preferably scheduled not on Ramadan, its quite normal. This also applies to all parts of the government since most of them worked only for 4,5 hours, maybe even less.Doing paperwork this time is hard because of timings.

There is an unseen sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness. We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music,but if brain and belly are burning clean with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire”. – Rumi

Through time, I have learned that true Fasting with intent is a privilege.I mean anyone can fast if they really want, but fasting without a meaning and purpose is just nonsense! It could even endanger your health.Abstinence is quite rigorous and requires a disciplined stamina.The period of 29 or 30 days—the dates change every year, following the lunar calendar of 13 months is pretty exhilarating.When your stomach is empty, your concentration might suffer and you barely can´t think.

Kuwaitis enjoy some leisure walks with Misbaha (Arabic: مسبحة mas’baha) in their hands. It has 99 pieces of beads corresponding to 99 names of God in Islam and 2 small beads separating every 33 beads.

The weather during this month is actually very warm, with average of 26 -38 degrees , humid & dust storms is frequent.After breaking their fasting, people usually went out to visit the Mosques, eat in restaurants for Iftar, meet friends , walk in the beach or just cool down inside the mall.

Busy Friday at the Souk (market)

I find it also worth mentioning that the Muslim´s tradition of breaking their fast is quite remarkable.It´s a holy ritual of gratitude and thanksgiving. ” Iftar“, the feast of breaking the fast after sunset marks a glorious victory every single day for every family. I have been invited in numerous Iftar, with close friends and their family and it is really amazing, not only the food but also the ambiance. Sharing a local Arabic home cooked meal is one thing that really bonds people and I give high thumbs for their elaborate food preparations. Arabic foods is really good and again, I kinda missed it all.I enjoy myself a platter of dates, nuts and their tea with cardamon and spices.

A local vendor selling the local ” Desert Truffles” which has become a delicacy in Kuwait.This is a traditional prized ingredients for Bedouins who loves to put these into their rice with meat dishes.Fresh Truffles are only available from November to April in Kuwait and the production highly depends on the precipitation.

As i said, ” Ramadan has the invincible power that brings people together” .Families, friends, colleagues sits together and share a meal, talking about the day´s about.It´s a time to focus on seeking forgiveness and being “kinder“. I was once in the Friday market and it´s about sunset so I really saw how normal people breaks their fast. They tedioulsy prepare their meal, pray together and they eat together. It´s very simple but really humbling to watch.One vendor laid out old newspapers on the ground and prepare the dishes elaborately. First the fruits, Laban or fermented drink juices, then some meat, vegetables and bread.I can see from their faces how grateful they are for this simple feast.Then they gather around , chatting and eat with their fingers.

Delicate detail of the walls of the Grand Mosque

In the arid, humid climate of Kuwait, it´s a tough challenge in the days of Ramadan. With scorching heat outside, you won´t even have the energy to go outside.The prayer times seemed like interruptions in our daily routines, but then it´s quite the opposite. My colleagues would get up and get their prayer mats and wait for others to gather around in the big hall patiently. They would do this every single day and watching them really amazes me.

There is no need to hurry, there is a time for everything under the sun.During Ramadan, time goes by slowly, but if you focus on your intent, you´ll realized that you have all the time that you need.

Muslims do the Salah (prayer) and goes to the Masjid together if they can. There are plenty of masjid and prayer halls in Kuwait, even inside malls they have it.In the Grand mosque, they have these racks of slippers to wear after they removed their shoes and washed their feet. The “Fajr“(Sehar) at dawn, the early morning prayer is the start of their spiritual journey during Ramadan.My friend who converted into Muslim since her husband is Muslim would wake up an hour early and gather her children to get some “ Suhoor” to have something to eat .It´s a family ritual so they can have something to last as they go through their day.

They wash their feet and faces, and stand by each other. The color of your skin doesn´t matter. Your title, education, job or what car you drive.Once you´re inside the Masjid ( Mosque) , everybody is equal, everyone is bowing their heads and pray the same prayer, everyone looks up to one Allah.For a non -muslim like me,the sound of the prayer time is heard everywhere and it becomes a natural signal for me to take a moment as well and yes, take some time to meditate.

The next prayer time will be around noon, called “Dhur “(afternoon),so this is the time that I see them praying at work.Afterwards they continue reading the Quran or just meditate or so.Next Prayer time will be on late afternoon called “Asr“which I think is really difficult. By this time, I saw them that they are mostly worn out with fatigue and their energy level is low.For women, they busied themselves preparing for Iftar and wait until “Maghrib”, (after sunset) . After Maghrib, the family gathers around to eat Iftar. The last prayer time is “Isha” (night) .

At the end of Ramadan comes the big celebration of Eid el- Fitr. But this important date depends highly on moon sightings. I remember asking my colleagues how do they know when is Eid, and they told me that it depends on the appearance of the new moon so they usually wait until night to confirm it.

It´s bigger than Christmas I think. It´s a special day filled with celebrations among friends and families and people really take time off or go on family outings. Kids are showered with presents and some give or donate money to the poor.It´s very common as well that everyone dressed up extra on this day. This festive moment reminds me of children waiting to open their gifts left by Santa Claus on Christmas Day or Sinterklaas in the Netherlands.

Did you know that it´s common in the Gulf countries during end of Ramadan to pardon prisoners?

Everyone is just happy , and greeting each other ” Eid Mubarak” ! Most families exchange visits with each other and eating is non-stop. The food is really flooding. Women gets special Henna tatoos on their hands and yes, spends the rest of the day shopping with kids. Most of the shops, especially in Kuwait offers big sales .There is something special about Ramadan evenings, maybe because I just love seeing the lovely lights.

Lovely colorful lights at night
Quran

Because of the pandemic and corona restrictions, I guess it´s a complete Ramadan experience for my muslim friends, but then in solitude of lockdown, would even be more meaningful.

” Ordinary men hate solitude. But the master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.” –Lao Tzu

Have you ever tried fasting? What do you love to do in solitude?

Ramadan Kareem and stay safe.

Until then, tschüss!

Medieval Beer Fountain ( Bierbrunnen)

Waiting in line at the Beer Fountain (Bierbrunnen)

Let´s talk about Beer for a while and let me take you again to another fascinating, unique hidden gem in my old town, Ingolstadt. Germans take pride of their Beer, especially the Bavarians. One of the pride of the locals here in my town is the Georgianum Beer Fountain or what we also called in German “Bierbrunnen“.We have lots of Beer gardens but then this fountain is really special.

Well, yes, Beer is an important part of Bavarian tradition, especially here where the Beer Purity Law or Reinheitsgebot from 1516 begun. For locals here, Beer is an integral part of the daily life and people regarded it not as an alcoholic drink, rather a “staple food” or Lebensmittel.With this Purity law, it goes by the rule that only 3 key ingedients should be present in brewing beer.These are Water, Barley and Hops.

With this Beer Fountain, it looks rather more than a faucet per se, but then before it was really regarded as a sacred fountain where fresh water is dispersed and people quench their thirst here on hot summer days.This place was an old school then turned into Catholic Seminary and were later bought by the local Brewery Herrnbräu.On the Jubilee year anniversary special, a golden liquid started to flow giving this little nook a special charm for the locals and visitors.Of course, only the finest beer of 16 years of age flows in this fountain.

Beer Fountain or Bierbrunnen

Last 2016, we had a local celebration of the Jubilee Year of the 1516 Beer Purity Law.It celebrates 500 golden years of the Reinheitsgebot and to commemorate this event, the Beer Fountain was made.The event was actually very festive. Starting with the programme, parade, and musicals, the whole town is really very noisy and full of people.Recalling the times before Corona, we have yearly celebration for this.People dressed up in medieval costumes and made an reenactment of the old times where people gather around the fountain to have their drink. I think it was really cool and I am so lucky to have seen this. My daughter was really thrilled when she saw Knights, and people clad in vests, funky shoes, hats and yes, swords!

Mural Bronze made by Alexandra Fromm

This bronze Mural was designed by the artist and painter Alexandra Fromm from Neuburg an der Donau.Along with the 500 year anniversary celebration, the state of Bavaria also released a limited post stamp, and coins from silver and gold. I managed to go home with a Beer mug (Bierkrug) and the golden coins so that makes me happy!

My husband and few of our friends attended the Beer tour which caters the history of the different kinds of Beer and their brewing process. Of course participants were able to taste all of those beer so practically, this day is really a celebration of Beer! With all of these beers, from dark to light coloured ones, I always go to my favourite—the Pils!

Pils is invented by the world class Master Brewer from Bavaria, Josef Groll from Vilshofen.

Declaration of the Beer Purity Law with the Little visitor

The Beer Festival, together with the whole celebration was attended by so many people and there were beer stalls where people have the chance to know the Beer history. It was decorated with stalls, weapons, tents and a stage where the law was read and declared by the Duke.

I was totally shocked to found out that world record of 1.3 seconds is what only takes for an American man named Steven Petrosino to drink a whole maß of Beer! That is a big gulp of 1 liter of Beer! This record is still unbreakable…

I am not a heavy Beer drinker but when I came to Germany, I began to appreciate their beloved Beer drinking culture. Sitting in Beer gardens is a normal habit, it is super cozy and the whole family can totally enjoy it. Writing this post made me missed those times.Because of Corona, Beer gardens are closed .People dressed up especially on weekends, wearing Lederhosen and Dirndls, even the children are clad in Bavarian Tracht as well. Most Beer gardens has a corner for children to play so it´s really an ideal place for weekends.

And last thing, here in Bavaria, we say instead of ” Cheers” , “ Prost” !

Do you like Beer? or are you more of the Wine type?

If you´re interested for more Beer related stories, I have written quite a few of them ,feel free to read them if you have more time to kill.

The green Gold of Bavaria, the Hops

Beer Gardens and Beer drinking tradition of Bavaria

1516 Reinheitsgebot -Beer Purity Law in Ingolstadt

Until then, Danke und Tschüss!

All for the love of Turquoise Cannons

The Face of a War Cannon

Let me take you to another fascinating nook in my neighborhood.This place is special because it´s where 17 Torqouise war cannons are displayed. They can be found in the front yard of the Bayerische Armee Museum.Museums are still closed up to now over here so we can only visit the grounds.The Bavarian Army Museum is beside the Neues Schloss or the New Castle.

The castle grounds is in spring mood. Cherry blossoms are blooming and the view is quite picturesque. The grounds are filled with yellow and white Narzissen and surrounded with birds chirping about .Picturesque enough that it deserves a photo.

View of the New Castle in Springtime, Cherry Blossoms and bird-chirping weather

My daughter is a history buff at the age of 6. She loves to read World History, and everything about important events in the history in Germany and of the world, including wars and other significant events. Believe me, if you asked her about famous presidents of the USA; she will elaborate it to you. I am embarassed when she asked me when was Abraham Lincoln born and why he died.

Who was the first elected, the youngest, the oldest and of course, how and why did they died.I wished I have her memory…I really do.

Normally when we walks, she talked a lot. She just can´t stop talking.She loves to stop for a while and read signages, especially writings about famous person, buildings and places. Even the roman numerals she wanted to decipher. Then we came across the billboard near the castle where it says ” Formen des Krieges” ( Forms of War) and then she asked if we can take a look at the grounds because she wanted to check if the cannons are still complete. She knows how to count, actually she´s very good in it so she can never missed it.

So we began another explorations of the Turquoise Cannons. Her favourite color is Turquoise so I promised to her that I called them Turquoise War Cannons.

Then I wonder why the cannons have faces of Lions,not really like a beast but somehow one looks more like a dog, wailing and waiting to be fed.With heraldic Lion´s head, it´s no wonder. They symbolized the power and strength of this animal. It´s also used in many sculptures around here as well in the Bavarian flag.

Actually this is one of the first places I´ve visited since we´ve moved here and I am always fascinated with it.From all of the relics of war that I usually see in Museum, especially war canons and weapons, they looked dull, black as granite, and cold.

Why would you even engrave something so intricate when you would only load large iron balls in it and shoot to destroy enemies?

I mean, cannons are weapons of war and used for defense and attack. It´s a weapon to kill, not to display some kind of art.

But I think these ones are used for decorative purposes only.

In the time of Pandemic, the castle grounds is so quiet and empty. No people around except us. But then I still asking myself why would they made such cannons with Lions faces, and engraved them so intricately with animals, flowers and even faces of Kings (Kaizer) .I´ve seen quite a number of cannons in Kuwait when we visited the Failaka Island, the bottleneck of Gulf war and other museums in there, but nothing compares to these war cannons.

Friedrich von Gottes Gnaden ( Wilhelm IV von Preußen)

Good thing they are in Turquoise shade. If they would be in dull bronze color then they would be so boring.

Memories of war

Looking at these canons made me realize that war before is definitely ugly and bloody. A pair of these cannons are named “Scherer and Schererin ” weighs more than 9 tons! They are not to be joked upon. Imagine how large and expansive the War Defense Arsenal in those times.

My little girl fascinated with war canons in the Fortress Castle of Salzburg
Why war cannons are in best locations for optimum target.

Thank God war is over…and hope that cannons remains for touristic purposes only.

It´s a rainy, gray Monday over here, hoping on your side it´s sunnier.Tschüss!

A dreamy tipsy walk in the Vineyards

Panoramic views in the vineyards in Mosel Valley

I´ve seen it all often in movies and it still reminds me of romantic settings. Acres of Vineyards, beautiful, serene landscape, lush valley and quaint neighborhood, sunkissed grapes, people hold hand in hand and walking through the 8 ft wooden stakes grape vines, and savouring one of the best joys of life.

Nature and wine goes hand in hand, as always.

Panoramic views in the Mosel Valley

These views are glued into my mind, ever, especially the beautiy of the Mosel River flowing gracefully. I always loved to reminisce fond memories. This one in particular was when we visited the vineyards in the Mosel Valley. We explored Trier and Bernkastel-Kues as well. I loved walking through the long, colorful and narrow streets lined with quaint timbered houses.But walking through the vineyards is another experience.

This one in particular was in the area of OzannMonzel where we drived up to the ruins of a castle and we took a walk through the acres and acres vineyards. I was totally in loved of the sight of grapes, bunches of them. We visited around August, late summer time so they are still in course of ripening up before they are ready for harvest in Fall.Everywhere I see says “Weingut” or Winery.

Germany has best of both worlds, having best beers and also world renowned types of Wines. As I walked into the supermarket, I see that you can already have a good white dry wine for 5 Euros! While in other countries, wines can be brutally expensive and only people with money buy them and reserved for special occasions. Over here, you can never go wrong if you visited another household nd carry a good bottle of wine.

Growing on the rich Devonian soil which stores sunlight and minerals.

Visiting Mosel won´t be complete without wine tasting and glimpse of a Winery.We actually stayed in a Ferienwohnung ( Vacation house) which is being run by a family with winery business.At the moment we arrived, we ´ve got to taste their own selection of Riesling wines that I particularly loved. Personally, I am not a drinker, only on occasions. But I love a good glass of white wine.

When it comes to wines, the ones in the Mosel area are the ” Riesling specialists”! given its location, most vineyards are on a very steep locations.Today half of the vineyards are on steep and terraced sites with a slope of over 30 degrees, some planted at an astounding 70-degree gradient. Given this location, nearly all grapes have to be picked by hand. That includes tying each vine to its own eight-foot wooden stake, and carrying up the slate soil that has washed down with the winter rains. Very labour-intensive and a true sign of dedication to cultivating unique wines

Panoramic views of the Mosel River

Besides Riesling, other grape varieties were cultivated here.Today about 5,000 vintners cultivate roughly 9,000 hectares of vineyards, making the Mosel the 5th largest of Germany´s 13 wine producing areas.

I am grateful enough that besides a beautiful travel destination, culinary and winery offers it´s best in this region.Of course, wine tasting is excellent and you should never miss it!

Rivaner (Müller-Thurgau) is the second most important grape variety that is being cultivated here and Elbling, an old grape variety on the Upper Mosel, may have been cultivated here for 2,000 years. Fresh, fruity and uncomplicated dry and sparkling wines are made from it.

Grapes, Grapes and more grapes everywhere!

Grapes grow almost everywhere!

I have never seen an area without a climbing grape plant, even near the church and cemeteries there are grapes, really incredible!The old town was so quiet and we don´t mind it because we never liked crowds either.After a walk in the vineyards we´ve got to visit some nearby sights in Bernkastel Kues and the beautiful Burg Eltz castle.

IMG_1034

Walking through the vineyards made me laugh because I remember the movie ” Wine Country” directed by Amy Poehler.It was a comedy film with Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph.It´s a hilarious film narrating stories about these women and their friendship and of course their sugar- coated lives which were about to be revealed during their get together  group trip. There were lots and lots of crazy funny scenes but there were also stunning views of the vineyards of Napa Valley. 

Hopefully we can visit once again soon once Corona is gone….

Yes, sometimes in life, all you need is a good glass of wine, friends and a good time!

Do you have a particular taste in Wine?

Prost…and Tschüss.

 

 

Watch out, Bud!

It´s budding time

It´s Good Friday and I am busy watching trees budding their new leaves, such a joy to see it´s curls turning into green leaves.Nature is really always on time. It knows it´s course, and without delay, it goes with it´s cycle.A walk in my neighborhood makes me always appreciate life even more, taking note of small , little things that makes our hearts grow with warmth.

Spring time is here

What´s good about Spring is that it reminds us that cold doesn´t stay forever. I think this is the best part that I personally love.It makes me grateful that I have seen another beautiful Spring in my life and I can enjoy this simple wonders in Life. Watching the trees and bushes starting to unfold and transform is quite a beautiful journey.

“To be without trees would, in the most literal way, to be without our roots.”—Richard Mabey

Here I am, ready for a new life

Trees are good for our soul. They’re essential to the air we breathe. And they provide a majestic example of strength and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Weeping Willow

and this Willow doesn´t weep anymore…it´s back to it´s poise, elegance and again lithe with a new life.

A very Bavarian Easter

A very Bavarian Easter

Let me share with you how Easter looks like in my little old town, which I particularly branded as very “Bavarian easter“.I grew up in a very different environment as people observed Holy week here.But then as an Expat I have learned to love this LOVELY tradition here in Germany.One thing, here I observed that it´s not a religious event, mogre like a feast. It´s also a big celebration, just like Christmas sans the snow and it´s mostly enjoyed within families. The best part is that we can finally sit outside and enjoy some warm weather. This week, we had spring T-shirt weather,we have 10-21 degrees! On the other hand , sadly, just like last year though, we are still in Lockdown. Travelling is not actually required because of Corona restrictions, but finally it´s Spring.

Anyway, here, three weeks before Easter, shops are already full of Easter things, that includes colorful easter egg chocolates and Easter Bunnies. The designs are limitless, everything is colorful. When it comes to chocolates, Germany has it all.Top chocolate makers like Kinder, Lindt, Milka and Cadbury are always the top choices for children. When it comes to Easter Bunny chocolate, the bigger, the better.I am not so fond of this but I have a kid so we get some for her as well.
Egg hunting is an old tradition for German speaking countries (same as in the Netherlands) where painted colorful eggs are hidden in the bushes or in between plants, or almost in every nook for children ( and adults!) to seek and find.Easter decorations adorn each houses with painted eggs hanging around, baskets with colored eggs and early spring flowers.


Actually , there´s nothing much special in it compared to other countries when it comes to celebrating Easter, but then there´s something about our blue and white themed Egg Art work here in Bavaria.
Does it look familiar?

It resembled closely to Dutch´s Delft paintwork, using only two shades, blue and white .It´s a local heritage here where creative ladies handpainted all these eggs all year round.Imagine the time they consume blowing and drying all these eggs then afterwards painting.These two colors are the prime Bavarian colors which is also seen in Bavarian state Flag.

Handpainted blue and white Easter Eggs adorned the Fountain in the city
Every egg is unique and painted with different designs.What makes it more laborious is that it needs to be hanged together in a steel rod to join them together.Each piece is a masterpiece and the ladies put on so much effort in binding all of them.I´ve heard that it can count up to 10,000 pieces of eggs as of 2019.Those are indeed lots of eggs.

The eggs are binded with green garlands and decorated with little flowers so it can be hanged in the fountain.It´s another long time tradition here to put up an Easter Fountain or Osterbrunnen.Normally we have Easter Market, where people can sit and enjoy the festivities and listen to folk Bavarian music.There are small craft shops, Beergardens, play areas,face paintings, games and programmes, but then now everything was cancelled because of Corona virus.

A very Bavarian Easter celebration

Then there´s the osternbaum, or the tree with painted eggs.Handpainted or plastic eggs are hanged on foliage, trees and bushes are an example of this old tradition.It´s not only in Christmas where Germans decorate their trees, it happens that it´s quite the same in Easter as well. I , myself did this as well in our garden.My daughter brought home some Easter creative art projects, which she eventually displays at home.

Why do I love our Bavarian Easter, probably because it´s unique, cozy, Gemütlich and festive; and anyway, who doesn´t love chocolates?

Do you celebrate Easter?

Happy Easter, or in German we say it best with ” Frohe Ostern!”

tschüss.

Up close and personal with Camels

Camels of different sizes and colors in a Camel Farm in Kuwait

I think one of the most memorable memories I´ve had in Kuwait was meeting up close and personal with Camels. Yes,not in a Zoo, but rather in awild Camel farm.Camels are integral part of Kuwaiti culture and it´s valued highly in this country.

Before I never even imagined that such farm exists .Before I have always wondered how it is to ride them or even touch them, afterall, they are not that high standard animals.They are wild, big and some people can´t stand their smell.I prefer seeing them wild like these rather than when they are touristically made up for people to take photos , and ride them.

I asked a friend to go with us and we took a drive along the 6th Ring road and further down in the direction near the Iraqi borders. This trip offers sights of the neverending highway with only views of desert trees, swayed by gentle breeze, the wide barren dessert is very inviting and hundreds of Electric power lines stood before us.There´s something peculiar about the ARabian landscape over here. The Camel farms of Wafra and Kabd can be reached almost an hour of driving .Along side the road we came across huge trucks and some on-the highway Bakalas.

Camels can close their mouths and nostrils to avoid dusts during sand storms.

My friend knows someone who owns the farm there and arranged the day of our visit. We were able to visit the camel farm quickly and even allowed to use their tents. Seeing them wild, in herds and some even rearing their babies is definitely worth this trip. I even tried milking a camel and it was one of a lifetime experience that I´ve ever had. I have never heard of Desert Ship before but meeting these camels made quite an impression on me. They are indeed a superanimals of the desert.

All I know that they symbolize endurance to me.They are tough animals so to speak. They can tolerate long hours in drought and carry heavy aprrox. 200 kg of weight loads without drinking and still walk up to 40-50km a day!

I saw camels of different sizes, colors and built. Some looked so calm and weak but the others are quite nosy and aggressive. I remember they loved Kubz or the local Kuwaiti bread to munch. Most expats in Kuwait indulged in adventure like this especially during the winter months where the heat is bearable and the light cool breeze is a luxury against the 48 degree summer temperatures. Most families make a family trip and have desert camping on these sites.Now I understand why these animals are strong, resilient and very domesticated.In this farm I think I´ve seen more than a hundred camels plus other animals like goats and horses.

Camels can stay without water for months together. If available, they can suck 100-150 liters in 5-10 minutes.

Kuwait is an oil-rich country, with a high income economy and personally I know that (KWD) Kuwaiti dinar is one of the highest valued currency in the world. 1kd is equal to approx.2,77 Euros. Working in this country have helped me so much about understanding the locals and I have learned so much from its culture.

Speaking of camels, one of the unique sights in Kuwait is their Camel racing.I haven´t been able to watched it live on the tracks but I have heard that it´s quite famous and unique in Kuwait.

I have heard that only female camels are used in racing because the male camels doesn´t obey orders.This actually made me laugh!

Did you know that baby camels are born without humps?

Their beige skin is soft to touch and their face is quite dorable when seen up close. Did you know that camels have two rows of thick eyelashes to protect their eyes? These eyelashes serves like wipers to prevent their eyes from dusts and sand storms.They are able to close their mouth and nostrils to keep away from the dust.I watched how they move, and sit lazily, and they are a bit friendly.They loved to munch on cactuses with thorns as well, no wonder they have that kind of mouth!

Quite fascinating as well is that apart from the largest Dhow Ship that has been built that entered Guiness Book of Records, is that a camel named Bedour also bag another World Record.It´s for being the most expensive Camel purchased in the world amounting to 2 Million dinars from a camel auction in Safat Camel Auction in Sulaibiya in Kuwait.The seller even refuses to take Atm or cheque payment.Ma´shallah!!

Have you ever did a camel ride?

Until then, Tschüss and Salam.

Life in Colour : Green

Hops, the Green Gold `of Bavaria in Southern Germany.This wonder-plant is the main ingredient for brewing Beer.

I gave it a ” Go” when I read that this month´s color theme from Travel Words Life in Colour is Green. In German, its called Grün. In my native language its Berde .It´s one of my favourite color and inpiration in my Abstract paintings .I love it since it´s fresh, calming and very natural. Aside from Blue, I can´t imagine the world without the green color. I am a plant lover, nature wanderer and I find just looking at greens so Zen.

Here are some of the fascinating green moments in my travels and wanderings.

I find this Light Green table setting in a restaurant in Regensburg very warm and cozy.
Watching how the vast forest turns into a green paradise in the middle of Spring
“Green to me is a symbol of growth of nature. When I notice the color green it gives off a calming and peaceful feeling.” – Brenden

Few more weeks and its Spring here in Europe, I am sure my walks would be full of green sights again.For all my lady Friends, I wish you all Happy World Women´s Day!

The Green Windows in Failaka Island

Hops, the Green Gold ingredient of Beer

The Grass is greener in Bavaria

Baggersee Reflections

Stay safe.Tschüss.

There is magic in Misery

Running in Foggy and misty mornings is one of my favourites.

Two days ago I had a long run and today I did my 45 mins progression run.It´s one of those days that I just run and pound the pavement.I made a few detours because my preferred path was blocked due to some tree cutting and repairs.It is the kind of run that I did not stop until I feel like I am done.I did not give in to excuse and did a 10 km stretch.Going for steady and easy runs of 6-8km on weekdays and 1 long run on weekend is the new challenges that I am keeping on track.

I want to challenge myself and plan to join a virtual Half Marathon this year so I am doing myself a favor to start training.

As I am writing about this, I asked myself if I am crazy?!

Indeed I am.

But then at least I am enjoying my morning views and magical misty mornings.

Views like these are the kind of things that I won´t trade off .

This goal for me is quite scary, I am afraid that I cannot do it or maybe I wouldn´t even finish it.I think I am still too weak and not that strong. Questions myself many times, is my body ready and prepared for it or it´s just a shoot in the star.

But then…..as I keep on running, I spotted something from the ground.Snowdrops!!!!

Spring is finally here!

Finally, they are here, Snowdrops is what they are called here and they are absolutely beautiful blooms that reminds me that Spring is here.

I have been continously running now for a year exactly. I remember challenging myself to run just when the world started to be turned upside down by Corona virus.Everybody stayed home in Quarantine and lockdown and I think I am not the only one who got hooked into sports.I still have so many other Hobbies but this one is far by my favourite next to painting.

Aside from running, I walked and walked a lot.I don´t know why, but walking makes my day always. Although I preffered running, It´s hard to find time for it.

This goal scares me.But I will try my best and let us see what happens in the end.Looking back from last year, I couldn´t even run 1 kilometer continously without breaking a sweat .I´m breathing deeply and I couldn´t go on anymore.That is how weak I was.I feel frustrated because I couldn´t hit a goal that I´ve set.

I am about to give up, many times.

After a long run and my whole body aches and my muscles are sore, I wanna give up. As I ride my bike, I feel like my joints are breaking apart.I feel miserable.

But this is the kind of misery that I love.

After a run, I feel like something is happening to my body that I cannot explain.

A quick pit stop to breathe in an early moring breeze from the lake.
The path of running into the magical mist

I couldn´t imagine myself if I totally give up and stopped running.What could have happen to me.

I wouldn´t even know that I am capable of doing what I am doing now.I don´t think I could ever run like I do now. Before, I thought runners are just sport freak .Why do they always run????

I remember in my early years here in Germany , I see people consistently running whatever the weather and I just shake my head. But then…..

This year was total turning point in my health life. I wanted to change my lifestyle and myself so I want to make changes in my routines. I have tried running and sweating hard in warm summer days, on foggy misty mornings of Fall, while its snowing and drizzling, and this year I had the chance to experience running on snowy pavements.There had been many simple moments in my running days,like the time I ´ve got my first running shoes and first 5K run. They were all happy moments.

Enjoying these quiet nature moments in the Lake while practicing breathing exercises.

They say that when there´s no mud, then there´s no Lotus, and as the days goes by, even if I am tired and depleted, I still believe that there is definitely a magic in misery.I know I am not yet there and I still need to do a lot of running and training.

But then, I am not giving up and I am keeping track of my progress.

No Mud, No Lotus

Lastly, I realized that if we do things consistently, our bodies are really capable of doing amazing things.

I´ll write more on my next milestone!

Happy Weekend, until then, Tschüss!