For the love of Statues

I love to take photos of statues. For me, the weirder, the better. Small or huge it really doesn’t matter. The element of story behind it adds a super wow factor.Here in Germany, statues are part of every region, city or vicinity. Each city has its own distinctive statue, most especially famous persons that is being dedicated to.Since this is an Expat Blog, I thought it might be a great idea to share with you some of the things you can see if you happen to admire statues and monuments.

The Ludwigsbrunnen in Paradeplatz here in my old town of Ingolstadt in Bavaria, Germany

But not all statues can get your attention because somehow it just looks like a boulder. It takes something from the carved stone, bronze or wood that really caught your gaze. Then when your gaze is caught, you kept on staring, and searching, and then you look for more details. That’s the point of interest. Well I may not know all the facts about each statues, but anyway, I had fun gazing upon them.

What do you look in particular for statues?

I think travelling allows us to see different statues or by reading. The most common tourist trap is that people would always love to photograph something famous just to put it into journal of memories.Most people loved to pose beside it, making them as endless photo stop-pits. Everybody loves a selfie beside a famous sculpture or statues, because yes, it’s the thing nowadays. It’s a total giveaway saying “I’ve been here”… or “I have seen this!”

What are your favourite statues? Do you recognize them?

Here I wanna share with you a gallery of my photographed statues.I got them mainly from our short staycations here and over there. Some are famous, some are not. Some are great for me, but others really made an impression.The thing is, they have caught my attention and I love the fact that I’ve ever seen them.

A rather peculiar statue near the Dom of Utrecht, the Netherlands
Trains to Death, Trains to Life statue in Friedrichstr. in Berlin
The very loud and exquisite statues of Marriage Carousel

What’s your favourite so far?

Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Netherlands
The Giant in Wattens, in Swarovski Headquarters

I’ll be writing once again in the second part of this series especially that I have more photos of different statues that I’ve seen here in Germany.

But for now, I’ll say Tschüss, thank you so much for reading and following this Blog and have a safe week everyone!

One fine view and forgotten History

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

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

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

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

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

Climbers trying to climb up in the Dam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy weekend everyone. Tchüss!

Friendly Friday : Balconies

A view of the Balcony of the place we stayed in Kaprun near Salzburg . This cozy Balcony has majestic view of the Alps and the Kaprun Burg.

This week’s mood in Friendly Friday Photo Challenge is all about Balconies.

A Green balcony is a thing here in Kaprun!

Each week the following bloggers published a new prompt for the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge:

Something to Ponder About and The Snow Melts Somewhere.

Have a great weekend everyone!

We can never be Royals | Tourism

“We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams! “
Horse-Drawn carriage are always a magnet for Tourism, everywhere, anywhere!
{Salzburg, summer of August 2019}

My very good friend TheSnowmeltsSomewhere is hosting a great Friendly Friday Photo Challenge and I thought I might join in. I haven’t done any Photo Challenges in ages for lack of time to write. Today I managed to squeezed some time and come up with this Post and just purely excited to be able to share something in this wonderful community once again. This week’s theme is Tourism and Overtourism and here’s a photo on how I best see it.

Whenever I see Horse- driven carriages, the first thing that comes to my mind is : Tourists! Where there are horses or camels, there will be tourists!

Tourism in Salzburg : Fancy Horses on one fancy sightseeing ride of your life!

I don’t know about you but in most places I’ve visited, these horse-drawn carriage is always on sight. It’s definitely a top-thing to- do for most people who likes to be pampered and experience royalty even for quite a while. Let’s admit,it feels good to be seated on these carriages, it’s cozy, comfy and definitely a magnet for attention. It’s also pure business, a means to makes money and everything.Not to mention the issues of animal cruelty, this tourist top-to-do is slowly running down the hill.

In Salzburg, The Fiaker Carriages ( horse-drawn carriages) used to be the personal and official transportation of the Prince- archbishops. In this lovely city of Mozart , 14 carriages are lined up everyday in front of Residenzplatz square offerring various sightseeing tours such as “The Sound of Music Tour”, “History of Music Tour”and many more.

If you are willing to pay for a 50-minutes tour of the city with reservation including pick-up at the hotel or from another location in the city for 200 Euros per carriage (4-5 persons) or 340 Euros for the larger hackney carriage (10 persons), then, probably it’s a chance to feel like Royalty!

Writing this post made me remember when we visited the “Marstall “in the Thurn und Taxis Palace in Regensburg where we saw the museum filled with different Royal Carriages that belongs to the Royal family. Every piece is pure image of luxury and royalty.

Be it drawn by Horses, Camels, Carabao or cows, it doesn’t matter, the joy of the trip lies on the ride..

The Flaming mountains, dirty shoes and edelweiss flowers

Waking up in a room with a view like this.

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

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

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

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

Tired feet and dirty mountain shoes

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

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

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

A charming find from the valleys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time , Tchüss and Have a happy week!

Chasing the Mozart’s golden ball and the sound of music in Salzburg

Chess and golden ball really looks good together!

No, it’s not really a ball of chocolate nor a giant Christmas ball . This is the sculpture named “Sphaera” on Kapitelplatz in the heart of Salzburg. It’s about nine metres high and made by German artist Stephan Balkenhol. It represents a male figure on a golden sphere with a neutral expression. It has become a famous landmark in this city and photo point for many tourists.

Perfection at its best , this is the Mozartkugeln or the chocolate delicacy named after Mozart.

First,we didn’t go to Salzburg to buy the Mozartkugel ( or the Mozart chocolates), named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but I admit buying a pack to taste the locally made ones. It tastes really good, of course, its chocolates and it has marzipan, pistachios and nougats! I have this feeling that the local food tastes better than the ones sold from other places, don’t you agree as well? If you are curious how this chocolate beat your Toblerones and M&M’s and why it becomes the legendary chocolate specialty from Salzburg to the world, then you can read more Here.

She is looking for the golden ball but instead we went through a bridge full of locks! There are some gold ones hanging there.
Taking a stroll through Getreidegasse : One certain house in the Getreidegasse always draws particular attention: No. 9, the house in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. Salzburg’s most famous son came into this world on 27 January 1756. His family actually lived here for 26 years, from 1747 on, occupying an apartment on the third floor .

Anyway, this famous landmark just came into our mind when we saw the brochures about visiting Salzburg. With the little help of our little friend Google maps, we find ourselves squeezed from masses of tourists trying to get a better photo in front of Sphaera. It is in near to the Festung HohenSalzburg or the Fortress, and Domquartier. All this places are nearby to each other and reachable by foot. Wehad parked from Designer Outlet and got the Kombiticket including parking fees and Bus Day Tickets so we can go to all places we wanted to. The Ticket costs us 15 Euros!

Nice little things as souvenir from Kapitelplatz in Salzburg. They are bells attached to cows, they can give a rather loud noise!

Salzburg is only an hour drive away from Kaprun. I think everyone who visited Kaprun visits Salzburg and Zell am Zee because they are really nearby to each other. We went on a day that the rain from good heavens poured its shame in Kaprun and rained all day! It’s a great thing that we went to Salzburg to see something different, and of course, something nice, and yes–aesthetically beautiful. Of course we still have the mountain views, the Salzsach river that follows our route and the never ending winding Austrian roads.By the way, they have really good roads in Austria.

“Travel shapes you” — Mozart took 17 major trips, costing him 3720 days of his life. That equates to 10 years, 2 months and 2 days .

We took our time exploring Salzburg. We had a stop in the nearby playground for my Little Traveler companion to burn her energy with climbing and sliding. We found a great hidden playground beside the Mirabell Palace and gardens and it was really good. We tried avoiding places with huge lines and crowds because my toddler doesn’t like to really wait.

The souvenir coin with engravings from the Hohensalzburg or the Fortress

Amazing views awaited us after a 54 seconds lift from the modern inclined cable railway in Salzburg going up to the Fortress. The Festungsbahn or Furnicular runs every 10 minutes and its quite impressive.It is a must for everyone who visit Salzburg to be in this Fortress. If you’ve never been up there, then you’ve never seen Salzburg! I always loved a good panoramic view of a new city that I visited. Everything looks so small and for the love of architecture, this place is really beautiful close to the river and the neighboring mountains. So much history, pride and culture in this city, It is indeed true to its name: the stage of the world. There is music played everywhere. Street musicians playing different instruments and artists is a typical sight in the streets and in every square. You can really hear the sound of music everywhere. Salzburg is the birthplace of the film the Sound of Music that is why this place is very very touristic! I must add here that during our visit, I saw so many Asians–Japanese, Koreans, Indians and so much more, not to mention tourists from the Gulf. Hearing them talking in Arabic sounds so familiar to me!

Another panoramic view of Salzburg city with the Salzsach river flowing through the city.
Can you find the Golden ball in this photo?

But Salzburg is not only famous because of Mozart, the whole city is so vibrant and the Baroque power and splendor can be seen from its city facades, museums, and the Domquartier or the Cathedral. I have made quite a few photos of the interior of the cathedral but i think photos don’t do justice in this beautiful cathedral. It is really one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen. This place is also memorable for us because we took the eclipse photos hanging in our living room in this vicinity.

Mozartplatz : Without music, life would be a mistake.
Beautiful Baroque power inside the Dom Cathedral
Fancy collectibles : Cool fascinating symbols of Salzburg
Everywhere is MOZART inspired! If you are interested to know more about Mozart and read about surprising FUNNY things about Salzburg’s wonderchild, you can read on HERE.
The world of cheese
The preferred snack food in Salzburg

We find tranquility and beauty in the baroque pleasures in Mirabell Palace and Gardens. It is full of intricate details, and the Grand Fountain (or the fountain pool) we saw four groups of statues by Ottavio Mosto (1690). They symbolize the 4 elements: fire, air, earth and water.

It was really packed with tourists and its really surprising to find so many Italians and Korean tourists here! In the famous Hollywood film “The Sound of Music “, Maria and the children danced around the Pegasus fountain and sing the “Do Re Mi “.

We had an amazing daytrip in Salzburg. We saw many sights that I hope to share in my next posts about our summer trip.We had fun, we had a taste of Salzburg, explore the Fortress, seen Mozart’s birthplace and residence, and marveled through the real sound of music in this city. We brought home wonderful memories as well and I am so glad that I can write down my travel memories and share it with you.Hope it can give you practical tips on how to do a family friendly trip!

Still more to explore, hoping for more travels. If you have time to kill, go and please check out our Mountain hiking adventures in Kaprun and Hike through the Krimml Waterfalls with a toddler ! For detailed trip Guide, you can find it HERE.

Until next time and have a lovely week everyone! Tschüss!

Hiking through the Krimml Waterfalls in Salzburg

Krimml Waterfalls in Oberkrimml, Salzburg

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

Feel the power of water moves you!

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

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

Visit a Waterfall, and get healthy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s so special with it?

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

The sound of the water is so powerful!

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

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

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

Steinbock

The Krimml Waterfalls – biggest in Europe

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

Our little Mountain Hiker

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

Some nice little flowers I’ve spotted in the mountains

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

The Waterfall Trail

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

View of the valley from above

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

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

More little flowers we spotted up during our hike

Enjoying a panoramic Lunch at Bergerblick

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

More peaks to go !

Visiting the Wasserwelten Krimml

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

Almost at the top!

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

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

Up close and personal with the powerful waters of Krimml Waterfalls

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

Enjoying the view together!

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

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

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

Until then and Tchüss!

Hochgebirgsstauseen : Kaprun Alpine reservoirs

High altitude reservoirs in Kaprun, Austria

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful layers of Glacier and mountain ranges

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

A hidden paradise is no longer a myth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Admiring the rock formations

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

Hiking adventure for the whole family

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

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

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

Kaprun High Mountain Reservoirs

Family Summer holidays in Kaprun Zell am Zee

Until next time ! Tschüss!

Silence | If Statues can talk…

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Bronze statues in the Hofburg church in Innsbruck

Innsbruck has been marvelous so far, as it offers us complete diversity of things to see and explore. So far, we didn’t just marble on the magnificent snow-capped mountains , and devoured plateful  of  delectable Kaiserschmarrn, but we also found ourselves silenced and impressed by  these 28-larger than life Bronze Statues inside the Hofburg church, or formerly a Court church located in the Altstadt of Innsbruck, but now houses the cenotaph for one of the most important person in  history —Emperor Maximilian I, 22 March 1459 – 12 January 1519] the Holy Roman Emperor or also known as The King of the Germans.

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From what I’ve read and seen in this museum, He seemed to be a very  important person, just look at how grand his cenotaph is and considering the numerous tributes for him. Actually, the Hofkirche ( Court church) is built by his Grandson, Emperor Ferdinand I as a memorial for him,  and also houses the tomb of Tyrol’s  national hero, —Andreas Hofer.

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If Only statues can talk…

These large statues (200-250 cm) are really impressive. Compared to the white-washed busts we’ve seen in the Walhalla, these bronze statues are actually the ancestors, relatives, and heroes during the lifetime of Emperor Maximilian I. My daughter was delighted to see all of them. She keep on asking me who are they and what are their costumes? She is not even scared. I felt eerie for a moment especially looking at the fierce faces of the women, and the strength these figures emanates. They are even larger than I am so its really like seeing them for real!

If only  statues  can talk and tell stories by themselves…

 

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The cenotaph of Emperor Maximilian I lies in the center of the church

The great thing about visiting places like this is the experience itself. It is so much better to see this place rather than just reading about them. I know that it’s quite normal everyone that during Museum visits and the like, silence is observed, noise is forbidden most especially for religious relics like this.

Yes but how can you even make noises while visiting a cenotaph or a tomb?

The moment I stepped into this place, I was silenced by its beauty. The grandeur and  solemnity of this church, the architecture itself is a history in the making and the story behind this church. Imagine, the cenotaph itself took 80 years of construction!It is so true that when we are in awe, we are silenced.

Silence  is  golden for statues like these in Hofburg. Since only through silence that we can be able to fully appreciate the art behind it, the legacy of their existence and their part in history and in our modern times.

Silence is respect, paid in full, and observed in willingness.

It is just right that they have a place in history and we marvel in them.We should be silent. We can’t add anymore for their life story, it has been written and impregnated through their magnanimous effigy.

But then, If only statues can talk…

 

 

 

Inspired by this week’s DP Photo Challenge |Silence

Swarovski Crystal Worlds , A Sparkling place for everyone!

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The Giant, guarding the entrance to the Chambers of Wonders in the Swarovski Crystal World.

I think we’ve just got lucky!

New Year started off with  bright, shimmering sparkles for us, because we found ourselves in the beautiful Winter Wonderland of Crystals—-where else, but  in the Headquarters of Swarovski Crystals in Wattens, Austria! Well, not everyone would consider this place as  a Bucket-List sort of thing, but If you love Crystals and you have a thing for Arts, plus you are in the vicinity of Innsbruck, then this can be a great getaway for everyone in the family!

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Killer view of the rings of snow-capped mountains!

As for me, I love the unique sparkle of Crystals. I like the simple beauty of it whether it’s in a form of jewelry or from an art installation. I have learned that it takes talent and high-end technology to come out with these gorgeous creation. The sparkle is something magical and when you wear something that blings, plus you feel good about it ,then nobody can take away that from you, regardless of how much it costs.

 

So when we’ve learned that the Swarovski HQ is just half an hour drive from Innsbruck, we decided to give it a go. At first I was just super curious of what’s all about the face of the Giant,I’ve only seen it in photos, so I wanted to know the concept behind it. The Giant, is one-of a kind symbol, that is the face of Swarovski, same as the Swan as its current symbol.I find it fascinating how from 1899, Swarovski uses the Edelweiss flower as its logo. Edelweiss symbolizes  Alpinism and purity, for a fact that Edelweiss is one of the most beloved flowers in Austria.

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Into the Lattice Sun exhibit by Lee Bul inside the Chambers of Wonders

All my questions were lost as we stepped into the magical world of the huge Krystallwelten. My eyes feasted, and my mind marveled into the artistic creations that are on display. The company itself , which operates in roughly 2,800 stores in around 170 countries,  and employs more than 32,000 employees, and has a revenue of about 2.6 billion euros (in 2016) looks magnanimous against the azure mountains,it stands out among the hilly country side of Wattens. Now I understand why people from different parts of the world traveled half across the globe just to see what’s in this place. Swarovski is still Innsbruck’s #1 Tourist attraction! Thanks to the great mind of Daniel Swarovski, the founder of Swarovski Crystal Dynasty, a humble glass cutter, and a genius to create a Diamond for everyone!

If you are interested to know how it all started, from Daniel Swarovski’s  humble beginnings to what Swarovski is now to the world, here I found an interesting Swarovski story.

I, myself were fascinated of how crystal is being made, so it’s just fitting to share with you what I’ve found out about the art of making Crystals. The modern Crystal museum is not just a shop where you buy a piece of crystal jewelry. The whole place itself is a platform for Arts with the theme of Crystal, thus making it a top-ranking  Austrian tourist destination for its modern Architecture and facilities. Maybe not everyone loves Art or jewelry, but I must say that the Artistic installations there conveys great minds and concept, and of course  guarantees delight for everyone in the family no matter what the weather is.

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The Giant of Wattens!

Its winter time and just in time for the New Year, so  the whole place is still heavily decorated with Winter Magic Moments where the visualizations were designed by Tord Boontje. There’s a giant Christmas Tree ,carousel and many unique art installations glittering with lights can be seen in the gardens.When we arrived at the Arrival’s Hall where we got our tickets, we already have the glimpse of the grand entrance to the Chambers of Wonders, with The Giant of Wattens, slightly covered in snow and foliage, with its glistening eyes and  mouth  flowing with water.The world renowned-landmark of the World of Crystals created by the great mind of  multi-media Artist, André Heller!

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Magical Winter Moments in the  Swarovski Krystalwellten

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Shimmering bright lights in Swarovski Crystal Worlds!

 

Chambers of Wonders

Little that the world know, inside the Swarovski Crystal Worlds are 16 Chambers of Wonders.These are  special chambers designed by  world-class talented Artists showing their inspiring creations.

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A hallway full of cascading Crystal Chandeliers and Crystal art installation (Into Lattice Sun)

The Artists have one goal in their mind:

Nurturing the sense of wonder of every visitor who came to Wattens! This place offers more than the bling. So it’s not only a place to buy crystal jewelry, it is a place that displays innovative Crystal Technology and artistic minds, with crystal as the main component!

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Mechanical Theater inside the Chambers of Wonders

Some of the notable Artists and Art installations  that I personally found to be inspiring were :

Manish Arora’s “Ready to Love” is super colorful, funky, with dancing lights and a stairs full of colorful inscriptions with the theme Love.It is so fresh and luxurious that my daughter was so delighted to see this.If you are traveling with children, a place like this might be boring for them, but in the chamber of “Ready to Love”, it looks like it’s a colorful play area with interacting lights.

André Heller’s “Heroes of Peace” is an interactive stage.  Heller designed an accessible explorable theater for all the senses to inspire, amuse and fill up the audience with positive energy. We saw Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi in a hologram-filled space! Looks eerie at first, but it’s quite high-tech!

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El Sol by Fernando Romero

Fernando Romero’s ” El Sol “ is a stunning art installation which focuses on man’s relationship with the sun. This is by far my favorite since it reminds me of the stunning Winter sunsetscapes that I saw while I’m in Tyrol. El Sol is a one-of a kind, large geodesic structure,mimicking the sun made up of 2, 880 individually manufactured Swarovski crystals!

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The grandest and biggest Crystal I have ever seen in my life!

Another beautiful sight inside the Chambers of Wonders is the “The Eden” by Fredrikson Stalard . For me, it is unique, and I love the mystery. My daughter enjoyed this one too. It’s like she is walking in a maze. It’s a forest-fantasy in an archaic, primeval world. At its entrance, a waterfall, filmed in the surrounding Alps, cascades down a screen and is reflected by the walls, while the roar of the water permeates the entire Chamber of Wonder, creating a wall of background sound. Inside, the visitor follows a path that meanders through a dense wilderness of simple polished brass structures, which through mirrored walls appear to go on to infinity.

Within the depths of this dark forest, the wanderer encounters strange, hidden gems in the form of the biggest crystals Swarovski has ever produced. They emerge as beacons of light from the dark, like strange, exotic birds, reptiles, flowers, or fruit, symbolizing the magnificence of nature and the origins of life.

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Talking about Crystals…!

For the rest of the Chambers of Wonders are listed Here. Seeing them one by one is like being transported into a magical world  one after the other where Swarovski crystals shines the best.

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Shop display inside the Swarovski shop

 

Of course, inside as well  is the tempting shop of Swarovski where we’ve seen all beautiful things out of crystals! Adjacent to the Chambers of Wonders is the Swarovski Shop where you can mesmerized yourself with all the beautiful jewelry and items offered by Swarovski. They are currently having a huge Sale so visitors are really flocking and hoarding over it.

We went out to grab a bite inside Daniel’s Cafe & Restaurant which is also dynamically designed. It is very spacious and we loved the food.The price was reasonable and their service is excellent.

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Crystal Clouds and Mirror Pool

Outside, we marvel along the beautiful Crystal Clouds installations.We visited on a snowy, cloudy day but still, the sight of the Krystallwolke is something  that amazes me. It’s made up of 800,000 crystal jewels embedded in a net like structure to mimic  clouds.It is designed by Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot.

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The Playtower inside the Swarovski Crystal Worlds

We continue to wander off through all the Kunst im Garten ( Art in the Garden), Labyrinth (Maze), Roman Excavations, and go inside their one-of -a kind Spielturm ( Playtower) .This is a place that my daughter loves, so do we!She needed a time to release her energy so this place really comes handy.

 

They have a state of the art indoor playground and a tower that is completely amazing! The view from inside seeing the mountains is beautiful even on a cloudy day.The façades of the tower, designed by architecture firm Snøhetta, consist of 160 crystalline facets, though no two are exactly alike. The panes are imprinted with an innovative pattern of millions of tiny animal motifs. The view from inside to outside is visible at all times and at night, the structure is a spectacular body of light.

I have seen that not only  children love this place but also their parents who played with them. There are slide tunnels, maze, puzzles and bouncing areas. Outside there is also an Outdoor playground, a Labyrinth maze and so much more.

To cap up our Swarovski experience, I could say that it has been a well-spent day. I did not expect that my husband would love this place but He said that He actually enjoyed it.We haven’t seen all the other attractions since its cold outside but then, there is always a reason to come back.

How did you start your year?

Do you like Swarovski Crystals over other type of jewelry?

Would you like to visit this place given a chance?

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you follow #myInnsbruck experience from my other posts about our New Year experience in the Alps.

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Tschüss!