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

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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.

Got Instagram? Follow our Expat Life experiences and my personal Artworks in our Instagram Page and If you have a time to kill, please check out my Etsy shop!

Tschüss!

 

 

 

 

Growth | El Sol and My Tyrolean sunset

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It was sunsets that taught me that beauty is fleeting…only lasts for a couple of moments,

And it was sunrises that showed me that all it takes is patience to experience it all over again…

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The little things?

These tiny moments?

They aren’t little…

They are Life’s Giant milestones.

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One of my top viewed post is “Why do you love watching Sunsets?” It didn’t surprise me at all because it’s one of my favorite post as well. I, personally loved everything about these little moments when the sun says Adieu and the peace that comes along with it.It’s a personal post for myself. This particular sunset is special. It’s one of the times I watched the sun shyly sets in between the mountains. It’s magical when all the different shades of red, oranges, and yellow and all the other hues mixed with each other creating the most original pallete I’ve ever known. It’s incredible how the sun washed away the houses in the villages , in between the hundreds of pine trees with a gentle glow.

I’m sure I am not the only one who took pictures.

It’s not because it’s a brand New Year that I am opting to have a brand new mindset, but watching a sunset definitely changes the way I look about my growth as a person.

All I knew that growth is clearly visible when your mind is set for appreciating your life for what it is and looking forward. Yes, the sun sets, but in your mind, you know that the sun will come once again…the show begins again once the morning comes.

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I’ve read many times that watching a natural beauty doing its own course like sunsets   may boost well-being, increase generosity and enhance life satisfaction. This is one activity that I never get tired of doing, anywhere, given the chance, I know that what matters is for myself to actively engage with the experience. To reap the rewards of that sunset, you need to stop whatever else you’re doing and really notice and appreciate the show in the sky.

This post is also inspired by one of the intriguing Art exhibition that I’ve seen in the amazing Chambers of Wonders  inside the Swarovski Crystal Worlds, the “El Sol”.

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“El Sol ” by Fernando Romero inside the Chambers of Wonders in Swarovski Crystal Worlds.

“El Sol” is Spanish for “The sun.” Fernando Romero’s installation, is made up of  2,880 custom-made Swarovski crystals, weighing more than 500 kgs., symbolizing the exploration of humankind’s relationship with the sun. This spherical structure is exactly one billion times smaller than the sun itself. At the heart of the artwork is a sphere of LEDs, whose light is split by the inner facets of the precisely cut crystals in such a way that it creates a dynamic surface reminiscent of the sun.

The inspiration for El Sol was the remarkable geometry of the pyramids built by the Aztec and Mayan people. Romero’s creation is thus an homage to his Mexican cultural heritage. At the same time, his structure is also based on modern technologies. Three months of design and development were needed before the drawings were ready, and it took the technicians more than 350 hours to construct the artwork. I am over grateful to see this with my own eyes and experience the kaleidoscopic effect from this.

Sans the technology and crystals, I took photos of this Tyrolean sunsets from our balcony in our rental apartment in Tyrol. What makes it unforgettable is that it definitely inspires  me and signals growth in my spirit. I’ve seen sunsets over high towers, buildings, over a lake, a volcano, across the seas, and in forests. This one is my Tyrolean sunset.

This year, I am ready for change, I am ready for growth.

I am ready for more sunsets beauty that 2018 offers!

What about you, Where’s your most memorable sunset  experience?

 

 

 

 

This post is inspired by this week’s DP Challenge |Growth

Unforgettable Winter Sightseeing: Innsbruck

 

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Fancy finds in the Christmas Market in Innsbruck

Before the year ends, we had the chance to explore and visit Innsbruck in Austria. It was actually a spun in the moment , nevertheless, Innsbruck is the beautiful capital of the Alps, a city framed within the gorgeous rings of snow-capped mountains, an Olympic place for the Winter Sports and the famed Olympia Skiworld. I’ve learned that Innsbruck is the first city to host the Olympic Games a third time (Olympic Winter games in 1964, 1976, and the Olympic Youth Winter Games in 2012).

But more than a winter sport magnet, Innsbruck is such a vibrant city. Well, not everything looks inviting especially in Winter time but I wish I could find more words to describe this city, so far, its one of the most diversified cities I’ve ever visited. We are traveling with a toddler so of course our interests are best fitted for her needs. It has by far the most modern architecture in the Alpine region, rich historical sites, stunning nature views, and a winter paradise for all ages. Quite impressive that within minutes you can reach the highest mountain peaks, marvel at the Glacier, and come down to the sophisticated town surrounded with great splendor of Tyrolean rural heritage and history.

I have seen so many photos of Innsbruck in Instagram and I had wished to see this place. It came true and I couldn’t be thankful enough to marvel at the Alpine adventure at the start of this brand New Year. Our New Year spent in Schlick 2000 Wanderzentrum is really unforgettable, especially for my daughter.This beautiful city nestled in between the Alps mountains and the Inn river makes a winter getaway, especially with children something that is enjoyable for parents as well.

Here are some of the sights we’ve visited and the photos I took while we explore the city and the nearby villages in this place.We were standing in front of the Triumphforte facing Theresien Str. with the gleaming mountains and planes passing by, I knew that this city has a lot to offer!

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The Golden Roof ( Goldenes Dachl) in the Old Town

” Use every moment, dance every dance, you can’t take anything with you.”

We stumbled on this square with the giant Christmas tree in front of it and loaded with tourists. I found it  fascinating that this structure is still  impeccably preserved centuries up until the modern times.  I read that the scroll on the relief of this famous Golden Roof  bears this beautiful quote.  This, however, is mere speculation as the writing remains undeciphered. The Golden Roof is decorated with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles (all still original). Some were stolen but reappeared. One was replaced with a wooden tile while a hay barn was adorned with a shiny one. The exchange was reversed. The Goldenes Dachl in the Old town is still one of the most important gem of Innsbruck.

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Maria-Theresien Str. /Annasäule right in the Innsbruck Centrum

From where we stand and explored Innsbruck by foot.In New Year’s day, where almost all shops are closed, this street is still filled with tourists and locals celebrating New Year. Innsbruck  Christmas Markt still noticeable in the far end corner and I can still smell the glühwein and baked goodies.

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Bergisel (Sprungschanze), Ski Jump

The moment we stepped into the city, this is the view we get. The gorgeous Bergisel floating amidst the fog on a cold winter day. A day before we left, the city was already packed with tourists for the upcoming Winter Ski-Jumping  World Cup tournament of Vier Schanzen Tournee (Four Hills Tournament) 2018.This eye-catching tower is designed by Architect Zaha Hadid, the “Bergisel Sky” panorama restaurant and the panorama terraces.It takes only 20 minutes ride to conquer 2,000 meters.This is definitely one of the best Alpine experience you can have.

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The 28 larger than life monuments guarding the tomb of Emperor Maximilian I inside the Hofkirche

We continue walking through the narrow streets and as we reached the Markplatz,we decided to walk through the Hofburg. I am so glad that visiting the Hofkirche is not boring for my 3-year old daughter and not “too historical” for her age. I was surprised that she actually enjoyed marveling at the 28 ( Twenty-Eight) larger than life Bronze statues guarding the cenotaph of Habsburg Emperor Maximilian I.

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Swarovski Crystal Christmas Tree in front of Markhall, facing the Inn river

We noticed that the sun starts to shine so we head off to admire the beautiful country side near the river. Of course we didn’t miss to admire this Swarovski Christmas Tree in front of the Inn river facing the Markhall.This one really shimmer against the bright sun. We had a pit stop inside the market and had coffee. Compared to the Markthal in Rotterdam, this one in Innsbruck is smaller and not really touristy.

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Cobbled stone streets going to the historical inner city of Innsbruck.

It was a cold day and yet we enjoyed all the surrounding sights along the Theresien Str. with all the Baroque architecture and heavily ornamented buildings and shops.This street is so full of charm and the rows of tempting shops are full of  high-end brands, Christmas displays, enticing tourists and showing that sophistication and modern fashion is totally into this city amidst framed by the mountains.Take for example this unique facade of the Taxispalais. For a second you would think what’s inside.The Taxispalais is a Kunsthalle with an international exhibition profile.Its mission is to debate contemporary life through art and cultural discourse.If you are into Arts, you should not miss to explore this place.

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Taxispalais : Blue men in the building in the busy shops along the Maria-Theresien Str.

Innsbruck is definitely a city with a high-end Architecture! Another eye-catching landmark unique to Innsbruck is the Nordkettenbahnen cable railways, designed once again by famed Zaha Hadid. This is totally the jewel of the Alps.The new Hungerburg Funicular was officially opened in 2007. The funicular set new international standards for modern architecture due to the extraordinary design of the stations. According to Zaha Hadid herself, she was inspired by the ice and snow landscapes of the region. As a result, the four stations, Congress, Löwenhaus, Alpine Zoo and Hungerburg resemble icy glaciers, giving the impression that the nearby mountain is right in the heart of the city.

The contrast between the arched shape of the roofs and the firmly anchored concrete bases make the stations unique, and gives them an almost magical sense of weightlessness. If you’re in Innsbruck, I highly recommend to check this out!

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The modern Nordkettenbahnen cable railway station
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The quaint villages at the foot of the mountains along the Inn River
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Mariahilf, a historical site in Innsbruck

At the end of Theresien Strasse, I was intrigued at the row of colorful houses along the Inn river, just in front of the bridge and the Markthalle because it reminds me of the leaning houses along the canals in Amsterdam. With the background of the mountains, this is definitely a postcard worthy of visiting!

 

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Narrow Areas, thousands discoveries

To cap off our #MyInnsbruck sightseeing experience, we head off to Wattens to visit the headquarters of Swarovski. The trademark image of Swarovski, The Giant is the face guarding the entrance of the Chambers of Wonders. Multimedia artist André Heller created a world of wonder to celebrate Swarovski’s hundredth anniversary in 1995. Heller’s thematic centerpiece for Swarovski Crystal Worlds was the shape of the Giant. And he developed the story of a Giant who set out to experience the world and all of its treasures and wonders.One of the highlights of our Crystal experience is seeing the enormous 800,000 crystal jewels hand-mounted in the Crystal Clouds!

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The Giant, guarding the entrance to the Chamber of Wonders inside the Swarovski Kristallwelten

Even if the weather was not hundred percent perfect for our winter sightseeing, we really had a great time exploring all the sights that Innsbruck had to offer, especially for families. Visiting Innsbruck is totally a kid-friendly place and there are further more attractions to try on our next visit.

Of course, not only our eyes have feasted on this trip, our tummies as well. I can’t leave this place without trying once again one of Austria’s pride ; the Kaisersmarnn!

Have you ever visited Innsbruck?

Do you also take time to explore a city and its historical sights?

 

 

Thank you for reading my friends! Wishing you all a lovely start of a brand new week!

 

Tschüss!

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve in Schlick 2000!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The view of the valley from above the Schlick 2000

Now who can’t say NO to this view?

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

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A Winter Sport Paradise in Innsbruck

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

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

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

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My Little Explorer!

Cheers to New Routes… New Possibilities.

We are ready to face the New Year!

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

Danke Schön! Thank you and Salamat!

 

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

 

Tchüss !

~Christina

 

 

800,000 Crystal Clouds In Swarovski Kristallwelten

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Crystal Clouds in Swarovski Kristallwelten by Andy Cao & Xavier Perrot 

Happy New Year to you my friends! Thank you and warm welcome to the Blog for my new followers.It’s great to see you all in this brand new year!

I am so sorry for a long absence and updating this Blog. All through out Christmas, my daughter has been sick and I was busy both studying in my Deutsch class and with the 2-weeks break, despite the silence and hustle of the Christmas season here in Germany, we manage to get through with everything!

We spent New Year’s Day visiting the world-famous headquarters of Swarovski Kristallwelten in Wattens, near Innsbruck, Austria. The weather was grey, gloomy and constant snow showers dampen our mood but we can’t afford to go up in the mountains due to bad weather so we decided to wander off to the hilly village of Wattens, a half-an hour drive from Innsbruck. It’s  New Year’s Day, so it was busy as usual,the arrival hall of the Crystal world is packed with many tourists from different places. The entrance ticket costs 19 Euros per person which gives a full admission through the museum. As for me and my family, we’re so glad to see this place because it really exceeds our expectation.  I was totally impressed of how magnificent the crystal world until I saw it with my own eyes. All my life, I have known Swarovski only  as the  crystal and fashion icon and its beautiful  jewelry line, nothing less. But seeing this place, I was really grateful to have this chance. More than the crystal jewelries I have seen in the store, I had no idea how beautiful the world can be with crystals and artistic craftmanship.

It’s winter time, the place is covered in snow.The  company is situated in the foot of the snow-capped Alps mountains .On the day of our visit, I noticed that the company  is undergoing a tremendous expansion, with its modern Arrival’s hall facing the face of Swarovski, the Giant” ,lying in the verdant hills of Wattens, the foliage-covered giant who spews a waterfall from his mouth and guards over a dozen fantastical crystal chambers beneath a hill. It is designed by artist André Heller, who guards its entrance into the shimmering wonderland.

All of these are owned by Swarovski— the 16 Sparkling Chambers of Wonders, the spacious 7.5 hectares  garden surrounding the Giant, the Play Tower and play area,the Labyrinth, Arts in the Garden, but the most impressive thing that caught my eyes is their “Crystal Clouds and the Mirror Pond “. 

With the gorgeous white snow-capped mountains on its background, the Swarovski headquarters evolved into a stunning place for everyone to enjoy. Now people of all ages can visit this place and not only see gems, and crystal jewelry but also left in awe of the wonders inside this place. After we enjoyed a delicious lunch in “Daniel’s Kristallwelten” restaurant, my eyes caught the display of greyish net-like stuff suspended in poles in the spacious garden and wondered what are those. So after we ate, we went out and explore this wonderful work of art.

Talking about Crystal technology of course, the new crowning piece of the beautiful garden is the Crystal Cloud, created by Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot. Formally trained as landscape architects, Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot embrace serendipity, trusting intuition as their guide. They juxtapose the landscape medium with unexpected materials: recycled glass, mother-of-pearl, crystals, fishing line, etc. These materials come to life in outdoor settings, releasing or refracting light, elevating the inherent imperfections as beauty marks.

This monumental installation drifts above the black Mirror Pool, inviting visitors to pause for moment and be inspired.  I, too, have gazed long enough to admire the concept behind this and wished that I have seen this in the night-time where the lights make it like a magical world or while its shimmering against the sun.

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Give the Mundane its beautiful due.

With a surface of around 1,400 square meters, this mystical masterpiece is the largest work of its kind in the world. The Crystal Cloud consists of around 800,000 hand-mounted Swarovski crystals.  Imagine that! The forest of columns holding up the crystal-laden, cloud-like wire structure is proof of this. Visitors can walk along a ramp that drops down into the middle of the pool, allowing them to experience the interplay of light and colours from the height of the water’s surface.

I found a beautiful video of how the Crystal clouds shimmer against a bright sunny day.

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800,000 hand mounted Swarovski Crystals in the Crystal Clouds in Swarovski Kristalwelten in Wattens, Austria
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A Beautiful work of Art in Swarovski Crystal World, Innsbruck, Austria

A descending path draws visitors to the Mirror Pool where the crystals’ light is captured like stars shimmering in the nocturnal sky – even in broad daylight. The innumerable fireflies create magic light; as if in an enchanted fairy tale garden, they flit and dance through the air and accompany the visitors across the footbridge.

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” Making Diamonds affordable for anyone”

The 1,400-square-metre Crystal Cloud is the centre-piece of the 7.5-hectare park, which opened in Wattens on 30 April. The cloud and pool are located in a shallow depression surrounded by graded banks and birch trees. Contoured mounds separate the park from the surrounding area.

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Crystal Clouds in the Swarovski Crystal Worlds

On December 3rd, 2015, CAO PERROT won the Best of Year 2015 Award in the installation category for the Crystal Cloud at Swarovski Crystal Worlds, Wattens (Austria). The award has been presented by the US Interior Design Magazine for the past 10 years. This year’s winner was decided by almost 60,000 voters from the architecture and design industry.

Do you own a diamond?

Not everyone can afford  real diamonds, but  Daniel Swarovski’s vision was to make “a diamond for everyone” by making crystals affordable, and it definitely become a dream come true for myself.

Fake diamonds or not, Swarovski crystals have proven that whether or not you could actually afford anything studded with actual Swarovski crystals, the Crystal Worlds is an incredible sight for anyone with a love of fantasy and this is how we spent the first day of this brand New Year!

How did you spent yours?

 

 

Thank you for reading my friends, Stay tuned for more posts about my Innsbruck holiday, and spending New Year’s Eve and enjoying winter pleasures in the Schlick 2000 Ski area  even if you have a motion sickness riding the cable cars!

Tschüss!

To love winter is a Privilege

From our recent trip to Austria where I have seen  surreal images of the beauty of snow during a cold Freezing January , I admit I was in love of this pure whiteness all over me. To tell you honestly, coming from one of the hottest country in the world,and grew up in a tropical climate where I only knew humidity, rain & scorching summer, the sight of the mountains, especially the Alps covered in snow, and walking through a gush of  a heavy snow fall, all day, all night, sure thing its a pretty sight. It’s overwhelming for the first time! My husband said ; you are asking for snow, now you have snow!

I can’t stop staring and capturing these moments. All the more that I was immediately smitten when I saw  from Snowmeltssomewhere  her wonderful captures of  the silence, beauty,  and the low visibility in the Finnish Lapland, covered in pure whiteness, almost unreal for someone who experience snow for the first time.

Then comes the second day, the third day and the rest of what we called nowadays, it all becomes…pretty normal. Almost everything. It’s still a winter wonderland, but the “wonder” diminishes gradually.

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To love Winter is a privilege

All I wanted to say is,  to love winter and snow is a privilege.

Because not everyone experience these changing seasons. I, myself was one of them. There are people from the other side of this planet who have never seen a single snowflake in their lives and for them, seeing a place like this is an absolute paradise. They would fly miles away just to see a winter wonderland and experience White Christmas, dressed up in winter clothes and  soak in the winter atmosphere. Yes, they have the right to brag about it. I remember seeing people in Kuwait during the months of December ~January  who dressed up in winter boots, faux fur coats and  wool jackets in a temperature of 10 degrees on a sunny day . Meanwhile, we would all be cycling and taking walks here in Germany in pullover and light jackets. Here in Bavaria, even with the minus temps & snowing, people still cycle to go to school and work, jogging, bringing out their kids in the cold, and walk their dogs on a freezing day. Same routines.

Not everyone have the chance to grow up in a winter wonderland place. I used to dream about snow and a white Christmas too. I wonder how a snowman is being built and how does it feel to ski or even ride a sled. I longed to know how does it feel, and taste the snow, and watch the magical snowflake falls on my face. I was so eager for this experience like a child.

But the fun ends and I won’t lie, I have these secret emotions and I don’t expect that every one of you can relate. Despite the beauty that I’m seeing, I can’t deny that I have these blues that engulfs me whenever I see all these whiteness and exhilarating coldness. I know complaining never helps because I don’t hate the cold, I am not just used to it.

Can anybody relate to my feelings?

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A walk into this winter wonderland.

This biting cold. It creeps to my bones and I can’t stand anymore even 3 seconds without my gloves. One time, in the middle of my Wandertags and my whole body  feels  a surge of panic to get inside immediately or else I couldn’t even  feel my face anymore. I’m afraid I might get a frostbite. I dunno what is a frostbite. No, not yet. That on weekends, I was dying for a bike ride but continuously hesitated, dreading the freezing wind in my face and I know my nose will just be stuffed and becomes runny. How annoying it is to remove your gloves, get a tissue, wipe your nose–all in repetition? Oh well if it itch somewhere, then…

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A christmas Ball covered in snow.

This panic of layering clothes. I am not so conscious but what exactly is Winter fashion?  Here in Germany, I can’t think of any fashion— only Function! You need to dress up for the weather. They say that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. But how much is too much? Is 3 layers enough? Unless you’re attending a very important meeting, your impeccable dress doesn’t matter. At home, dressing up a wiggling toddler is something that we do in haste nowadays, oftentimes leading to drama. Please tell me if you have any tips how can I make my daughter put on her mittens/gloves because it’s always a fight for her to keep it on. Before I could even put on my shoes, she already removed it.

 

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Time to work the messy work in Winter

It’s a hard work pushing! Winter is a lot of work. If I managed to push my daughter’s stroller in the snow-covered streets  for even an hour, then I don’t need to work out anymore. I needed to be cautious in my steps too, or I’ll end up landing my ass in the streets. Even buses I’ve seen have snow chains since roads with ice can be so slippery. Not fun at all. I’m just glad if we survive on a daily basis. Besides,  my toddler might ask me why we need to take walks in these minus temps, freezing cloudy days ,  when all the playgrounds have disappeared, literally!

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A Submerged Mercedes-Benz  in snow .

I’m sweating the moment I get in.I thought I felt cold but why I was sweating so much?  I should blame these layers that I wear. I can’t wait to untangle my scarf when entering a shop but dreading to put it on again after 5 minutes. Is it only me who thinks that drinking Hot chocolate everyday  makes me feel so bloated? I admit I have drink more tea nowadays more than I have ever drink tea in my whole life, also countless trips to the bathroom.

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A  statue covered in snow.

Happy hour is nowhere. No leisure walks outside means no sunsets to watch. It’s just grey & white there,then black. When I am dreading the 5:30 a.m wake up call knowing it’s still pitch black outside and that our days practically ends at 4:00 p.m when everything turns dark. Am I supposed to have early dinner and what else? go straight to bed?  Remembering back in Kuwait where we put on dark curtains just to shield out the bright sun and children are playing up until 1 am in the morning in the park. In winter, all fun is indoors after 4pm. Now that we are living in these changing seasons, the only time Germans go crazy to rush to go outside is when the sun decided to show up. It is a sunny day, but also very cold.

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Snow everywhere and a frozen bird house.

 

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A perfect  natural White Christmas Tree

These Heavy. Winter. Garb. The daunting feeling when you’re about to go outside and start getting dressed, and you grab your winter jacket, boots, hat & gloves. It has become your daily uniform. For quite sometime now. The streets suddenly become narrow  with all these people walking in their stuffy jackets. I wore 2-3  layers of socks sometimes and yet, my toes still feel cold. I must add that wearing tights & leggings becomes a daily struggle.

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I’m not stopping  by this time!

When some friends made  comments about how much they LOVE Winter and the only words that comes out from my mouth is–Yes, it is.  But deep inside, again, these silent emotions– the reality bites of winter. I am thinking how to give a polite answer with all these things in my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I love winter but sometimes it’s utterly depressing. I see it as everything is hibernating!  I love seeing the snowfall today, and I would love to watch it tomorrow ,again & again. I love-making snowman in our garden with my daughter, after all, I just had a complete winter garb this year, great finds I must say. I love everything about White Christmas too. My first Christkindlmarkt and our first Christmas here in Germany is all good memories although I’m not so fond of Glühwein! But…

 I  hope the warm sun touches my skin again and see  beautiful sunny days…can’t wait!

What about you, what do you like about Winter? Which one of the seasons is your favorite?

If you enjoyed this post, and wants to kill more time in my page,  make sure to follow me on my  Twitter  and my Instagram  for more updates on my Expat Life  and travel adventures. Thank you so much for stopping by my friends!

Gästehaus Panorama : A 360° Panoramic stay

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Our Guest cards for the Tiroler Zugspitze Arena

“A 360° Panoramic  surroundings filled with natural landscapes, cozy rooms with  decent amenities, conveniently located, accessible to all attractions in the Zugspitz Arena, and provides a homey atmosphere for my family– This is what I called a “Home away from Home”. The satisfied feeling that I’ve got from our stay in Gästehaus Panorama in Biberwier, Tirol, Austria.”

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Our room view of the Zugspitze mountain in Biberwier,Tirol, Austria
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We have this view while we stand at the entrance of the hotel

If you’re planning for a holiday in the Tiroler Zugspitze Arena, then I highly recommend Gästehaus Panorama for your accommodation. I seldom give reviews on places we’ve stayed , since I don’t have time to look further into details of hotels,or share our experiences, but on our recent Winter Wonderland stay in Biberwier,we were just totally satisfied with this place. It really exceeded my expectations, considering that it’s only a 3-Star hotel as per Hotelstars.Eu standards. The whole region is filled with Pension houses and even on Biberwier/Ehrwald area, almost all houses are turned into a family run hotel business. Gästehaus Panorama offered us with something that you can only have once you’ve experienced it . Once you are here you leave your worries behind and feel totally at home .

 

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Picture of the Winter Wonderland Stay

 

Karin, our Hostess did a wonderful job all throughout the days that she and her family welcomed us in their homey  house located at the foot of the Zugspitze mountain.Our reservation went smoothly and we’ve got immediate confirmation. This hotel is ideally located just a few meters away from restaurants, the Marienberg Ski & Snowboarding resort,and 5 minutes away from the beautiful hiking paths.It has a panoramic views of the mountains, the forest, and sparkling springs that flows nearby. A 3- minute walk to the bus stop for all the Hiking & Winter wandern in the region. There’s so much things to do and I had my top 10 Reasons why I love Winter in Austria,especially in this region.

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Cozy stay at Gästehaus Panorama

Our room was located in the ground floor adjacent to the service entrance area where we can leave my daughter’s Kinderwagen and for guest’s ski and Wintersport gears.There is a Infrared Sauna & Massage room right next to our room. We have TV-Sat, a very good wi-fi connection, closets, and its great that our bathroom was clean, with enough fresh towels & even a hair-dryer! It maybe outdated compared to modern standards but I didn’t see any problem with it.

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Hallway in the ground floor

The beds in Germany and in Austria was one of the culture shock that I eventually got used to. I was so surprised to see that  beds here consists of 2 separate mattress, and with 2 separate blankets. Totally weird for an Asian like me who grew up with different bedding arrangement.Always making us feel comfortable, they have arranged an additional bed for my daughter as well, offered to lend their sled, and gave us all the info and tips we need in exploring the area.

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Wall display

Every morning, we have delicious buffet breakfast personally arranged & served by Karin. Everything  with her personal touch. She prepared everything with the help of her kids and I find that so impressive. We were really pampered and treated like a guest in their house and not as a client in their business.My husband was happy with everything and so as my daughter who enjoys all the many choices of cereals, breads, cheeses, and fruits. their orange juice is really good and the best so far that I have tasted! I could even sit there for hours for the view!

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My daughter checking out  the beds

We always have a great time lounging in the Breakfast room because we have an amazing view of the mountains. When it’s snowing, we all kind of speechless just watching how magical the winter wonderland experience we are having. This place is super -value for your money and worth the travel since now, the new Tirol Express Arena have free train connections from Garmisch-Partenkirchen up to Vils. From the Ehrwald station, you can be in Biberwier within 10 minutes. Going to main attractions such as the Ehrwalder Almbahn & the Tiroler Zugspitzebahn, there is a free bus ride to take you there almost every half an hour! Totally convenient for us since we have a toddler with us and this place is super kid-friendly.

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A very hungry guest at the Gästehaus Panorama

We wanted to extend our stay but we have already purchased our return tickets. If we would have a chance to visit Tirol once again, maybe in Summer, Gästehaus Panorama would always be our choice.We were even offered by a free transfer to  Ehrwald station by Karin’s husband and it was really a kind gesture from them. Totally unexpected.

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The postcard that we’ve brought home from Gästehaus Panorama

If you’re heading to Austria on your next holiday staycation, do check out Gästehaus Panorama. Experience an authentic Tirolean hospitality in their house to have an unforgettable Winter Wonderland & enjoy the fresh snow in the Tyrolean Zugspitze region .

Please Check out their great offers for skiers and Kurzentschlosssene with their amazing deals for 3 Nights in Double/Triple/Single or Family Rooms for only 105 Euros/Person from 11:01. – 01.27.2017 including daily buffet breakfast, 1 time Sauna/Massage/Ehrwalder indoor pool, a trip to visit their alpacas & a parting gift.

Hotel Contact details & Address : Gästehaus Panorama- Prof.Giemsa Weg 1, A-6633 Biberwier/TIROL, Austria

Tel. + Fax .: +43 (0) 56 73-25 46/ Tel .: +43676621 92 01

Email : info@gaestehaus-panorama.at /www.gaestehaus-panorama.at

You can also check their Facebook page and they have an App available in the App store:Gastfreund to have instant travel tips, top news in the Tiroler Zugspitze Arena region, Food & Drinks , Tourist Attractions and so much more!

 

10 Reasons why I love Austria in Winter

 

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Feasting on this  view every single day on our Winter Wonderland adventure in Austria

Would you do anything to have this view? Well, I would!

This year started right by making another check in my Bucket list, which is seeing the Alps up close and spending a Winter Wonderland in the Tiroler Zugspitze Arena with my family!

Austria and the  Alps is not only for Wintersport , but  it is also for the enjoyment of the whole family, young and old! Last week, I am so grateful that I had the chance to cross the border and explore Tirol this winter. Though I am not used to the cold, my first Winter Wonderland experience is a dream come true and is filled with overwhelming experiences especially  that we have a toddler traveling with us.

Austria on a cold freezing winter with a 2 year old? Yes– It’s possible! So here I want to share with you  why it’s totally worth your time and money, after all, it’s a beautiful country.

My 10 personal reasons why you need to visit Austria in Winter and have a 360 Panoramic Holiday !

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People of Austria – A day in the life of shoveling the snow.
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Exploring Tirol in a horse driven carriage

1.Because there is SNOW!

Powdery snow. Snow-capped mountains. Lazy strolls in a Winter Wonderland in a post-holiday season. Beautiful glistening white snow against the bright sun. More & more snow! Everything is covered in pure whiteness. There’s so much snow that even the light posts got icicles. I was taking photographs where my feet is in knee-deep snow and if you follow my Instagram, there you can see that my daughter had her snow-coma moments eating,rolling, lounging, and playing in the snow! She has the whole village as her playground.

If you want to experience a winter wonderland, you need to go to where the snow is.

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Frozen berries and the Zugspitz mountain

2.Because the Mountain  is calling!

The Tyrolean Wetterstein mountain ranges and the highest peak,the Zugspitze is one of the most beautiful scenic views you could ever had if you visited the Tiroler Zugspitze Arena.Personally, I am overwhelmed by its beauty. Seeing it everyday can totally change your life. Need I say more? You need to see it by yourself and then you will know why its an enigma to the world.

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Cable car ride with a toddler!

3.Because there is the Wintersport!

Do you like Skiing? or cross-country skiing?Snowboarding or snowshoeing maybe?

Tirol is a haven for Wintersport all year round! Anyone can enjoy skiing in so many Ski Resorts. From 07.01 up to 05.02.2017, there is the Superskiwochen (Super Ski weeks) and from 18.03 up to 21.04.2017 anybody can enjoy Sonnenskilauf (Sun Skiing).If you’re itching to try a new thing, you can even try the ‘Nachtsskilauf‘ ( or Night Skiing). More than 210 km of slopes, 88 lifts, 110 km of cross-country skiing trails—This is the definition of a real Winter Wonderland during Wintersport Season!

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Snow capped pine trees during our hike

4.Because getting there is so accessible.

Going to Tirol has never been so easy and convenient, even with a toddler.  We reached Ehrwald from Ingolstadt, Germany only within 3.5 hours via the regional train.With the new Arena Express Bayern-Tirol, there’s even a Free train connection for guests and locals between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Vils. This region in the west of Austria is easily accessible by  its modern transport network. Travelling by train or bus is one of the most relaxing ways to reach Tirol, be it from other parts of Austria or from countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Driving to Tirol in your own car is also easy, whichever direction you are coming from.

Important Tip:

If you travel by car, make sure you have the Motorway toll sticker (“Vignette”), while all other roads are accessible free of charge. Whichever route you take, fantastic views are guaranteed! Guests planning to arrive by airplane will find direct flights from many European cities to the Innsbruck-Kranebitten airport. Some airlines even operate a daily service to Innsbruck.

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Local sightings during our adventure hike

5.Because your stomach will be pampered!

A Culinary experience is a big part of any travel experience. Tirol is an amazing place to eat and drink, serving up some of the best food in the world. While in Tirol, seek out some of the country’s quintessential foods served at roughly 130 restaurants brandishing the “Tiroler Wirtshaus” (“Tirolean Inn”) logo, indicating locally grown produce on their menus. Our days are filled with awesome goodness from a warm Breakfast buffet offered by the Pension House where we’ve stayed and after a day of sightseeing and hiking, we feast on local foods in the restaurants in Ehrwald & Biberwier.

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Schnitzel with pommes – my mini version since I can’t even finish eating the adult portion!

Where to Eat :

Sonnenspitze Restaurant – Try their Veal Schnitzel with fries which my husband loves, the delicious Spaghetti Bolognese and The Zipfer Austrian beer is also worth a try. A visit to the Tiroler Haus (In Ehrwald/Zugspitze ) from a break from skiing while enjoying the views, you can try their signature and Original Tirolerhaus Kaiserschmarrn (Dramatic pancake)  served with apple sauce & cherry jam.

6.Because getting around is so easy and convenient.

In Tiroler Zugspitze Arena, you can enjoy the place car- less. Visitors are encouraged to travel without their car. The public transportation is so easy and conveniently accessible during sightseeing & hiking around into the mountains. Transportation within the region is free and according to your schedule (Ticket = Tiroler Zugspitz Arena’s Gust Card + guest) .You only need to provide a valid photo ID and you are free in all rides. All buses are stroller- friendly and even people with disabilities can access high altitude areas without any problem.  Totally amaaziiingg right?!

If you’re a guest there, you’ll get a Gästekarte and you’ll have many benefits such as discounts from the destinations and free access to Family pool in Ehrwald, Ehrwalder Almbahn,selected Guided tours in Winter and Summer and so much more. For the complete list of your Guestcard benefits, you can check Here.

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Local sightings in Kirchplatz, Ehrwald

7.Because Nature here is something Surreal.

Up in the mountains or down in the valley, the Zugspitz Arena offers a magnificent nature vistas. From the wonderful trekking and adventure hike we did, I was able to see steaming springs, small lakes, and a forest-covered in snow which looks like a dream. I am sure that in Summer, this place is transformed into a new paradise. There are hiking tours offered for free to explore the villages and seeing the local culture of each neighborhood.

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A Bucketlist : Zugspitz mountain

8.Because you can reach the Zugspitze peak within 10 minutes!

The Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain at 2,962 metres above sea level, has been easily accessible since the first cable car was built in 1926. The most modern incarnation leaves from Ehrwald ,the Tiroler Zugspitzbahn transports visitors up onto the mountain quickly and comfortably via three mighty metal pylons driven into the rock. Once up at the top, crossing over from Bavaria in Germany to Tirol in Austria couldn’t be easier – the border runs directly through the middle of the Zugspitzhaus hut on the summit.

It goes without saying that the views from the Zugspitze are spectacular: down into the Inntal Valley, across to the shimmering green Lake Eibsee near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, over to the Hintertux Glacier – and on clear days even as far as the TV tower in Munich. The views looking up are just as good.Even babies,toddlers in strollers & people with disabilities can enjoy the 1,725 meters of mountain view in just 10 Minutes! The journey in the 100-passenger capacity cabin with its panoramic views is an amazing experience. 

Travel Tip :

Make sure to take this trip on a clear sunny day to enjoy the views of the mountain peaks ranging from 2,000 m up to 4,000 m and across 4 countries ( Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria) reaching as far as the Eastern Alps!

Here’s a teaser of their live webcams so you can have an idea what kind of view you can expect when you are in the Zugspitze peak! Go for it!

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Signage in the adventure trail to Ehrwald, Lermoos & Biberwier

9.Because Winterwandern is amazing!

I love wandering around and exploring by foot and Tirol did not disappoint me. With the right clothing and the sturdy stroller for my daughter, we were able to wander around so freely, even with the heavy snow.Thanks to Intersports-Leitner Rent– where we got the perfect Kinderwagen for my daughter.If you don’t like to bring bulky Winter sports gear and accessories, you can also rent from them.Everything you need to enjoy a winter holiday can be found in their shop as well.

Winterhiking in the Tiroler Zugspitze Arena is something that I really look forward during our holiday. The foot paths  and hiking trails are with proper signage, and everyday, there are various programs arranged by the local Tourism for the guests to enjoy. While hiking, we saw horses, goats, alpacas,and donkeys. The local architecture is very unique and I admired the wood cabins in the foot of the mountains.

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Exploring the Winter wonderland village of Biberwier

10.Because it is a destination for the whole Family!

I got a fair amount of stares when we rode the bus going up to the mountains where it is filled with people in ski boots and doing Winter sports. Maybe they are wondering what on earth can my toddler do up there in the mountains. Though we didn’t ski, while my daughter is too stubborn to sit on a sled, this place is best for families. I find the people so friendly and they have made us feel at home during our stay.

If you have a chance to spend a winter holiday , I highly recommend you consider going to Tiroler Zugspitz Arena. It’s a 360 deg. panoramic holiday that you shouldn’t miss!

Highly recommended place to stay is the Gästehaus Panorama where I find to be super cozy, affordable & value for your money. It’s like a home away from home. With our wonderful host Katrin, our stay was filled with enchanting views, great service, and a comfortable place that takes care of all our needs.

Stay tuned for my review for this place and more about our Winter Wonderland holiday in Austria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Wonderland in Austria

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My first view of the Alps from the Zugspitz Arena,in Ehrwald, Tirol

“Powdery snow, sunshine, and the Zugspitze mountain–these three words describe my first Winter Wonderland holiday experience in Austria!”

Last week, my little family went for our first holiday for 2017  in Austria. We thought that it’s a great chance to escape for a while and have a family getaway since here in Bavaria ,we have 2 weeks for the Christmas break and we are really itching to go on a short trip. It’s my first winter wonderland experience and what an experience it was! I was so excited to welcome the new year and to go on this trip to finally see the Alps and seeing it for the first time was really overwhelming. Arriving in Ehrwald,the biggest village, where we start our adventure gave us a chance to see the quaint life and culture in this small Tyrolian village in the Wetterstein mountain chain in the area of the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena.

The Alps has an unforgettable beauty, and now I knew why my husband spent most of his childhood holidays here. It has for sure a different charm during Summer, Spring and Fall, but seeing the Alps in Winter is so breath-taking!

The highlights of our trip was our trip going up to the Ehrwalder Almbahn where my 2 year- old daughter & I rode the cable car up to the mountains and had magnificent views up in the ski resort. We stroll along the villages of Ehrwald ,Lermoos and Biberwier and watch the Austrian life goes by. There has been lots of playtime in the snow, sight-seeing,tasting the local food. We had the adventurous hiking trail as we explored the nearby villages. Trekking & hiking in the winter wonderland here in Tiroler Zugspitze Arena brought a new height to my Wandertag where I saw glittering lakes and glowing springs. With a toddler on tow, we are limited on some activities since she is too young  but we managed to enjoy each day! The sight of horses, donkeys and goats,even Alpacas is something that we never expected to see but it was there. We’ve met wonderful people, and created lots of memories.

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Zauberhafter Winter in Austria

Our trip from Ingolstadt to Ehrwald up to Biberwier offers a lot of majestic views and I thought that the trip was even short, maybe because I was too engrossed admiring the views. As as soon as we reached our Pension House in Biberwier, the sight of this Winter Wonderland gets into my system further more. I inhaled the crisp winter air and feasted my eyes on all the foreign things around me, the landscape,which shows natural beauty of nature. The people, the scenery, the flow of life in the village, and the coziness of the place made our trip worthwhile. We had a smooth 3.5 hours train travel and my daughter was the best jet setter travel buddy. She behaved so well in the train, she played, took her nap and enjoyed the train views as well.  It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon when we arrived and I was even more glad that we have a nice weather to welcome us in Austria.The weather suddenly changed on the following day and  did not expect the heavy snowfall which made us cancel our planned trip to go up the peak of the Zugspitze. It was snowing heavily that it become hard for us to push the stroller in the knee-deep snow and winds and it’s not a great day to enjoy the views up there.

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Another glimpse of the Alps from our room in Gästehaus Panorama in Biberwier in Tirol

Even if you don’t plan to ski or do winter sports, a trip to this place offers so much. Nature has so much wonder that this place is heaven for a nature lover like me. The local Tourism Center has a daily program of activities for all visitors to enjoy.The Alps is simply  breathtaking ,with all the trees covered in snow  on its bottom, and the valleys covered in whiteness is something that I did not expect to see. The shadow cast of the sun is so magical that I could stare at it for hours. One of the unforgettable experience I had is watching the sunset here. The sun slowly goes down and cast a magical brownish shade against the pine trees. I watched it with glee.

 

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View from our room in the Pension house in Biberwier

The views from our room are totally priceless. I am so glad that we have stayed in Gästehaus Panorama where we have a panoramic view  every single day! The mountains are calling us, the nearby Marienberg ski resort, and the winter wonderland valley sights brought us beautiful mornings each day. We literally woke up, ate, lounge, and sleep with this view! It’s all like a dream.Watching the snow fall each night is so magical, like a chapter of a book that you don’t want to put down.

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Winter wonderland in Tirol, Austria

I never imagined that winter could be this beautiful. On a sunny day, the snow glistened like diamonds against the bright sun. Now I know why you need to wear your shades especially when you are up in the mountain where everything is just covered in snow.The pine trees are standing so pretty with its thick snow covering its leaves, just like what I imagined it to be. Travelling with a toddler in a cold, freezing, winter wonderland here in Zugspitze Arena is possible and a trip that I would recommend to any family.

Also, what a coincidence that today was my first (1 YEAR)  year anniversary with WordPress. It’s been a year when I registered and created this Blog and thought that this post is just timely to celebrate a year of fruitful writing my Expat life and sharing with you here. For my followers,thank you all for being with me here and reading my posts!

Stay tuned for more posts of our holiday in Austria!