Bavarian Jura, wooden bridges and 18th century fountain in Essing

A painter´s dream , this wooden bridge is undeniably the most photographed landmark in Essing.

Last Sunday we took again another short trip to the nearby town of Essing. Essing is a small town in the Altmülhl valley , a few kilometers away from the vicinity of Kelheim and to its neighboring town of Riedenburg. Essing actually is a great stop over when exploring the Altmühl valley and Donaubruch. Nowadays,we are on the bent on exploring more and more of the bits of beautiful Bavarian Jura and nature sanctuary of Altmühltal. I guess we can´t explore them all in one time because every town has its own unique attraction to offer so we take it one at a time.

The impressive Holzbrücke in Essing

With much anticipation, this little town of Essing give us quite an impression and we would definitely go back to explore more. I still can´t get enough of the beautiful rock formations that we saw when we did the boat trip in Kelheim seeing the Weltenburg narrows, and again, we were surprised to see the same things here. We visited on Sunday so naturally most shops are closed. I don´t mind that shops are closed since we have no plans to mingle with crowds because of the worry of Corona infection. We always make it a point to restrain from crowded areas and always stay at a distance with other people. Besides, we prefer to absorbed ourselves with nature and fresh air always do us good.

Who can resist a beautiful, calming b-view like this? I took this photo above the Holzbrücke Tatzwürm in Essing overlooking the lush green nature, the magnificent rock formations and the calm waters of Danube river.

I noticed a crowd of hikers, some with bicycles and hiking sticks all flocking around and standing in awe admiring the beautiful landscape as much as we did.We arrived at around 10:30 in the morning,but we haven´t antcipated that it would be a chilly and windy, but nevertheless, the weather is great for walking so we moved on.First thing that gets my attention was the impressive suspension wooden bridge, the Holzbrücke Tatzwürm. For me is great because for one— it is really wood! It makes a squeaking sound and swing a bit once we run and walk. I heard that its one of the longest suspension bridge in Europe and span along the main Danube canal.

Designed by Architect J.Dietrich, the 200 meters long wooden bridge is the greatest contrast in the beautiful landscape of Altmültal valley.

I have read that this type of suspension bridge is quite common in the Altmühltal valley eversince the Roman times.They already made it in history when they built a large rope slope bridge over the Danube in Weltenburg.With so many modern bridges nowadays, I find it fascinating that they have kept their tradition and they maintain it through the ages.The total length of the bridge is approx. 193 meters, the clear width of the walkway is 3.20 meters. The construction is designed for a traffic load of 500 kg per m².We have enjoyed this bridge alone without any other people so we really had a wonderful view of the calm waters of the Danube, the rock formations, and the quaint row of houses along the canals.The scenery actually reminded me so much of Innsbruck, Amsterdam and Utrecht where they also have rows of houses , cafes and restaurants.

This place is definitely a place between limestone rocks and river. It´s like the early civilization here forged their way of live and history from the mosaic of Bavarian Jura , from Castle ruins to nature valleys to lakes, Danube river, and limestone bedrocks. Take for example their historical fountain located in front of the Town Hall ( Rathaus).This old fountain is the root of Essing since it is the first well that they have drawn fresh spring water.Decades ago, this fountain was the well of life of the people who lived here. They even preserved this legacy up until now by providing the story of this fountain as an integral part of this town.

At the other side of the other bridge ( Bruck and Bruckturm) besside the town city hall is a statue of a civilian soldier named Josef Deifl ( 1870) who wrote a diary (Tagebuch) about his gruesome experiences about the Napoleonic wars and his wish for eternal peace. He wrotes that he taught himself to write and read and that writing is not an Art, that he only need it for reading.

Writing about wishes for eternal Peace
The town´s city hall (Rathaus Essing)

We continue to explore the scenery beside the river and the majestic view of the mountain rocks. They also have a very nice art installations along the river.We were trying to look for a nearby playground but we are already getting hungry so we decided to try one of the Biergartens along the river. Biergartens are opened once again but let me tell you what has been changed. We chose the Schneider Biergarten which happened to be a hotel and Brewery as well. Of course we need to make distance, wear masks when going inside aside and provide our contact data to the reception.This is actually our first time again to eat out eversince the Corona Lockdown begins. We were always cautions about the infection so we are careful of the places we go.It feels weird actually, it is not the same anymore.

One thing still the same, a great ambiance and food makes the journey even more worthwhile.The Biergarten is not that full when we came in but then at around lunchtime, more and more people , mostly with reservations are coming in. There were also people waiting outside picking up their take away orders. I guess the great weather and the calming view of the waters is a great factor. We had a nice time, the food was great and the charm of this lovely little town is heartwarming!

How about you, how was your weekend so far?

Until next time my friends, thank you for stopping by and see you again in our next adventure! Tschüss!

Field of Figures in Hessental

Rock Sculptures as memorial for war and violence victims in Figurenfeld in Hessental ~ Eichstätt

May 21 is a special day for Germans because it is Father´s Day (or Vatertag) and also a public holiday commemorating Ascention Day or Christi Himmelfahrt. We have long weekend ahead and the perfect weather gave us again the chance to explore nature and do our routinary Wanderung and spaziergänge. During Corona times, we got used to go to the “greens” instead of wandering in the city. The control measures are more relaxed now here in Germany and since schools and playground were opened,it´s human nature that more and more people go outside, but still with restrictions. That is why we always choose secluded places like this.This time we decided to drive over the hilly landscapes of Hessental in the direction of Eichstätt. We get on early as usual to avoid the crowds and make most of the beautiful weather.


I have never been to Eichstätt so I don´t have any idea what this town offers.Throughout the trip I noticed once again the ample amount of bikers. There are so many motorcycle riders in these area same as in Riedenburg. Probably because of the nice winding road through this vicinity. I have heard that its a Universitätstadt, meaning a home to one prestigious Catholic University here in Bayern. The drive going to Hessental is actually quite smooth, no traffic and the hilly fields amuse us along the way. The Hessental lies in a gentle hollow on the slopes between Eichstätt and Landershofen in Bayern. Finally, we reached the Figurenfeld in time and great thing to know that there is an ample place to park. We saw a small pathwalk that leads us to a vast hilly field, and without any orientation, we just follow the sign of the first Sculpture that we saw and thats it. Just like what my daughter says ; just go with the flow and start an adventure! And so we did..

The first Sculpture in the Figurenfeld in Hessental

The place is really spacious, with every shades of green that you can imagine. It´s ideal to have picnics, and just a quiet walk during these times. If you love hiking, this path between Eichstätt and Landershofen is a great start to explore the beautiful nature in the surrounding areas of Altmühltal. The artist and sculpturer Alois Wünsche-Mitterecker, is a native from Eichstätt, created a captivating memorial against war and violence. I found these solid sculptures really worthwhile to visit and see because it depics the ugly truth of war.For many, it is the ugly version of Art and yet can be emotionally moving. I have watched so many movies about Holocaust and for a moment I´ve perceived one of the figures as a scary visualization of a Holocaust prisoners. There is so much tragedy, sadness and grief, and yet, it is also a depiction of the extent of evil of humanity can do.

I am fond of sculptures and I love researching about them. When I visit any new place, I always look for extraordinary sculptures or any piece of art that represent that place . I have learned that every great art or a statue tells a story. From the unforgettable Holocaust memorial in Berlin to the Trains to death, Trains to Life , the Figurenfeld is no exception.

In this large field, there are 78 larger-than-life sculptures that are unrecognizable from a far. I thought for a minute that they are dinosaur bones, or fossils since this place is the barren Jura landscape. Most of them looks like they crouch, rear up and crawl and on struggling state. Individual figures first point the way into the hollow, where the figures come together to form a bizarrely frozen battlefield. This makes me wonder how this place looks like in Winter. I have read that the Artist, Alois Wunsch-Mitterecker worked on these figures made of Portland cement, granite and basalt grains for over 20 years. He himself never saw the completion of the work, he died before it was finished.The figures were erected according to his plans only after his death (December 1975) in the years 1976-1979. Come to think that the field is still unfinished.

Figurenfeld in Hessental

I guess the artist wanted to create a “Monumentum perpetuum”, a memorial to eternity, a warning of war, in which there are no winners and vanquished and he succesfully achieved that through this. The erection of the figures lasted from 1958 until the artist’s death in 1975.

I saw some children climbing and playing along the figures and it made me wonder how do parents explains to their children the meanings of the figures. I have read in the signs that it is prohibited to climb on it because there has been many damages already on some of the statues.My daughter loved dinosaurs so she thinks that they are dinosaurs, or rather looked like them. But them if you play a closer look, every figure is never the same. Every single one is really different and unique in its own shape.

Walking through the field is quite manageable but I think for elderly people, there are paths that are quite steep and would be challenging. The whole place is green, wild nature and full of overgrown heather grass, hedges and juniper bushes, which is full of hollows and hills, which contributes to the impression of a battlefield. I think that it can be scary at night because of lack of lighting but i think it is actually safe.But anyway, how would you appreciate the figures in the dark?

We explored the whole field in approximately an hour and then we decided to explore the rest of the inner city of Eichstätt.If you happened to be in the nearby vicinity, I highly recommend to check out this place. More information of other fascinating things to see and explore can be found here.

Have you done any walk lately?

See you next time in our next Spaziergang! Stay safe everyone.

Spaziergang– the one with mystical flair

After the rain where mists and dew become one

Let me share with you a really nice German word that I personally love, it´s Spaziergang. For non native German speakers like me, Google provides a simple and easy to digest definition of this word.

Spaziergang means ” a walk, taking a leisure walk ” or a ” stroll”

Etymology : Spazieren ( verb) + gang (spa*zier*gang)

Spaziergang ( M) (genitive –Spaziergangs or Spazierganges, plural – Spaziergänge)

Example when used in sentence : Viele Menschen machen am Sonntag einen Spaziergang mit ihrer Familie. / On Sunday, many people go for a walk with their families./

This morning I gazed outside the window and I saw a familiar face of one old man walking. He really takes a walk everyday, maybe 1-3 times a day and today was no exception. This is probably one of the word where I can perfectly describe my German neighbours and almost general here.They just love to be out, any time of the day, regardless of the season, in quarantine or not, people here loves to go for a walk or ” spazieren” . The other day, I was talking to some relatives in the Philippines and I have learned that they haven´t made a ” walk” for quite some time, all for various reasons. I have no time, I am too busy today, not allowed, too lazy, it´s raining, it´s hot …excuses are there and so on. Sometime its understandable, quite logical in these dire times of Pandemic. I just realized that there is really a huge difference between characters and lifestyle issues here and over there that I would not want to reiterate since its not the call of the hour.

Trying to recall my dreams from the day before today.

Now back to my story about this word .Spaziergang in other places where I lived is quite different, especially when the weather is quite challenging.In Kuwait, I often take long walks along the seaside. When I was pregnant, I walked in the seashore many times just to ease my aching feet . Seaside is very famous that almost everyone knows it, you can never get lost. Its a long strip of beach , the Arabian Gulf, beaming like diamonds in a blistering 48 degrees summer heat. It´s a nice scenery there especially during mild winter days, and also on very early summer mornings as well as when we don´t have dust storms. I missed those days where the only music I hear is the waves…. I have watched the tides being low and high, calm and clear…now going to the beach for me is quite a luxury.We are surrounded now with different kind of bodies of water which is also another paradise.

Here in Germany, people loved to take leisure walks. It is really a lifestyle that stands out everywhere. When people doesn´t cycle , you know they are walking. Sometimes I feel like if you don´t get out at least an hour a day, you are commiting a sin.I watched people of all ages do this, including myself. Germans takes walks for various reasons as well, but mainly, they loved to be out.Walking along the Danube river, in a park or forests can be a daily adventure trip. Walks are used for relaxation, recreation for families, or just simply observing and thoughtful leisure…or killing time, especially on Rühetag Sonntag ( Quiet Sundays).When the sun is out, people go out and take a walk to get under the sun, having a friend beside you walking and chatting is quite extravagant.Breathing fresh air, exercising in a form of ” brisk walking” is like a common changing your ” wallpaper”. You see,walking helps you see a different backdrop from nature especially during the change of seasons. A walk in the city is totally different experience from a walk from a quiet valley or countryside. A walk done through the weekdays is probably feels different when its on weekends.Here in Bayern, its very normal to see people walking with sticks, they say it makes walking easier, although I see it more frequently with old people.

Looking on the bright side side of life
Mornings reminds us to be grateful, to be thankful of life´s simple wonders

All of the above reasons, I did it all, all for the sake of ” walking”. In the early days, I would take a walk with my daughter in the stroller. In this way, I´ve got to know my new city and meet new people. Through “Spaziergang” , I have alearned to appreciate nature more, and made more pauses just to linger more with nature. It´s some kind of therapy as well. It´s a form of relaxing yourself aside from it is naturally healthy. I ´ve took a walk with my family, with friends, with my daughter, and yes, most of the time, I treasured the me-times or alone. There is a great consolation that I get when I took an early morning stroll and having a place all by myself. Most of the photos and inspiration from this Blog are the product of my daily Wandertags ( or strolling).

These photos are the ones I´ve took last week when we took a walk in the nearby town here in Ingolstadt. We were so early ( we always go out early to avoid crowds) that the trees and shrubs still have wet stems and misty. I totally got excited to take many photos and experiment with my camera.

When was the last time you took a walk? Have you enjoyed it?

Until next time friends, Stay safe and have a great week!

My Return to the yellow Rapeseed fields

After I saw them last year , I swore that I will be back again…and now I set my feet once again to the Golden Fields of Rapeseeds .

Back to the Fields of Gold in Germany

At this time of the year, from middle April up to mid May where we have mild Spring weather, acres and acres of golden sunny yellow bulbs of Rapeseed is my favorite Spring backdrop. And what´s not to love about them?They don´t cost a penny, but the experience is really nice. They are shiny, beautiful, glowing golden yellow in the bright sun! Everything about nature, especially the raw ones is a genuine stress reliever for me,and personally , I needed a different view aside from being contained at home for the past 42 days now! Due to Corona lockdown here in Germany, we stayed at home, maintained social distancing, don´t go out for unnecessary errands. We are not prisoners, we try to live as normal as possible.We are allowed to get out ( Only if we want to..!) to take a short walk with family members,exercise and do sports outside or just have a quick breath of fresh air because its also good for us ! Staying under the sun can boost your immune system.

The serene and tranquil beauty of the Rapeseeds fields in Bavaria, Germany

I looked forward to see the Rapeseed fields as early as the first days of Spring. I know that better and warm days are bound to come as soon as I see yellow bulbs in our neighborhood. With the daily stress of worrying on keeping ourselves protected from the deadly virus, and isolated, I have found refuge with nature. Here in Germany, I see people are living as normal as possible. Of course we are diligent in following the rules, but then I observed that people here are really disciplined, organized and bound to fight the spread of the virus.They also take care of their health, people of all ages exercise and move as much more and do something active.Yesterday, I felt really grateful living in this place where the government really care about the citizens. We finally received free masks !

And this is what the message I get whenever I view the Rapeseeds, they remind me that these too, shall pass.Just like these fields, one stem of this flower can´t bloom without the others. They need each other to make an impact.

In Germany, the Colza oil that is derived from this wonderful plant is used to fuel mainly machineries.The leftover from derivation is feed to pigs.

If you are an expat like me, I am sure this is one of the typical landscape views you see here in Germany.One of my favorite is seeing people cycling beside the fields and the view in the early morning where calmness plays a big role. If you happen to visit Germany during mid Spring , you´re in luck to see these natural wonder yellow fields. Most vegetation in the outskirts are beaming in yellow during Spring time, even on the sides of Autobahn! This landscape is also typical in other neighboring countries like Netherlands, France, Denmark,Poland and Belgium.

Yellow, Yellow, Yellow
If you prefer to enjoy the beautiful roads with a view here is WHERE you can take to enjoy them.

The good thing about lockdown is that we have more ( or at least a bit!) free time to do our hobbies, or things we loved to do…aside from eating and snacking! Anyone else gained weight ?! 🙂 Weekends are special to us so we tried to make it special despite the isolation. I totally enjoyed taking photos of my daughter and family to share with my friends and family abroad. After our walk, we cooked Spargel ( Asparagus) with potatoes and ham ,the traditional Bavarian dish that is in season , and enjoyed a bit of music in the garden.

Last week was supposed to be her Photoshoot in the Kindergarten.But due to the Pandemic and lockdown, kindergartens are still closed and we have no idea until when will it be opened again.So we made an idea to do her 5 year old Photoshoot with the Rapeseeds as background.
When Dandelions meets the Golden Fields!

Weekend is almost over and tomorrow is another week. Can´t believe it´s May soon. Back to work again and for some students here in Ingolstadt, especially the graduating class, it´s the first day starting tomorrow after the long break from Corona quarantine. I am really wondering what will be the effect of the easing of measures in our region.Another thing, tomorrow, 27th of April is the “Maskenpflicht” or wearing a mask is legally enforced here in Bayern.

How was your week so far? What fun things have you´ve done lately?

Until next time my friends, I wish you all a lovely week ahead, stay safe everyone!

Creative hand painted rocks project

May all beings have a happy life– Gautama Buddha

Paint your own stone, and join the FUN!

Today marks my 34th day in quarantine at home with my daughter and there´s no greater idea than to celebrate it than creating something creative with her. Oh yes, we count the days because our calendar have gone empty, all the scheduled activities were cancelled because I am sure you know why! The only legal activity we have nowadays is grocery shopping, walking, playing, cooking and cleaning. I´m not gonna lie—it is never easy! Millions times during the day, I am hearing THIS WORD : Maaaaammaaaa!!!!

Sometimes I am wondering if she knows other word than that! Day after day, I go on tidying up, and again tidying up and again tidying up. A pleasant routine indeed.But then…the moment she hugs me and say ” Mama, I want to be good” then everything would feel just fine. 🙂

Sooooo, today we cycled a bit and enjoy again Spring colors outside , breathe in fresh air while the rest of Germans are still sleeping. We stumbled nearby to us a very interesting and engaging art project , and what we love about it is that —we just need rocks! I´m sure that all parents out there with kids at home during this Pandemic are looking for many ideas to entertain their kids at home. So I think this is a perfect activity for families to do on weekends and yes something to ease the boredom!

Keep on reading and scroll down the photos if this interests you.

Aside from unbelievable Corona Balcony parties in my neighborhood, my favorite Germans loves to cycle, walk and wander in small forests ( we called it here Wald wanderung) especially on weekends and Sonntag Rühetag. Taking a quick break outside, parents loved to bring their toddlers , altogether getting lost in the forest with a playground adjacent to it. But because of Corona, playgrounds are closed and we are confined to stay home and practice social distancing. But there is always something else to do, I realized it as I am a parent myself. Right there inside the nearby forest we found this line of colorful, very creative, painted stones.This creative project, called Projekt JAA ( Jugendliche Anonyme Anmaler) where children and also parents are encouraged to paint their own rocks at home and design it as per their own wish , then putting their rocks in the line to join the connection.

Just look at these wonderful stones! Some have even encouraging message like “ Stay healthy, and best wishes..” . My personal favourite is the one with the Buddha and ladybug.

A friend of mine sent me a message about this and immediately we painted our rocks and brought it there. My daughter was delighted to see the names of her friends also there and she even mentioned to invite her other friends! We are looking forward to see how long would this line of rocks would be in the coming months.

You can create this even at your own backyard. If you don´t have one then on your window sill or decorate your balcony. All you need is a handful of rocks, paints and a bag of creativity! For sure it could keep your kid busy for at least an hour and that´s 60 minutes of sanity for parents!

An update, I saw in another nearby area, a kilometer away from us is another painted stone project done by kids. It´s beside the Kindervilla, near the Glacisbrücke going to the direction of the city. Let us see if it even reaches the town proper!

How was life with kids during lockdown at your side? Have you ever thought of doing a Happiness rock painting project?

A day in the Life and Spring is back!

Thank you to the ever industrious city gardeners for providing us beautiful Spring flower cases.Who says you can´t enjoy some nature beauty alone? This is in front of our local Rathaus ( Cityhall) where its normally flocked with people everyday but during the lockdown, its all empty. Here I´ve witnessed the change of plants depending on the season. I am so proud that I live in a place where nature puts at its best and given for public to enjoy. Garden and parks are well maintained despite the Pandemic and that is really worthy of praise.

The other day I was desperately needing a nature boost and a couple of hours spent outdoors to breathe some fresh air is always good. I was greeted by lovely spring atmosphere and new foliage colors. The magnolia and blossom trees from our neighbour signals the change of season and we are all loving it.I watched it everyday from our window.I noticed that everything is slowly, or rather incognito turning back to life, exuding a rare confidence of vibrant spirit during the dire times of pandemic. Of course we can´t sit out in Biergartens or meet with friends. Sunshine on my face feels great, I ´ve missed the light sting it does on my skin. I´m thankful that I´m still alive and I am bent to continue writing for this Blog. Last weekend I decided to visit our local park and saw that the Daffodils were on their last blooms.I observed that some flowers have served their purpose already, slowly on the bend, downing for their final bows…I guess soon it will the turn of the Dandelions and sunflowers to amaze us!

Lovely surprise! A bed of Flowers to say thank you to all Ingolstädters!!!
A piece of a bed of spring blooms is now open for citizens of Ingolstadt to enjoy, arranged by the gracious people behind the Landesgartenschau 2020 which is unfortunately not expected to open up until May 29 until October 4,2020. More information about the actual events is on their website Here.

One of the events that I certainly looking forward to attend this year was the Landesgartenshau 2020 here in Ingolstadt. It´s like bringing Keukenhof here in Germany. I have written many times how I admire all the plant loving people here in my town and how much it inspired me to start gardening as well. I love plants and everything inspired by nature so for me, this is one of the highlights in Spring and the coming warmer months. It was supposed to open this April but considering the health risks we are facing because of Corona, it is not yet sure if it can be open for public even up to latest of May.We don´t know yet when will everything returns to normal.The acres of magnificent Garden site and flower show is already built and the exhibition is set off to kick off soon but then for the meantime, everything is put on hold.

Can you imagine the loss that the small entrepreneurs and flower shops including garden shops are facing right now due to the crisis?

From last weeks´s weather that reached up to 23 dec Celsius, I thought Summer came early! It felt warm and my daughter is asking me if she can swim outside! Finally, it´s time to ditch the layers and wear shorts and tshirts! Despite the corona lockdown, people here managed to go out for a few hours. Aside from usual shopping and errands, children are running in the streets, cycling and people keep on walking, but of course with distance! Bottomline is, people just kept on, moving forward. It´s hard not to enjoy the inviting sun especially when outside breathes a lot of fresh blooms. Just look at them…!

Of course it´s still a day in the Life of Quarantine so the much needed tranquil and peace is out there. Every morning I hear the chriping of the birds. I usually watch them from my window when they fly back to their nest and sometimes they stop on top of the hedge. Out in Klenzepark, a park where we frequently visit because it has a lovely playground, I admired once again the field of blossoming white and yellow Daffodils, here its known as Narzissen.This park used to be full with sunbathers and families trying to wiggle off the dust of boredom and gasping for fresh air, letting their bundles of joy run around like crazy in the open field, especially on weekends. But now everything is empty, so serene.What a difference when everybody else is staying at home, except for the few brave ones who still needs to go to work. I guess nobody wants to make loud noises these days.Here, Easter went off quickly and our foolish thoughts were grilled right there in the comfort of our balconies, listening to music, and getting away from the family drama. A number of lithe people still sweating their limbs as they go on with their fitness and sports regime, exhaling the numb sounds of fear and succombing to the natural call of the hour— which is to keep on living and staying healthy.

Until next Springtime Dandelions!
My walking photograpy Spring tour
This is a magnificent view but sometimes I really wonder if the air that we breathe in is still clean or already infiltrated with the virus? Haven´t you wondered about this too?

How does Spring looks like in your area?

How many times were you out since the lockdown?

I am looking forward to discover new nature on my next walk and hopefully I could take better photos by then!

Until next time my friends, Stay safe!

From where I stand

From where I stand … here somewhere along the way fascinated with Manholes.
Journal about Manholes around the World

Do you love taking photos of your feet?

As I sorted out my gallery, I noticed that I have quite a few photos that shows where I stand, like a compass indicating my bearings. It’s funny because I haven’t realized that I’ve got this habit of looking down and when I see something interesting, I snap my phone and take photo. I’ve thought about the idea of collecting these photos and make a post out of it showing that wandering can be life changing.

This photo brings back lovely memories in me. The first year of my life as a Mother and I think the last year before we moved to Germany. My favorite pastime— I usually do morning run and long walks along the shores of Arabian Gulf. Watching nature and sunrises are my thing. Every week it gives me different panoramic views of the beach and the sound of the waves was really something therapeutic.
From where I stand here in the sand patterns of Arabian Gulf in Kuwait
From where I stand on top of Kuwait Towers

Isn’t it wonderful that we make a pause in order to admire where we are walking and not always in haste?

Well the road system and pavements and everything is totally different from Kuwait to Germany. Here, the roads are better, smoother, and well paved. There are actually plenty of foot paths and the manholes are worthwhile to look. Not so in Kuwait where it is very hot outside and there are no beautiful thing to look down on the ground, only dust.

The feel of sand on your toes…

I started taking photographs of manholes or drainage lately and develop a habit of looking down for some things that is mostly written down.When I came to Germany, I followed the path of “Stumbling stones“or Stolpersteine which wakens my curiosity about its interesting story about the victims of World War II and Nazi in Germany. There is so much more than these stumbling stones. Even if I grew up on the other side of the world, it really makes me grateful that dark past is over and I have the freedom to walk out in the streets without fear.

Standing in front of Humboldt University in Berlin, 2018.
This is the place where they burn books during the time of Nazi period. It is unbelievably tragic to know that later on they also burn people to death.
Standing where Germany was once divided.
Tag der Deutschen Einheit ( or Day of Unification is celebrated on October 3 and is observed as National Holiday in Germany)
Standing from where the old Berlin Wall stands. This wall tells us many stories, even more untold stories from the people who were divided because of this wall.

I don’t know exactly where did this fashion for feet-photography came from.Do you agree that internet is a great influence, it’s the source of all fad just like Photo Challenges here in WordPress. It’s the same as “Selfie” or “From where I stand ” type photos came out as soon as smartphones were born. I also love those people who photographed themselves with plants. These green-type photography is something that I do as well.

We’re standing where we watched the Handprints of Stars in Olympic Stadion in Munich, 2017
We love the Fantastischen Vier and all other artists who had their hands imprinted on the cemented ground.

From where I stand… after cruising through two rivers, August 2019
These rocks came from the limestone mountains of the Danube Gorge that were changed and eroded through millions of years.
From where I stand… somewhere in Bavaria, 2018
Last year’s Autumn in Germany
I spent many times doing long walks and watch the various colors of leaves on the ground. I call them “Natural carpet”

From where I sit, ( can’t stand) maybe?
It’s hard to stand on top of these concrete blocks breakwater along the Arabian Gulf in Kuwait

In life, we also stand where big changes in our lives happen, or situations where we stand in a line between important decisions and choices.

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”
Here standing where I said “I do ” on my wedding Day.
Isn’t the carpet nice?
RadissonBlu, Kuwait 2014

Where are the most memorable place and situations that you stood your ground and took photos?

Do you have any particular subject for photography?

Have you enjoyed this post?  Make sure to hit the Follow button for more Expat stories and travel stories on this Blog. If you are an Expat Mama, you might want to be featured in this Blog for our series on Expat Mamas around the World! Drop me an email at justbluedutch@gmail.com.

Are you interested in Art? Please like our page and browse on my original Paintings Here.

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Roadtrip into Bavarian’s Hops fields (Hallertauer Hopfenhimmel)

The green gold in Bavaria : the Hops, along with malt, water and yeast make up the world famous Bavarian Beer

Unplanned and totally spontaneous, today we droved along the Hop (or Hopfen in Deutsch ) fields in the quiet hilly town of Wolnzach, Bavaria. Wolnzach is the heart of Hop producing Hallertau region ( or Upper Bavaria) and is also a known “seal district “( Siegelbezirk). One of the great thing about living in Ingolstadt is that it’s so easy to do a day trip or excursions, plus the notable cycling tours in the vicinity. Within half an hour drive, ( around 35 kms) we reached Wolnzach where the green lush fields came in sight. It’s pretty amazing just to see them up close and personal. Totally reminds me of the grape vineyards in Moselle! Hop fields on hills are normal landscape scenery here in Southern Germany , especially in the Hallertau region (Holledau) 50 km north from Munich. I’ve seen these fields many times along Autobahn and I wished that I could see them close-up, and today my wish came true.

Hops – ” A Green Flower “
When growing hops, a minimum of 120 frost-free days are necessary for flower production. It is the green flower of the female hops plant that is a key ingredient in beer, and these flowers are called cones. Each cone is an inch or two long with papery green scales, and when mature the cones produce a yellow powder called lupulin. It is the lupulin that give hops their flavor .

The Hallertau region is the largest Hop- producing region in the world and they exist since 736!It’s no surprise why we have Oktoberfest and twice a year Beer festivals. There is no single occasion here that is not celebrated without Beer! Mind you, the beer culture here is so strong and has rooted itself as a cultural legacy. This is one of the first thing I embraced from the time we moved here. Did you know that aside from the home of Audi HQ, Ingolstadt is the birthplace of the Beer Purity Law. Now, seeing these endless Hops fields made me realize how on earth we were blessed to lived in a region were these “green golds” grew. I am not a drinker or beer enthusiast, but through time, I appreciate the value of this valued beverage like a noble Bavarian.

Where there is Hops, there is Beer!

Adventure of the Day : Grabbing a bunch of Hop flowers !
Hop is actually a flower, called Strobiles from the plant Humulus Lupulus.

Here in Germany, we only need Hops, malt, yeast and water to brew Beer.This is what the Reinheitsgebot 1516 ( Beer Purity Law ) is all about. I already mentioned many times in my Blog that beer here is considered as “Food”and not an alcoholic drink. Our trip was just in time for harvest, the Hops that we’ve seen are almost all ready for harvest!

We made a stop in the Deutsches Hopfenmuseum Wolnzach and learned more about Hops from its botanical background up to its main role in Beer brewery. Imagine, around 14,220 hectares (35,120 acres) of hops are grown in this region and harvested in mid-August. Being around with these gigantic vines is a great experience. The smell and fragrant of Hops is really something you need to experience personally. In Germany, the total hops-growing area amounts to 19,000 hectares and makes up a third of global production

Creative art from Hops : A wreath made of Hop flowers!
In the Museum where we visited ( Deutsches Hopfenmuseum Wolnzach) it costs 15 Euros !

One of the coolest thing you can find there is the Hop picking machine, where it is the biggest and most expensive agricultural machine of all times. The museum’s own “Iron Picker” was refurbished and is now ready again for special demonstrations. When we arrived, a group of American tourists also came. They were cycling and they were are all excited to know more about Hops and making photos! One says “the smell of Hops is really strange!” My daughter said it smells like pee! I also find it strong , no wonder it was once quoted as “wicked and pernicious weed“!

Mind you, cycling along the Hop yards is actually another adventure that I wished to do myself!

Did you know that Hops plant cannot be harvested on their first year after being planted? But after its initial phase, they can produce for the next 70 years! This is really a plant for decades! Another crazy fact that I’ve learned is that Hops flowers should only be female flower to be allowed to be brewed.

Because pollinated seeds are undesirable for brewing beer, only female plants are grown in hop fields, thus preventing pollination .But how would you know if the flower is female or male?!

Creative decorative wreath made of Hops
A worthwhile visit in the Hopfenmuseum in Wolnzach , Bavaria

If you’re looking for a different kind of adventure for families and all ages and you’re in the vicinity of Upper Bavaria, a visit to the Hop fields should be on your list. What’s best, you can end your road trip with a Prost!

Do you have a Bier Wanderlust? If you have more time to kill, check out my post about the artist Hundertwasser and the unique Kunsthaus in Abensberg and Kuchlbauer’s Bierwelt where you can also learn about Beer brewing in a magnificent Artistic backdrop!

Until then, Tschüss!

All shiny and pretty in Kristallmuseum Riedenburg

A mountain of crystals in Riedenburg’s Kristallmuseum

Recently the little wanderer is into stones. She loves to collect stones, especially the shiny ones , or something with texture. We have a handful of collected stones at home and she is into crystals and gems nowadays that we want to feed her curiosity. She even have a name for them all. She said she dreamed of having stones from volcano! How are we going to have that! I think she got so fascinated as well by the sedimentary rocks we’ve seen in Stauseen in Austria and now, everywhere we go, we pick up a stone, in short; we are stone collectors!

Today, at around 8:30 a.m, the little wanderer is wide awake and wants to play outside so after everyone got refreshed and showered, we packed our cameras, backpacks and off we go on the road again.We had a great time last night in Metallica’s concert in Munich ( which she really entertained the crowd nearby to where we sits!) and today we want to do something relaxing, quiet, and not so stressful. Destination as decided by the Dutchman, so off we go to Riedenburg and visit the Kristallmuseum, which houses the biggest crystal groups and stone gems collection by far here in the region of Bavaria.

Watching the fountain at the entrance of the Kristallmuseum after trying to calm her after a tantrum.
Beautiful artwork in the walls which I am trying to decode the meaning…bringing my imagination to the fullest!
Gigantic multi facet stone, could be a nice home artdeco as well. But it would be hard to transport this one…

Riedenburg is around 40 kms away from Ingolstadt and we drove there for approximately 40 minutes because this time we took another road away from the Autobahn. The road was hilly and full of curvy edges overlooking the hills and green forests. The scenery and landscape around the countryside is so calm and we almost have the road to ourselves.One of the perks is a stop in the Sunflower fields which I really love. For me, summer is not complete without sunflowers!

A stop to the yellow fields of Sunflowers !!!

I haven’t finished writing my blog post about Kelheim where we took an adventure cruising along the Weltenburg narrows . In there, we took a boat and ogling through the Gorges and through the oldest Monastery of Weltenburg Abbey and what a surprise, we saw once again one of the ship gliding in the Altmühltal while we were there in Riedenburg. The museum is located along the banks of the Altmühltal river and the boats going to Kelheim on a boat tour.

These crystals are huge!

The Kristallmuseum is a private gallery museum situated in Bergkristallstrasse in Riedenburg. We arrived around lunchtime so the Restaurant Fasslwirtschaft is already packed with guests, visitors, bikers, cyclists and families with kids eagerly enjoying the relaxing saturday afternoon. There is a playground which immediately catches the attention of my daughter , a mini-gold area for the whole family, and the Kristall museum !This restaurant serves traditional Bayerish food and the ambiance is really good!

A good amount of fresh greens served in the Fasslwirtschaft Restaurant! Guten Apetit!

We first seated ourselves in one of their traditional barrel huts (or Fässern in German) and ordered lunch. The prices were decent and the food was excellent! We played some minigolf and then explored the Crystal museum.

In the Kristallmuseum, I saw a great collection of crystals , gems, precious stones, and so many pretty shiny things that I have never seen in my whole life. I love beautiful stones and handcrafted jewelry and here I’ve got to see and admire. Here you can see the Turmalin Collection from Madagascar with over 600 pieces in varieties. If you are fond of Horoscope, then this place have a special treat for your own Zodiac sign where you can press a button and the ceiling ( or the Sternhimmel) will illuminate for your preferred sign.The artistic side reminds me of the House of Mirrors I’ve seen in Kuwait.

The city of Crystals
Torquise beauty – Some fine creations you can buy in the Kristallmuseum souvenir shop

What’s so special also in this place is that they have the replica of the biggest Diamond and more than 300 gemstones and their stories. The 7.8 tons, 3 x 2 meters Crystal group is something that would really catch your attention. It was discovered in Arkansas, USA in 1981. It’s big, shiny, gigantic and really a complete wonder. The Scholz Family brought them to Riedenburg and built the foundation of the Kristallmuseum and since then, Riendenburg became their home. Nowadays, it is one of the top tourist attraction in this town.

A small part of the family of crystals!

I was asking myself how did this crystal grew this big? Now I need to do my research and feed my curiosity.

Anyway, if you are looking something family friendly destination around Ingolstadt and can be done in a halfday out of town, then this place is really something you can check out. It is open from March to middle October from 10 o’clock but they have a Ruhetag (closed) on Mondays! If you’d like to visit them on Winter, you can find the details in their Website Here.

What is your favorite gem stone?

Do you want to have an insight what is it inside the giant Swarovski headquarters or just be amazed of the creation of 800,000+ crystal clouds in Krystallwelten in Wattens!

How about you, have you discovered something interesting lately?

Until then and Tchüss!

The Beauty of Manholes

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Manhole cover in Amsterdam,Netherlands

The title says it all, this post is all about my fascination of Manholes or drainage covers.

Well, since I came to live here in Germany I got hooked into looking down , staring for a couple of minutes and just marveling at these drains.I find it  interesting to look down and taking photos ( if I have the chance to do so…) of unique water drain designs and the way every city has its own pride, normally it shows the city’s  name and the official seal.

But the big question is why?

In my home country and way back in Kuwait, it is quite different.Manholes are usually plain, dull or somewhat far from sight of the pedestrian or I’m just oblivious then. From the time I remember, I heard about accidents involving people falling off crazy in these filthy holes.With traffic crazy streets in Kuwait, no one stays longer in the streets or you’ll be ran-over ! Ok, maybe I sound a bit dramatic but the thing is, the culture says it all. For me, in Philippines, manholes never appeals to me because I grew up never having the “liking”into it or it sounds dangerous  and traumatic experience especially during rainy season and heavy flooding. People falling into a manhole may sound funny but actually it is NOT. It’s a serious accident.

I guess it shows how different each country value the water drainage system and its covers here in Europe especially in big cities. In a very touristic areas here in Germany, most inner cities observed car-free , therefore encouraging more people to walk, rather than drive into the city. So it means, we have more means to explore by foot at our own pace.

I must say that here in Germany, I have seen quite few interesting manholes. I haven’t had the chance to photograph them all , or I forget about it but this post will be updated from time to time once new updates are available. For starters, here are some of the fascinating manholes I’ve discovered.

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Manhole in Münich , Germany

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Welcome the Dutch  Royalty, Manhole from the Netherlands

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Manhole image from  Nürnberg, Germany

Sometimes it’s easy to spot them on but sometimes it’s also hard , especially when we are walking in a hurry or traveling by car.I know it’s not  everyone’s fancy , but one thing I noticed, in social media, I see so many photos of feet selfies, or shoe selfies . They all show a sort of individuality and personal choices.For photography, It’s all about our choice of subject and we have all the right to take photos of anything we want as long as it is rightful and doesn’t harm others. But here in Germany, public photography has some limitations as well.

So, why manholes?

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Looking down on a manhole in Berlin, capital city of Germany

First I got this habit of looking down where I walked into the streets when I ventured into exploring all the Stolpersteine or stumbling blocks or stones— those artistic stones for the victims of Holocaust and murdered Jews. I am living in Germany and I have learned these things in my class and everyday, as I explore the historical places, It is impossible not to be aware of the dark past of German history including the stumbling stones. It made a great impact on me to stop for a minute and think ..“Oh, there’s a victim of Holocaust who lived here…” I think its a very decent way of paying respect to their story and being grateful that war is finally over and hoping “Never again...”

So, back to my old habit, whenever I walk around into a new place, I took particular notice of where I’m stepping into. There’s so many landmarks, engravings, plaques of memorials, grave stones, or some sort of legendary marks which is imprinted into the ground for the sake of  history  and remembrance . One thing for sure,  you can learn so much from it.

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Caught a glimpse of the Manhole in Regensburg, Germany

Just like standing over a precious stone or a border mark, it has a profound effect, like “I’m walking over where a great war happened ,where heroes dies and fought for somethingor “I’m standing where the  wall of Berlin before stands “. So just like taking a minute to appreciate manholes, I also took time to admire an important city’s  landmark. I realized that what they do underground is as much as important as what they do over it. The street’s quality are also differ from place to place and the way they build it. Normally, these manholes are built with high-end steel, painted or engraved, or just personalised to city’s parameters.

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Walking through the cobble stone pavement in our little town of Ingolstadt in Bavaria, Germany here shows the official seal .

There’s also something nice about looking at manholes through each season. Here in our old town, summer time is the time where road maintenance is being done and road works are really important especially the “Fußgängerzone” or walking path. Manholes or drain covers withstand the never-ending change of weather and seasons.

I therefore conclude that It takes a good government to pay attention of where the normal people drive, cycle, walk, and run into. So it goes with drain covers. 

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Looking down on a Manhole in Ingolstadt during first layer of snow last year’s Winter

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While exploring the oldest city in Germany, Trier

Do you also have a habit of looking down while walking?

How does the manholes in your area looks like?

Want to participate in a global project?

If you ever seen an interesting Manhole in your area, please feel free to send me a photo of it or a link so I can include it here in my list. My goal is to collect as many as possible depending where my feet leads me to.

Send me some photos in my Email : justbluedutch@gmail.com.

I hope you find my story interesting and something to ponder about. Over here, Autumn season has begun here in Bavaria and I am excited to wander off in the streets and continue exploring!

Wishing you all a happy weekend…Tschüss!