Have you ever wondered what are the flowers included in the Flower of the Year Campaign (Blume des Jahres) in Germany?
I have no idea whatsoever, not until I came across this interesting list over Here. I find it really worthwhile to know that here in Germany they have such cause of protecting the Endangered Plants, let alone wild Flowers. Who would have cared? for others, they are just type of grass or weeds which grows wild on fields. Not so here ! They called it “Stiftung zum Schutze gefährdeter Pflanzen” , which was initiated by the wife of former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in 1985.The purpose of this campaign was to create public awareness about the ecological impacts and importance of wild flowers and protecting the endangered ones.
They published the flower of the year every October of the year in order to promote this campaign. I love plants and everything and I normally used to illustrate flowers as well using watercolor .I looked forward every year seeing them bloom like crazy in Spring through Summer !
This Summer, I have done quite a lot of running and leisure walks to capture them. Even when we do some family trips, I tried to photographed them and these one are by far my favourites these year! If you are in Instagram, you will see that they are on top of feeds of people who love nature and plants.
I love the fact that they exude a different aura even when the sun is about to set. For those of you who are new to Germany, a sight of Mohn blumen feld is something to behold. I always love to take a walk in every flower fields nearby to admire them.I guess I love seeing them better than tall buildings!
I am planning to create a Flower journal and printed them once I am done compiling them. I remember when I was a child, we always made a calss project out of dried plants and flowers. We put the flowers and leaves in between the pages of book and let them dry for a while. Dried flowers have another charm and it creates a bit of nostalgia.Nowadays, I do it with lavender flowers!
During this time that we have restrictions because of Corona virus, out in the green nature is one of our favourite pastime.We love leisure walks and staying out of crowded areas is far by the best to get going. I am doing my runs in the morning and seeing them in different forms is enjoyable.Gazing at the vast flower fields for a moment is a time well spent and for me, never wasted. Wildflowers are reminders that seasons and nature go by their own course even without human to interfere. They just pop out of the blue!
Compared with the mighty Tulips and Dandelions, they are quite humble beauties. The don´t need much, except lots of sunshine and rain to thrive.Streets and fields would be so dull without them I think.
Speaking of flower love and urban gardening, I would like to put into writing how much I appreciate my local town when it comes to their love for plants and flowers. Every one is crazy pampering their own garden and balconies with plants! It´s a fact that Germans love gardening and plants, in all seasons.Because of Corona crisis, the Landesgartenshau 2020 were canceled so we were not able to see the flower show here in Ingolstadt. But the thing is, Landesgartenshau gave so many flowers and garden plants to people of Ingolstadt. We were one of the lucky recipients of the box filled with 6 different flowering plants donated by them.their aim is to bring joy to all plant lover and give them a bit of the flower charm in every garden here.People driving Audis and expensive cars lined up just to get these free plants!
I guess summer days would not be complete without Poppy flowers and the rest of wildflowers. Together with Sunflowers, they remind me that sunny days and warm feelings are free gifts to enjoy without a cost.Now that we are still under Corona crisis, walking into nature is one of the best theraphy that we can reward ourselves!
I grew up dreaming of it and hoping that I see some in my lifetime. The moment that I moved in Germany, this dream have became somewhat reachable, and doable.See, we don´t have much palaces and castles from where I grew up, and in Kuwait where I also short-lived, there´s not much royalty castles to visit, although there is the Bayan Palace, the grand palace and official residence for the Amir of Kuwait. I see it everyday on my commute to work but I never had the chance to explore inside. I remember as a child, I normally build castles out of sands from the beach and for me, those are awesome.
Anyway, in a short period of time that I am living here in Bavaria, I have discovered (some ) castles and ruins that are worth sharing. If you´re in the vicinity, you might try to visit them. Actually, its not easy for me to visit castles and ruins, given that I have a young child with me that easily gots bohred in closed places! With that in consideration,it´s actually not her “ playground” and she cannot run around especially when there are things bound to break . We avoid the long tours and we always take her into consideration whenever we have the chance to visit and explore one.A child easily gets bored and most castles have steep stairs, dark, and somewhat eerie for a child.Nevertheless, the display of Knights and royal mementos can somewhat amaze a young visitor!
Germany is definitely a land of castles, and ruins. There´s plenty of it that its hard to choose which one is the better than the renowned Neuschwanstein and the long list of other beautiful ones! What I found so interesting is that most castles in Germany are built in strategic locations—either on top of a mountain, hill, on a cliff, or to something of a hidden route.In most castles that we´ve seen, we always need to climb up, trek and do some hiking before we where there.It requires an effort but good thing most of them are accessible even to handicapped persons. Mainly because practically, they are built for defensive purposes, and yes, they are a symbol of power during Medieval times!
I can only share a few which we visited but I still have a long list of castles that I really love to see someday. Some castles have been well maintained, but then some are totally left in ruins.Anyway, let´s get acquainted with different German terminologies regarding Castles. You might find this very helpful why they have so many names about it where the rest of the world only refers to it as “castles“.
In Germany, we have “Burg” (Castle) which means strong, fortified buildings. Then we have” Schloss ” where a certain Royal family lives, a king or Queen have lived here. Schloss can also mean a large Manor House where noble families lives.” Festung” is Fortress, which by the name denotes means a fortified ,large and secured castle.It is normally surrounded with walls and built up on high place.
The first castle that I´ve seen and made me developed this quest is Burg Eltz located in West Germany, in Rhineland-Palatinate. I travelled here with my 1 year old daughter way back then. I love the mystery it holds, right upon the first time I ever saw it. It is well tucked in the middle of the forest and getting there is really something.This castle dates from 12th century.It is very well maintained and the tour inside is impecabble.This castle has been owned by the Eltz family. Location wise, it is a very beautiful castle.It looks so romantic, and really brings you back to Medieval times!I am glad I was able to see its 850 years of history! It´s not surprising that it is considered as a German treasure since it is once featured in a 500 DM note from 1961-1995! Writing this makes me dream again of seeing it once again.Here´s my fairytale trip in Burg Eltz.
Here in Bavaria, southern part of Germany, Schloss Prunn is known to be the jewel of Riedenburg, the heart of Altmühl valley. Prunn Castle is one the best preserved Knight castle in Bavaria.It is located 70 meters above the Altmühl valley so its famous for a wonderful panoramic views.We visited this castle during Corona times , we were the only guest inside the castle since we were early to avoid the crowds.The view from above is amazing!
After Burg Prunn, we drive in the vicinity of Essing to check out the ruins of Burg Randeck.This is another lovey area within the Altmühl valley where we see well preserved bridges.Burg Randeck is a well preserved castle ruins known to be ” Robber Knight´s nest ” which is now owned by Essing Market.Burg Randeck provides us once again with a marvelous views of the nature valley of Altmühltal.The ssuspension bridges against the blue green rivers are sights not to be missed as well as the quaint little town of Essing. Make sure to climb up the ruins up to the Castle dungeon and Hunger tower because it will reward you with breathtaking views especially on a clear sunny day.
Another fascinating castle in the vicinity of Altmühltal valley is Schloss Rosenberg also known as Falkenhof.This is another castle situated high ridge of the Altmühl valley.We had a unique experience of seeing the Falcon show where we see amazing art of training Falcons, eagles and owls.There is an outstanding Museum about the history of Falcontry,as well as birds of prey and other local wildlife.
We did another hike and explohre another ruins which really took us by surprise.The ruins of the Rabenstein Castle is located on a mountain slope near Rosenberg.The trek was narrow but then the views are very beautiful, this ruins is from a small medieval castle, probably from the 12th century, and is the oldest of the three castle complexes in Riedenburg. It is believed that the builders were the Rabensteiners, since an Albert von Rabenstein was mentioned in a document in the 13th century.What is amazing is that we saw Burg Prunn and the quaint town of Riedenburg.
We did a 23 km cycling tour to Neuburg an der Donau and here we saw “Jagdschloss Grünau“. The Grünau Castle is located about 7 kilometers east of Neuburg an der Donau and is in between the largest forest in Central Europe.This castle is an example of early Renaissance architecture.the Wittelsbach Count Palatine Ottheinrich had it builht as a proof of his love for his wife Susanna.It was originally built as a moated castle, but the trenches have now been silted up.
Also in Neuburg an der Donau is another beautiful palace called Residenzschloss Neuburg.Some parts of it were under renovation during our visit but then there are so many highlights to be seen including the inner courtyard.This palace is an important early Renaissance building built by Count Palatine Ottheinrich from 1530 to 1545.The palace chapel is the oldest churh building in Bavaria and the Frescoes were done by Hans Bocksberger.The castle courtyard is equipped with a sgraffiti facade, which shows scenes from the Old Testament by Hans Schroer (after 1555).
We made a daytrip and went to visit the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg. The historical “Kaiserburg” also known as the the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg is the most important symbol of Nuremberg. Though this city was heavily bombed from WW II, the city has restored most of its iconic structures including this castle. Just like any other castle, this castle holds an important part of history. This castle is in fact one of the most important fortresses in the whole of Germany and was first mentioned in 1105. From 1050 to 1571, all holy Roman Emperors resided in this castle. One of the largest and most modern youth hostels in Germany is located in one of the former Imperial stables.
Hiking this palace with a stroller is quite tough.It can be challenging gainst the warm summer so if you want to explore this with children, better to schedule your trip wisely.The views from above is worth the effort.
Notable things to check on in this Xastle is the Deep Well . The well house is located in the center of the outer Bailey. The shaft of the well was hewn into the rock to a depth of 47 meters. A highlight of the visit is also the round Sinwell Tower (“sinwell” Middle High German = very round), which was built as a keep for the Imperial Castle in the 2nd half of the 13th century; the topmost storey and the interior wooden roof construction were built in the 1560s.More about this Castle will be found on my separate Post about Imperial Castle Nuremberg.
Of course how can I forget about our very own New Castle located here in Ingolstadt.New Castle (Neues Schloss) is propably one of the most important Gothic secular buildings here in Bavaria.Now it is the home of the Armee Museum in Bavaria. One of the worthwhile things to see is the ray of unique Cannons with lion heads.
How about you, when was the last time you´ve been in a castle?As for me, I love castles, but not fairytales. I think we can never be royals, but then we can visit Palaces and Castles…
Until next time on our new Expat adventures! Bleib gesund, stay healthy and Tschüss!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I am sure I am not alone in this dilemma.We don´t know yet until when will this all be over, but as long as it is not yet safe outside, children needs to stay at home.Here in Germany, the lockdown measures were relaxed, some shops are allowed to open, wearing mask is enforced, and some schools will open soon next week.But daycares and Kindergarten remains closed. I know personally that staying at home, confined is never easy, it is messy, chaotic,sometimes out of control and dramatic, but our times together these days become so meaningful, there´s so much difference when we all take things slowly.
For those who are staying at home with kids during this Pandemic, what have you´ve been doing with your kids lately?
I love to paint and it´s one of my favourite things to do during this lockdown.I think I can paint the whole day and every single day. I just love to create something creative, whether it is with watercolors or Acrylics. Nowadays, I spent more time with my daughter painting, drawing and creating something. I created a journal of my daughter´s drawings so she can have an album of what she created.We even paint stones and joined the creative art here in our neighborhood.Here are some of her doodles and
Another interesting Art exhibition which we are joining is theIsolation, Children Paint yourselves! launched by the International Youth Library Foundation in Munich,Germany .This is an online exhibition of submitted images of children which depics their mood and how they are feeling against this terrible, dire times of Pandemic. I have talked to my daughter many times about Corona virus, especially when we are on the push of frequent hand washing and social distancing. It is very interesting to find and learn from little children about their feelings about isolation and being in restriction .Sometimes they cannot express themselves verbally, but with visuals, we can learn so much more.
The moment that I showed to her that her drawing was in the Gallery, she was thrilled and so happy. She is only 5 years old!
I find this online exhibition is super cool.It´s amazing to see different entries already from different countries submitted and available in their online portal for public viewing wherever you are. Some portraits with paintings listed are from Mexico,South Korea,Venezuela,Sweden,Great Britain, Japan, France, Iran, Slovenia,Germany, and even the hard hit countries like USA, Italy and Spain! I think seeing another children´s artwork is also a great tool for encouraging the potential of your child to be creative since they can see it as a relatable issue and not just something to kill boredom. Difficult images of people who are sick and death toll are not easily digested in small children´s mind so we, as parents needs to guide them and be careful of the information we feed them. In this way, let them express themselves through their imagination through their hands, the explosion of colored pencils, paints, crayons and doodles. Let them be absorbed with ART.
The founder of the International Youth Library, Jella Lepman, had already asked for such self-portraits since 1952 and showed them in an exhibition. By that time, it´s still very difficult to create a digital or online exhibition. Nowadays, it´s all handy and accessible for all, even most museums opened their exhibitions online for others to view while staying at home.If you are interested and want to create something different and has a global impact, start painting, start contributing, and start it now!
If your child is 3 to 13 years of age and wants to participate, you can send your child´s portrait or drawing as a scanned copy (with first name, age and country) to direktion @ ijb. de. The online gallery exhibition can be seen in here.
Feel free to share this to your friends!
To all parents out there who are taking care of their kids at home, I salute you. You are doing great. Stay safe and see you again next time!
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!
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.
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!
That is the exact words from my friend whom I sent a couple of photos of what my neighborhood looks like at night. She said it´s unbelievably absurd…and yes crazy, but then it is quite cool!
It started last week, a few days before Easter. The music from upstairs starts to play and it was a little bit louder than the usual range. First they played some soft rock songs then they start to play Queen songs. I got excited because yes…I am a big fan of Queen!!
When they play “Don’t stop me now” and then “Bohemian Rhapsody“…I know exactly what my daughter will do. Immediately, she ran up to me and said ” Mama, it´s Queen, one of your favorurite songs, Mama, let´s listen!, let´s go out! ” They are having a party, let us join them !!!
…and so it begun…
We live in a family house with three apartments built together creating a roundabout of balconies. We live on the Erdgeschoss ( main floor) so we see all the balconies from other apartments. We are blessed to have an ample place to lounge in the garden; a terrace and a place for my daughter to ran around and play. It has been a great help during the lockdown since we can`t visit playgrounds. Once I saw the ropes connecting to each balconies with tiny bags on each of them I knew exactly what is going on. It´s like ” Repunzel, let down your hair!!!”, a modern connection made possible by the Corona lockdown. But how could you have a party with social distancing ? No problem, we can still say “ Prost! ” ( or cheers) even we are on a distance. My neighbour from upstairs always give a warm surprise to my daughter and she adores them and we love them as well. Of course not because of their gifts ( but sometimes she really does…) but they are totally sweet, kind and very symphathetic, very genuine neighbours and we are blessed enough to have open minded people around us. They would let down a tiny basket with chocolates, toys and many more. As with my other neighbours, I personally don´t know each of them, I really don´t have any clue. Before, only a quick Hi and Hello in the garage to some of them or bumping into each other along the pathway is our only connection, not more than that. Not until the Corona balcony party that I´ve seen some of their faces and knew them a little bit more. The moment my daughter is out in the garden, she starts to call them and chatted with them, as if she knew them for a long time. It is unbelievably so easy for kids to win friends!
But how do we do it? Distance is really not a problem, it makes things even more exciting. We are not heavy drinkers and I think I am already too old for partying :-). We are happy when we enjoy a beer during Spring festivals and a glass of wine on some nights but definitely we love music and hearing them when children are already tucked up in bed. The brilliant idea of connecting a rope to each balcony to send things like drinks, snacks or a simple baked goodies in lieu of social distancing paved way to new friendships and connections, especially during dire times of lockdown. We´re not allowed to get together so this makes things possible.We stayed in each balconies and terraces, separated by hedges and thin fences. Mind you, here in Germany, especially here in Bavaria, they value their personally privacy so much. And there´s of course the ” Rühetag Sonntag or the Quiet Sunday. You need to think twice before playing loud music and partying especially surrounded with some strict neighbours and traditional Bavarians. I think respect to others is self explanatory so no harm done.
For a change of hearing daily all these awful dreadful Corona virus death toll and news worldwide, we opt to recline in our chairs and enjoy a drink even for a couple of hours!
We created a Whatsapp group in order to communicate with each other effectively.We have a DJ who control the playlist and we can request songs that we love to hear. Each one put on some colorful lights in the balcony ! I realized that we cannot do this during Christmas season and enjoy bright lights because it would be too cold to sit down outside.One of my beautiful neighbour even played the guitar and sing for us. Now everyone of us knows this song about Dinosaur! Actually, it´s just like one of those Grill parties that we normally do during warm long summer days, where its still very bright even at 9 PM. The difference now is that we stayed in our balconies and don´t personally mingle. This situation made me realized that it is also essential to have a healthy relationship with your neighbours regardless of the situation. By now we should accept that this will be forever written in our history so why noht make the good out of it, after all, we are still alive. What I appreciate from my neighbours is that we checked up on each other , considering that we have couple of old people that would probably needing help in case anyone got sick. If anybody is not in the mood for loud music or chilling out in their balconies, they can just simply not join in and we make sure that we play tolerable volume of music and definitely not on Sundays!
We don´t know yet until when will this crisis last, so why not think outside of the box…? whatever it is, either a simple drink or just a quick break from your normal hysteria, or watching the sun goes down while listening to your favorite music, it doesn´t matter, it´s your inner peace, safety and sanity counts!
What do you think about this idea?
How is your neighbourhood coping up with the lockdown?
Until next time my friends, take care and stay safe!
The Pandemic crisis have absolutely changed the way we are observing the Holy week and Easter here in Germany. For the record, there is still a strong measure forbidding any meeting more than 2 people and churches are still closed. The yearly Östernbrünnen and Östermarkt were also cancelled . I am still fond of my childhood experiences and how we celebrate the Lenten season way back in the Philippines compared here in Germany. By the way, I chose the color yellow for flowers as a subject of this post together with Ash Wednesday ( also known as Spy Wednesday and Crooked Wednesday) as a deviation of the subject of Corona pandemic. Yellow is such a beautiful color during this time and it really signifies Spring! Finally, winter is done and we can tidy up our winter stuff! I was sitting in the garden today and staring at our Forsythia bush which is gleaming yellow under the 24 degrees sunny day. I looked in the date and its Ash Wednesday.
What´s the significance of this day anyway?
The major highlight of this day is when Judas Iscariot hand over Jesus Christ to the authorities. In other words, the day of betrayal of a follower from his Master.Judas received 30 pieces of silver coins in exchange of this.
Ash Wednesday ( Ashenmittwoch) I was born and raised as a Catholic so for me, aside from Christmas season, Holy week is one of the holidays we are keen to celebrate. I remember that during Holy week, we always have fond memories as a family.As a kid, Holy week means vacation. Summer vacation normally starts around April and graduations in schools. When I came here in Germany, I have never seen the same and sometimes, I really wonder why. I never saw people having palm branches during Palm Sundays, nor people wearing ash during a mass in Churches, neither any procession during Good Friday. People seldom go to church.I am not a religious person but when it comes to religion, it´s a very silent topic here although I really admire the beautiful churches here.Last Christmas, I attended a Dutch mass in the Netherlands and I was really surprised that the kneeling section of the chairs have soft foam cushions!
Here in Germany, especially here in Bavaria, the only thing that shows that its Easter here is the Easter eggs and egg hunting for kids. The different varieties of chocolate eggs, Östermarkt ( Easter Market), Österhase ( Easter Bunny, where it should be a Hare).I don´t know with the other regions if they have such celebrations but as far as I know, I never heard of it.
With Corona virus and social distancing, these things are not possible. Crooked Wednesday is an ordinary day for some.Today was quite a beautiful day here and I observed the influx of people outside. Early morning today we walked through the nearby bakery and I saw that people are going out like a normal day. Cycling and on their skates, looks like everything is back to normal. Families taking a walk, with small children and having a chat with their neighbours. No masks, no hesitation.
I noticed how a great sunny weather changes suddenly the mood of the people.