Glacisbrücke , the bridge over troubled waters

Glacisbrücke in Ingolstadt taken during Fall

TGIF and here´s another entry for my” Wandertags” journal. Autumn has begun here in Germany and today is another dreary rainy day.Long before I got hooked into running, I love leisure walks, I still do.I love wasting my time by strenuous walking,soul- searching for something unique in nature, and yes, mind-destressing,temporarily shutting off and just relaxing.

Walking and photograpy is a bad habit of mine actually. Whenever I go out, I try to capture something, more like leaving imprints in my digital archives. I think I have photographed same landmarks in different seasons,making it really special. Take for example this Bridge.For others, it is just a normal bridge, for me, not so…

Glacisbrücke is a suspended steel bridge located here in Ingolstadt. It actually connects the west and east banks , with the River Danube ( Donau) in-between. This is one of my favourite place to take a walk, run and admire the city views. Here I can see the New Castle, and watch the beautiful foliage during Fall. I shoot here different beautiful sunrises & sunsets, Foggy mornings, and yes, frosty ice cold winters.During Winter, the in between section of the bridge is closed for safety reasons, but we can still walk through on both sides, giving us the pleasure to speed our itinerary without bothering about the traffic.Last year, the area surrounding this bridge gave me such an spectacular Reflective`views .That was truly unforgettable!

Looking from the bottom of the bridge is also quite impressive.Just look at the rays of lights, caught in the midst of fog.

Glacisbrücke im Herbst

This bridge actually connects and separates pedestrian from the main traffic. The road beside it is a bottleneck especially on rush hours and working days. Cyclists and pedestrians like me can enjoy a peaceful ride while the other side is full of cars.

Photo above shows the bridge photographed during Fall last year. I love this mood very much. It is a golden morning, with an intense glow of golden amber. Solitude, peace and tranquility are modest elements that makes this place looks so picturesque.This photo is also very memorable to me.I took it from previous Autumn and it was our entry to our first local Photography contest here in my town. The contest was actually sponsored by our bank,Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Bayern Mitte for their 2020 Fotowettbewerb and also will be featured in their 2021 Kalendar.

The Glacisbrücke photographed in Springtime
Beautiful flowers adorn the banks of the bridge during Spring to Summer

I brought my daughter here to practive her biking skills.As you can see, this Bridge can be challenging, especially for little limbs.A favourite spot as well for cyclist and mothers walking their little children, this bridge is impressive. My daughter loves to watch the waters of the Danube on a calm day and during summer, we watched people swimming as well.

Many times in a year, I watched though this bridge in solemn mood , thinking how nice it is that we have bridges like this.I run through one foggy morning and I realized that the waters ( from many days of rain!) almost reaches the trees along the river and the sound of gushing water is totally deafening.There is a dam over the end of the river near Baggersee and it is also another sight not to miss!

It made me realized that I have seen this place in every season which quite make it speacial…

Thank God that this bridge is not yet filled with Love locks….

Crazy over Lego in Legoland Deutschland

Legoland Deutschland resort Park in Günzburg, Germany

One of the highlights of our Summer break this year in the midst of Corona Pandemic is our visit in Legoland Resort Park in Günzburg.It was a looonggg wish by my daughter, she often asked that after she turned 6 years old, she wants to see her beloved Ninjago friends in Legoland.

But because of Corona virus, this trip was postponed many times….

But then, Endlich… FINALLY!

Wearing her Lloyd Ninja mask while we hike through the Pöllatschlucht going to Neuschwanstein Castle

We visited the Legoland Discovery Center in Berlin and for her, it is not enough. She even wants to go to Legoland HQ in Billund! She needed to see a much bigger park and that is why we decided to give it a go. As a gift and before she goes to school, I know she deserved to be here. As a child, she has been a great fan and addicted to playing Lego.She has her Papa´s old Lego blocks and toys so I guess this is really special to her.She has been fanatic as early as 2 years old,playing Duplos, and now more on the complicated ones, like Ninjago and all the Ninjas. She knows every character by heart and all the episodes of the series and film. She is no-princess type of girl and only want Legos, trading cards and ninjago things as gift,nothing, nothing else.

She doesn´t want to wear a skirt, dress or any girly things—but give her Lego t-shirt and costume as she will be so happy!

Driving to Günzburg was easy for us.It took us 1,5 hours from Ingolstadt and we were in time for the 10 a.m opening of the park. I knew and anticipated that it would be packed with children ( and crowds!) since it is still “Sommerferien” here in Germany. Most of Germans stayed in the country ( at least from whom I knew…) during this summer, doing staycation and out of town trips, just like we did.

I have asked few of my friends who went here as well how did it go so I am confident that it is safe to visit the park.And I was not indeed dissapointed….

My daughter had a blast! and so are we..:-)

Greens and beautiful landscape inside the Legoland Resort in Günzburg

Visiting Legoland is only possible if you book your tickets ahead of your visit.It follows a very strict Corona restrictions so there are no tickets sold in the entrance. We booked our tickets ahead including parking fee so we are all settled. A great tip, there are many vouchers in the LegoBrochures and Discount offers from Mcdonalds, so make sure to take notice of those to get available discount in your visit to this park.It was quite a pleasure that we got those since entrance fees can be helfty, especially if you go with big groups! There are also available packages including Hotel such as Legoland Feriendorf, and varied Hotels and accomodation within the vicinity so if you want to stay longer exploring the Park, then it could be a great option as well.I knew friends who stayed there for 2 days just for the children to enjoy all rides and taking their time to explore everything!

Don´t forget, this park is so huge…so make sure to dress up depends on the weather, mostly comfortable clothes and shoes. bringing extra clothes for change is also a good idea since some rides involves water and I am sure that you will sweat a lot!

Speaking of Corona control measures, don´t worry. This park has great control measures and I am really impressed by it. Of course you need to wear masks and practice distance of 1,5meters and everything, but the great thing is that they have disinfection station in every play station. Yes, every station is strictly controlled and monitored.Before and after riding the rides or getting into the play areas, visitors are asked to disinfect.You need to wear masks at all areas, even going to restrooms.

Even if it was a day full of visitors, I find it comfortable enough to roam around since most of the times, we are outside. The park is surrounded with shady trees, enough benches and tables to rest and sit for a quick break and most of all—people are disciplined.

With the entrance tickets, you are allowed to ride and explore everthing. So if you really want to try the all, you need to come here early to avoid long lines. Some rides are age restricted and should be accompanied with either 1 parent or adult.

Everwhere we go we see Lego. Built Lego miniatures and play areas are really amazing! As a parent, I find it really awesome that my daughter can enjoy such beautiful things as a child. I am sure that in the end, it will create great memories to her…

There are many highlights of our visit and we ride everything that she fancied.Our favourites so far is the Lego Ninjago World, where we had a close up encounter with the Masters of Spinjitzu and some Ninja tricks. The ride was so awesome that I ended up enjoying it as well.There´s the Lloyd´s Spinjitzu Spinner, Coles Climbing Wall, a playarea for small children, and of course, a Ninja Kitchen!

Fun fact : I have read that even adults play with Lego and it can do miracles on your stress management. My husband always play Lego with my daughter.He grew up with Lego as well and He is basically transferring all his skills and techniques to my daughter. My daughter can now build a big set by herself and its no surprise to me why.

Here in Germany ( prior to Pandemic), Lego is an important piece of Toy and learning tool for toddlers and kids. It is very famous so almost all children recognize it. I only find a place great if it has a small playarea in the corner or a place where children can have time for themselves. In the Doctor´s offices, Libraries, and even public shopping areas, Lego corner is normal.

I am sure that Lego helped my daughter with her motor skills, creativity and problem solving skills, which are all very crucial factors to a developing brains! No doubt, she spends times building and building and everyday, she surprises us with her wonderful, sometimes “weird” fantasy, and whimsical thoughts about Lego. If you asked me, it´s better to be engrossed with Lego, than getting addicted to tablets and videos!

In every ride station, you need to wear your masks while waiting for your turn. We tried the ride where children are taught to ride a small car and earn a Driver´s License.I saw that the operator really disinfects all cars, including seatbelts one by one before another batch of kids takes it again.They are really doing well in taking care of their guests and making sure to avoid contaminations.

This one is a thrilling experience !

Important note is that the atractions are going to close 1Hour before the park closes which is around 7pm. In some days they are closing early so its better to check in the official Legoland website to make sure of your time of visit.If you want to enjoy everything, start from the backside of the park, normally those rides are not so full in the morning since most people flocked near the entrance areas.If you have little children, there is a free “Kinder-finder-Armbänder” so you don´t need to worry that your child will be completely lost if they got away from you.It is very safe inside the park and especially nowdays with Corona, people are more cautious.

What I have learned through the Pandemic is to take care of your family. We may be restricted to travel because of the virus but there are various reasons and ways to enjoy family time.In Legoland, I have families of different nationalities, having fun together with their children, behaving like a child, maybe reliving past childhood experiences as well.

I grew up not having this luxury. As I scan the views before me, I felt just grateful that my child can experience such as these and grow up a happy, healthy and active child. Probably, in most European countries, Lego is 80% part of every child´s fantasy .It becomes a treasured memory for them…

Restaurants and Cafe´s are spread all over the park so no worries about getting hungry.There are plenty of tables and picnic areas where you can eat in peace with your family without the crowds.We enjoyed having lunch with a view of the rides and we really had a great time.

Plenty of playareas and climbing station for kids as well. They have a big payground as well , when children wants to have a break from Lego rides then they can ” rest” here as well. For Mamas & Papas, this is also a perfect place to sit, check their phones and have a drink!

My favourite ride so far was the Pirate ship and Spinjitzu Spinner. Here in the Pirate boat ride, we ride our boats and we spray waters on others. The park was so beautifully designed and even adults enjoyed it so well!

We booked a hotel in the nearby town from Günzburg since we still have to continue or Romantic road trip to Füssen that is why we did not stress on driving back early. But around 4p.m, my daughter is already tired and wanted to check out the lego shop and told us that she had enough of rides.The line for the shop took as about half an hour to enter the store as well. You might consider to set aside an hour here if you plan to do your shopping before departing since most people do their shopping on the time they depart as well.

For me personally, you can enjoy the park the whole day, but not really exhausting yourself and your child. If you came all the way from far places then I am sure, it is worthy to spend couple of days in this place just to make the most of your trip.

Time flies so fast…not a small baby anymore!
Hang over from Lego ?

After seeing giant Dinosaurs in Dinopark, and nature climbing in Beilngries, this girl is totally , and still very in love with her Lego Ninjago friends!

How was your summer vacation in the midst of Pandemic so far?

If you plan on visiting Legoland, then these important and vital Info might help you plan your trip!

Stay safe everyone..until next time, Tschüss!

Romantic Road trip in Bavaria : Füssen

Strolling through the old Town of Füssen where we spotted the famous Stadtbrunnen, depicting St.Magmus defeating an evil.

Sun, sipping coffe in Cafe´s , street music, with a view of the Bavarian Alps!

That is the mood we´ve seen once we´ve entered the romantic old town of Füssen.Many people overlook the charm of this town, because mainly, people think of it only as a stop over when traveling to Neuschwanstein Castle in the nearby Höhenschwangau area. That was my thought before.I was totally mistaken. Your Romantic road trip and sightseeing will not be surely complete if you don´t see the hidden gems of this famous 700- year old town.

Fussen is also located on the scenic German Alpine Road which crosses Bavaria from Lake Constance in the west to Berchtesgaden in the east.We went to Füssen from Nesselwang after we visited Legoland Deutschland last week in Günzburg. We spent here an entire half day after we visited the Neuschwanstein Castle .It was a short, quick sightseeing, but then it was all worth to stop by. I wish we have more time to explore more but then, here are some of my impressions on this lovely town.

Just look at the architecture of the old town buldings, even the normal Apotheke ( or Pharmacy) is so detailed and intricately designed!

Beautiful Architecture in Füssen´s old town, the Stadt Apotheke

Like a normal old town in Germany, this tiny city is charming, and exquisitely adorned with old carvings, Bavarian themed wall paintings, carvings and Alpine decorations. This town is famous in Bavaria mainly because from here, it starts the exciting trails to the world famous Fairytale Castle of Ludwig II, the Neuschwanstein. If you´re driving, you might even have a lucky glimpse of the foothills and there you can already see the magnet of this town, the castle´s peaks! It was almost hard to find a parking area since the streets is packed with tourists but after a while, we found a spot right just before the entrance of the city.So a piece of advice, if you are heading to visit here , better be off early.

Mädchenbrunnen in Füssen

Walking through the old city allow us to see its quaint little nooks and corners filled with statues, Biergartens, restaurants, street musics and of course, Bavarian flair!Füssen is located north of the Austrian border,

When you´ve spotted something as beautiful as this, you´ve got to get inside. Füssen is very laid-back, comfortable and warm in Summer. Despite the Corona restrictions, people flocked in the streets to sip their coffee, hear some lovely street music and well, people watching!

I saw the strance to the Stadtmuseum and we checked out the innercourts and it was lovely!

Beautiful churches in Füssen (Hospital Church of Füssen)
Loving the great window details in this South Bavarian town
Idyllic wall carvings and paintings

We walked for about 15-20 minutes away from the city to find the Lechfall and we were not dissapointed. The moment that I hear the water gush from the Lech river, I knew something spectacular is somewhere near and we will not leave this city unless we see it.Take note that this is also another very touristy spot and there is not enough parking so the best way to reach this place is by walking.

Through the quiet streets, we finally arrived at Lechbach , a man made waterfalls and Gorge. Normally we have seen Gorges in the mountains, but here, it´s right in the city! Look at the pristine cystal clear-waters! It´s opaque Torquoise blue, so clear and so beautiful against the sun!

The Gorge itself is magical. It´s slate grey stone against the blue waters is really a delight to see. This Gorge is small so you can visit it within 10-15 minutes. You can choose to explore it a bit further, and go down to banks as well.Because of Corona, we decided not to blend in with the crowds and continue to just admire this nature from the bridge.

The man made waterfalls of the Lechbach in Füssen
The turquoise Oasis in Füssen, the Lech falls

Of course, the main attraction of this place is going through the Romantic Castles of King Ludwig II. Both the Neuschwanstein Schloss and Schloss Hohenschwangau is just within a few kilometers away from Füssen. The High Schloss (Höhe Schloss) of Füssen is also not to be missed!

The Fairytale Castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Schloss Neuschwanstein

If you are a nature lover, then Füssen will not dissapoint you. You can hike through the virgin mountains of Säuling, and do the Pöllatschlucht trail where you can see the Waterfalls that won King Ludwig´s heart.

Another thing that made me loved about this place is the Food! We dined in a classic Knight themed restaurant—the Ritterstuben, its like we´re taken to a Middleage era, where Ritter (Knights) and Castles are the new reality! If you are in Bavaria, you´ve got to sample the delectable Bavarian dishes!

We found this restaurant directly in the old town´s city square .Since its almost lunchtime, most restaurants were already full and we haven´t found a place to sit outsid. But then it was okay since we have the restaurant inside all to ourselves! Don´t forget that because of Corona virus,we need to wear masks, and we are asked to sign up with our contact details everytime we visit a restaurant.

The “Lautermacherbrunnen” in the old town city of Füssen

If you have more time to spent in Füssen, you can check out more of the hidden gems that this city offers here. What about another stop over in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to view another beautiful Gorge? The easiest way to reach Füssen is by car. It takes around 1 hour 40 minutes from Munich, 1 hour 25 from Innsbruck and 2 hours 30 from Zurich.

Until next time, Tschüss!

German word of the day–der Feierabend

Beer and Feierabend always makes a great combination, somewhere in Füssen I saw this shelf full of different types of Beer displayed on the streets.they are also eye-catchy for tourists!

Just as I put on my jacket, my colleagues shouted at me, as their usual routine : “Schönen Feierabend!”

and I shouted back ” Gleichfalls! Endlich Feierabend..!

Feierabend is a German word but I cannnot find an exact English word for it. If ever you encounter this word or someone say it to you, it simply means ;

Beer mugs or the traditional Beer stein from the Tourist shop near Neauschwanstein , which made out of ceramic or stonework with delicate carvings and design.This mugs costs more than 100 Euros each! They are very pricey as souvenirs!

End of work, Finally, time to enjoy and rest, or can also be So long, your work is done, go home and relax!

People normally either go home, meet a friend, sit in a Biergarten or go shopping. For some, it´s time to attend another ” Termine ” or appointments. This is the time to finally enjoy something outside work.

Vocabulary:   

feiern ( nomen, or Feast, holiday) der Feierabend ( masculine in gender, the holiday, the Feast ), or synonym of Vacation, Restday ( der Urlaub) or die Freizeit ( feminine Gender, meaning freetime)

Sitting in front of the Dom in Trier, here sipping Ice tea in a personalized Domstein glass.Prost!

Feierabend is a something that every employee here in Germany is looking forward to with great anticipation, joy, and yet the term does not really exist in many languages. Normally on Friday, as early as 12pm, most desks in offices are already empty. Just like me , a working mother who only work as part-time (or Teilzeit), my Feierabend normally starts after lunch.

I find them such a cute artwork! Beer stein were cemented together in a wall of the Kuchbauer Beergarten in Abensberg here in Bavaria.


Feierabend consists of the two parts Feier and AbendDie Feier has its origin in the Latin feriae, which meant something like a day without any business activities’. So Feier is actually related to the German word die Ferien which is the holidays for students and pupils.The longest Ferien here in Bavaria is during Summer, where pupils have a maximum of 1 month & two weeks vacation.That is really many, so parents need to plan ahead of the year to divide their Urlaubstage ( Vacation days) to be able to plan who will stay with their children when schools and Kindergarten are closed.

This is the first Biergarten we have visited during Lockdown here in Germany. This was taken when we ate our lunch in Schneider Gasthaus, near the Essing Markt

Eine Feier  is a celebration or a party and so it comes in a number of compounds nouns such as Weihnachtsfeier (Christmas party), Geburtstagsfeier (birthday party), Hochzeitsfeier (wedding reception) .

Today happens to be Friday, it´s almost weekend and I am looking forward to my “Feierabend” !

Have a great one as well..! Tschüss!

Pöllat Gorge ,the waterfalls that won King Ludwig II´s heart

Pöllat Gorge, the Waterfalls that won the heart of the Fairytale King of Bavaria, Ludwig II

Now I know why seeing Neuschwanstein Castle is so special. If you are planning to see it in the future, this might help you. And this post will show you why.

Nope, we didn´t see Knights in shining Armor or let alone Princess or golden carriages there.Instead, we saw and followed the Pöllatschlucht, the waterfalls that King Ludwig II loved.

Actually, I did not expect that during our hiking adventure to see Neuschwanstein Castle that we would be able to see a waterfall ( or a Gorge) let alone the ” eccentric” Field od Stacked stones.This is one of the reasons why this trip was really unforgettable since along the way, we have seen so many nature spectacles!

Look at that pristine waters gushing…

This trail to Neuschwanstein Castle was approx. 4,7km, and it says that its doable within 15 minutes. No, don´t believe that because it didn´t happen to us.We took our time to hike since we have a child with us .At first , the trail started smooth and easy because its flat ground and we are surrounded by shade. Its still summer so I already anticipate the big crowds of tourists. Very important though that because its Pandemic, I would like to isolate ourselves as much as possible from the big swarm of human traffic.

Sorry, but we prefer to meet trees rather than people at this time…

This is the view that surprised us after we took the middle-rough stage.

I´ve heard that this path was closed from the public, maybe because of maintenance and for safety reasons.Fortunately, during our visit, it was open. It´s kinda scary just looking at the big boulders of rocks besides us ( probably because of erosion..) but then the metal steps going up on the side of a rocky part of the mountain looks safe enough. I just felt eerie whenever I looked down.

This hiking trail is definitely the best for families and kids. It requires a bit of strength but then its doable.Besides you can take your time as long as you want to avoid crowds.It´s perfect if you go early in the morning so you have enough time to waste to admire the scenery. It is very well maintained, and enough signages will never get you lost.

Once you meet “Charlie, the Tree” ( or Charlies Baum) then you know you are in the right track…

Whoever Charlie is I am sure he has seen the Fairytale Castle as well and followed the Gorge.

Some of the sightings that you will see along the hiking path.

I have seen this bush all over our hiking trail, both through the Pöllatschlucht and from another hike we´ve took on our way down all over the vicinity of Höhenschwangau.I don´t know exactly its name, but I find the flowers beautiful so I took a picture. It´s late summer blooms and it really makes the whole place picturesque!

Just look at this tree that grows actually on a rock! Those roots…!

And again, the higher up we go, the waterfalls is just beside us.It´s really rejuvenating to see the waters cascading through the rocks, and hearing only the birds chirping…and of course, my camera clicking!

This hike took us about half an hour and at the end we met the surge of Tourists. Be warned that Neuschwanstein is a very touristy place.Right on the entrance of the Marienbrücke, there is a control monitor signalling the number of people already in the bridge.The bridge is divided into 2 lanes, one for entry and the other is for exit.People should mask and practice distance. The tail of the line is really loooooonnngggg so be prepared to entaertain your kids.With Corona virus restrictions, you need to prepare yourself for this hike.

Waiting is worth it, because the views here are amazing!

On top of the Marienbrücke, I was able to snap this photo to capture a part of the Waterfalls as seen from below, but I felt giddy and afraid that my phone would fall, so it was just a quick look. The views are magnificent above the waterfalls. I don´t even know where to look anymore.

The panoramic views of the whole valley, the lakes, the quaint town of Füssen and Höhenschwangau, and of course, the proud Bavarian Alps, the Fairytale Castle in front of me, and below the bridge is the Pöllatgorge —-all in one perfect view.

It´s really worth all the sweat we´ve got from this hike!

It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day […]; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world.” –King Ludwig II ,from his letter to Richard Wagner

King Ludwig II is defintely a landscape Artist. He had a whole vision where he wants his Castle and the surrounding elements is very important.This place really wins his heart….and as expected, we were also won by this waterfalls! It is one of the prettiest waterfalls I have ever seen.

Do you love hiking with a view?

What about hiking through the Krimml Wasserfälle next time?

Or hike though the Hochgebirge Stauseen , the world renowned Alpine Reservoirs that has been built through Nazi era and see Glaciers and Turquoise waters, plus your kid can play in the playground above 2,000 m high! The trip going through an open inclined elevator is never to be missed!

Or just be amazed of the thunderous waters in Partnachklamm?

If you still have time to kill, then why not just follow the river in Lechbach in Füssen?

Is The Art of Rock stacking really Rocks?

Some rock Cairns, or rock balancing I have seen in the Pöllat Gorge (Pöllatschlucht) in
Höhenschwangau near Füssen

Have you ever tried doing rock stacking?

Stones, stones, and more stones… somewhere in the banks of the Pöllat Waterfalls

I have always been interested about rock balancing and balanced stone formations. It´s an image of Zen to me.It´s peaceful, stable and balanced in an artistic way.I find it such amazing skill to be able to stack rocks in balance, like a therapheutic hobby.

My Little adventurer trying to make her own rock stacking exercise!

This is a great exercise both for the young and the adult.Since it requires patience and flexibility, it can be good to manage stress as well.I guess this activity requires concentration, a skill that children needs to master just like sitting in the chair for a long period of time.

Try it with your kids and you will know definitely if they are impatient or not…If they tried Jenga then maybe it will be familiar for them to try…

On our hike goingto Neuschwanstein Castle, we followed the trail following the Pöllat waterfalls, and suddenly, we spotted so many rock stack formations on the bank of the waterfalls. It was so many that it is really impossible to miss it.I know it´s not a surprise anymore considering that this place is one of the most visited place in Germany.We are talking about millions of people visited Neuschwasntein Castle every year, so imagine the number of hikers going on to this trail as well! This spot is where you can see clearly the Marienbrücke from above and gasping in agony because it´s still a long hike to go….

And actually, the waterfalls is very beautiful!

On the banks of the calm splashing waters, there is it…. the field of stone stacks…small, medium, high, low, large, and proud.

A beautiful stone we found in Partnachklamm, in Garmisch Partenkirchen

Every single corner of this area was covered with stone stacking.Of course we didn´t let this chance go by, we also made our own.I have seen quite the same when we visit the Partnachklamm (Partnach Gorge) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. People stops by to admire them, but only those wild at heart build them.

Most hikers loved to do this, having a pit stop to rest on the banks of a river or waterfalls, and leave a memory, an imprint of art. Once you see it, its an automatic invitation to participate and make your own.

While on my morning run, I spotted the same rock stacks , this time on the banks of the River Danube. I couldn´t resist but to stop by and admire it.It was beautiful.

Whether people do this just to kill time or to be “in” , it doesn´t matter. The thing is, it is okay as long as you don´t take anything from nature and respect it.A time well spent stacking the stones is never a wasted time…well that is only my opinion.

I have read that in other parts of the world, this issue is not so welcomed and not favored by nature observers.To think that there is even a global competition about stone stacking is really crazy!

What do you think about this, a tourist trap or not? Are you one of those tourists dared to do stone stacking as well?

How about a painted Stone Art Project ? or what about A Field full of rock figures?

Tschüss Kindergarten, Hallo Schultüte!

Tchüss Kindergarten, Hallo Schultüte!

Today is the first day of School here in Bavaria, the southern part of Germany and my daughter finally said Tschüss (Goodbye) to Kindergaten and said “Hallo to her Schultüte”…Sie ist endlich ein Schulkind, finally now that she turned 6, she is finally starting School…

As a parent, this whole new experience is bringing us mixed emotions. Schools are finally reopening—with masks, Abstand ( or distance of min. 1.5 Meters) and strict hygienic concepts and many more other restrictions. For the first time , this is all happening, children are finally back to school, as we also all gone back to work, right on the verge of Corona virus chaos.On the other hand, we are proud parents that our child is having her new milestone, new challenge and definitely making big leaps of growth.But then for the same scary virus, part of me always have this fear and a bag full of worries. Fear of the unknown, because we all know that as long as the virus is still out there, we can never feel safe enough.

But then for most of us, especially in the eyes of the little children…life must go on…

Starting school in Germany with a big “Schultüte” or School cone

As an Expat mama, I am sharing this special post because here in Germany, I have seen something else. Something unique, something worthy of sharing . Something that I have never seen in my homeland or in any parts of Europe. Here, children starts school with a “Schultüte” or simply a School cone! This is totally German, and every single child here who enters the first grade in school must bring one on his/her first day of school. That is why this day is so special and celebrated !

What is a ” Schultüte” ?

Schultüte is actually a “Zuckertüte” or sweetbag ,or rather cone. A paper cone full of sweet surprises, like a big fat Christmas socks that is stuff with gifts! I have read that Shultüte is an old German tradition way back since 1810. First stories about Schultüte starts in Jena, Leipzig and Dresden so mainly on the Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia areas in Germany.But then nowadays, this nationwide tradition is widely celebrated by all children whoare about to start school in Germany.

The school normally starts on the 1st week of September, right after a long Summer break. On the first day, you will notice that the streets is filled with children (along with their parents) carrying this huge cone and their trendy Schulranzen (Backpacks). That is really a lovely sight to watch. Most of the time, parents are as excited as their kids!

Why German Schulranzen is Unique?

The Backpack and the School cone (Schultüte)

Here in Germany, Backpacks or Schulranzen says it all. I never imagined that Backpacks were that important here.I remember when I was young, many children does not need to have new things for school, but here…forget it, Schulranzen is very important, let alone expensive! Every child needs to have a decent Schulranzen. It´s like their weapon for their next battle.

But it looks to bulky and heavy…and how can they carry it while riding their bikes? “

Schulranzen is an important matter for every first grade children here in Germany.The backpack must be for functional use, compact, stable ,and will not hurt their backs ! ( Very important!) It is an important factor when buying one is that papers don´t get bent, and snacks dont get squished! Think about German mentality and perfection in every single thing. To give you an idea what children needs on their first grade, take a look at the photos below. This will give you an idea what you need to prepare aside from the Schultüte on the first day of school! This is the list that we´ve got from the School and bought!

With this, you might have an idea that starting school means you will spend probably hundreds and hundreds of Euros, all for a good start.My daughter chose her own design for her Schultüte, which happened to match her Schulranzen.

For me persoally ,the start of school in Germany is quite special. Yesterday we had a simple mass in the church for the first graders to be blessed, and today, they are rewarded with their own Schültute.They have the whole day to enjoy it. Schultüte is filled with many things that brings every 6 year old child loves. Normally it is filled with things that they can use at school like pencils, small stickers, notebooks, or stickers and so much more.It can be filled with small toys, sweets and many other “wished items”. The list are endless.

Since she adores Lego and Ninjago, we´ve had plenty of ideas what to put in her Schultüte!

The thing is, what I love about it is that it really creates that element of excitement and surprise to children.You can really see their eyes get wide full of excitement! My daughter cannot even wait to unpack it all! I think this is very important on their first day in school, a good start is always better than pressure. Instead of directly going to lessons, the children can still enjoy a relaxed first day of school, and of course, enjoying their hard earned sweet threats from their Schultüte.

Here in Germany, months before the school starts, many shops already sells different kinds of Schultüte. You can also make and decorate your own, just like we did. Many schultüte can also be ordered online especially now because of Corona Virus.For us, I just ordered the materials and we did it together with my daughter.

Personalized Schultüte is far by the best!It is far memorable…

Today I have seen that this event is really celebrated by the whole family.Not only parents are present in school but I saw Grandparents and other relatives who were there to celebrate with their child.It is indeed a big thing here.

Starting elementary school in Germany leaves me quite an impression.This is totally non -existent way back in our times where we started Grade 1.I must say that here, it looks like a birthday, or a big family reunion since parents invest so much on this special day. Most parents even take this day as a day off to be with their child on their first day in school.My daughter already spent 3 years in the Kindergarten alone, but then I know, starting school is a big adjustment to her.

Maybe that is why Schultüte signals a new phase–a new life full of surprises!

A Day to remember

This day is really a day to remember.In other parts of the world, people are starting school virtually, and online learning is the solution, a safer way to learn. But here in Germany, we are moving slowly to make things normal, but with strict caution, especially to not stop children from getting into school, the real way.Many children I see posed on their first day wearing a headset and in front of a computer, well, I am not against it. In the end, we all want the best for our children…

Neuschwanstein Castle: A Fairytale land in Bavaria

Schloss Neuschwanstein, a Fairytale castle in Bavaria

Defintely a dream come true for me.

Since I came here in Germany, I put this castle in my top Bucket list to see.I was bent on seeing as many castles and Palaces anyway, so I think I just hit one of my top pyramids! Schloss Neuswanstein is indeed beautiful,unforgettable, charming,and a place that you should see once in your lifetime!

Have you ever seen a place so beautiful that you just can´t believe if it really looks the same in real?

Neuschwanstein is like that. It is something to pursue. It was not an easy trip to go there,nor short. It takes time and difficulty to see something like this….but then it was all worth it.

From the moment I saw a glimpse of it, I was really excited. I am fidgeting from the moment we drive through the Castle roads and enter the parking area. I have been waiting for this for a long time and now I can´t believe that I just had a peek of its towers hidden from the trees. It´s dirty white towering peaks and slender towers looked so graceful against the sun, she looked so fragile, so beautifully hidden in the trees, right up there on top of Säuling mountain, surrounded with beautiful lakes and nestled on top, with twonderful views of the Bavarian Alps. I love everything about Schloss Neuschwanstein, no question about it. First, I even thought that it is not real castle and only a product of multimedia drawing. Now I understand why Walt Disney was inspired to use this castle for his Disneyland fairy tale Castle for Sleeping Beauty. He himself and his wife visited this castle before opening Disneyland in 1955. He also had to see it first and believe!

Neauschwanstein Castle, the Castle that survived 2 World Wars

Just look at it…even from a far its a dream to see!

I still actually can´t believe that finally I have seen it with my own eyes. The rumors were true and photos from Internet didn´t actually do justice. It is real and not just a tell-tale inspiration from a Disney movie.Everything about this Castle is beautiful, majestic, unbelievable, and unique.Thanks to one and only —King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

If you see Neuschwanstein, you will think about King Ludwig II.

I live in Bavaria (or Bayern), the southern part of Germany, the land of Lederhösen and Dirndls, where Beer is gold and home of some of the world´s finest cars, where Castles and Palaces are as many as Sausages.This region is the largest “Bundesland” in Germany so knowing about King Ludwig II came naturally for me.He was so young when he ascended to the throne as a King at the age of 18 and start to build Neuschwanstein at age of 23.Bavaria is full of remembrance of him. Streets, Halls, Restaurants, churces, schools, Libraries,etc…all attributed to him.

One thing; He loves to build over the top, and beautiful things—and Neuschwanstein is his masterpiece.

He has a magnificent taste and vivid artistic imagination. He is not an engineer or an Architect but he had for sure a clear vision. Some called him Märchenkönig ( Fairytale King), and the Swan King, but then yes, He is born to rule Bavaria, he has noble blood, and he surely want a beautiful place to spent the rest of his life.His life did not have a” happily-ever-after” ending, since he died in a tragic way, but then He managed to left his legacy. He allowed us to enter into his dreamworld.the world he created where we can visit now.

Some call hime crazy, lunatic, eccentric King of Bavaria, but imagine if its not for him, then there would be no Neuschwanstein Castle to this day.

Just imagine that...

New Swan Stone Castle ( or Neuschswanstein)

Now I know why this place is definitely the number 1 tourist destination in Germany, (apart from Oktoberfest) and of course to the whole world!Every year, approx. 1,3 million people visited this castle in a year.More than 61 Million people already visited this castle since it was opened after King Ludwig´s death in 1886.We visited this castle in late Summer, so I know how it really looks with all the crowds. Despite the Pandemic, it´s unbelievable that as many as 6,000 thousand tourists a day rushed to see this beauty especially in summer season.

Even Corona virus cannot stop people from seein this beautiful castle!

Enough said, Neuschwanstein offers the majestic views of the German Alps.Perched on the top of lush greens of Säuling hilly landscape, it offers a panoramic views that can make anybody realize how beautiful the nature in this area.It creates an enigma, it can be mesmerizing to just gaze upon.

This photo I took while we are hiking through the Pöllat Gorge ( Pöllat Waterfalls). It was not an easy hike but looking at this castle above me kept me going.

It is crazy that this castle is as big as 65,000 square feet,but then it is built intended to be King Ludwig´s home.He wanted to live here, and make this place as his holy retreat ground, his dreamworld. It is even ironic that it has a Throne Hall inside, but then there is no throne at all.

Majestic views from the Marienbücke, the Höhenschwangau Palace, the Alpsee and the beautiful valley of Schwangau and Füssen, with the Alps in the background.
King Ludwig II certainly chosed an idyllic location for his Fairytale Castle.

I was really thinking why did he choose this location to built Neuschwanstein.But then, I know he has good reasons…just look at the views! and we know that it´s not only because of the views.

Probably this castle is his ultimate realization of his imaginary kingdom…

He was born in Nymphenburg Palace in Münich which is another beautiful Palace, with nice gardens. He spent most of his childhood in Höhenschwangau Palace, in Schwangau, near Füssen, in Southwest Germany. From Höhenschwangau Palace, you can view the Neuschwanstein , and same as the other. This palace serves as his family´s summer residence. It´s no wonder he got fond of the idyllic surroundings of the lush green Alpine foothills, Pöllat Gorge ( Pöllat Waterfalls) and the turquoise waters of the Alpsee, and the large Forgensee Reservoirs.

The Neuschwanstein Castle, the renowned 19th century Romanesque Revival castle, inspired by German Knights and Castle.
A lovelock attached to the historical Bridge over a Waterfall, the Marienbrücke ( Queen Mary´s Bridge)

King Ludwig even built a bridge named after his Mother, Queen Mary of Prussia, the Marienbrücke. This bridge is very important, its like a gateway to enter a dream of fairy tale that He created. Nowadays, this bridge is a place where people like me can see from a far that this castle is a work of man, nestled in a sacred sanctuary of the mountains and surrounded by the glory of Alps.This is one of the best locations to take postcard worthy pictures of the castle.Imagine that in Summer, thousands of people stand in awe in this bridge just to admire this castle.

On our visit last week, we viewed this castle with a mask, we walked through this bridge and forget for a moment about the scare of the virus and just felt thankful that we are still alive, and blessed to see such sights!

Neuschwanstein is on top, literally and figuratively.It´s the Number 1 Tourist Magnet in Bavaria, and in Germany.

If you ever wondered how does it look inside, then here is a sneak peek and more details how the interiors were built.

This place is indeed an escape from reality. It´s a great monument where dreams of one man became to life. It depicts the life story of a one man, a King who became engrossed with musicals, theater, poetry , opera and myths, but then created something that lives up up to this day. You can never avoid thinking about King Ludwig II once you´ve seen Neuschwanstein.It is impossible.

Neuschwanstein made me realized that Fairy tales, knights in shining armor, kings and queen, and horse driven gold carriages are tiny bits of dreams made into reality.During these crazy times of Pandemic, where the scare of Corona virus is larger than life itself, seeing this place made me feel grateful, hopeful and at least reassured, that there´s still more to this life. That the beauty of nature is healing, and one man can do great things. Despite the Corona restrictions, we had the chance to see this beautiful dream...even for one day…

I am sure this won´t be the last time that we will visit this Castle…

Summer flowers in the Botanical Garden in Munich

The ultimate Green Oasis , the Botanical Garden-Nymphenburg in München

A green oasis in the city. An outdoor urban jungle with vast variety of Flora & Fauna kingdom right in the heart of Bavaria.A place where the scare of the Corona virus seemed forgotten, keeping our minds at ease for a moment of rest… and where going back to nature is the truest form of self-respect. Standing in awe of the flowers and plants have kept our hearts happy and our senses revitalized.

After a long wait, finlly we visited the Botanical Gardens in Munich , just after we saw my daughter´s Exhibition in the Internationale Jugendbibliothek in Schloss Blutenburg.This Garden happens to be near to the Nymphenburg Palace so we decided to spend few hours here.Just like everywhere, Corona restrictions is observed. We need to wear masks upon entrance and sitting in Restaurant and of course maintain distance. But roaming around, we can go without.There were quite few visitors but not that we called many. It was a great day and I am totally in my happy place.

The garden is big, but not too huge.It stretches up to 21 heactares and houses approximately 14,000 species of plants .Unfortunately, we were not able to view the Greenhouses because of the current situation but then maybe its another reason to return to this nature paradise.

I feasted my eyes on the beautiful landscape. The garden is beautifully adorned with different plants.It has the late summer blooms that makes it so alive and refreshing. I felt that the air there is really clean and the only sound we hear is the water splashes and buzzing of the bees.I get busied taking phoos of bees feeding on lovely flowers. I am kinda magnetized on these sights so I took plenty of shots capturing this beautiful partnership in nature.

Here, its very evident that plants compete with one another. Every single plant exudes their vitality and charm, and bees were there to abserve them.I´ve read that bees ´s senses are adapted to the signals emitted by the plants and know their scent.They even know how to recognize colors!they love yellows and blue…Hmmmm.

But they cannot see red.So imagine, they onls see Red Poppies as a single black hole.I observed this more often in our garden where bees always flocked to my Lavender plants from the moment they start to bloom up to the last blooms in Summer.bees are indeed loyal to flowers!

Every single flower is unique.The patterns and colours are so rich!

I recognize quite a number of many summer blooms.But still, there are quite many that I am amazed to see.Great thing every single flower /plant is labelled. I took note of the great color combinations.The rows of Roses in full blooms are fragrant so far. My favourite was the light Purple one–I think it was pretty!

The Iris Garden is also something! Facing the grand pond with waterlilies and more Dahlias and Zinias, this place is quite captivating.Green and light blue shades of Iris are so soothing.There are many Parrot sculptures spread across the Garden.I really don´t know the meaning of its symbolic meaning but then it adds grace to the garden.

My daughter wants an ice cream so we tried the Restaurant.It was ok but I think it was a little overpriced and the service took so long.Maybe next time we will just bring our own snacks!

I have heard that this Botanical Garden attracts more than 35,000 visitors a year and now I can understand why. It may not be as grand as the Keukenhof Gardens and the Orchideeen Hoeve´ in the Netherlands but the 16,000 + plant species they are keeping are quite a collection to ponder about! I am sure that for any plant lover—a place like this is never to be missed! I am not surprised if it is the top visited Botanical garden in Bavaria!

Visiting green Oasis and Gardens has been our favourite thing to do during this Pandemie.We felt safer being surrounded by plants, maybe because they signify life. I am grateful that we have access to see gardens like these and costing only a few Euros.I would be writing for sure again about this garden when we return to see the Greenhouses once it opened again.

Watching nature´s metamorphosis is one simple pleasure in life that we should not take in for granted.

Do you love Botanical Gardens? When was the last time you visited one?

Whether you only need a moment of ME-Time, or you feel like taking some pictures of lush greenery for your Instagram and social media, or some ideas to post in your Blog,visiting your local Garden is quite an option! You don´t need to travel far and spent a fortune.

Personally, I´ve always wanted to learn more about plants and maybe be a part of a volunteer group for a Gardening or just to learn something or do something for the environment, then I would be happy…

If you love plants and green Oasis, here are some related Posts I have written as well. Tschüss , stay safe everyone!

Labyrinth Garden

Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, the Netherlands

Poppy Flower, the beloved German flower of the Year

Fragile Summer Flowers in Bavaria

Yellow fields in Bavaria

Sunday Stills : Nymphenburg Palace München

“Pluto”
Another Pacale added on my Chasing Castles and Palaces quest in Germany— the Schloss Nymphenburg in Münich

It was no ordinary day, since its not everyday that we can walk through the Palace grounds of the renowned Summer destinations of the Royalties of Bavarian Kingdom, the former rulers of Bavaria, the Wittelsbach Family.Spending the morning walking through the garden park of Schloss Nymphenburg in Münich is indeed a worthwhile experience especially during this time of Pandemic.

Through A9 Autobahn, we reached this place in schedule, with only manageable traffic due to road repairs. Its still summer vacation (Ferien) here in Bavaria so schools are not yet open until 8th of September.We took this opportunity to do some short daytrips and Munich comes in hand. Here, no large crowds, at least no need for social distancing (although the Palace is strictly adhering to Corona measures as well as everywhere) since the park is really big, approx. 200 hectares, too bad we were not even able to explore all of it. I know that there are far more grand than this place but then the sight of it overwhelms me already. It spans at a frontal width of 632 meters and considered as one of the premiere Royal Palaces in Europe.Maybe not so famous as the Rezidenz palace and not as worldly as the Schloss Neuschwanstein, but then, it´s a beautiful and an elegant palace.

How many people or staff does it takes to clean the whole of this Palace?

How many hours does it takes to even clean it?”

Come to think of it, it was built within 4 centuries timeframe. Anyway, the Royalties and grandeur lifestyles are too much for me to dissect as of this time. I just went on admiring the Palace´s Facades, Architecture and Landscape.I have seen many things that I love about this place. Here looks so peaceful and tranquil. Maybe because of the water element and being surrounded with greens.It is a garden that you can let your worries about Corona virus swayed away. Beautiful flowers and schrubs surround the grand pathwalks . Ducks and swans are swimming gracefully in the calming waters that cascades in rhythmical motion.

Few runners ran past over us and I quite envy them. I know it would be wonderful to run and be lost in the Palace´s gardens.So many little nooks and pathwalks with hidden figures as well.

We wait for the Fountain to start.

The thing about being here early here is that we have the place by ourselves. Only the gardeners and few staffs can be seen at around quarter to 10. I saw the gardener raking the soil and making zen patterns on the ground, busying themselves caring about the plants and watering them.The weather is perfect, not to hot, and not a single sign of rain.Slowly, we are saying Goodbye to sweet but short German summer.

I snap some photos of some of the fine gold details I saw while entering the castle.The lamps and carvings of the doors and windows are quite enticing.We decided not to do the Tour of the interior of the Castle because my daughter gets bored with it and I just dont have the energy to deal with the drama.

I can´t have a good panoramic view of the whole palace but the entrance itself is so large and grand .Just imagine in the ancient times many Royalties driven by their golden horse carriages hop and stop in this entrance many times. I can´t imagine that King Ludwig II was born here as well.his collection of carriages are still displayed here.

This reminds me of the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg. I always love these ancient Greek and Roman God and Goddess sculptures spead all over the entire garden. They are like stone guarding the Palace.Come to think of it, most castles and palaces are heavily accessorized with sculptures and statues. The more, the grandier.Moreover, what´s not to love about statues? If they can talk, I am sure they tell us different stories from what we have read or heard.

The Stone Lion with the Palace´s Seal.What a dominant character that you can see all around Bavaria. Lion´s head is almost everywhere.In Berlin we go crazy looking for Painted Bears, but here, all we see is bunch of Lion´s statues, heads and sculptures.

I have heard that the palace also houses the Naturkundemuseum Mensch und Natur (“Museum of Man and Nature”), the Porzellanmuseum (“Porcelain Museum”) for the on-site porcelain manufacturer Nymphenburg, and the Marstallmuseum in it’s wings.

While roaming around the vast of the gardens, everyone can enjoy and discover numerous other smaller attractions: In addition to the Badenburg, Pagodenburg, and Amalienburg summer residences as well as the Magdalenenklause hermitage.There´s also the picturesque lake and streams and Fountains. Some of the attractions are unfortunately can only be viewed during summer seasons.

This is the Schlosscafe´in Palmenhaus. A green Oasis right inside the Palace garden´s premises. A place where visitors can enjoy warm drinks and cool their senses with ice cream surrounded with Palm trees.Of course, you can´t get in without a mask!

 Today only twelve (12) statues remain on the Nymphenburg Garden and four have been moved to the Grand Cascade. Generally male and female deities take turns. Most of the statues are made from Laaser and Sterzinger marble, the bases are made of Red Tegernsee marble or tuff.

Indeed it was a great day spent here in Nymphenburg Palace. Glad that I saw it in Summer. It looks quite dreary in a freezing Winter!

Interested about Castles? Here are some related Posts:

Chasing Castles and Palaces in Germany

The Fairy Tale castle of Burg Eltz

Kaiserburg Palace, Nürnberg