Donau Radweg Cycling Tour

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Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bicycle…~JFK

Yup it’s officially Autumn here in Germany but let me ask you, what’s the most unforgettable experience you did last summer?

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The unexpected resurgence of the bicycle

This is a late post but last summer, we did our first Donau Radweg Cycling adventure as a family! It was pretty special, because for me, that was the farthest I’ve cycled non-stop in my life! And yes, we cycled with my daughter along and she behaved so well. I haven’t written much about what have I done for the past months mainly because lack of time and I am sorry for lack of posts and updates.This Blog is still alive and I wanna say a quick Thank you for all of you who paid a visit in my page and left some sweet comments.I’ll do my best to respond shortly soon!

So anyway, last summer felt so different from last year here in Bavaria. First, the temperature was warmer than I expected and as I have seen, so many fields and plants were ‘affected’ by the heat, even our garden was not spared. It’s kind of scorching and for quite sometime uncomfortable, reminding me of 40 degree-ish we had in Kuwait.This leaves us with only few options to enjoy leisure times outside. Best option we’ve had is anything with water. Swimming here and over there, and yes, even the pool in the garden had been a constant companion for my daughter.But aside from water activities, last summer was unforgettable because we’ve made it through our first Donau Radweg tour!

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Our destination : Donau radweg tour 

So how about doing a long-distance cycling? Oh yes, to start, approximately 23 kilometers, with a normal bicycle, with a 4-year old child in an Anhänger tagged along with us!

As I’ve written before, the moment I’ve moved to Germany, I think I have cycled more than I have ever cycled in my entire life! I ride my bike in every season, even when its winter and minus temps. I have heard about the classic Donau Radweg but I am always b intimidated of doing it, first, because I thought that it could be exhilarating plus I don’t know how would my daughter deal with it. Second, am I fit enough to do it? or would I cycle back home after 10 kilometers back home?

What if I had a tire burst?

But then long distance cycling for me is something different, it’s an adventure. I wanted to do something that is new and also fun. There’s something about reaching a goal. I guess I managed to integrate in the cycling culture here. When you live in Germany, you’ll be amazed to see that cycling is a very normal lifestyle. Everyone here I think owns a bicycle and cycle at least every day. It’s healthy, easy, practical and the best of all, environment-friendly. Add to the fact that Germany , or at least here in Bavaria, they have a superb cycling paths. I have read one time in the newspaper that in our city alone, its kind of look like Amsterdam now because of  the number of bicycles that they are planning to build more bike stands.

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I think one of the most important thing in my life is when I learn how to ride a bicycle…
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Backside facade of the castle Grünau

Another thing, cycling tours in midsummer is no joke, but since we finished our first Biotope Cycling Tour last year, with almost 30 kms within 2 hours, I knew it can be done.  I was  inspired when one morning, my teacher came to our class and shared that she had cycled from Neuburg to Ingolstadt, a sweet 23 kms within an hour to go to work and back!Okay she had an E-Bike, but still, I had great respect for the adventure part. It’s what I wanted to. Cycling through the Danube is a dream come true for me.

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A beautiful fountain in front of the Rathaus (City hall) of Neuburg an der Donau

Before the Radweg tour

We planned to start early morning and prepare our way to Neuburg an der Donau. Neuburg is famous as the “Renaissance City”along the banks of the Danube.When I saw photos of this city, I knew I wanted to see it by my own eyes. So my goal is why can’t I combine a small city tour and a cycling Tour?

We searched about our cycling path and we were confident  doing one of the old-time favorite tour along the Donau river, the Ingolstadt to Neuburg, with 23 kilometers over Weichering road. The only thing that is not sure is the weather. We checked the  weather numerous times, it’s a little bit cloudy, but enjoyable enough to cycle. We brought along the  daughter but this time she sits in an Änhanger, German’s version of the Bakfiets! It goes easy for her because she can read, eat, or sleep while we cycle. We packed very  light, with only few snacks and water  in our side packets. My Dutch husband cycled with an additional 40kgs ( total weight of the Änhanger +Natalie).Of course we had an emergency kit with us, and a huge packet of determination and crazy energy!

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The bicycle is a curious vehicle, its passenger is its engine…
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Exploring the Renaissance City of Neuburg

The Radweg tour

We started off cycling very light. The path is almost flat and through green forests. This bike path runs south of the Danube through the Danube floodplains, partly on paved roads with little traffic, partly (in the woods) over well-paved dirt roads, partly asphalted separate bike paths. Lots of nature, riparian forests, avenues, meadows and even resting benches along the way.

 

The first of the three sections leads from Ingolstadt to Weichering. The second section runs on rather long-curved-curvy Weldwegen to the castle Grünau. From there it goes with a paved separate cycle path next to the road without detours directly into the center of Neuburg. I knew we are almost in our destination when we were in front of the old castle of “Grünau”.  Our journey begins at the Baggerweg and runs close to the Danube along the direction of the Baggersee, where the Danube is crossed.I find the path very enjoyable, with plenty of fields and greeneries to watch while cycling. We came across with so many cyclists, everyone is loaded up with adventure packs. Along the way I was smiling to myself because I can’t believe that I’m doing this!

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Inscription on a giant Tree in Grünau Castle
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Grünau Castle 

Reaching our destination

Of course I need to make some stops when I see something worth photographing.After the Caste Grünau I thought we were almost in the city but I was mistaken. I need to cycle for at least 8 kilometers more! My daughter keeps on shouting “why is it so far?”where is the playground? ” But then once we see the beautiful architecture and the Donau river, I was completely excited.It’s even prettier than in the photos I have seen.We parked our bikes just beside the river and off we go to explore the city.

Fascinating finds

What is fascinating about cycling tours is that you can explore a new city by foot and that gives you more windows to explore– especially the hidden gems of the city.Neuburg an der Donau is a historical city which has a lot to offer, both to locals and visitors. The city hall itself is situated above the town proper, on a hilly top so it also requires stamina add challenge of cycling on a cobble stone pavement. The Hofkirche is situated beside the Residenz Schloss ( Residence Castle)  which is quite an impressive architecture.It is quite a norm in this region to be wedded in a Castle, like a fairy tale dream. In Ingolstadt, I often watched a wedding where almost all the entourage are dressed up in a traditional Bayerische Tracht ( traditional clothing) ,with Lederhosen and Dirndls, but the atmosphere of a wedding in a castle is something different.

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Door detail at the Residenz Schloss
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Intricate ceiling detail of the castle
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Sharing adventures together in two wheels !

Enjoying summer holidays with a family doesn’t need to be expensive. I realized that when you’ve never even tried something that intimidates you then you can’t even say if you are capable of doing it or not. I am so grateful that I have the chance to explore Bavaria through a cycling activity like this. Every place we go is really unique and worth telling.You don’t need expensive equipment either. Just make sure your bikes are in great condition and you are physically fit as well. Start slowly and take your time. I always remind myself that it’s not a race and to have lots of fun along the way! If you are looking for things to do next summer then you might try  long-distance cycling as well!

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Little Explorer

 

How about you, did you spent an active Summer?

When was the last time you’ve challenged yourself to do something for the first time?

 

 

 

 

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Twisted |Golden Skeletons and caged Angels

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Golden Skeleton with scissors and a frantic Angel

I love visiting churches. I am not a religious person but I am a lover of beautiful buildings and architecture. Be it Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance or Modern Art, a great work is timeless. Speaking of churches, I love the peace and tranquility of being inside a solemn place of worship. I also felt the same amazement when I marveled  at the beauty of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait. Here in Germany, there are so many beautiful churches, in fact, too many to mention. In every city we visit, I always find time to visit historical churches and I am always left with wonder. They kind of look all the  same, all had distinct beauty that is worth of admiration, some  have captivating details and carries a legendary tale. Even for half an hour or so, I always felt being recharged when I let the silence while being inside a church. Walking through the marbled floors, sitting and saying a little prayer, marveling at the lines of statues and gazing up through the illuminated wall decorations and stained windows can be a worthwhile experience. So is the saying that when you travel, you become silent, then it makes you a storyteller in the end.

But churches can also be exhilarating! There are so much to see and so much history. One thing, what about the famous priests of kings buried in the crypt, the artists who painted the frescoes, or the reason why it was built?

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Beautiful frescoed ceiling of the Asam Kirche in München done by Cosmas Damian

The solemn stillness of cascading lights through the Holy Altars and grand statues of saints is more than enough to feed my curiosity. A quick look of the Rococo and Stucco designs, the elaborate paintings, or the exhilarating ceiling  vault designs can be stressful, at the same time interesting. Especially on a busy day full of sightseeing in a new city, churches provides an accent which makes any trip worthwhile.This is one of the reasons why  most churches here in Germany are  full of visitors, tourists, and of  religious groups.

Last week, my parents-in-law visited us for a few days so we decided to take a day-trip to show them a bit of  München. The weather was fine and as usual, Munich is super busy. After our visit in the Dino World in Olympia Park, we strolled along Marienplatz and along the Sendlingerstrasse   to check out Asam kirche, also known as St. Johann Nepomuk church. This church had left a lasting impression to me ever since I saw it last year. But this time, I saw another fascinating, yet twisted detail.

Just below the statue of St. Nepomuk lies a captivating golden sculpture of Skeleton, with a  giant scissors and about to cut a thread that an anxious Angel holds. In most churches, sculptures and statues of angels, saints and heavenly divinities are a normal sight, but this one is something different.If you’re keen enough , the skeleton signifies Death and He holds the scissors to cut the thread , obviously the Thread of Life that a frantic angel holds.

Twisted? Creepy, or unusual?

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The Golden Skeleton can cut the Thread of Life anytime

Asam Kirche is a Baroque Church in München, in southern part of Germany.Built around 1733 to 1746 by Asam Brothers, sculpture and stucco plaster Egid  Quirin Asam  and Architect/Painter Cosmas Damian Asam. They work closely together and are considered to be one of the prolific Artists in the Late Baroque period.Their notable works spread throughout Germany, particularly in Bavaria, and in Austria. They are also responsible for the impressive church that we have here in the Old Town of Ingolstadt, the Asam Church of Maria Viktoria.

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Details inside  Asam Kirche in Munich

They built the Asam Kirche for personal place of worship, in fact, they can see the church from their private dwelling house.If you love Architecture, then this place has full of notable details for you to enjoy.The gold-accented ceiling fresco “Life of Saint Nepomuk“is one of the masterpiece from the work  Cosmas Damian Asam.

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The elaborate ceiling fresco by Cosmas Damian

 

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With all the oddities and twisted allegories, this church is worthwhile to check out if you are planning to visit Munich. I must say that  the Asam Kirche is a hidden jewel, “klein aber fein ” ( small yet beautifully done). There’s a lot of hidden surprises that awaits for those who are willing to explore it!

 

 

This post is inspired by this week’s Photo Challenge |Twisted

 

Further Reading :

Majestic Dom in Trier , the oldest city in Germany

Architecture above the Liebfrauenmünster

Frauenkirche, the Church with the Devil’s Footprint

Rediscovering the Streets of Regensburg

 

 

 

800,000 Crystal Clouds In Swarovski Kristallwelten

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Crystal Clouds in Swarovski Kristallwelten by Andy Cao & Xavier Perrot 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Give the Mundane its beautiful due.

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

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

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

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

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” Making Diamonds affordable for anyone”

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

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Crystal Clouds in the Swarovski Crystal Worlds

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

Do you own a diamond?

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

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

How did you spent yours?

 

 

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

Tschüss!

A walk into the Old town

One of the perks of being an Expat is living like a tourist everyday, or on a tour without a tour guide.Sightseeing is absolutely free, unlimited and you’ve got full access to discover the less-touristic areas which makes a place special.You can explore the neighborhood and outskirts like a curious tourist and be amazed of the hidden gems around you, without the rush.Of course there would come a time that you’ll get used to seeing the buildings and structures around you,and suddenly it all becomes a normal sight. You won’t think of it as worthy of a second look, but then, it is because you have discovered something else. Something even more grand, something worth of admiration.

And the best way to do this, is by foot- walking, at your own pace.

 

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The Old Town (Altes Rathaus )  of Ingolstadt : neo-Renaissance  style by Gabriel von Seidl in 1882 which serves as the seat of the Lord Mayor.Also known as the Four Houses in One simply because 4 old houses were joined together.

For the past months that I am doing lots of walking, (both figuratively & literally) into my new town, I have found so many interesting history and tales that is way beyond the written reviews in Trip advisor or any tourist site in the net about this place. It is not as big as Munich or Berlin, but it has its own identity, and rich cultural heritage. No wonder there is so much mention in this place. In this little old town of Ingolstadt, that certain” Bavarian ” spirit is in the air, everywhere. From the locals who walk the streets  in their traditional Lederhosen and Dirndls, up to the details engraved in their beautifully restored gabled houses, picturesque Architectural ensembles in different periods and up to their imposing gateways.

One particular Bavarian character of this city  that I noticed ever since I step on this place is their impressive fortifications, which, I can say that has become the Old’s town’s charm. The “Schanz”( a series of fortifications) has a reason why it has been built and preserved up to this day.  Indeed, Ingolstadt is a Medieval city of towers and gateways.

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Details of the Altes Rathaus

The church Liebfrauenmünster or also called the Minster to our Dear and Beautiful Lady  is definitely a must-see. I love its exterior and even more the details found inside. When I spent a day on top of the Pfeifturm, the town’s watch tower, which stands beside the city’s oldest parish church, of St. Moritz, the prominent roof of the cathedral stands out.It is one of the largest late-Gothic church of this kind in the whole region of Bavaria, even in Southern Germany.According to records, about 7,000 tree trunks were used in its construction.

 

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The Liebfrauenmünster 

 

Do you like the Audi car?

I’m telling you, Ingolstadt is a city more than just Audi. When you walk down the street, you can see that the locals really loved their cars, their sleek  Audi cars as they loved their Bavarian beer. Of course Audi is a prominent landmark in this town, where almost everybody drives in style. With 566,646 cars built in 2015, the Ingolstadt parent plant is the Audi Group’s largest production facility and Europe’s second-largest car factory. Globally networked, Audi Ingolstadt is the company’s flagship plant in terms of its technological prowess. This is where the Audi A3, Audi A4, Audi A5, Audi Q2 and Audi Q5 car lines are built. One of the biggest magnet for this city is the Audi Forum, which attracts more than 400,000 visitors each year.

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Stone and Bronze architectural detail

Another distinctive detail I saw in this town is the Bronze and Stone façade. From the memorial plaques in the Franziskanerkirche, valuable and unusually well-preserved memorial plaques adorn the walls,the pillars, and the side chapels. This old town is home of the impressive Asam’s Church of Maria de Victoria. This hidden church boasts of the phenomenal ceiling fresco by Cosmas Damian Asam , the most famous Bavarian Baroque artist. His phenomenal creativity  is shown in the largest flat ceiling fresco in the world at 42 m X 16m which can be admired by walking round it. I could stare at this ceiling for hours. When I walk, the image seems to move, simply amazing.Now I know what is perspective painting means. If you want to know it, you’ve got to see the ceiling fresco of Asam’s church of Maria de Victoria or the Asam’s church in  Munich which is also work of the Asam Brothers.

 

Another treasure found in this church is the  Lepanto Montrance– a filigree work of art, set in gold and silver, which represents the Christian’s victory over the Turks in the sea battle in Lepanto. It is a unique battle portrayal on the most valuable monstrance in the world.

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Then there’s the impressive Neues Schloss, (New Castle) a fortress type castle which stands in the middle of the city centre. It is built by Duke Ludwig the Bearded in the first half of  15th century. I love the picturesque view of this castle when I am on top of the bridge above the Danube river. Inside this castle is the magnificent vaulted, elegant interior that accommodates the Bavarian Army museum where it displays the historical weapons, armaments and tin soldiers.Outside this castle are the decorated 17 richly decorated cannons,the Scherer and the Schererin which guards the Neues Schloss. It weights more than 9 tons each.  Right in the castle courtyard  you can also view the Baroque Clocktower. This location is a major touristic area along Paradeplatz  square where the fountain and statue of Ludwig the Bavarian can be found.

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The face of the Cannon in the courtyard of Neues Schloss 

 

 

 

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Beautiful gable Borgeuois town houses

 

My walks have also took me to the outside of the medieval town walls as far as the Taschenturm tower, which used to be one of the minor gates in the Town Wall. The city’s most famous landmark-  The Kreuztor, is the most beautiful of all the preserved gateways that leads from the west into the old town. Four small corner towers and sparingly used limestone decorations embellish this red brick gateway tower from the late 14th century. It’s name came from the leper house with its chapel “to St. Cross” that used to be here outside the town.

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The Taschenturm Tower
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Narrow fronts,high gables of the Bourgeois town houses located in the city center

As I continue to explore the city, I admired the beautiful architecture of the narrow gable houses. They are colorful, unique and has a distinctive feature that really makes this city a worth while to see. If you’ve seen the gable architecture where Amsterdam is famous for, then you know what I mean. It certainly gives an identity to the city. The houses of the old town, in which councilors,guild masters and professors once lived, and which have been witness to a great deal back in the old days, are still full of life up to this day. I wanted to photograph each one of them because every single house is unique.

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Beautiful architecture in the old town of Ingolstadt

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It is very obvious that Ingolstadt is a city with strong fortifications. These Schanz were built by Leo von Klenze have resisted many attacks over the centuries. That is why these fortifications are still so visible, intact and well maintained up to this time. At any given time, you can see the unique, open-air museum of German fortress architecture especially if you walk through the Rose Garden of  Klenzepark where you can see the Turm Triva, which is the home of the Bavarian Police Museum. It is right inside of the lush green oasis with the view of the River Danube.

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The Turm Triva, the home to the Bavarian Police Museum

I was wondering what is Turm Triva when I first saw it. At first I thought it was an open air arena, but then I didn’t realize that it was part of the Bavarian fortifications. Then I’ve learned that the wall complexes, with the Baur and Triva round towers (Turm Baur & Turm Triva)  and the Reduit Tilly in the classical style build just at the bridge head of the Danube river were built for the refuge for the Royal family.

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A display of a Bavarian armor along the Anatomiestr.

For a fact that apart from all of these architectural sites, Ingolstadt also is very green. I can say that its one place for a lover of nature and for someone who wants to walk and enjoy the slow pace of life. Over the few months, I began to adapt to my new routine in this city. I knew now why the locals love outdoors and when its sunny and nice, everyone just hop on their bicycles roaming around the city like crazy. There’s always something to do and see.

When I did the walking tour to find all the Stolpersteine here in Ingolstadt, I appreciate this old city even more. For me, the best way to explore a small, traditional city like this is by foot.  Not only that I feel belongedto it as I walked around , smiled, greet, and nod to the old folks whom I found to be so active, and to the busy people in the streets, but also, I can easily feel the beat, or the vibe of the city. So all in all, it was always a great walk around the old town.

Have you’ve been to a walking tour?  How was your experience?

 

 

Inspiring Spire: Liberation Tower

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Kuwait’s Liberation tower against the vast blue skies.

The spire of the Liberation tower in Kuwait looks so small against the vast expanse of the Kuwaiti skies. More like a tiny needle. Tiny as it may seem compared to world’s super tall structures, at 372 m, the Liberation Tower is the world’s 38th tallest free-standing structure, by pinnacle height. It is standing proud & big symbolizing Kuwait’s liberation from Iraqi invasion.

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Kuwait’s Liberation tower

Climbing this tower is one of the significant experience I had while living in Kuwait.While up in the viewing deck of Kuwait Towers, I had feasted my eyes on the azure blue seascape of the Arabian Gulf,but not so with the Liberation Tower. Since it’s situated in the middle of the city, the views are different of course. The views above the revolving sphere is phenomenal if you really like to see Kuwait in a different angle. Kuwait has a promising Skyline though surrounded with a flat, urban dwellings. Up above, looking down at the brown desert landscape makes me think that Kuwait is indeed a tiny place,scarce with natural resources , but incredibly diverse.

Are you afraid of heights? Do you find it interesting to climb towers ?

 

If you like this post and want to waste more time, don’t forget to  follow me on my  Twitter  and my Instagram  for more stories about my Expat Life Thanks!

 

Mushroom H2O Towers in Kuwait

 

photo12Nope, they are not  funnels, they are water Towers. They are storage tanks for H2O.

These  huge  33  Torres mushroom towers  are  designed by VBB, Sune Lindström , Joe Lindström &  Stig Egnells and holds a combined storage capacity of 102.000m3  and are the most visible symbol of the storage system and water distribution in Kuwait City. Aside from the glamorous Kuwait Towers, they are next prominent landmark of Kuwait.

Kuwait may have abundant electric power supply and they have oil, but water in Kuwait is like diamonds. Actually, the prices of oil is cheaper than bottled water!

I have lived in Kuwait for 8 long years and seeing these Water Towers is always part of my daily sightings. Going to work, I see these mushrooms alongside the Bayan Palace in the 5th ring road. Of all the towers spread all over Kuwait, I think they are the most striking. I love it when they repainted it during the Hala February celebrations and put on some crazy lights in all the months of the festivities. Especially at night, they could looked amazing!

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Each reservoir has a standard capacity of 3000m3 and are supported by shafts of different heights.

The number of towers in each group varies between 6 and 9 and is determined by the consumption of each area. The towers are groups formed by pillars open rooms, which provide shade to the garden areas that develop underneath. Only two of the groups have landscaped gardens which are accessible to public.

Kuwait is a desert country but rich in oil. I could count numerous times where I can’t take shower because we don’t have water in the 7th floor. I had to laugh when I remember that I had to wash my daughter’s poppy ass with bottled water. Typical scenario,right? Ordering boxes of water from a nearby Bakala is also typical for most households.

Here is Germany, I could just grab a glass of water directly from the faucet. It’s clean & drinkable. But did I told you about the high calcium deposits? Yes, we got anti-calc solution to take care of this.So when I think of water, I’ve got different perspectives from different worlds. In some areas, its scarce, in some place, it’s abundant.

But yes, these Mushroom Towers are rather fascinating, one of a kind.Only in Kuwait I must say.

What do you find fascinating in your new country?

This post is in response to this week’s Photo Challenge |H2O

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A day in the Pfeifturm

Who doesn’t like to have a view like this?

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View of the old city  of Ingolstadt from Pfeifturm

Sunday is another Ruhetag ( rest day)  but I decided to climb the 200+ steps that leads to the slender Gothic Pfeifturm in Ingolstadt. After climbing the Olympic Tower in Munich I thought I could brave myself with climbing the steep stairs. I like visiting old churches & towers as much as Castles since I found so much history in them, and its better to see them than read about it.

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Pfeifturm as seen in the city’s model displayed in front of the Rathaus. (Photo source : Extraprimagood)

Built probably in the 13th century , and standing at 63 meters high, Pfeifturm stands close to St.Moritz church. It’s the prominent landmark in the heart of the city centre alongside   Alte Rathaus (old town hall) and the new Rathaus (City town Hall). From the old times,the Pfeifturm served as the city watchtower against the enemies and at later part to watch over for fires in the city. The tower is open for public tours and viewing but could only be arranged with Ingolstadt Tourismus . Because of the size of the viewing deck, only 14 participants are allowed on each tour.

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View from above of the steep cobbled stone staircase going up the Pfeifturm.

I wanted to climb the Pfeifturm because I wanted to see the panoramic view of the whole city. I was hoping to see a sunset view but the time is not with me. As I’m always fascinated how would it looked from above and I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw. We had a fine weather last Sunday, the sky was clear, and the temperature is mild, not too much wind up in the Tower & I could even have a glimpse of the mountain caps of the Alps.

 

While climbing the steep wooden planks, I was overwhelmed by the number of flies inside. The windows are almost full of it and it looks just so eerie. The old wooden planks with wooden nails remains intact and sturdy. Still, if you have a thing with heights, and your knees are weak, this tour is not suitable for you.

The Pfeifturm holds a fascinating story since the watchman and his family once lived here. In the early days, there is neither electricity nor water so the family would get a bucket of water from the ground up for their needs. They used lamps for their light.Imagine climbing the wooden planks approximately 200 plus steps numerous times a day! I caught a glimpse of the small area where the family sleeps and a place for the children to play.

Imagine a life in this Tower. Although the children could have enjoyed the views, eventually the risk that they might fall becomes a concern.

 

The view from 45m in the viewing deck is awesome. From Pfeifturm, you can see the wonderful view of the late Gothic cathedral ‘Liebefrauenmunster’. On sunny days during Fall, you might even catch a glimpse of the Alps.

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Have you discovered something historical lately?

How as your experience?

 

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The Cannons in Neues Schloss

 

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The face of the massive- war cannons guarding the New Castle in the Bavarian Armee Museum.

These are totally not the ordinary type of cannons!

As mighty as this saying goes ;

“Whoever controlled Ingolstadt, controlled the key to Bavaria”, is true as it means.

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The face of the cannons guarding the Neues Schloss in Bavaria | Ingolstadt

 

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Bavarian pride

When we are exploring the quaint city of Ingolstadt, we managed to find our way from the cobbled streets of the city center down to the path leading us to the courtyard of the Neues Schloss or the New Castle. In it was the amazing view of the displayed war cannons .Around the town showcases a unique, open air museum of German fortress architecture that really proves its mighty strength of fortifying their city and a visit to the Bayerisches Armee Museum did not fail us.

In 1418, Ludwig the Bearded laid the foundation stone for the Neue Veste (New Citadel), in the centre of which rises the Neues Schloss or the New Castle which has  17 richly decorated cannons in the castle courtyard reflect the scale of the weapons arsenal at that time.

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Notable inscriptions on the body of the massive cannons displayed outside Neues Schloss.

Two of the oldest of these exhibits belonging to the Bavarian Army Museum comprise a set of double cannons from the years 1524/25 which go by the names of “Scherer” and “Schererin”. The first weighs 9,690 pounds, the second 9,395 pounds. The Neues Schloss is now home to the Bavarian Army Museum – an exhibition of historical weapons, armaments and pewter figures.

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Parade of Cannons

Another bit of history learned & worthwhile thing to see here. Now I find this interesting because I tried to compare the design and size to other war cannons that I have seen  from  the ones I have seen in Corregidor and In Kuwait.

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Intricate detail of the Cannons

Keep posted for more of our adventures as we continue to pretend tourists here in Bavaria while we are chasing a Toddler and gobbling yummy Pretzel along the Donau. Tschüss!

 

 

 

Architecture Above :Liebfrauenmünster

Germany is not only famous for its beautiful nature, dreamy castles & Burgs,UNESCO-world- heritage sites, sausages,Oktoberfest, Football & beer. This country is also a home to many beautiful churches & life-standing Architecture.As I recall my experience while seeing the great DOM Cathedral in Trier, I was in awe seeing another hidden gem  in the small city of Ingolstadt,in Bavaria, the Liebfrauenmünster. If you walk into the old city center, you can’t miss not to see its towering beauty.

Last Saturday, I was grateful that finally its open. The first time we visited, it was closed so we tried to visit again. This church was constructed in 1425 and was completed in  1525. The Architectural style is Gothic and it has 2 Towers with heights of 62m & 69m.

 

 

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I love everything about the facade and exteriors of this church. Its beautiful in the outside but the interior is another thing. As soon I opened the door (photo below ) ,I am perplexed of the harmonious musical chants from the pipe organ  (Klais Organ) which has 4 manuals, 106 ranks, 70 stops, 5,436 pipes.

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The doors of Liebfrauenmünster

The pipe organ was built in 1928 with 84 Ranks / 61 registers (+ 6 Ext. / Tr.) on 3 manuals reusing many old Bittner register by Steinmeyer (D, Oettingen)
1977 technical properties reusing some Steinmeyer Register from 1928 through Klais (D, Bonn).

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The pipe organ in Liebfrauenmünster in Ingolstadt,Germany

The cathedral also has a choir organ with 60 ranks / 44 registers (+ 1 Ext.) On 3 manuals (Wegscheider 2016) and a chamber organ with 6 registers on 1 Manual (Jann, 1986) and an apple shelf.

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The gigantic columns of the church.

Another intricate detail is the base of the columns which are quite interesting.

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Decorative column base (Photo credit to my husband)

Another remarkable feature of this this beautiful church was its Vaultings.As I did my research, I found out that its  included in the listings of the South German Late Gothic design & building Praxis  which mainly features the selection of finest & complicated parametric modelling study of late Gothic vaults chiefly in Swabia, Bavaria, Saxony & Bohemia.

Begun in 1425 Chapels (c. 1512–1520) by Erhard Heydenreich, Baumeister between 1509–1524 A Staffelhall church (like Dinkelsbühl), certainly most famous for the bizarre, varied, and profuse vaults of its six chapels by Erhard Heydenreich; the most iconic of which is a double-layered vault in which the flying ribs of the lower vault take the shape of branches. Bucher describes these vaults as symbolising “the last stand of a dying style.” “They are still based on a disciplined geometric grid which explodes into fireworks of incredible technical and design sophistry. The Renaissance was to reject these games with a vengeance, very much as the Bauhaus was to obliterate Art Nouveau.

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Intricate vaulting design of the Liebfrauenmünster in Bavaria
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Beautiful door facade of the church

My daughter enjoyed marvelling the inside of this church,although I am not sure if she will behave if we attend the mass here one day. But I am glad to know that they have separate timings for kinder (children) together with their parents .

It was a great afternoon well spent visiting this church and I am looking forward to explore it more. Maybe climb the towers to have a great view of the city someday?

How about you, do you explore the culture & history beyond the sights you see in the places you visited?

For me, I have learned that whenever I looked up into something beautiful, I made sure I got a piece of history of it.Churches may serve its religious functions,but we must learn to appreciate the great effort & artistry of the people who built it , let alone who designed it.

Ingolstadt is lucky to have this church.It’s a gem. Indeed, something that the locals should be proud of !

This post is in response to today’s photo challenge : Look Up

Look Up

Last Glimpses from Kuwait Towers

My Expat life in Kuwait would not have been complete without having a glimpse of one Iconic structure which is the pride of Kuwait, the Kuwait Towers. It has been closed for quite sometime, almost 5 long years, it opened again for the public. It’s just happened that before we left Kuwait last month, I was able to see it again, this time, with my daughter and my husband.

I personally loved the designed concept of this “mushroom water towers “which were designed by Danish architect Malene Bjorn and maintained by the Swedish engineering company VBB- Vatten-Byggnadsbyzan (since 1977 called Sweco).The chief architect  Sune Lindstorm already erected 5 groups of his mushroom towers but the Amir of Kuwait wants a more striking design for the 6th site.Lindstorm made 10 different design but the Amir choses this one.

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These 3 slender towers symbolizes Kuwait’s economic resurgence and also world cultural as well as a famous Touristic Landmark.Its location is ideally settled along the Arabian Gulf, and if you are lucky to have a nice clear,dust-free weather, the view from the viewing deck is awesome.The “Balls of Kuwait “which the locals referred to is designed in modern standards with combination of Islamic themes.Its quite identical to the blue-tiled mosques and slender minarets of Samarkand and Bukhara.
The height of the main tower is 187 meters (614 ft.) and consists of the ground floor,Main sphere and the viewing sphere.The main tower houses the “famed “revolving restaurant , cafe, and reception hall.The lower sphere holds in its upper a restaurant that can accommodate 90 persons and its bottom half a water tank of 4,500 cubic meters.Rising to 123 meters above sea level, the viewing sphere completes a 360 degrees turn every 30 minutes so that visitors can enjoy a full panoramic view of Kuwait city & Arabian Gulf.The viewing sphere is open from 9am to 11:30 pm.They still kept the coin operated binoculars.

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The second tower serves as a water reservoir  and is 147 meters high.The third tower houses equipment to illuminate the two larger towers and supply electricity for some areas in Kuwait City.In my previous post, Kuwait Towers has Led Lights display every now and then .If you drive along the Gulf road at night, this sight could be such a delight.The Towers hold 10,000 cubic meters of waters on the whole.

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There’s nothing much changed since the renovation.The Horizon Restaurant located in Ofok Hall can still experience a world-class hospitality at 82m sea level featuring international open buffet served daily . Now that its Ramadan, there are excellent choices of Iftar celebration held daily.Other notable restaurant housed inside the Towers is the Le Cafe which is a nice place to enjoy the scenic views along the sea.

Breakfast Buffet 8AM to 11:30AM for KD7.5
Lunch Buffet: 12:30PM to 4PM for KD14
Dinner Buffet: 7PM to 11:30PM for KD14

For reservations you can contact them on 22444021 or 22444038

If you plan to visit Kuwait, this is one of the “must see) sight in this city.After the renovation, this is now fully-opened to public and if you have a guest, I highly recommend that you bring them here.
If you want to go to the viewing sphere it’s KD3 per person. If you want to go to the restaurants there is no entrance fee. If you eat at the restaurant then you can go to the viewing deck for free as long as you keep your meal receipt. Children under 4 go in for free so my daughter entered free. If you’re going to the restaurants you can also park inside the Kuwait Towers parking lot.

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I have heard rumors and read that the Kuwait Towers are now on UNESCO’s tentative list to become a World Heritage site. The first report was submitted back in May and later accepted by UNESCO in July. It’s only the first step but if it does get approved, then the Kuwait Towers will become the first modernist building in the entire Gulf region to be designated a World Heritage Site.Inshaallah!

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