One fine view and forgotten History

Power of the Dam
Admiring the stunning views of Kaprun’s Mooserboden Hochgebirgesstauseen.

In between high peaks and lush greens, my eyes feasted on this view. I felt so small and weak compared to the powerful force of nature. It’s so primitive and yet so striking. This is the view of the mountains surrounding the Hochgebirgsstauseen in Kaprun, the high water reservoir dams which took my breath away but then also had a sad forgotten history. As I was reading more about how these amazing Dams were built, I got more hooked knowing that it has a sad history worth telling…and should not really forgotten…Ever.

Let me tell you more why and what’s so special about this place.

The Glacier above in between the mountains is one special thing about this place.No question why this place is called the birthplace of a Legend.

The Mooserboden reservoirs sit at an altitude of 2040 meters and have a sad and dark history. First building plans were drafted in the 1920’s but it was only during World War II that they were realised. The Nazi regime forced around 4000 prisoners of war and 6300 forced foreign labourers to construct the dams. The commemorative plaque on the Pagan Church tells you that over 120 prisoners died here between 1940 and 1945. German speakers can find detailed information about the Nazi past of the reservoirs here. After the war, the dams were finished and became a symbol of post-war reconstruction, and until today many people are not aware of the dams’ Nazi past .Some just appreciate the beauty that they see and doesn’t care about the past anymore. But come to think of it, it is so great that the process of building this giant reservoirs has a sad story and that makes it even more important to know and remember history!

Climbers trying to climb up in the Dam

The Tauern power plants were originally regarded as one of the most important projects of the East-German electricity industry and were declared “preferred hydraulic engineering“. Forced labourers and prisoners of war were used to build the power station and work on the dam above it in the valley. These workers came from twenty-four (24) different nations, including Polish, French and Soviet POWs, Italians, people from the territories of the Soviet Union (‘Ostarbeiter’) and Jews. An unknown number died due to the harsh conditions, particularly in the mountain camp where the dam was being built. At one point a British air raid triggered a flash flood in which 1,200 people, half of them Soviet forced labourers, were killed.

Living here in Germany have opened my eyes for so many things. Before, I never knew in details about the victims of war and Nazi regime. Our knowledge about Germany is so limited. When I studied German, I have read so many books about it and watched many films about the dark past of Germany and sad stories about war, let alone forced labor and concentration camps.

It is no joke working hard ( deadly working conditions) up in the altitudes of the mountains. Imagine these people forced to work in winter times.

Looking at the beautiful in front of me made me feel grateful, grateful for nature, for the powerful force of the mountains, and high respect for those people who have worked hard, in worst conditions, probably even through ice cold temperatures just to build this dam. I saw lots of people around the world visiting this place and wondering about the beauty of the dam, but I wondered who appreciate the history behind it.Most of all, the story is past behind us now.No more wars.

 About 120 forced labourers were killed between 1940 and 1945 on this construction site. The suffering and trauma of these people is often forgotten when telling the success story of Kaprun. These people, who were abducted by the Nazi regime to work on this building site, should be given special consideration now. The memory of the terror of the Nazi regime remains awake even at this place.”

It’s the blend of human engineering with natural creations that makes the dams above Kaprun such a special part of Austria.If I will show Austria to a friend, then I would definitely bring them to Kaprun! My daughter enjoyed playing in the playground in the Mooserboden. She doens’t know yet the story about this place.Maybe when she grows old and revisits this place then I hope she would appreciate this place as much as I did.

Can’t get enough of Kaprun? see the gallery online Here and another Post about Hochgebirgsstauseen Here.

Happy weekend everyone. Tchüss!

Random Ramblings : Dear Tourist, please unlock your Love…

Put your love on the wall ( East Side Gallery , Berlin 2019)

Who among you is enamored ( or had been, never was, or has future plans ) by these love -locks mania?

Is it only me or others also find it fascinating (or rather intriguing) to ask why people wants to put love locks on bridges, walls railings, fences, or to other odd places ? In the first place, padlocks belongs to doors and gates and not on bridges!

I was inspired to write this post because some time ago, I heard my Colleague sharing her story about her daughter who has a boyfriend. On her birthday she asked her mother for a gift, a very special gift— a “Liebeschlosser” in Deutsch or personalized engraved love lock ! With the name of the couple of course.Where they are going to hang it I didn’t bother to ask anymore!

See, honestly, it’s hard not to ignore them , they are almost everywhere! Crossing the bridge full of padlocks will definitely redirect your focus. I wanted to look at the city view but I can’t even have a better view because the bridge is so full of tourists–everybody ogling around the padlocks!

Just look at all those heart-shaped little piece of metal. I’ve seen that the new fad comes even with a photo! Look closely and you will realize that it becomes a human nature. People from different origin are doing it.Wanting to do it, and maybe already bought a padlock to put it somewhere.

They are unbelievably insane in numbers! All of these locks with inscriptions, in different colors, size and design composed a debatable grafitti--an undeniably vandalism of natural scenic spots. All for the sake of going through the “fad”or ” tourist trap”, “photo point” or whatever you call it. The effect can already be seen–some key states already started the padlock ban !

But what really drives people ( or couples) to “bridged” and locked their love? perhaps a travel culture, or just a plain tourist trap dilemma? Netherlands has another fad–locking their bikes along the canal bridges, and that’s another story.

Bridges full enough along the canals in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

From the place where I grew up, we never have this kind of love lock bridges, ( or not that I know of, or have seen!) nor that I’ve seen something like this in Kuwait either. First, padlocks are not cheap and rivers are already contaminated and adding keys will definitely pose another environmental problem. Just imagine the amount of padlocks that were removed from Paris that ‘s almost over a million padlocks that weights more than 45 tonnes! That was a sensational issue.

It’s not for sure a European thing because I’ve noticed that in many different parts of the world, there are definitely magnets for romantics to put a chain of their love ! It’s crazy just seeing the amount of padlocks and how multi-lingual the inscriptions, it’s really international! Even here in my little town of Ingolstadt, where Audi’s and BMW’s parades the streets, but also, our bridges are getting “heavy”and “heavier” because people are also putting more and more their love on chains! All for the sake of “Liebe“.

A love lock chained in the bridge in Salzsach river in Salzburg in Austria

I noticed that this thing became a thing in almost big cities. Started in Paris and now, almost big cities have their own bridge of love locks attraction. People picked-up the habit of buying locks, engraving their names, and chaining their hearts on these metals hooked up in bridges, throw the keys and then left. What is astonishing is that so many shops sells these stuff! If there were no padlocks, of course this “business” will not thrived as well. I noticed that many locks are written with different languages so people from different places really contribute to this commotion of locks in bridges.

How to kill time with a toddler : Bring them to a bridge full of padlocks and let them read all the names, better let them count the lovelocks.

Big balls of Love from Bavaria
Love padlocks invade the world!

Have you ever tried putting your love in chains?

If given the chance, would you ever put a padlock for your love on a bridge?

We can never be Royals | Tourism

“We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams! “
Horse-Drawn carriage are always a magnet for Tourism, everywhere, anywhere!
{Salzburg, summer of August 2019}

My very good friend TheSnowmeltsSomewhere is hosting a great Friendly Friday Photo Challenge and I thought I might join in. I haven’t done any Photo Challenges in ages for lack of time to write. Today I managed to squeezed some time and come up with this Post and just purely excited to be able to share something in this wonderful community once again. This week’s theme is Tourism and Overtourism and here’s a photo on how I best see it.

Whenever I see Horse- driven carriages, the first thing that comes to my mind is : Tourists! Where there are horses or camels, there will be tourists!

Tourism in Salzburg : Fancy Horses on one fancy sightseeing ride of your life!

I don’t know about you but in most places I’ve visited, these horse-drawn carriage is always on sight. It’s definitely a top-thing to- do for most people who likes to be pampered and experience royalty even for quite a while. Let’s admit,it feels good to be seated on these carriages, it’s cozy, comfy and definitely a magnet for attention. It’s also pure business, a means to makes money and everything.Not to mention the issues of animal cruelty, this tourist top-to-do is slowly running down the hill.

In Salzburg, The Fiaker Carriages ( horse-drawn carriages) used to be the personal and official transportation of the Prince- archbishops. In this lovely city of Mozart , 14 carriages are lined up everyday in front of Residenzplatz square offerring various sightseeing tours such as “The Sound of Music Tour”, “History of Music Tour”and many more.

If you are willing to pay for a 50-minutes tour of the city with reservation including pick-up at the hotel or from another location in the city for 200 Euros per carriage (4-5 persons) or 340 Euros for the larger hackney carriage (10 persons), then, probably it’s a chance to feel like Royalty!

Writing this post made me remember when we visited the “Marstall “in the Thurn und Taxis Palace in Regensburg where we saw the museum filled with different Royal Carriages that belongs to the Royal family. Every piece is pure image of luxury and royalty.

Be it drawn by Horses, Camels, Carabao or cows, it doesn’t matter, the joy of the trip lies on the ride..

Swarovski Crystal Worlds , A Sparkling place for everyone!

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The Giant, guarding the entrance to the Chambers of Wonders in the Swarovski Crystal World.

I think we’ve just got lucky!

New Year started off with  bright, shimmering sparkles for us, because we found ourselves in the beautiful Winter Wonderland of Crystals—-where else, but  in the Headquarters of Swarovski Crystals in Wattens, Austria! Well, not everyone would consider this place as  a Bucket-List sort of thing, but If you love Crystals and you have a thing for Arts, plus you are in the vicinity of Innsbruck, then this can be a great getaway for everyone in the family!

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Killer view of the rings of snow-capped mountains!

As for me, I love the unique sparkle of Crystals. I like the simple beauty of it whether it’s in a form of jewelry or from an art installation. I have learned that it takes talent and high-end technology to come out with these gorgeous creation. The sparkle is something magical and when you wear something that blings, plus you feel good about it ,then nobody can take away that from you, regardless of how much it costs.

 

So when we’ve learned that the Swarovski HQ is just half an hour drive from Innsbruck, we decided to give it a go. At first I was just super curious of what’s all about the face of the Giant,I’ve only seen it in photos, so I wanted to know the concept behind it. The Giant, is one-of a kind symbol, that is the face of Swarovski, same as the Swan as its current symbol.I find it fascinating how from 1899, Swarovski uses the Edelweiss flower as its logo. Edelweiss symbolizes  Alpinism and purity, for a fact that Edelweiss is one of the most beloved flowers in Austria.

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Into the Lattice Sun exhibit by Lee Bul inside the Chambers of Wonders

All my questions were lost as we stepped into the magical world of the huge Krystallwelten. My eyes feasted, and my mind marveled into the artistic creations that are on display. The company itself , which operates in roughly 2,800 stores in around 170 countries,  and employs more than 32,000 employees, and has a revenue of about 2.6 billion euros (in 2016) looks magnanimous against the azure mountains,it stands out among the hilly country side of Wattens. Now I understand why people from different parts of the world traveled half across the globe just to see what’s in this place. Swarovski is still Innsbruck’s #1 Tourist attraction! Thanks to the great mind of Daniel Swarovski, the founder of Swarovski Crystal Dynasty, a humble glass cutter, and a genius to create a Diamond for everyone!

If you are interested to know how it all started, from Daniel Swarovski’s  humble beginnings to what Swarovski is now to the world, here I found an interesting Swarovski story.

I, myself were fascinated of how crystal is being made, so it’s just fitting to share with you what I’ve found out about the art of making Crystals. The modern Crystal museum is not just a shop where you buy a piece of crystal jewelry. The whole place itself is a platform for Arts with the theme of Crystal, thus making it a top-ranking  Austrian tourist destination for its modern Architecture and facilities. Maybe not everyone loves Art or jewelry, but I must say that the Artistic installations there conveys great minds and concept, and of course  guarantees delight for everyone in the family no matter what the weather is.

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The Giant of Wattens!

Its winter time and just in time for the New Year, so  the whole place is still heavily decorated with Winter Magic Moments where the visualizations were designed by Tord Boontje. There’s a giant Christmas Tree ,carousel and many unique art installations glittering with lights can be seen in the gardens.When we arrived at the Arrival’s Hall where we got our tickets, we already have the glimpse of the grand entrance to the Chambers of Wonders, with The Giant of Wattens, slightly covered in snow and foliage, with its glistening eyes and  mouth  flowing with water.The world renowned-landmark of the World of Crystals created by the great mind of  multi-media Artist, André Heller!

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Magical Winter Moments in the  Swarovski Krystalwellten

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Shimmering bright lights in Swarovski Crystal Worlds!

 

Chambers of Wonders

Little that the world know, inside the Swarovski Crystal Worlds are 16 Chambers of Wonders.These are  special chambers designed by  world-class talented Artists showing their inspiring creations.

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A hallway full of cascading Crystal Chandeliers and Crystal art installation (Into Lattice Sun)

The Artists have one goal in their mind:

Nurturing the sense of wonder of every visitor who came to Wattens! This place offers more than the bling. So it’s not only a place to buy crystal jewelry, it is a place that displays innovative Crystal Technology and artistic minds, with crystal as the main component!

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Mechanical Theater inside the Chambers of Wonders

Some of the notable Artists and Art installations  that I personally found to be inspiring were :

Manish Arora’s “Ready to Love” is super colorful, funky, with dancing lights and a stairs full of colorful inscriptions with the theme Love.It is so fresh and luxurious that my daughter was so delighted to see this.If you are traveling with children, a place like this might be boring for them, but in the chamber of “Ready to Love”, it looks like it’s a colorful play area with interacting lights.

André Heller’s “Heroes of Peace” is an interactive stage.  Heller designed an accessible explorable theater for all the senses to inspire, amuse and fill up the audience with positive energy. We saw Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi in a hologram-filled space! Looks eerie at first, but it’s quite high-tech!

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El Sol by Fernando Romero

Fernando Romero’s ” El Sol “ is a stunning art installation which focuses on man’s relationship with the sun. This is by far my favorite since it reminds me of the stunning Winter sunsetscapes that I saw while I’m in Tyrol. El Sol is a one-of a kind, large geodesic structure,mimicking the sun made up of 2, 880 individually manufactured Swarovski crystals!

Eden forest in Swarovski
The grandest and biggest Crystal I have ever seen in my life!

Another beautiful sight inside the Chambers of Wonders is the “The Eden” by Fredrikson Stalard . For me, it is unique, and I love the mystery. My daughter enjoyed this one too. It’s like she is walking in a maze. It’s a forest-fantasy in an archaic, primeval world. At its entrance, a waterfall, filmed in the surrounding Alps, cascades down a screen and is reflected by the walls, while the roar of the water permeates the entire Chamber of Wonder, creating a wall of background sound. Inside, the visitor follows a path that meanders through a dense wilderness of simple polished brass structures, which through mirrored walls appear to go on to infinity.

Within the depths of this dark forest, the wanderer encounters strange, hidden gems in the form of the biggest crystals Swarovski has ever produced. They emerge as beacons of light from the dark, like strange, exotic birds, reptiles, flowers, or fruit, symbolizing the magnificence of nature and the origins of life.

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Talking about Crystals…!

For the rest of the Chambers of Wonders are listed Here. Seeing them one by one is like being transported into a magical world  one after the other where Swarovski crystals shines the best.

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Shop display inside the Swarovski shop

 

Of course, inside as well  is the tempting shop of Swarovski where we’ve seen all beautiful things out of crystals! Adjacent to the Chambers of Wonders is the Swarovski Shop where you can mesmerized yourself with all the beautiful jewelry and items offered by Swarovski. They are currently having a huge Sale so visitors are really flocking and hoarding over it.

We went out to grab a bite inside Daniel’s Cafe & Restaurant which is also dynamically designed. It is very spacious and we loved the food.The price was reasonable and their service is excellent.

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Crystal Clouds and Mirror Pool

Outside, we marvel along the beautiful Crystal Clouds installations.We visited on a snowy, cloudy day but still, the sight of the Krystallwolke is something  that amazes me. It’s made up of 800,000 crystal jewels embedded in a net like structure to mimic  clouds.It is designed by Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot.

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The Playtower inside the Swarovski Crystal Worlds

We continue to wander off through all the Kunst im Garten ( Art in the Garden), Labyrinth (Maze), Roman Excavations, and go inside their one-of -a kind Spielturm ( Playtower) .This is a place that my daughter loves, so do we!She needed a time to release her energy so this place really comes handy.

 

They have a state of the art indoor playground and a tower that is completely amazing! The view from inside seeing the mountains is beautiful even on a cloudy day.The façades of the tower, designed by architecture firm Snøhetta, consist of 160 crystalline facets, though no two are exactly alike. The panes are imprinted with an innovative pattern of millions of tiny animal motifs. The view from inside to outside is visible at all times and at night, the structure is a spectacular body of light.

I have seen that not only  children love this place but also their parents who played with them. There are slide tunnels, maze, puzzles and bouncing areas. Outside there is also an Outdoor playground, a Labyrinth maze and so much more.

To cap up our Swarovski experience, I could say that it has been a well-spent day. I did not expect that my husband would love this place but He said that He actually enjoyed it.We haven’t seen all the other attractions since its cold outside but then, there is always a reason to come back.

How did you start your year?

Do you like Swarovski Crystals over other type of jewelry?

Would you like to visit this place given a chance?

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you follow #myInnsbruck experience from my other posts about our New Year experience in the Alps.

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

Tschüss!

 

 

 

 

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!

10 Reasons why I love Austria in Winter

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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People of Austria – A day in the life of shoveling the snow.

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Exploring Tirol in a horse driven carriage

1.Because there is SNOW!

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

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

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Frozen berries and the Zugspitz mountain

2.Because the Mountain  is calling!

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

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Cable car ride with a toddler!

3.Because there is the Wintersport!

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

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

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Snow capped pine trees during our hike

4.Because getting there is so accessible.

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

Important Tip:

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

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Local sightings during our adventure hike

5.Because your stomach will be pampered!

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

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

Where to Eat :

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

6.Because getting around is so easy and convenient.

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

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

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Local sightings in Kirchplatz, Ehrwald

7.Because Nature here is something Surreal.

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

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A Bucketlist : Zugspitz mountain

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

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

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

Travel Tip :

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

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

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Signage in the adventure trail to Ehrwald, Lermoos & Biberwier

9.Because Winterwandern is amazing!

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

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

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Exploring the Winter wonderland village of Biberwier

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A peek into Liechtensteinklamm | Narrow

 

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Gorge of Liechtenstein in Sankt Johann Alpendorf

Narrow cut above one’s Head 

The Liechtenstein Gorge is not only one of the most beautiful, it is also one of the longest and deepest accessible wild water ravines in the Alps. This magnificent natural phenomenon is well worth a look.Everyone who visited this place left amazed by this wonderful natural rocks.

The rock faces rising up on either side are so constricted in places that the sky is visible only as a narrow cut above one’s head. This natural wonder so fascinated visitors that in 1875, through generous donations by the Prince of Liechtenstein, bridges and overpasses were created for the wider public. More than 10 million people from around the world have since visited this magnificent natural phenomenon,  enchanted by the almost ghostly exchange of light and shadow created by the steepness of the rock walls and narrowness of the chasm.

So not all Narrow things are annoying, something like this can be quite fascinating!

When was the last time you really squeeze yourself just to gazed into wonderful views of natural rock formation as this?

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

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Solar Eclipse in our Living Room!

Have you ever witnessed a Solar Eclipse?

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* 1999 Solar Eclipse viewed in Salzburg,Austria  (Photo Credit to my amazing Dutchie  Husband)

I did, but I was too young to document or even photographed it. I remember in grade school that we are advised to wear dark sunglasses and spread ourselves outside to watch a solar eclipse.Then we need to write something about it just how we have seen it. I grew up in South Pacific area where there are notably numbers of Solar eclipses have been visible. It was a great childhood memory.

An eclipse is a natural phenomenon. Nevertheless, in some ancient and modern cultures, solar eclipses have been attributed to supernatural causes or regarded as bad omens. A total solar eclipse can be frightening to people who are unaware of its astronomical explanation, as the Sun seems to disappear during the day and the sky darkens in a matter of minutes.I remember that when I was small, we have stories that monsters appears during Eclipses!!

My husband spent his holidays mostly in Austria. Other than skiing, He just enjoy it there and a pure wanderer. On his vacation, it just happened that He was one fine lucky Dutchie who witnessed the Solar Eclipse in Salzburg, Austria last 1999 among thousands of tourists who flew over just for this event.

This is one of the most-viewed Solar Eclipse in the history !

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The DOM in Salzburg where reflection of the sun  can be seen during partial eclipse,1999,Salzburg Austria

It was the first total eclipse visible from Europe since 22 July 1990, and the first visible in the United Kingdom since 29 June 1927.It lasted of about 2 minutes and 23 seconds from Romania with the greatest Eclipse point.

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The view of the partly hidden sun in the walls of the cathedral. (Photo credits to my awesome Husband for capturing all these photos!)

The solar eclipse was seen in a central part of Europe, such as Southern Germany, Austria and further eastwards.
He chose to be going to Salzburg for that day, knowing that the solar  eclipse would be totally 100% visible there, unlike further north and south where the eclipse would be partial. Like many others , He was lucky enough to find a spot  on the bleachers in front of the Dom in Salzburg. The bleachers were placed for the annual ‘Festspiele’.
The weather that day started with some drizzle, but the time the eclipse was about to start, the sky was clear.Then the show begins.

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1999 Solar Eclipse (Photo credit to one lucky Dutchie)

During the time the eclipse was not yet 100%, it was possible to see the reflection of the partly hidden sun on the Dom, as it was not possible to look directly at this without special glasses, which are like extremely dark sunglasses. During the few minutes the eclipse was 100% is was possible to look at the ” WONDER” of seeing the
 Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks (“occults“) the Sun. This can happen only at new moon, when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth in an alignment referred to as syzygy. In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon. In partial and annular eclipses, only part of the Sun is obscured.
Only for those who have been so lucky or fortunate to have seen a full solar eclipse can understand why people fly over the world to experience one. Sighs!
Indeed witnessing something as spectacular as this could change your view about astronomy, space, the earth and your own life.
This is indeed  one beautiful experience that is just worthy of remembering every now & then. In our new living room now hangs 4 of the fine shots of this wonderful event that would be remembered forever. My husband framed it and now we have a full view of it everyday!

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Framed memoirs of a Solar Eclipse ,Salzburg-Austria 1999

Do you like this idea? How do you keep your travel memories alive?
It’s still in my wish list to watch another Solar Eclipse like this with my daughter. I’m sure it’s going to be a great experience as well.
For those who wants to have this kind of experience, The next Solar Eclipse will be on August 21, 2017. The total solar eclipse will be visible from most locations in the United States. This eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse visible from contiguous United States since 1979.
You can check out Here to find out more.
Again, thank you for reading my friends!