Romantic Road trip in Bavaria : Füssen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mädchenbrunnen in Füssen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Lautermacherbrunnen” in the old town city of Füssen

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

Until next time, Tschüss!

Tschüss Kindergarten, Hallo Schultüte!

Tchüss Kindergarten, Hallo Schultüte!

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

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

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

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

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

What is a ” Schultüte” ?

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

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

Why German Schulranzen is Unique?

The Backpack and the School cone (Schultüte)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Day to remember

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

Neuschwanstein Castle: A Fairytale land in Bavaria

Schloss Neuschwanstein, a Fairytale castle in Bavaria

Defintely a dream come true for me.

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

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

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

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

Neauschwanstein Castle, the Castle that survived 2 World Wars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just imagine that...

New Swan Stone Castle ( or Neuschswanstein)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Kinder Malen sich Selbst ” Exhibition in Schloss Blutenberg, Münich

One of the best thing that happened to us during Corona Lockdown was that my daughter´s painting was selected to be inluded in the Exhibit for ” Kinder Malen sich Selbst” ( Children, paint yourselves!) exhibition in Münich. I am a proud parent of a 5 year old kid that is inclined to arts at a young age as this! I am wondering what am I doing when I was 5 years old?She is really an epitome´ of an international expat kid–born in Kuwait, of Dutch & Asian origins, and raised in Germany and now, she just had her own drawing escapade!

From March, right at the beginning of the Corona virus global outbreak, the Library began to asks children around the world to participate to draw themselves what they feel about Corona.At first it was a virtual collection of drawings of children how do they feel during the tough times of Corona Pandemic then they began to collect the drawings as well.These are gorgeous collection of children´s talent, thoughts, visions, and feelings which travelled from different countries to Germany. This exhibit was arranged by the International Youth Library ( Internationale Jugendbibliothek, IJB ) in the Herrenhaus Foyer of Schloss Blutenberg.

Of course I am the most excited for everything! Like an overreacting stage mother, we were all ecstatic to see finally the Exhibit. We are still in Summer break so decided to go to Munich to see it.For my daughter who was only 5 years old when she did the drawing, I think the whole experience was also great.To think that she almost tore away the drawing and I was able to save it. She was so happy to know that her drawing was selected among many others, and it is now displayed there up until September 9,2020. With Corona restrictions, the exhibitions follows strict hygienic controls, with masks and reduction of visitors inside the halls.

Because of Corona, children cannot go out and play outside. She wanted to play football so she draw a portrait saying she wants to play Football, but then scared of the threats of the Corona Virus.

From the beginning, Ms. Weber , who was the one coordinating with me of the drawing submission was very kind and helpful. I was even glad that finally I can write an email in English and not in German !Aside from the helpful assistance in the exhibition, we were ushered to see the amazing Libray archives which really took our breath away. The underground cellar beneath the castle courtyard is the place of extensive collection of books from different times, era, period, languages and countries. It is really an international place.No wonder most of the staff are speaking different languages! From the reception in the entrance of the castle, I heard someone speaking in Hindi, and many guests came from Asia, including Japan and Korea. Even the featured children´s stories were of Japanese origins!It is really a great feeling to belong to such a friendly multi-cultural community like this here in Germany. It was nice to see Asian mothers for a change. 🙂

The Library have accumulated a total of 650,000 children & adult books from different times and periods from 240 languages and covering 4 centuries! I think this is the biggest & extensive Library I ahve ever been to. There are so many different ” Mark Twain´s ” books in different versions and languages in one single shelf that I have ever seen in my whole life. I don´t even know where to start.Also, the Library possesed 30,000 volumes of Scholarly Literature and about 130 current subscriptions to specialized literary journals. If you love Literature and children´s books—this is the best place to be!

We were told that the Internationale Jugendbibliothek in Münich is the biggest International Library for Youth and children´s literature in the world! It´s setting is like a fairytale castle—the Schloss Blutenberg.

These 2 paintings draws my attention, one from Iran and one from the Philippines. I am sure these children would love to see their artwork personally as well if given the chance considering the travel restrictions due to Corona. I have read that the Library also grants scholarships to Foreign scholars with the objective of supporting research in the areas of international children and youth´s literature, illustration and promoting scientific exchange and international cooperation.

Aside from the Exhibition, the castle itself and its courtyard is beautiful. Founded in 1949 by a German Journalist, Author and Translator Jella Lepman, this Library has a vision to build bridges for children with books and open windows to the world.

Surrounded with lush greens, lake, and the flowing river makes the castle an idyllic setting.There are different Summer programs , Open Air concerts in the castle´s courtyards and a nice quaint Restaurant with a view of the lake. There was even a wedding in the time of our visit.

We enjoyed the story telling stations, the other exhibitions like the Internationale Wimmelbücher, ” Die Ganze Welt auf einer Seite” ( also collected from different parts of the world!) and the Illustrations of letter Postal envelopes “ Oh wie Bezaubernd Schön !” by the amazing Binette Schroeder. There was huge collection of her illustrated books, objects, mementos,and children toys that are really captivating! My daughter found a little door, I never thought of it as a cabinet! Then she asked me ” Mama, can I open the little door?” .I never thought there was something in there but then to our surprise, there it was…the jewel of the palace, the Binette Schroeder-Kabinett!” There was a little world inside there that captures every child´s heart.

Absorbed in this small, yet wonderful world of Binette Schroeder-Kabinett.
Thank you International Youth Library!!

It was a wonderful experience and I am so glad that my kid loves to read and appreciates reading at a young age. It was really a great experience and we will be back for sure to Schloss Blutenberg. I did not expect that during Corona times, we will discover another world of love for reading and children´s literature.

As an expat Mama here in Germany, I certainly commend that we have the opportunity for great Libraries and children´s learning mediums!

Chasing the Fog in Summer

The row of trees hidden when the clouds touches the waters

I went out as usual with my morning run and the moment I stepped out of the door, a blanket of Fog greeted me. I thought what is this?! A misty morning? or Autumn came early?

Its like stepping into a surprise illusion where I see drizzles and rain just about to pour the heavens out of me.But honestly speaking, German weather never fails to surprise me!It changes everytime and you can´t do anything about it.

A rough chilly wind also came into gush but then I went on with setting my running app. No time to waste since we have lots to do on this day so I went on. I thought this would be an exciting run since its actually my first time running with a Fog, mist, clouds on the ground or whatever you call it so I better get into my goal as well.

How is fog possible in warm summer days?

Almost zero visibility that It feels like I am in another world

Visibility in fog is less than 1 km so it can really be eerie. I remember one time we were driving along Autobahn and there was a thick fog and it looks dangerous!Beautiful and yet dangerous, that´s what fog brings. I have read quite something about this so then it makes sense to me now. Both mist and fog are caused by microscopic water droplets suspended in the air. The visibility depends on how far light can travel before too much of it is randomly scattered by hitting droplets. The bigger and closer together the droplets are the smaller this distance is. In mist the droplets are very tiny, in fog they are bigger. When droplets exceed about 200 micrometres in diameter they tend to fall earthwards and are called drizzle!

It felt surreal running with thick fog in front of me. I am looking alert if there is someone cycling in front of me. I started slow because I wanted to enjoy as well the beautiful landscape.Looking around brings me memories from my frequent morning walks in Autumn where it is always “Neblig” in German ( German word for Foggy ), btw, Nebel is the German word for Fog.

Staring at spider webs caught in a mystical tangle

I pursue running and as I was bent on finishing my target distance. I also know that fog dissapear quickly so I quickly took some photos before its gone.I don´t like to quickly wake up from a sweet dream.The more that I am distracted by the Fog, the more that I find it mystical.We always have foggy mornings here in Germany especially in Fall, but in Summer, this is not the ordinary.

Looks mysterious and yet exciting.

I remember the Autumn days where I am also chasing Fogs. I love it, I love the mystery , the quest and everything. Think of something so precious but then it doesn´t last long.

I think there is something about when clouds touches the ground and bring a nostalgic charm on ordinary days. It had been raining for 3 consecutive days over here and the waters of the river and the dam is monitored. Too much rain, too much water, so the fog wants to join in.

Cycling on a foggy morning over Glacisbrücke

I think trees doesn´t mind the sudden change in atmosphere either.They had a great rainshowers, bent and feeling overwhelmed by wetness and they wanted to kiss the river as well.There are lots of picturesque looks of nature on a weather like these but then here are some of my favourites…

Dewy kissed flowers

Once I reached the other side of the river,I took a short break and gasped in surprise. The river looks like a flood of chocolate drink being stirred by unknown force. The wind is chilly and the sound of the loud waters keeps on bothering me. It looks scary enough, the current is really strong.This is definitely the day to remember when the clouds finally kissed the ground and melts with the waters of the river.

The wild fields covered in a morning Fog
The Danube river is shrouded with thick Fog
Not your ordinary day
Let us learn from the trees about resilience
One fine day where I see when the clouds touches the grounds.

The fact is, I don´t have the right to complain about nature´s priceless beauty. I am just thankful to be alive and was able to see today´s wonderful miracle.

There is a light at the end of the road

I wonder when will I see Fog again..maybe tomorrow? or maybe soon…

More of my Fog stories can be found Here… and also another interesting throwback about the Big Balls of Bavaria, also a beautiful scenery shot in a Foggy morning. Or what about watching some wonderful Sunrise and sunsets for a change?

Surviving lockdown :Corona balcony party

Party during Corona? Are you crazy?!!

That is the exact words from my friend whom I sent a couple of photos of what my neighborhood looks like at night. She said it´s unbelievably absurd…and yes crazy, but then it is quite cool!

Oh yes, we have lights, plenty of amazing bright lights!

It started last week, a few days before Easter. The music from upstairs starts to play and it was a little bit louder than the usual range. First they played some soft rock songs then they start to play Queen songs. I got excited because yes…I am a big fan of Queen!!

When they play “Don’t stop me now” and then “Bohemian Rhapsody“…I know exactly what my daughter will do. Immediately, she ran up to me and said ” Mama, it´s Queen, one of your favorurite songs, Mama, let´s listen!, let´s go out!They are having a party, let us join them !!!

…and so it begun…

We live in a family house with three apartments built together creating a roundabout of balconies. We live on the Erdgeschoss ( main floor) so we see all the balconies from other apartments. We are blessed to have an ample place to lounge in the garden; a terrace and a place for my daughter to ran around and play. It has been a great help during the lockdown since we can`t visit playgrounds. Once I saw the ropes connecting to each balconies with tiny bags on each of them I knew exactly what is going on. It´s like ” Repunzel, let down your hair!!!”, a modern connection made possible by the Corona lockdown. But how could you have a party with social distancing ? No problem, we can still say “ Prost! ” ( or cheers) even we are on a distance. My neighbour from upstairs always give a warm surprise to my daughter and she adores them and we love them as well. Of course not because of their gifts ( but sometimes she really does…) but they are totally sweet, kind and very symphathetic, very genuine neighbours and we are blessed enough to have open minded people around us. They would let down a tiny basket with chocolates, toys and many more. As with my other neighbours, I personally don´t know each of them, I really don´t have any clue. Before, only a quick Hi and Hello in the garage to some of them or bumping into each other along the pathway is our only connection, not more than that. Not until the Corona balcony party that I´ve seen some of their faces and knew them a little bit more. The moment my daughter is out in the garden, she starts to call them and chatted with them, as if she knew them for a long time. It is unbelievably so easy for kids to win friends!

But how do we do it? Distance is really not a problem, it makes things even more exciting. We are not heavy drinkers and I think I am already too old for partying :-). We are happy when we enjoy a beer during Spring festivals and a glass of wine on some nights but definitely we love music and hearing them when children are already tucked up in bed. The brilliant idea of connecting a rope to each balcony to send things like drinks, snacks or a simple baked goodies in lieu of social distancing paved way to new friendships and connections, especially during dire times of lockdown. We´re not allowed to get together so this makes things possible.We stayed in each balconies and terraces, separated by hedges and thin fences. Mind you, here in Germany, especially here in Bavaria, they value their personally privacy so much. And there´s of course the ” Rühetag Sonntag or the Quiet Sunday. You need to think twice before playing loud music and partying especially surrounded with some strict neighbours and traditional Bavarians. I think respect to others is self explanatory so no harm done.

For a change of hearing daily all these awful dreadful Corona virus death toll and news worldwide, we opt to recline in our chairs and enjoy a drink even for a couple of hours!

We created a Whatsapp group in order to communicate with each other effectively.We have a DJ who control the playlist and we can request songs that we love to hear. Each one put on some colorful lights in the balcony ! I realized that we cannot do this during Christmas season and enjoy bright lights because it would be too cold to sit down outside.One of my beautiful neighbour even played the guitar and sing for us. Now everyone of us knows this song about Dinosaur! Actually, it´s just like one of those Grill parties that we normally do during warm long summer days, where its still very bright even at 9 PM. The difference now is that we stayed in our balconies and don´t personally mingle. This situation made me realized that it is also essential to have a healthy relationship with your neighbours regardless of the situation. By now we should accept that this will be forever written in our history so why noht make the good out of it, after all, we are still alive. What I appreciate from my neighbours is that we checked up on each other , considering that we have couple of old people that would probably needing help in case anyone got sick. If anybody is not in the mood for loud music or chilling out in their balconies, they can just simply not join in and we make sure that we play tolerable volume of music and definitely not on Sundays!

We don´t know yet until when will this crisis last, so why not think outside of the box…? whatever it is, either a simple drink or just a quick break from your normal hysteria, or watching the sun goes down while listening to your favorite music, it doesn´t matter, it´s your inner peace, safety and sanity counts!

What do you think about this idea?

How is your neighbourhood coping up with the lockdown?

Until next time my friends, take care and stay safe!

Ruhetag Sonntag | Silent Sunday

Another beautiful morning with the sun just about to burst along the Danube River

There is something like “Ruhetag Sonntag” ( or Quiet Sunday) we have here in Germany. While in other parts of the world, Sunday is more like normal weekend day, it is not so here in Germany. It was quite a shock for me when I first came here because I’ve got used to having Sundays as a time where I can enjoy the shops and do shopping since it’s a normal rest day from work.

Ruhe Sonntag in Deutschland means “Ruhe”or rest, quiet, silent, and it is actually a law here. Don’t mess up with this tradition especially if you are in Southern Bavaria. You can’t even make too much noise like vacuuming because it will disturb your neighbor. One time, my husband mow the lawn and our neighbor raised their eyebrows and informed us that it’s better to do it on other days. If you plan to drill or play loud music, then you need to think twice again.

If you forgot to do your groceries then good luck to you.Don’t get me wrong, Germans loves to shop. But it really makes sense that they always do their groceries with their lovely wooden baskets on week-days. I find it really interesting to see their baskets in their bicycles filled with daily groceries. I spotted many old people visiting a shop buying a bottle of something, fruits or the recent “Angebot” of a local supermarket. On Sunday, supermarkets are closed and you can’t find anywhere to buy your chicken or fruits. It is very rare that shops are open on Sundays, only on few festivals and night fairs.

Train-spotting in Mittenwald on a Sunday Ruhetag

Every Sunday, everything is closed, that includes shops, mall, offices and almost everything. Only bakeries, restaurants, gas stations and of course, Beer gardens are open for business. Train stations are open so as the train operations so you can still take your train and go wherever you want to go.Bus service are also available during Sundays but they run on fewer schedules. Normally you need to wait almost an hour for the interval of the trips.

So what do Germans normally do on this day?

I live in Ingolstadt, a budding town here in Bavaria ( or Bayern) where people greets you with Servus instead of Hello. A place where people wear Dirndl and Lederhosen on almost every occasion, even on weddings! Bavarians are very traditional and Catholicism is seen into everyday life. And while the practice is based on faith, it’s also a law.

Article 139 of the German constitution states, “Sunday and holidays recognized by the state shall remain protected by law as days of rest from work and of spiritual improvement.”

I have been observing what’s going on here in my neighborhood during Sundays. Normally people sleep in during weekends so if you are an early riser like me, you can enjoy nature all by yourself. Many Germans ( or I dunno exactly where they came from!) loved doing some kind of sport during Sundays. They love to run, jog and walk no matter what the weather is. Sundays are also perfect for cycling especially if the weather is fine.

The silent beauty and calm waters of the Danube River

One of the frequent place to visit on a lazy Ruhetag Sonntag is this view of the river Donau ( Danube) from the Glacis Brücke ( or Glacis Bridge /Bruckenkopft). Here you can have a beautiful view of the foliage and colorful trees especially in Autumn. I often visited this bridge for a morning walk and here I discovered the beauty behind the mist.

A dewy Autumn morning on a silent Sunday in Germany

In the other places where I’ve lived, we lost our wallets for shopping, especially if there are so many Sales.Not so here in Germany. Sunday is a sacred day for the Germans. Germany and many of its European counterparts held a long resistance to Sunday shopping, despite that they have a good economy. I lived in Bavaria, a very conservative region, and most of the smaller Bavarian towns, Sunday is a time for reflection.

Take a seat, relax and enjoy the view.
The day belongs to those who wakes up early on Sundays!

People here also go to church on Sundays. But I notice that this practice of faith is not the same as in Philippines where there are really massive church goers. Same goes in Kuwait where Muslim people visits the mosque on Fridays, I tell you, the crowd going to pray in Mosques is big. Here, it’s also very quiet in the church, on many days, its empty. but I admit that they have beautiful churches. I find it quite funny that there are more people going to Oktoberfest or in Volksfest, or just sit in their favorite Beer garden on Sundays, rather than the number of people going to church .

Sunday is a day of rest, so everyone deserves to have a rest from work as well. Common people visits their Oma and Opa, having family lunches and taking a walk together. On Summer, you will noticed that most Spielplatz ( or playgrounds) are full of children with their parents having a morning play time together. Many mothers are having a playgroup meet up in parks and having a picnic. Staying indoors is really a second option only when the weather is not good.I have the feeling that after living here for almost three years, it is like a sin if you don’t go out. People here just love enjoying open places, fresh air and healthy options.

Black Swan

How do you spend your Sundays?

Do you also observe special traditions in your town?

Until next time, Get out, relax, spend time with your love ones. Drink beer and sit in the Beer garden if you like, after all…. it’s Silent Sunday!

Tschüss!

Cruising through two rivers, from Kelheim to Weltenburg

Oh hello September and Servus from Bavaria!

Yesterday was the first day of school here in Bavaria, for most parents like me, it’s one of the times we anticipate. We can’t afford a vacation of more than 6 weeks so we’ve survived the “Urlaubzeit” (or summer break) by doing “small vacations“. Budget wise and travel-wise, it’s all our deal to keep the little one busy and for us to keep the day going keeping with our day jobs!

We’ve been to the Hops fields which get us up close and personal about the raw material of German beers, One of the most memorable thing we’ve done was cruising into two rivers in one day without breaking our budget!And yes, toddlers enjoy boat trips as well!

But first, what do you think of the view below?

Bavaria, you are beautiful!
One of the best kept hidden beauty in Bavaria– cruising in two rivers from Kelheim to Weltenburg and ogling the Danube Gorge.

Yes, we sailed by boat through this Gorge! On the heat of summer , we discovered another nature adventure, and yes, we didn’t need to travel so far. Just approx. 1 hour max. (55 kms) drive from Ingolstadt, we head towards to the tranquil city of Kelheim. Kelheim is another beautiful town here in Bavaria which is known for its Kings, Celtics and Dukes and the relaxing boat trips along rivers of Bavaria. Thank God for the Dutch husband that discover this excursion trip, if not for him, I wouldn’t be able to see the hidden beauty of the Danube Gorge! Kelheim is also famous for its natural attractions because of its nature reserves, adventure hiking trails, cycling adventures, and the city’s cultural heritage. It lies within the proximity of the Danube river and so close to the Naturpark Altmühltal. Together with my parents in law and my ever active 5 year old story teller, we got our Tickets and boarded our boat ( MS Ludwig the Kelheimer ), that’s going to sail us through two rivers — the Danube and the Altmühl!

We decided to take the ship and explore the Danube Gorges up to the Monastery of Weltenburg but the weather kept on bothering me. But then we stick to our plan and off we go. In the middle of the trip, we were greeted by fleets of heavy delusions of rain that we almost cringed and wanted to go back home! How on earth can we have a boat trip in this rain? But then we continue driving. Tell you frankly, this trip reminds me so much of the boat trip we made when we are in Regensburg where we made an excursion up to the Walhalla, or the German Parthenon!

For those of you who doesn’t know, Southern Germany is famous because, it is Bavaria, the only Bavaria, the beautiful region in southern Germany where Castles and dreams go together so good. Plus, we have King Ludwig. When he is on his rule, he kept himself busy building his dream castles. He is really a one of a kind.The king of sky- is- the limit , and has extraordinary imagination and lover of great architecture. In Bavaria, he built so many beautiful Castles, Halls and gigantic monumental structures that made Bavaria a tourist magnet as it is now.One thing, he likes to build either on a high hill, on top of a mountain. It’s always like we need to climb, hike, travel by boat or with a Bergbahn or just walk, in order to reach his memorable hideaways!

Schiffahrt Kelheim and Personen Schiffahrt im Donau & Altmühltal are some of the companies who runs the boat trips and departs from the dock of Kelheim on a close schedule, daily ( Summer schedule, from May to October).For the updated boat trip schedules, do check their detailed Fahrplan in their website. Their prices is pretty decent and affordable. For this Summer vacation, they even have discounts for students and if you’ve got a grade of 1, then you can even have a trip for Free! If you’re interested about this, you can check the full information Here. Our ship was pretty full. Aside from the normal group of tourists and elderly people, I noticed that in our ship that its full of cyclists with their bikes, mountaineers, and families with small children. It’s really an adventure trip for all ages! A trip to Kelheim offers cruising the Danube narrows , trekking , rock climbing, canoeing, paddle boat rides , swimming and exploring the nature reserves and cycling with a view until your Adrenalin drops! Your pets are even welcome on board!

The weather was a bit gloomy but still we have fantastic views from Kelheim and the Liberation Hall located on Michelsberg. It was built between 1842 and 1863 by order of King Ludwig I of Bavaria to commemorate the Wars of Liberation from Napoleon, above all the Battle of Nations in Leipzig.
The extraordinary mosaic of cliffs exposed to the summer heat, shady forests, tranquil abandoned river channels, and the cool stream of the River Danube provides habitats for numerous plants and animals. This place really deserves to be declared as one of the oldest nature reserves in Bavaria. Definitely a natural heritage of European significance.
The Danube Gorge –here the river is only 80m wide. but depending on the water level, it can reached up to 20m deep. It is the narrowest and deepest part of the Bavarian Danube.The flow velocity is at mean water level of about 2.5 m per second.

The bee-Hive or hollow stone–Here we saw that the lower part of the rocks are almost white, it shows the height of the “Flood of the Century”at Whitsuntide 1999.At that time, the water level was about 5 meters higher at mean water level.
The spectacular Rock formations in the Danube Gorge that evolved from Jurassic period.This nature reserved was declared since 1978 and one of the most beautiful Geotopes in Bavaria.
A beautiful baroque pit-stop !
On sight is the oldest Benedictine Abbey in Bavaria—the Monastery of Weltenburg which was founded in 620 A.D. The Abbey church was built between 1716 and 1751 by the Asam Brothers and its famous for its great Baroque decor!

The Weltenburg Barock Dunkel is a dark bottom fermented beer specialty is being served in Weltenburg for generations.Where else can you see a Brewery, restaurant, Biergarten in a Monastery in front of a benedictine church?— Only here in Weltenburg!.. and yes–Only in Germany!

Fascination for the Little Wanderer!
One of the best discoveries we had in Weltenburg and Danube Gorges was the “Wipfelsfurt” .This circular basin with a diameter of 150m was created about 15 million years ago when a meteorite hit the ground and formed a crater. Wipfelfurt is the shallowest part of the Danube between Ingolstadt and Regensburg.
Enjoying a late sunshine on board !
Tourists and visitors enjoy a beautiful backdrop of the Danube and the rock wall formations .
Besucherzentrum in Kloster Weltenburg
In the deciduous forests, which are near naturally cultivated, some fascinating birds can be found like the Woodpecker and Stock Dove. This museum is situated in front of the restaurant and in here visitors can learn more about the history of the Monastry, the Danube nature reserve and the construction of the Asam church.

It was quite an enjoyable smooth boat ride with only occasional showers and soft winds.Inside the boat is a restaurant which also serves different refreshments and dishes so you won’t really worry about being hungry on board. There is an audio guide Tour on run so we are informed on every significant details of the boat tour. Right on time, we made it to the Monastery of Weltenburg after 45 mins. and we hopped off from the ship to explore the oldest Benedictine Abbey in Bavaria. This monastery was built by the Asam Brothers who are famous with their Baroque masterpieces. I’ve seen quite some of their works in Asamkirche here in Ingolstadt and the Asam church in Munich. If you love Baroque, then you must really see this church

It’s almost lunchtime when we arrived in the monastery and just in time for us to grab some bite at the Weltenburger Wirthaus-Bladl. We are in Bavaria so even after a boat trip, we sit ourselves in front of the Asam church which is adjacent to the restaurant. What’s so special about this restaurant? It is actually the oldest brewery in a Monastery, and famous for its dark beer. Here you can enjoy the famous Kloster dunkel bier ( dark beer) and Bavarian traditional dishes such as the Weiss wurst (white sausage eaten with sweet mustard), Klosterwurst, Klosterkäse ( Cheese), and their Klosterkaffee.

Big discoveries for Little Wanderers!
Making a pose at the oldest Monastery Brewery in the World. The oldest Benedictine Abbey here in Bavaria was founded by the monks of St. Columbanus. It is situated near the entrance to the scenic Danube gorge, on the northern slopes of the Arzberg mountain, near the site of the ancient Celtic settlement of Artobriga. .
We leave nothing but footprints, but we took along giant bags of memories, wonderful photos, and worthwhile experience.

What kind of family adventure have you’ve done lately?

If you’re in the vicinity of Regensburg, you can combine this nature adventure trip with a boat trip along the Danube, and to its neighboring town of Riedenburg where you can see the largest Crystal group, or if you are in the mood to discover some amazing Art while drinking Beer, then you can head on to Abensberg to see the Kuchlbauers Kunsthaus . You can also check more on Here.

Thank you for following my Blog and until then, see you again in my next family adventure! Tschüss!