Artistic Ice Figures by Markus Jordan

Eiskunst by Markus Jordan(Ingolstadt,Bavaria) February 2020

My usual visit from the weekend Market last Saturday was extra special because of the Ice Figures Art exhibit by Markus Jordan.The Art made of Ice and Frozen water with Figures are installed directly in the heart of the City of Ingolstadt, just a stone throws away from the weekend market. Itwas totally eye-cathing and immediately drawn lots of visitors and people walking through the old city.

We had a row of days with cold temperatures up to approx. minus 16, and these Ice figures just came in time. The front yard of the Stadttheater was transformed into a little winter wonderland with frozen figures. It really depics our current frozen state,with the pandemic and lockdown as well. My most favourite figure was the man with dark cape holding a skull, the robots cycling and my daughter adored the frozen Dinosaur.

What a difference these icefigures could bring to a normal , Saturday market day indeed!

At night, visitorscan enjoy watching them with special lights and effects that makes it even more beautiful.more stunning shots and videos are seen here and here. Doing our daily walking routine was definitely more fun during our visit to this Ice Art Figures.

Today, we´re just thankful for the sunshine, snow and the chance to see this wonderful creative Art!

Also, I recently discovered this App called ” Too Good to Go” , the number 1 anti Food- waste app that is currently being raved by my neighbors so I finally decided to try it and I must say that it is really good.I love vegetables and I really dig in to the weekend offer in our nearby stores and finally I found one being offered in Viktualienmarkt, just in front of the Stadttheater. I arrange my order, the Vitamin C-Heimat, and I was totally satisfied of what I´ve got just for 8Euros! Lots of different kind of Veggies in one big bag.I certainly can´t buy that much with the same amount in a supermarket.

Have you ever tried this App?

Anyways, what are your walking adventures lately?

Walking on the Frozen lake

Walking on the Red Light District of Amsterdam

Walking in the Field of Dreams

Walking through my old City

Walking through Pandemic

Walking through the Vineyards

and have you ever practice the Art of Looking Down and eventually looking down upon Manholes?

Enjoy your week lovelies! Until then ,Tschüss!

Dinosaurs are out on the loose in Dinopark Altmühltal, Bavaria

Say Hello to one of thes giant of the Jurassic period, the mighty plant eating- Diplodocus

Happy New Year everyone! I know it´s Winter over here, but we are already dreaming of Summer.We are dreaming of sunshine, tulip fields, strawberries, funparks ,hiking in the mountains, and getting lost in some European cities.

Yesterday while eating luch we are discussing, or rather dreaming, and (hoping!!) that we can fill our suitcases again and able to travel.Travel without health worries, because that is super important.But for now, we can travel back through time and dream away….to Jurassic period!

Have you ever dreamed of walking through the woods with giant dinosaurs in the view ?Those giant claw, magnanimous size, razor sharp teeth, and yes, the presence itself is quite overwhelming.With dinosaurs, we all know that the bigger..the better, the more realistic it is!

Well that is the experience we´ve had while walking and exploring through the Dinopark in Altmühltal.

Real life size Giant Diplodocus dinosaur and unbelievable huge !We couldn´t barely hug its legs!

Gigantic Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex are just a few of the “friends” we met in this beautiful nature park.We were quite amazed of how funtional and cleverly designed it was , considering that we visited this place during Corona pandemic times.This is definitely one of the best open air Dinosaur Museum here in Bavaria.

Did you know that Brachiosaurus only eat plants ?They are one of the Plant eating dinosaurs, so do you think they are friendly?
It is so hard to get them all in one photo because this one is really a long and huge Brachiosaurus , so even the tail is humungous!

My daughter is crazy about Dinosaurs, she knows each dinosaurs with all their crazy names by heart.From the year they were discovered, and from each era , from Jura, Kreide and Trias. Hard to tell, but I really don´t know how and where her fascination started.We have watched couple of Jurassic films and we haven´t even finished it all becaused she got scared of all the screaming and bloody T-Rex manhunt. I guess children loved dinosaurs , adored them and gasped at their powerful statues ,bewildered, and thinking that they were heroes and lovable, or something like the best friend one could ever had, just like in the movie films “The good Dinosaur“, “Dinosaurs“, and” the Land before time“.

And myself only knows “Barney“, the purple dinosaur!

There is something about these claws and freaking sharp teeths! Finally a Dino fan meets T-REX

When she watched Peppa pig, she just loved how George adore his Dinosaur.We have tons of Dinosaur books and she always loved to read about them and yes, I think that´s how she got so hooked with it. So imagine her delight when she saw this giant disnosaurs in the park.She could even put them beside her when she sleep and no, I can never win with her Dinosaur Quizzes…She knows it all!

My daughter thinks that this is Alosaurus

The park itself is HUGE,We haven´t had the energy or the time to even explored it all.There were lots of fun playing activities to be found inside it,of course considering that we need to distance ourselves from the crowds as much as possible.There´s of course a Museum, play areas for big and little children, outdoor recreational spots, picnic areas, restaurants, Fossil exploration areas, shop, and much more.All these fun filled areas are with Dinosaurs views, and that´s what we find so engaging.I was really glad we visited this place, because not only the child with us is entertained, we as parents as well. We can´t complain any further, lots of fresh air, lots of greens, and children will never get bored because they have always something to see and explore!

Therizinosaurus looks like a big bird with absolutely unique elbows and long claws which is 1 meter long!
Spinosaurus we spotted near the playground

And about the Museum, here´s what it looks inside…

We paid 19,50 Euros each for adult fees and children are 9,5 Euros. This includes all access to everything inside the park.We are allowed to bring snacks and drinks so we never really worried about getting hungry.The beergarden were spacious, large enough for Dino-groups.I saw families even brought picknick bags and they just hang out there in the grass, enjoying full sunshiny day.TheParking lot is also admirable and the location of the park is easily accessible from Autobahn.

A take away cup with 3rd Dinosaurs design, a staple for having a quick break under the trees in the outdoor picnic area inside the Dinopark.

Another fun part of this Dinopark is the Fossil area where kids and adulhts have the chance to see, find and explore their own Fossils, with tools and everything! My kid is totally into this and could never stop hammering out from rocks looking for Ammonites! Now that is one way to let go of their energy!We even got freebies when we check-out since we mentioned that it´s her birthday!

Let the whole family enjoy looking and finding fossils and dig the sands!

Since we are observing Hygienic restrictions, I am perfectly impressed as well how the park observed these rules.There are plenty of clean bathrooms, outdoor sinks with sopas and disinfectant for children and families to frequently wash their hands.Mask is required when entering the shops, museums, and Restaurants.Only when wandering through the open air dinosaur park that wearing masks is not required.

The Birthday girl digging and looking for fossils!

I am really excited where would be our next family destination this year…

Meanwhile, while we are still on Holiday break, we stay at home and dream away our worries, hopefully this year would be a better one!

Crazy over Legoland in Günzburg

Adventure park Nature climbing in Beilngries

Cycling through the Danube Trail Adventure

Exploring the Donau Gorges

The taste of Biergarten Culture in Germany

Falling in love with the Romantic Roads in Bavaria

Until then, stay safe and Tschüss!

Tschüss 2nd Christmas Day, Servus Mr. Sunday Frost!

A little Frostbite will complete this photo though! , Germany 2020

Today was cold, I felt cold when I went outside. I easily get cold feet so I am not a big fan of Winter. Ugly gardens, bare trees, big bulky jackets and freezing hands. We all miss that good kind of snow, the kind of a white winter wonderland snowy landscapes but I guess here in the Southern part of Germany is not that all white now…it´s grey but cold. Actually we already drooling and have plans on sledding and rolling down the hill once we have enough snowdays but then…. nothing!

We dreamt of that white Christmas, but we had only rains, wind and more rainshowers.

Still I am out for my daily nature walks and runs. See,I´ve learned to dressed up for the weather.I actually own now several types of Jackets, just for me to survive the seasons here.Weihnachten is gone, the 1st and the 2nd said Tscüss already, but there´s always way too much food during Christmas, most especially on Christmas day. Toomany Chocolate Santa Claus as well!

Here in Germany, we have 2 days of Christmas,imagine that. I really don´t know why one day is not enough, it´s just the way it goes here. The weeks before Christmas is already loaded with lots of Christmas cookies and Glühwein (mulled wine), then comes the Raclettes and grilling, and Fondues, and endless snacking….so we got to move!

Frosted Fall flower in the Park nearby

Anyway, after the 2nd day of Christmas comes Mr. Frost. But again, it was not the same as last year. I noticed in my Archives that I had more photos of last year´s Frosty days but then today was just a teaser. Well at least it makes the dead flowers and leaves look attractive.

I am still thankful of every sunrise view from my Kitchen window

So everyday, I decided to always have my morning run and take long leisure walks. You know those walks to help you calm down, destress, and just think of nothing. I also take a walk to help my body with all the digestion that needs to be done . Yes, there should always a reason to eat a slice of homebaked cake. Here in Germany, we always have the Coffee/Tea plus Cake time ( Kaffee und Kuchen) even if it´s Christmas, we´ve got to have a slice of cake.

As I am walking to the new track, ( I said it was new because the asphalt was new and the road looks well), I was really feeling well and relaxed. Normally in Winter I only do 5 km rounds but I decided to run further.The sun was out and it shines its golden rays on barren fields, casting shadows on thin wimpy tree branches, and setting a downcast mood somehow.

I actually find the views simply breathtaking.

I discovered new running tracks, this time with views. I am so glad that detours lead to great discoveries. I am already looking forward to running more in this new paths in Spring and Summer. I was completely alone, with only the chirping of birds that can be heard. The path was muddy and the earth smell like mud.When all the leaves of the trees are gone, you can see more of the area.Some areas that I never imagined that existed is now in full views like the hidden bridges, small pathways to the woods, and the treehouses.

The bird nests on top of the trees made me smile. I was reminded of the day where we took a walk in the misty and foggy afternoon just to feed the ducks.We brought stale breads with us and just enjoyed the crazy and chaotic sound of glutton ducks and birds all fighting to have the bread we threw into the lake.For us, that was simple pleasure.

I always watch the migratory birds in our area during winter. There can be quite of them and it´s really refreshing to see them once in a while. Looking at the swarm of birds flocking on top of stones in the middle of the Danube river gives me chuckle. Are they isolated too?!

I was in awe particularly when I spotted these birds, all hanging out together in a cold Sunday morning.They flew in batches above my head and the sound they made is outstanding. Who would have imagined that simple bird watching can be therapeautic, beautiful and yes, reassuring.

Reasurring me that there are still lots of beauty outside even if at one glance it´s ugly.I quickly snapped few photos before my fingers turned completely frozen.

Fallen leaves, but not actually forgotten.

Officially, winter had just begun here in Germany. Today , the 27th of December was actually memorable to us here. Happened today is the first local resident from Ingolstadt received the Corona Vaccine, a radical start of vaccination, a sign of hope from our struggle to stop Corona from continuously spreading.

It is not grand but the beauty of Frost is quite fascinating.

I guess I also found a new Miracle marvel, a walk into nature and inhaling fresh air is definitely invigorating.My Sunday is blessed and I hope yours too!

Walking on a Frozen lake

My Neighborhood covered in Snow

My Old Town In Winter

Unforgettable Winter Sightseeing

No Ordinary Year

Until then, Bis bald, schönen Abend.

tschüss.

Romantic Road trip in Bavaria : Füssen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mädchenbrunnen in Füssen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Lautermacherbrunnen” in the old town city of Füssen

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

Until next time, Tschüss!

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?