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…

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!

All shiny and pretty in Kristallmuseum Riedenburg

A mountain of crystals in Riedenburg’s Kristallmuseum

Recently the little wanderer is into stones. She loves to collect stones, especially the shiny ones , or something with texture. We have a handful of collected stones at home and she is into crystals and gems nowadays that we want to feed her curiosity. She even have a name for them all. She said she dreamed of having stones from volcano! How are we going to have that! I think she got so fascinated as well by the sedimentary rocks we’ve seen in Stauseen in Austria and now, everywhere we go, we pick up a stone, in short; we are stone collectors!

Today, at around 8:30 a.m, the little wanderer is wide awake and wants to play outside so after everyone got refreshed and showered, we packed our cameras, backpacks and off we go on the road again.We had a great time last night in Metallica’s concert in Munich ( which she really entertained the crowd nearby to where we sits!) and today we want to do something relaxing, quiet, and not so stressful. Destination as decided by the Dutchman, so off we go to Riedenburg and visit the Kristallmuseum, which houses the biggest crystal groups and stone gems collection by far here in the region of Bavaria.

Watching the fountain at the entrance of the Kristallmuseum after trying to calm her after a tantrum.
Beautiful artwork in the walls which I am trying to decode the meaning…bringing my imagination to the fullest!
Gigantic multi facet stone, could be a nice home artdeco as well. But it would be hard to transport this one…

Riedenburg is around 40 kms away from Ingolstadt and we drove there for approximately 40 minutes because this time we took another road away from the Autobahn. The road was hilly and full of curvy edges overlooking the hills and green forests. The scenery and landscape around the countryside is so calm and we almost have the road to ourselves.One of the perks is a stop in the Sunflower fields which I really love. For me, summer is not complete without sunflowers!

A stop to the yellow fields of Sunflowers !!!

I haven’t finished writing my blog post about Kelheim where we took an adventure cruising along the Weltenburg narrows . In there, we took a boat and ogling through the Gorges and through the oldest Monastery of Weltenburg Abbey and what a surprise, we saw once again one of the ship gliding in the Altmühltal while we were there in Riedenburg. The museum is located along the banks of the Altmühltal river and the boats going to Kelheim on a boat tour.

These crystals are huge!

The Kristallmuseum is a private gallery museum situated in Bergkristallstrasse in Riedenburg. We arrived around lunchtime so the Restaurant Fasslwirtschaft is already packed with guests, visitors, bikers, cyclists and families with kids eagerly enjoying the relaxing saturday afternoon. There is a playground which immediately catches the attention of my daughter , a mini-gold area for the whole family, and the Kristall museum !This restaurant serves traditional Bayerish food and the ambiance is really good!

A good amount of fresh greens served in the Fasslwirtschaft Restaurant! Guten Apetit!

We first seated ourselves in one of their traditional barrel huts (or Fässern in German) and ordered lunch. The prices were decent and the food was excellent! We played some minigolf and then explored the Crystal museum.

In the Kristallmuseum, I saw a great collection of crystals , gems, precious stones, and so many pretty shiny things that I have never seen in my whole life. I love beautiful stones and handcrafted jewelry and here I’ve got to see and admire. Here you can see the Turmalin Collection from Madagascar with over 600 pieces in varieties. If you are fond of Horoscope, then this place have a special treat for your own Zodiac sign where you can press a button and the ceiling ( or the Sternhimmel) will illuminate for your preferred sign.The artistic side reminds me of the House of Mirrors I’ve seen in Kuwait.

The city of Crystals
Torquise beauty – Some fine creations you can buy in the Kristallmuseum souvenir shop

What’s so special also in this place is that they have the replica of the biggest Diamond and more than 300 gemstones and their stories. The 7.8 tons, 3 x 2 meters Crystal group is something that would really catch your attention. It was discovered in Arkansas, USA in 1981. It’s big, shiny, gigantic and really a complete wonder. The Scholz Family brought them to Riedenburg and built the foundation of the Kristallmuseum and since then, Riendenburg became their home. Nowadays, it is one of the top tourist attraction in this town.

A small part of the family of crystals!

I was asking myself how did this crystal grew this big? Now I need to do my research and feed my curiosity.

Anyway, if you are looking something family friendly destination around Ingolstadt and can be done in a halfday out of town, then this place is really something you can check out. It is open from March to middle October from 10 o’clock but they have a Ruhetag (closed) on Mondays! If you’d like to visit them on Winter, you can find the details in their Website Here.

What is your favorite gem stone?

Do you want to have an insight what is it inside the giant Swarovski headquarters or just be amazed of the creation of 800,000+ crystal clouds in Krystallwelten in Wattens!

How about you, have you discovered something interesting lately?

Until then and Tchüss!

Tour guide : My Town in Winter

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My Town : Morning after the snow in Bavaria

Mind you, I am already looking forward for Spring but then from the last few days, I woke up once again with all the streets, houses, and trees all covered in snow . I was dreaming that Winter is finally over, reminding myself once again that to love the cold and winter is a privilege. When its winter, my  own little town is transformed into a wonderland. Well, for people who work and have enormous errands to do, the sight of snow in their doorstep is never a sign of good morning, let alone for me.

Just in time for this week’s Photo Challenge | Tour Guide, let me share with you some photos of what it looks like over here in Bavaria.

As much as I have been mesmerized by the view of my town in bright sunny day on top of the Pfeifturm, seeing it from above once again covered in snow is also a great experience.

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The Danube in Winter time

The still waters of the second longest River in Europe, the Danube ,is a sight to behold, it is like a reflecting glass. Sometimes when I looked over the bridge, I’m thinking what if the river freezes? How nice it would be to be able to walk on top of it.This panoramic sight is such a splendor to see while the seasons change its course.

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Winter mood in the woods

The  morning after a night of snow gives an outstanding stillness and silence . It is so peaceful.This is a path I always pass by almost every single day.The river is sleeping, covered in icy cold fog.

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There’s still beauty even when everything is covered in snow.

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It’s like a scene from a movie that I cannot recall anymore.

Winter is like a dream. You know that soon you need to wake up and realize that reality is just around the corner. On normal days, I don’t see anything special in this place. In Winter, it’s almost like walking into a dreamland, everything is so white. The trees and its wilted branches are quiet witnesses of the cold yet they remain peaceful,  agile  as ever when the snow embrace them once again, all over again.

This path is always frequented by morning joggers and runners, but this time, the path is deserted. I was quite early. I parked my bike a bit further to capture this serene state. It amuses me that there’s not a single footprint or dog footprints yet.

Undisturbed beauty, unparalleled serenity of German long cold winters.

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I love patterns and natural accents.

Beware of walking into the streets, it can be slippery. I’ve seen many people slip and slide through the snow. It’s not a funny sight.

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Nature comes so close, no matter what the season.

One of the things that I love personally is encounters with nature. I love to photograph nature and living here gives me the access for all of it. The thing about Winter in Germany is that people go by all means what they want to do. As the saying goes “Es gibt kein schlechtes wetter, nur schlechte Kleidung” or ” There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing “. This is so true here.Winter is a season to experience, not a time to slow down the time. People still go out, walking and exploring, as they do when the sun is out.Only the type of  outdoor clothing changes.

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What weekends are made of

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Ingolstadt sewer cover : Always remember where YOU Step!

I find it truly special here in Germany that they have an impressive Manholes ( or sewerage system covers). From where I came from, I don’t see anything fascinating about looking down at these manholes. I don’t recall seeing a fascinating one in my times in Kuwait! They are often dangerous especially when its flooding, or dirty, and mostly broken. But when I came to live here, I came to appreciate the great engineering behind it. The craftmanship and history with its logo, the seal ,the coat of arms of each city that I’ve visited. Maybe for others its nonsense, but for me, they are quite extraordinary. So in Winter, of course, there’s still the Bavarian pride!

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

Kaiserburg Nürnberg ( Imperial Castle )

 

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The Sinwell tower of the Kaiserburg ( Imperial Castle) in Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany

I love everything about castles!

For an asian like me, I think castles are symbolic emblem of  magical kingdom and it is such an adventure to get to know the stories behind each castle .Just like any enthusiast, every castle is unique and the architecture is unfathomable.It always excites me but considering the heavy ” historical stuff ” that goes with any castle exploration, I love the fact that I get to know a place through these landmarks.I can still remember my delight when I saw the Burg Eltz in Wierschem.  

It was  one fairy tale trip as I explored the castle while I wear my daughter in my chest. This time it was another adventure with the toddler on the loose. After an exhausting morning at the Tiergarten, we find ourselves wandering along the city center towards the street that directly heads to the castle grounds. But to explore any castle, it’s always include a steep climb, a hike, or a strenuous walk to get into the top. It is impossible to push the stroller up while she’s in so  I just let her climb, strut, and toddle up. It was hot, and the cobbled stones makes it even more difficult, but then, there’s no way we give up.

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Up in the castle offers a panoramic view of the city where I sighted the towers of St. Lorenz church, Frauenkirche and other important landmarks of Nuremberg.

The historical “Kaiserburg” also known as the  the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg is the most important symbol of Nuremberg. Though this city was heavily bombed from WW II, the city has restored most of its iconic structures including this castle. Just like any other castle, this castle holds an important part of history. This castle is in fact one of the most important fortresses in the whole of Germany and was first mentioned in 1105. From 1050 to 1571, all holy Roman Emperors resided in this castle. One of the largest and most modern youth hostels in Germany is located in one of the former Imperial stables.

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The Sinwell Tower as seen from the castle grounds

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Echanting Nuremberg

After seeing this, I marveled at the charm of Nuremberg and I was deeply impressed by its beauty. This place is an incredible city. It’s a big metropolis where the defining moments of German history took place. This castle is perched on a hill which really gave me a great view and the tour information was just adequate to provide any tourist the information about Nuremberg during Medieval times. I’m so glad that despite the heat, the weather is perfect for us to appreciate this castle. If you have time and with only 7 Euros entrance fee, you can learn so much more about its history and the Museum inside the castle is something to satisfy your curiosity.

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The Wellhouse and the Bath House

If you live in Germany like me, well there can’t be too many castles, because in real life, they are sprouting like mushrooms. Some in the middle of the forest, some on a high hill, mountain or in the banks of the river, some are just there, a few stones throw in a city just like the Kaiserburg in Nürnberg.I read an interesting excerpt about this castle’s history HERE.

The castle and the city served as the location for numerous imperial assemblies. From 1356 on the “Golden Bull” of Emperor Charles IV provided that every newly elected future ruler must hold his first imperial Diet in Nuremberg. Moreover, from 1424 the imperial regalia were safely kept in Nuremberg. Nuremberg was a very popular residence for the rulers in the age of the itinerant kingships and up until the 30 Years’ War it was the central location of the empire.

Some of the notable sites that we’ve seen in this Castle are the following;

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Deep Well and Sinwell Tower

The Deep Well is spectacular. The well house is located in the center of the outer Bailey. The shaft of the well was hewn into the rock to a depth of 47 meters. A highlight of the visit is also the round Sinwell Tower (“sinwell” Middle High German = very round), which was built as a keep for the Imperial Castle in the 2nd half of the 13th century; the topmost storey and the interior wooden roof construction were built in the 1560s.

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Beautiful gable roofs and the important landmarks seen from above the castle.

 

Magnificent View over the City Imperial Castle Museum

Who says you need to pay a lot for a magnificent view?

If given the chance, I always love to see a city from above. A view like this from the castle is always worth of the sweat. From the observation platform of the Sinwell Tower at a height of 385 meters , you can also have a panoramic view of the entire city of Nuremberg just like this!

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Wandertag in Nuremberg’s Imperial castle.

Imperial Castle Museum

In the Kemenate, (a building with residential and work rooms heated by fireplaces or later stoves) the Germanisches Nationalmuseum presents the historical role and the changing tasks of the Nuremberg Imperial Castle. Finds from archaeological digging, ornamental architectural elements, models and reconstruction sketches illustrate the history of this important site.

If you are planning to visit Nuremberg this summer and would like to visit this castle, make sure to take note of the following especially if you have a child , pets with you or with elderly people;

There is a lift to the Knights’ Hall in the Palas; all other rooms in the Imperial Castle can only be reached via stairs.

The inner castle courtyard is accessible for wheelchair users.

At the entrance to the Deep Well there is one step to be negotiated.

Castle Gardens: Access via 3 steps, apart from that no difficulties.

Maria Sibylla Merian Garden: Access via 5 steps.

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My Little Wanderer in the castle grounds !

Dogs are not allowed inside the castle (also Deep Well and Sinwell Tower) and in the gardens (Castle Garden and Maria Sibylla Merian Garden). They may be taken on leads into the castle courtyard.

When was the last time you’ve explored a castle? How was your experience?

As for the other charm of this castle, I leave you to explore it by your own eyes.

 

Stay tuned for more of my stories about our trip to Nürnberg. Happy Monday and wishing you all a great day!

Hey, If you are in Instagram, make sure to follow my Instagram to see our Expat life in photos  here in Bavaria and have a look at my personal Artworks and Aquarelle paintings HERE.

 

 

 

Bitter- sweet Marriage Carousel Fountain in Nürnberg

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The “Ehekarussell ” fountain in Nuremberg depicts the tyrannical symbolism of the ups and downs of Married Life.

Have you guys been to Nuremberg?

I’m going to share with you with my series of posts about my travel experience in the second largest city in Bavaria, Nuremberg. This city is known for the  home to Europe’s first printing press – and astronomy , Nicolaus Copernicus’s  and his most famous work  that was published  in 1543! I tell you, this city is more than its delicious Lebkucken and Nürnberger sausages. Let’s start from what caught my attention while strolling in the busy, very touristy inner city of Nürnberg.

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The Marriage Carousel created by Prof. Jurgen Weber, according to a poem by Hans Sachs in 1541: “Bitter-Sweet Married Life.

 

Nuremberg city is a very walkable city. Most of the attractions are on walking distance from each other and I noticed immediately that the city is heavily ornamented with intricate details of houses and buildings, statues, monuments, fountains and impressive artwork. So impressive considering that it was heavily bombed from WW II. There’s so much to see, the streets are so alive.

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Giant granite heart containing the lines from the poem by HANS SACHS, 1541 about Ehekarusell.

We start exploring Nürnberg by foot last weekend, and I immediately love its city vibes. No wonder it’s a hub for tourists!  I saw  this fascinating fountain in front of Weisser Turm called the “Ehekarussell”. If you can read German, you can see the engravings in the giant marble heart at the foot of the fountain which tells all about what are these statues  for.The text of the poem can be found within the fountain, it is incised on the granite heart that points towards the tower. HANS SACHS describes the ups and downs of marriage; his wife is sometimes the angel, sometimes the devil to him, just like in movies, but his description are rather lucid, and some find them so vulgar. Anyway, an artwork that makes a lot of noise and controversy has something, that’s why its being talked about!

The streets were full of tourists, crowded, hot and very alive. We were rummaging ourselves through the crowd and then there’s a rally going on in front of the busy shopping area .This fountain is really extraordinary and very vulgar in its sense. At first I was captivated by the great artwork. The artist created a masterpiece with fierce facial expressions and I can see the enormous detail on each statue.

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The woman busy feeding her children depicting one serious stage in married life.

 

The “Marriage-Merry-Go-Round” was erected directly in front of the White Tower in 1984.The work, created by Jürgen Weber, relates to the poem “Bitter-Sweet Married Life” by Hans Sachs, who in bold words described marriage from the first stages of ardent love leading to exhausting marital rows right through to the deathbed. It’s kind of disturbing, especially when I saw the statues with skulls and almost skeleton. I even thought that its morbid at first glance. They say that art should please the viewer, but then a sight like this needs a deeper interpretation.

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The Marriage Carousel created by Prof. Jurgen Weber, according to a poem by Hans Sachs in 1541: “Bitter-Sweet Married Life.

The Marriage Merry-Go-Round (Carousel) fountain is an interesting and controversial work. Situated in a pedestrian shopping area next to the White Tower, it was built-in 1984 at a high cost.The large fountain, a dramatic portrayal of married life from courtship to death, was part of the storm wrought by the design.

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A man was cooling down in the cool  waters of the Ehekarussel fountain in Nuremberg

My daughter was so busy trying to dip her feet in the water while me & my husband study each statue. I saw so many passers-by doing the same, eating ice cream while sitting in front of the fountain, probably trying to cool down because of the heat. In my opinion, this  sculpture attempts to describe the sweetness and tribulations of married life that Sachs describes in his poem. The couple progress through life as beautiful happy young people, change into older people with attitudes, and finally turn into skeletons.

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A close up shot of the tragic end of the horrors of marriage like strangling to death.

Hans Sachs described the various stages of marriage from ardent love through exhausting struggles, ending with the death-bed. The fountain’s sculptures reflect this text in all its beauty and horror, while Hans Sachs is depicted dancing above a goat and a virginal beauty.

It might appear so negative in a sense that the sculptor seems to specialize in the horrors of marriage with couples strangling each other; couples where one is huge and stuffing her face, while the other is starving and skeletal; couples surrounded by demanding children; couples where one wants to be quiet and the other is blowing a trumpet in her face.

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Weber selected six scenes from Sachs’s long list. He designed a roundabout with six carriages, each in the shape of an animal that matches the scene:

– the loving young couple in the swan bed

– the older man holding his wife in chains, tearing off her dress, seemingly ready to take her by force

– eternal fighting of an old, almost skeleton-like couple on a giant lizard

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– the caring mother feeding her children in a pelican who, referring to an ancient Christian legend, tears open her breast to feed her offspring with her blood

– the fat woman devouring cake after cake and her desperate skinny husband, carried by a wolverine (in German: “Vielfraß”)

– the young beauty, rising from a shell-like Aphrodite, and the admiring trumpeter and the billy-goat that represents the lust.

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On top of the sweet corn cob, Hans Sachs the poet is shown dancing. The nymph of the fountain is kneeling in the water basin below. The rose column on the opposite side shows the names of the artist and his second wife.

If you are visiting Nuremberg, this huge fountain won’t miss your eyes. It sits right in the middle of the main road with a tower behind it and it is right before you get to Elisabethkirche and St. Jacob’s Church. Make sure to take a closer look and try not to rush only for selfies.

For me, fountains like these makes strolling even more worthwhile. The story behind each artwork is something to ponder and not just built as a stumbling block.

What can you say about this fountain? Do you like it or not?

 

Stay tuned for more of my stories about our trip to Nürnberg. Happy Monday and wishing you all a great day! If you are planning to visit Nüremberg, you might be interested to check out the Ehekarussell,  Imperial Palace or the Kaiserburg and the wonderful Dolphin show in their Tiergarten.

Hey, If you are in Instagram, make sure to follow my Instagram to follow our Expat life adventures here in Bavaria and have a look at my personal Artworks and Aquarelle paintings HERE.

 

 

 

 

The Heat is ON in Bavaria

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32 degrees today! What Summer feels in Bavaria

This is the real thing now, the heat is ON in Bavaria !

What Summer fun are you engaging now?

Nevermind  the plague of Wasps and bee season, summertime is finally here and in Bavaria, in my old little city, everyone is just feeling ecstatic of the fine summer breeze, or rather, toasty winds since we have 32 degrees now!

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A very inviting Lake where we had picnic and splash. This is just one of our pit-stop from our cycling en-route (35kms) .

Have you seen summer flowers yet? They are blooming, giving us perfect backdrop for outdoors. From our garden to the nearby parks, summer flowers can be so exotic just like the Echinops Ritro!

I came to Germany last Summer, and I’m telling you, this season is probably the best season to enjoy Bavaria. To make the most of beautiful nature, lots of sun and water fun is essential. This week we have temperatures ranging from 18~32 degrees C . With this we have all the reason to spend time outside given the favors of so many holidays. Staying in when the weather  is perfect as this  is  definitely a S-I-N. Generally, Germans, or the typical Bavarians, adore the sun. Soaking up under the sunshine until the last ray of the sun until 9 o’clock at night. You can see them  sunbathing in the banks of the river Danube, lying in the grass in the parks, or just right in their balconies.

With the kick-off of the festival season, the Spring Pfingstenvolkfest,  Die Welt is bunt, Bürgerfest, and strawberry season, it feels like summer arrived early since we have a very sunny spring. I have written countless times that from the moment the day breaks, people here are out, (including US!) and ready to explore— and yes, with their dogs, clad in outdoor clothing, in their bicycles, with their walking sticks, off to the lake, and drinking beer in the bier garten promptly at 10 a.m on weekends!

So here I wanna share with you some of the fascinating things  about ‘Summer Feels ‘ here in our region. Whether you are just visiting tourist or a local, sure thing that you don’t wanna miss out on these activities!

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We do BBQ like the German way!

Grillsaison ( or Grilling season)

Summer is not complete without BBQ and Germans really take their grilling to the highest level! You know its summer when you breathe in the smell of BBQ in almost every house on a fine weekend. Since we have 9pm sunsets, this is a perfect way to bond. Be it in an open park, garden or in the tiny balconies of apartments, German take their grilling time seriously. Months before summer starts, we are flooded with different kinds of grill paraphernalia, from the garden tents, lounging seats, and yes, ‘the meat and wurst‘. About 70% of Germans have BBQ every  weekend and its typical to see a grill machine in every garden. Pack a picnic, a mat and  head to the lake, throw a piece of sausages ( wurst) and meat cuts into the charcoal grill and drink beer. This spells the perfect “Gemutlichkeit “or what the Dutch called “Gezelligheid” .

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The Grillsaison has finally begun!

Poppy fields  and wild flowers everywhere!

When summer time comes, in between wheat fields and every single empty space is filled with this fragile reddish-orange wild Poppy flowers. When I run and cycle, I can’t help but to stop and just be amazed by how  these simple wild bulbs can change the whole neighborhood and the way I feel. Sure, Tulips are my favorite flowers , but then there’s something about a field covered in Summer poppy blooms. It looks so calm, peaceful and so pretty!

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Close up encounter with red Poppy flowers last week when I was cycling.

 Eis Eis Baby! 

Who doesn’t like Ice Cream?

Ice cream parlors and shops are finally open here since late Spring. On warm, sunny days, there’s even a huge line outside. You really need to sweat out first before you enjoy their wide selection of Eis ( ice cream). My daughter is crazy about the richly flavored popsicles and ice pops which comes out in watermelon, kaktus, and yogurt ice cream. One is not enough, eating ice cream is definitely a threat we always enjoy during summer especially after we are all sweaty from cycling around.

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Eis Eis Baby!

Make sure to eat “spaghetti eis”: We promise it’s only a stupid name. This concoction is really just a strawberry ice cream sundae with vanilla “noodles” and strawberry sauce with white chocolate flakes standing in for the cheese. Guten Appetit!

Sunbathing in a make-believe beach!

This is the photo of the Donaustrand, a place made to look like a beach beside the river. It is the platform located in front of the river Danube and facing the New Castle. During summer, this place is a magnet for Germans and all outdoor lovers to enjoy a relaxing time, especially during sunset. This is a place a for  open-air concerts and the ” Live Orchestra Nights” where you can enjoy live music, drinking with friends, and lounging in recliners and sunbathing like you are in the beach .This is such a cozy place.

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A shot I took while lounging in the Donaustrand and enjoying sunset drinks.

Hanging out your clean laundry outside

There is nothing like the smell of clean laundry, hung out to soak up the fresh air. Hang out your sheets before the drying racks take over your apartment for the winter.We have a huge space in the garden and I just love how the sun do wonders on the sheets! I love this since it really saves time from tedious long cycles of drying. Natural is always better!

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Skinny dipping in some lake

Skinny dipping and baring it All !

Oh yes, Germans are very liberal and no-nonsense people when it comes to nudity. In some lakes, there are areas which are particularly allotted for “nudist”. Here, people are no hang-ups in baring it all and soaking up the sun from dawn to dusk.Germans think nothing of stripping to sunbathe. They do it on beaches, by lakes, and in heavily frequented urban parks. It’s very common to see unclothed people on regular park lawns or topless on balconies. Germany is one of the few places in the world where naturism occurs not just in secluded areas, but in the heart of major cities. German-style public nudity, known as Freikörperkultur (or “free body culture,” and usually shortened to FKK), dates back to the 19th century; it’s not just an activity, but a culture intended to reshape behavior.

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Pack a picnic and your mat and head on to the secluded fresh lakes!

For some people who are not into this and for families with children, there are lots of areas in the lakes for them to swim.We love to discover lakes where my daughter loves to play and here, they are just plentiful!

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Running through the Lake with this view.

Fitness everyday

In summer, I see a lot more people getting active and staying fit. People do things “manually” and live more. They love to do things by themselves. Mowing the lawn, tidying up their garden, people here loves to do things—no maids or house helpers! People run and cycle no matter what the time and temperature. They walk more and use the car less as much as possible. With abundant jogging areas, nature can be best enjoyed while getting fit. Germans adore the  “pig”and heavy pork-lovers, but even if they sit in the Biergarten everyday and eat sausages, seems that they don’t get fat! Everyone looks so impeccably fit.

Summer Cocktail Drinks

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PROST!!!

It is very typical to see bunch of people hanging around in the lake, or in the park enjoying a nice picnic and sharing summer cocktails. Of course, the beer is always the easiest way to create a cozy gathering but cool drinks and smoothies are always something pretty special. When it comes to picnics, Germans can be proud of their lifestyle!

What about you, what do you love to do during summer?

There are more on this post so I think I will make a post #2! Stay tuned.

Cherry Blossoms magic in Bavaria

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Fluffy, sensitive blossoms for tender beginnings…

The Cherry blossoms turning the Neues Schloss into a  magical fairy tale land!

I don’t need to travel to Bonn, to the world-renowned Heerstraße street or to other scenic parts here in Europe to see the Cherry Blossom spectacle, because right here in my old little town in Bavaria, our streets are flooded as well with these gorgeous pink blossoms . It’s been a while now that these flowers are  dazzling us everyday.  I realized why people say that seeing these pink lovelies during early days of Spring is one of the things you should do before you die— it is simply gorgeous! I know I am not the only one who is crazy enough to snap  photos of these flowers, and why not, they are irresistible to not capture. They are the popular photo motif at the moment. See feeds in Facebook and Instagram and you know what I mean. I do believe in seeing the beauty of the moment before it vanishes.

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Cherry Blossoms in Bavaria

Well, remember the long dark, grey winter days where all the trees are bald, leafless, and barren, now Spring is bringing back everything to life! Just like the other wild spring flowers, Cherry blossoms brings such a happy spirit, lifting our souls to enjoy the outdoors and the sunshine once again. Isn’t it  amazing how our moods  changes, when we see a change in our surroundings?

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Cherry Blossoms in Bavaria

Just like the charming yellow Daffodils, Cherry Blossoms are such an enigma to behold during Springtime! I found more about this flower when I did a bit of reading and now I understand that aside from touristic reasons, Japan’s  Sakura is such a magnet for tourists.

Hanami is the Japanese tradition to admire the blossoming of flowers in spring, especially the delicate cherry blossoms. It dates back to the Heian period. The term, however, refer to the cherry blossoms (sakura), symbol of the Japanese culture. The true meaning of this tradition is not observing flowers blooming passively, but rather in living the journey of these beautiful flowers coming off the trees by the spring breeze. Cherry blossoms are not only symbols of rebirth and wealth, but also of the samurai’s qualities: loyalty, honesty and courage. Hanami is also an opportunity to meet friends, planning parties, picnics and karaoke sitting under the cherry blossoms trees. It is amazing admiring a rain-scented flowers, just like what the Dutch’s thing for Gezelligheid!

Did you know that Cherry blossoms are very sensitive flowers? The first flowers emerge slowly under the protection of the old branches. They do not like rain at all, and frosty night temperatures can easily harm the flowers as well. Since the weather here in Bavaria has been cooler than usual, we even had rains & hail today, I already see that some blossoms are down in the streets.

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Cherry Blossoms in Bavaria

Picturesque pink magic …

Here in our neighborhood alone, rows of pink and white cherry blossom  trees gives us a happy vibes whenever we walk and cycle.Fortunately the trees here are tall and have been pruned so high that no one can reach the blossoming cherry branches. Otherwise the precious trees would probably be looted by souvenir hunters, myself included!  I was even tempted to cut a branch! At this safe height, the fluffy pink flowers swing in the warm spring breeze.

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Capture the beauty while you still can…

 

Remember that the cherry blossoms only lasts for a short time, around 10 days, so if you have the chance, make the most of them whilst you can!

 

What do you love about Spring in your area? Do you also love Cherry Blossoms as I do?

 

 

Osterbrunnen in Ingolstadt

 

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“Impressive work found in Ostermarkt where around 10,000 handpainted eggs adorn the King Ludwig fountain  for this year’s Osterbrunnen. “

In our neighborhood alone,the sight of pink, white and eager cherry blossom trees (or  Kirschbaum ) are now blossoming with beautiful pink and white flowers, signaling the spring days ahead. The sight of the white Spargels ( white Asparagus)  in the wet market this morning assures me that beautiful days of Spring ( Frühling) here in Germany have indeed arrived! The past days the temperatures soars high,a good 10-15 degrees, sunny and bright, and I can’t believe that we can finally stroll outside without our bulky jackets. Weather is perfect, every where I see, I see growth of greens from the trees and yes, a time to celebrate Easter soon.

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Here in Ingolstadt, Easter vibes  is so alive and arrives right on the 1st day of April,in the Osterbrunnen fest right along the Paradeplatz in the old town.The event started with a parade of music, opening speech from our city mayor, Christian Lösel, and the tapping of the beer keg or O’zapft is! If you want a free mug of beer, all you have to do is be there!

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The Ostermarkt will run from 1st of April until 17th 2017 from 10.00 ~19.00 Uhr. Around the Paradeplatz, there are food stalls which serves the local delicacies, a Karussel (Carousel) for children, and quaint shops selling Easter goods.My daughter was too excited to see the carousel but always afraid to ride it!

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Tell you frankly, Easter here in Germany is a big thing since aside from its religious significance, it also signal the arrival of Spring, the season of renewal. About 3 weeks ago, the shops were packed with all the decorations and different types of  decorations for Easter such as eggs, Easter bunny ( Osternhase) and so much more. I have never seen such frenzy as these in the Philippines! There are Easter Chocolate eggs as big as a basketball! Today I got 6 pieces of Easter eggs given away during the opening ceremony and we are literally walking in a red-carpet cobbled streets of Ludwigstrasse. There are so many freebies along the street, I even had a glass of white wine! There are face painting for kids and there is such a happy ‘vibe”, even the Biergartens are in full swing once again! Ingolstadt is a small city and yet with so many festivals to celebrate, you can never get boring.

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Since April 15, 2000, the first Ostermarkt was inaugurated by Mayor Hans Amler and was solemnized by Moritzpfarrer Leo Pöll and since then, this event has become one of the highlights of Spring.

Right in the middle of Paradeplatz in front of the Neues Schloss stands the decorated fountain, with the monument of the mighty King Ludwig of Bavaria. During the first festival, around 3,000 ( three thousand)  painted easter eggs in white and blue colors ( Grösster weiss/blauer Osterbrunnen Bayerns) adorns the fountain, but each year they are increasing in number. The whole fountain is filled with spring flowers and Easter decorations arranged in a  steel crown like specially made by trainees of Audi AG.Now, around 10, 000 hand painted Easter eggs are on display for everyone to see. Such a lovely sight and a heritage that Ingolstädter are all proud of.

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To decorate the fountain, it requires 500 hours to do the creative work of painting the eggs and arranging the steel crown and finally set up the fountain.Looking at all the eggs, it is intricately painted and crafted.Imagine 10,000 pieces!

What an impressive work and creativity!

 

Have you ever seen a fountain decorated with thousands of Easter eggs? How is Easter celebrated in your area?