Random shots I took from the beautiful sunflower fields last Saturday.
But in the end, I would always love to go back to the most beautiful Spring garden in the World!
Anyway, summer is not yet over ,right?
Have a lovely week!
Random shots I took from the beautiful sunflower fields last Saturday.
But in the end, I would always love to go back to the most beautiful Spring garden in the World!
Anyway, summer is not yet over ,right?
Have a lovely week!
Seems like everytime I visit the Netherlands I become more and more into their Bicycle Urbanism. I just can’t get enough of their bicycles! It is so enormous in volume, it is everywhere! I get off from the train and arrived in the Station and see a parking lot full of bikes. I thought I’ve already seen it before and it’s no surprise anymore but then I still found it unbelievable. Different kinds of bicycles, old and new, modern, E-bikes and so on and so forth it’s all there. The sight of bikes is as normal as the sight of beautiful Tulips colors in Spring! I say to myself- Only in the Netherlands ! The country with more Bicycles than people.
So I am inspired to write once again about Dutch and their bikes because I think this information is inspiring, as well as informative especially for people who lived in traffic prone places ( like I was before!) . I know it also depends where you are in the world but we can learn something about Dutch people and the way they cycle through all cycles of life through their bikes. Netherlands is so flat compared to Germany so going to places is shorter but can also be very windy. I know how hard it is to cycle when you have strong winds ahead of you, it’s not enjoyable and I hated it always. Also, nobody enjoys cycling in the rain, or when the roads are icy and frozen. So I am asking myself why do Dutch people love cycling?
Cycling as an alternative and healthiest way of transport is the most practical solution of getting from A to B. They say that when you cycle for an average of 30 minutes then it increases your life expectancy. And for Expats who lived in the Netherlands and also here in Germany, I am sure this is one of the culture shock that we all can relate. Once I came here, we bought a bike! Anyway, I have been seeing my Stats and I noticed that I have viewers from different parts of the globe and I think that for someone who have never been to Amsterdam or in the Netherlands in general, they don’t really have an idea how big is the Dutch cycling lifestyle . It is really not just a trend or a tourist attraction to see–it’s a culture, it’s their life.
The average Dutch person cycles around 1,000 km annually and only in the Netherlands that there are more bicycles than people! And—did you know that Dutch old people still cycle even they are 80!
With a country of 17.1 million people, there are 23 Million bikes! Imagine that!Meaning an average Dutch has 1.3 bikes, 2 or more! I saw it by my own eyes in my numerous visits in Holland. Bicycles or Fiets is staple as bread (or Brood) in every household and oftentimes they cycle to buy bread! Both young and old ride their bikes, going to school and to work. Every.single. Day! 32% of journeys for example in Amsterdam is by bike alone.
Compared to USA with 325 Million people, they have 70 Million bikes. I think everyone owns a bike than everyone owns a car. Last Easter we visited Utrecht and I discovered something more, it seems like that the number of bicycles is much even more than I could remember from what I’ve seen along the canals of Amsterdam and the bike parking lot in Museumplein. 40% of the visitors going to Utrecht are coming by bike so the largest Bike parking lot is found in this city. The 17,100 SQ/m parking space under the Utrecht Central Station can take up up to 12,500 BIKES! Imagine that!
If they love to cycle then they need to build cycling paths for sure.There are 35,000km of bike paths only dedicated for cycling in the Netherlands. Most of the inner cities are car-free and there are endless places to go without the need of a car. Bicycle streets is very common standard in many Dutch cities but Utrecht is on top with 6km and plans for more.Bicycle Urbanism is the trend in Lowlands and I can really see why it’s bent to last.
What’s so fascinating is that they even created a pop-up parking concept for bikes and they have installed the Flo – a speed detection system coupled with digital kiosks that read each cyclist’s speed and help them speed up or slow down in order to catch the next light. It is a more complicated system than the simpler ones in place in Copenhagen .
Another important thing, as a parent, I can totally appreciate the unique love affair of Dutch with their bicycles and incorporating cycling to their kids at a very young age. For the past 2.5 years that I am now living here in Germany, and married to a Dutchman, I am cycling almost everyday and it’s one of my preferred practical means of transport, especially if I want to get on with everyday routines . I love the freedom, the peace and security I feel when I ride my bike but not on rush hours! Long distance cycling is not for me but here they have E-bikes as well but I appreciate everyday circulation and exercise I get from it. The fresh air that I breathe while riding my bike can be a stress-reliever and at the same time enjoying the surroundings while cycling is so nice. It’s one of the things I called “simplest form of luxury“. I often cycle going to work, getting basic groceries and bring my child to the Kindergarten and yes, I cycle even in Winter ! It’s very common here as well for Kindergarten children ( as young as 2!) to use Lauf Fahrrad (or walking bike) and cycle to their school accompanied by parents. We never had this in Philippines and certainly not in Kuwait so this new culture is something for you to really personally experienced for you to appreciate. It is not just a trend. It’s a way of life.
On the other side, here in Germany, we use much of the “Anhänger“. Of course, Germans always have the best technology for everything! It’s a compact carriage tagged along in a bike so you can cycle with your toddler everywhere you go. My daughter loves it and its very common here. I think most of families with little children have it. Complete with straps, seat belts and children always wear helmet as much as adults. But not so in the Netherlands.They transport their babies and toddlers in a box-type carriage attached to a bike called “Bakfiets” together with a bag of groceries withe other things as well. It’s what they called “super-utility box “!
In Germany, even if you don’t do cycling professionally, or you’re not into Sport, people wear Lycra and cycling gears, which is a total NO-NO in Holland. Dutch people cycle in normal and work clothes. What is amazing that the women can cycle so classy on skirt while riding a bike!
I lived 200 meters from a nearby school and I observed that young people ( Realschule and up to Gymnasium) also ride their bikes going to school, but most of them are being dropped off by a car every single day or taking the bus.
It is well known that Dutch children are the happiest in the world. I believe cycling is a part of the development of inner security that they feel as a kid. Cycling allows them to reach destinations safely and gives them the feeling of freedom, and achievement.
The Dutch train their children at a young age to ride so they can confidently ride in the roads when they are around 12 years of age, just before they start secondary school . Only if they pass their traffic exam are they awarded their Verkeersdiploma (traffic certificate). This training is necessary as 75% of secondary school students cycle to school, rising to 84% riding for those living within 5 km of school. Even for distances of 16 km (9.9 mi) or over, some 8% of secondary school children cycle in each direction to school, though this is mainly in rural areas where the closest secondary schools can be a fair distance away.Some 49% of primary school children ride to school, but distances are shorter and adults often accompany the younger ones .
People cycle like crazy without helmet and children sits in front of the bike without the child seat like we have here. Do you know why it so normal? Street accidents are unheard of. In the Netherlands,the traffic rules are so bike-friendly so safety is not an issue. I have seen it by my eyes, children pedals from school to home but bikes being stolen are another issue.
What about you, what is your opinion about cycling? Do you hold back on riding a bicycle?
If you happen to visit Holland, try to observe and capture people cycling with umbrella and especially on bicycle rush hours, it’s really a sight!
How about you, what is your view of cycling? What do you like about riding a bike?
If you want to know how others feel about when they are cycling then read on from Here.It’s really good.
I’m not so much of a car-fanatic but there’s something I’ve discovered lately this year. I told you, my town is so small and yet so full of hidden facts that are just waiting to be discovered. And yes, not too late to share but—I found a place where you can have a thrilling one-of-a kind experience of having a breakfast with Rolls-Royce, Harley Davidson, and crazy beautiful sleek fast luxury branded sports cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini. All set in one great ambiance in the business Hotel called Classic Old Timer Hotel! Germans are crazy about their cars but here in Ingolstadt, with the giant Audi HQ set within few kilometers away , everyone is just crazy about cars.There’s no doubt that anyone who visits the old town will probably head to Audi Forum!
For car enthusiasts, this is something appealing. Even if cars is not your thing, seeing the showroom from a glance is quite an experience, best of all, its free and open to the public.The showroom is actually a private collection of Mayer Classic cars and it is adjacent to the Hotel premises of Old Timer Classic hotel.
Few of the worthwhile collection includes a Ferrari F488 GTB, Lamborghini Aventador, Porsche GT2 RS,F458, and so many more luxury branded cars. If you fancy anything and you’ve got the money, you can even buy it because some pieces are for sale.Unlike the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt, this collection is private and more on classic and luxury branded cars.
Located in front of the Saturn Arena, with just few meters away from the lush Klenzepark and the old town . With its premium location, it also holds various Rock concerts, fashion shows, and other events .The hotel itself offers a conference room and most of the clients are car-related business as well.
The architecture and design are typical of Hotel standards and the concept of combining the Automobile charisma with the business hospitality of a modern hotel is something new and an absolute win. Not only this place ideal for car lovers, but also for adventure seeking and someone who loves the one above the ordinary.
As I’ve written before in many of my posts, Ingolstadt is a small town here in Bavaria,( approx. 80 km) away from Munich where the Audi Headquarters is located.Known for the ancient tales of the secret group Illuminati and the birthplace of the fictional Horror character “Frankenstein“, it offers a lot of diversity and cultural highlights that makes it worthwhile to visit. I can say that for almost 2.5 years of living here, I must say that it does not have the big city vibes like Berlin or Munich, but we feel at home here. It’s safe, clean and we feel at home!
I’ve also visited the Audi Forum and I am totally immersed to this Automobile culture. This hotel and the Mayer Classic cars is no exception because even the rooms are designed with car decors. Whether you’re a classic car collector or enthusiast, or simple car lover-admirer, then you should not miss this place.Some regards it only as an additional amenity. The important thing is you got the value of your stay from what you’ve paid for!
Hotel guests can enjoy their breakfast in grand buffet with a view because its free. It’s also a nice place to meet friends and enjoy coffee, or beer in the Lobby or Reception area.The Reception area as well shows a lot of car collectibles and vintage decors.
There’s something for the stomach and there’s something also to please the eyes. Both senses are fulfilled ,visually and gastronomical. I can tell from my own experience that the breakfast experience is also commendable and worth all the cost. The buffet offers a wide range of choices, from traditional Bavarian breakfast of Kaisersmarrn and weisswursts, Brezen to american or continental breakfast choices of cold cuts, muesli, cheeses, salmon fillets (Lachs) breads and assorted salads. The hot drinks includes numerous Tea variations and coffee, and fruit juices.
When was the last time you’ve experienced something unique and out of the ordinary?
Wishing you all a happy weekend and until then!
It’s been a while and I apologize for lack of posts in this Blog. It’s been a busy, horribly busy year for me. But anyway, this Christmas break I have the chance to sit down and reflect and write once again. So many things had happened for the past months and I guess I just need to move on. Thank you for those who continue to comment, write and visit my Blog. Hopefully I could personally catch up on all my followers and readers!
How are you guys doing? I hope that everyone is doing well and had a wonderful holidays with your love ones.
For those who celebrates Christmas —Merry Christmas and as Germans say “Einen guten Rutsch “ or a wish for a great slide in the coming New Year!This is one of the great things that I did this year—to learn and speak German!
But the Dutch and Germans do it well since they have the second day of Christmas ( Boxing Day) that is December 26 to celebrate. What’s not to love about this extra day of holiday but to eat more, drink more and be merry?!
How did you guys kept yourselves busy this holiday season? As for me, here’s another sequel for my collection of Manholes—also known as drain covers!
If you read my post about “The beauty of Manholes“then you must know my fascination for water drainage. I have this thing for looking down and set a goal to collect different images of manholes in different places and as I find it very interesting, Germany is a great place to start. These images showed uniqueness of each place and area. Some are really distinctly creative, some are just plainly functional. But I tell you, for me, It is always great to look down into something nice, whether its covered with snow, dirt, or leaves, mud or wet with rain.It adds a sentiment while walking on cobbled streets. For these second part of my series, I want to thank my father-in-law for capturing all the new manholes.
Soon it will be another year, how time flies. A brand new year for all of us to start new beginnings. Have you already thought about what do you want to accomplish in 2019?
What about starting a “Looking down series“?
I know its human nature to look up. Gazing up on a tall building, or on a clear blue skies is something that we all do especially when we are “visitors”in a foreign land. It only takes a few seconds to look up and appreciate all the new and beautiful things that surrounds us.Same goes with looking down. You see shadow paths from yesterday, footprints and marks that tells a million stories.
Do you also have a habit of looking down while walking?
How does the manholes in your area looks like?
Want to participate in my global project?
If you ever seen an interesting Manhole in your area, please feel free to send me a photo of it or a link so I can include it here in my list.
My goal is to collect as many as possible depending where my path leads me to.
Send me some photos in : firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you find my story interesting and something to ponder about. Over here in Bavaria in Germany, sending you the best wishes for the coming Silvester and New Year!
Happy New Year to all!
Wishing you all a happy weekend…Tschüss!
After 2 years of living in Germany, I finally have the chance to see Berlin!
Why it took it so long I also don’t know. Perhaps because, we never had the chance or there are wayyyy to many beautiful cities and places in Germany , including Berlin of course to see and visit. I am living in the Southern part of Germany (Bayern) and Berlin is up in the north. People greets you with “Hello ” or Moin Moin up there, something that is totally not a norm in Bavaria. The Bavarian culture is definitely so much different from Berlin I realized that now. One thing for sure, I couldn’t find a decent Bretzel like our favorite, there’s no one wearing Tracht–Lederhosen and Dirndls and nobody greets you “Servus!“
Yes, with so many things to do, life can be busy, so we are taking our time, sometimes unplanned things leads to bigger adventures. This gives me opportunity to look for fascinating Manholes and of course, some of Berlin secrets!
Coincidentally that I am doing my Orientierungskurs ( Leben In Deutschland ) , it heightened more my curiosity about Berlin.Everyday we learned about the country’s political system, history and everyday living. Imagine my excitement seeing the things from the books I am reading and now with my own eyes. Over the days, I become so engrossed with World War II history and related events so I busied myself reading a lot and watching German movies. It’s unbelievable for myself that I can now watch German movies with comprehension! I’ve read about horrific stories and I can’t even imagine it happened. I just realized how little I know about Germany. As someone who grew up in Asia, I had zero knowledge about Holocaust and what happened to Berlin during the war, totally out of touch & not having a grip on world History. I think if I didn’t live here then I wouldn’t be able to learn so much about this country like this. Integration in a foreign culture is really the key.
Another thing, it also happened that my cousins from 2 different side of the world arranged to meet with me for the very first time here in Europe and our meeting point is Berlin. My daughter and her second-generation cousin met also for the first time! Both Expat children! There’s no other better place of course to meet up, because they had participated in the Berlin42 Marathon and that’s what makes it even more exciting. I haven’t seen them for almost 3 decades so imagine our excitement!
So here’s how I find Berlin as a first time visitor!
Berlin is BERLIN !
Berlin is one of the famous city in Europe and beside the capital of Germany, you should visit Berlin because–it is BERLIN. Something about this place stands out from the rest. I also don’t know why. You need to personally experience it! Maybe because of the vibes, its alive, free-spirited, artistic aura and world-class travel destination it became over the years. I think you can’t be in Berlin without thinking about the past, the Cold War, the Nazi and Hitler WW II and the Berlin Mauer (or wall). Germany has a fair share of dark past and it plays a great deal of what is Germany now and its people.It’s an appendage of the city’s history. But in fact, Berlin is not a typical, traditional “German” city. When I say, “traditional”, then it must be “Bavaria“! Apart from the utilitarian “Box- type” buildings which influenced by the Communist time and cold-war era, I learned that Berlin is still on continuous repairs. It was severely bombed during WW II so almost all of the city’s relics were restored or rather renovated. During the time of our visit, the other section of the Berliner Dom is still undergoing some repairs .Berlin is still repainting, rebuilding, restoring and its history is just yesterday’s news!
Berlin is very International
Well, Berlin absolutely left an impression on me apart from it being a busy metropolis. I love this wonderful, international city! It is a home for all people around the world. For a minute, I was shocked to hear so many people are speaking English, which totally surprised me because in Bavaria, I barely hear people speaking in English. So when I heard it, I was really jolted. “Wow, I feel at home! “. Berlin is so diversified, relax, busy, multi-cultural and naturally very touristy. Over the weekend, Berlin was flocked with tourists because of the Marathon so it’s really not surprising to see lots of people visiting.
People of different skin flooded the streets. Tourists from all over the world flocked over the Brandenburg Tor and the Reichstag Building. People are super carefree and very welcoming. You can wear whatever you want and dress up to whatever style you like. While taking the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, I observed people.People from different walks of life come in and out of the train and chasing every second. People are kind and one time in a busy S-Bahn, someone even gave us a seat.
Berlin is Green
Berlin is often called Green metropolis. I can imagine that in summer, parks and green spaces are full of people relaxing under the sun. Another thing is that it’s bicycle-friendly . I was surprise to see rental bikes all around but I don’t really know how does it works. Although Berlin has an excellent public transportation,tourist can explore the city by renting a bike as well. Berlin has another unique Green feature as well–it’s Green Ampelmännchen, or the pedestrian crossing traffic lights. In 1924, the first traffic lights in Berlin were ceremonially put into service on Potsdamer Platz.It was a surreal experience to saw the old traffic lights that still operates up until now.
Berlin is a home for Artists
Berlin is very artsy, the graffitti Artwork is unbelievable! Art is in every corner and that’s what makes it so unique. With so many beautiful Architecture all around to ponder, you are left with many choices.It’s not the lack of high rise buildings, but the sense of modernity that blends with lots of historical artifacts. From the Berlin’s classic S-Bahn from Friedrichstrasse Station to the modern Aqua Dom in Radisson Blu hotel up to the Fernsehen Tower (TV Tower), Berlin has the mixture of both the past and the present.
A Walk through History
If you wanna explore Berlin, then you need to do a lot of walking.Berlin is like a big treasure hunt place. If you are in search of something without knowing where it is, then you are into a threat, maybe you’ll stumble upon a great secret! That’s how we did it.Walking through the paths of historical sites, starting from the Brandenburg Tor,and tracing the marks of the traces of the Berlin wall, up to the Postdamer Platz and the Holocaust Memorial, you feel some kind of significance. You will be grateful about the life you are having considering the tragic stories behind these memorials. After a quite morning at the Museum Insel where we saw the Berliner Dom, Alte Museum and Pergamon, we walked straight to the Bebelplatz, and wondering why people are flocking there. It took time for me to realized what they are staring down to the ground–a squared-looking glass directly showing the empty bookcases. Bebelplatz is the place directly in front of Humbolt University, the oldest university in Berlin and which has had famous professors, including Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, and the Brothers Grimm. The same place where the Nazi burned the writings and all the books of the Jews about Jewish faith occurred in 1933.It was not a grand memorial, it was in fact a void.If you don’t see it closely and reflect, then you are just wasting your time. It was considered a voided memorial because the books burned that night in 1933 can’t be replaced, but the void for them can be, hence the empty rows of bookshelves.
You feel invincible knowing that great men and women have walked there, also people lost their lives on these memorable places, just like the story of the Kindertransport. I have learned much about German history just by walking through the city. Walking through a new city can be life changing as well.
Berlin is cheap…or rather affordable.
For budget travelers like me, I find Berlin affordable.In Berlin, you can do many stuff without spending much money. With almost all of the key landmarks which are situated close to each other, from Museums to clubs, to tourist spots and tours, you can easily find whatever suits your tastes. I find it easy to navigate on its busy streets.We had a nice hotel along Tiergarten with a very good buffet breakfast for only 8 Euros and we can’t complain anymore! Because it’s very international, food is no problem. I find it actually hard to choose what to eat because there are so many choices to choose from. From well-known fast foods,to dominating Turkish döners, Lebanese Koftas, Indian currys, Thai, Korean, Arabic dishes and of course, the native German delicacies served in Biergartens and restaurants, you can never get hungry in Berlin, never! Almost every corner has a Currywürst mit Pommes as well. If you want to spend some quiet time, then head to the line of restaurants on the banks of the Spree river and watch the boats passed by! The only thing that will bother you is the sound of street musicians trying to amuse you. One thing through, beer is cheaper than water in Berlin !
Berlin has a place in world history and always a special place in Germany.There are places being known because of its natural beauty or something that originates from it, or it’s just cheap to visit. For me, Berlin is a place to remember, either you visited it for leisure, business, or visiting a family or just plain navigation.
It has something that can never be bought from the souvenir shops–it’s enigma and it is really priceless!
I could write so much more about this experience but I guess its all up to you to make your own experience and story about Berlin.This is a small part of how I saw Berlin.We are already looking forward for our next visit in Spring and see the city turns into pink paradise from the cherry blossoms! I am sure I will have another versions of how I see this city!
How about you, have you ever been to Berlin? How was your experience?
The title says it all, this post is all about my fascination of Manholes or drainage covers.
Well, since I came to live here in Germany I got hooked into looking down , staring for a couple of minutes and just marveling at these drains.I find it interesting to look down and taking photos ( if I have the chance to do so…) of unique water drain designs and the way every city has its own pride, normally it shows the city’s name and the official seal.
But the big question is why?
In my home country and way back in Kuwait, it is quite different.Manholes are usually plain, dull or somewhat far from sight of the pedestrian or I’m just oblivious then. From the time I remember, I heard about accidents involving people falling off crazy in these filthy holes.With traffic crazy streets in Kuwait, no one stays longer in the streets or you’ll be ran-over ! Ok, maybe I sound a bit dramatic but the thing is, the culture says it all. For me, in Philippines, manholes never appeals to me because I grew up never having the “liking”into it or it sounds dangerous and traumatic experience especially during rainy season and heavy flooding. People falling into a manhole may sound funny but actually it is NOT. It’s a serious accident.
I guess it shows how different each country value the water drainage system and its covers here in Europe especially in big cities. In a very touristic areas here in Germany, most inner cities observed car-free , therefore encouraging more people to walk, rather than drive into the city. So it means, we have more means to explore by foot at our own pace.
I must say that here in Germany, I have seen quite few interesting manholes. I haven’t had the chance to photograph them all , or I forget about it but this post will be updated from time to time once new updates are available. For starters, here are some of the fascinating manholes I’ve discovered.
Sometimes it’s easy to spot them on but sometimes it’s also hard , especially when we are walking in a hurry or traveling by car.I know it’s not everyone’s fancy , but one thing I noticed, in social media, I see so many photos of feet selfies, or shoe selfies . They all show a sort of individuality and personal choices.For photography, It’s all about our choice of subject and we have all the right to take photos of anything we want as long as it is rightful and doesn’t harm others. But here in Germany, public photography has some limitations as well.
So, why manholes?
First I got this habit of looking down where I walked into the streets when I ventured into exploring all the Stolpersteine or stumbling blocks or stones— those artistic stones for the victims of Holocaust and murdered Jews. I am living in Germany and I have learned these things in my class and everyday, as I explore the historical places, It is impossible not to be aware of the dark past of German history including the stumbling stones. It made a great impact on me to stop for a minute and think ..“Oh, there’s a victim of Holocaust who lived here…” I think its a very decent way of paying respect to their story and being grateful that war is finally over and hoping “Never again...”
So, back to my old habit, whenever I walk around into a new place, I took particular notice of where I’m stepping into. There’s so many landmarks, engravings, plaques of memorials, grave stones, or some sort of legendary marks which is imprinted into the ground for the sake of history and remembrance . One thing for sure, you can learn so much from it.
Just like standing over a precious stone or a border mark, it has a profound effect, like “I’m walking over where a great war happened ,where heroes dies and fought for something “or “I’m standing where the wall of Berlin before stands “. So just like taking a minute to appreciate manholes, I also took time to admire an important city’s landmark. I realized that what they do underground is as much as important as what they do over it. The street’s quality are also differ from place to place and the way they build it. Normally, these manholes are built with high-end steel, painted or engraved, or just personalised to city’s parameters.
There’s also something nice about looking at manholes through each season. Here in our old town, summer time is the time where road maintenance is being done and road works are really important especially the “Fußgängerzone” or walking path. Manholes or drain covers withstand the never-ending change of weather and seasons.
I therefore conclude that It takes a good government to pay attention of where the normal people drive, cycle, walk, and run into. So it goes with drain covers.
Do you also have a habit of looking down while walking?
How does the manholes in your area looks like?
Want to participate in a global project?
If you ever seen an interesting Manhole in your area, please feel free to send me a photo of it or a link so I can include it here in my list. My goal is to collect as many as possible depending where my feet leads me to.
Send me some photos in my Email : email@example.com.
I hope you find my story interesting and something to ponder about. Over here, Autumn season has begun here in Bavaria and I am excited to wander off in the streets and continue exploring!
Wishing you all a happy weekend…Tschüss!
I love visiting churches. I am not a religious person but I am a lover of beautiful buildings and architecture. Be it Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance or Modern Art, a great work is timeless. Speaking of churches, I love the peace and tranquility of being inside a solemn place of worship. I also felt the same amazement when I marveled at the beauty of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait. Here in Germany, there are so many beautiful churches, in fact, too many to mention. In every city we visit, I always find time to visit historical churches and I am always left with wonder. They kind of look all the same, all had distinct beauty that is worth of admiration, some have captivating details and carries a legendary tale. Even for half an hour or so, I always felt being recharged when I let the silence while being inside a church. Walking through the marbled floors, sitting and saying a little prayer, marveling at the lines of statues and gazing up through the illuminated wall decorations and stained windows can be a worthwhile experience. So is the saying that when you travel, you become silent, then it makes you a storyteller in the end.
But churches can also be exhilarating! There are so much to see and so much history. One thing, what about the famous priests of kings buried in the crypt, the artists who painted the frescoes, or the reason why it was built?
The solemn stillness of cascading lights through the Holy Altars and grand statues of saints is more than enough to feed my curiosity. A quick look of the Rococo and Stucco designs, the elaborate paintings, or the exhilarating ceiling vault designs can be stressful, at the same time interesting. Especially on a busy day full of sightseeing in a new city, churches provides an accent which makes any trip worthwhile.This is one of the reasons why most churches here in Germany are full of visitors, tourists, and of religious groups.
Last week, my parents-in-law visited us for a few days so we decided to take a day-trip to show them a bit of München. The weather was fine and as usual, Munich is super busy. After our visit in the Dino World in Olympia Park, we strolled along Marienplatz and along the Sendlingerstrasse to check out Asam kirche, also known as St. Johann Nepomuk church. This church had left a lasting impression to me ever since I saw it last year. But this time, I saw another fascinating, yet twisted detail.
Just below the statue of St. Nepomuk lies a captivating golden sculpture of Skeleton, with a giant scissors and about to cut a thread that an anxious Angel holds. In most churches, sculptures and statues of angels, saints and heavenly divinities are a normal sight, but this one is something different.If you’re keen enough , the skeleton signifies Death and He holds the scissors to cut the thread , obviously the Thread of Life that a frantic angel holds.
Twisted? Creepy, or unusual?
Asam Kirche is a Baroque Church in München, in southern part of Germany.Built around 1733 to 1746 by Asam Brothers, sculpture and stucco plaster Egid Quirin Asam and Architect/Painter Cosmas Damian Asam. They work closely together and are considered to be one of the prolific Artists in the Late Baroque period.Their notable works spread throughout Germany, particularly in Bavaria, and in Austria. They are also responsible for the impressive church that we have here in the Old Town of Ingolstadt, the Asam Church of Maria Viktoria.
They built the Asam Kirche for personal place of worship, in fact, they can see the church from their private dwelling house.If you love Architecture, then this place has full of notable details for you to enjoy.The gold-accented ceiling fresco “Life of Saint Nepomuk“is one of the masterpiece from the work Cosmas Damian Asam.
With all the oddities and twisted allegories, this church is worthwhile to check out if you are planning to visit Munich. I must say that the Asam Kirche is a hidden jewel, “klein aber fein ” ( small yet beautifully done). There’s a lot of hidden surprises that awaits for those who are willing to explore it!
This post is inspired by this week’s Photo Challenge |Twisted
Further Reading :
I think we’ve just got lucky!
New Year started off with bright, shimmering sparkles for us, because we found ourselves in the beautiful Winter Wonderland of Crystals—-where else, but in the Headquarters of Swarovski Crystals in Wattens, Austria! Well, not everyone would consider this place as a Bucket-List sort of thing, but If you love Crystals and you have a thing for Arts, plus you are in the vicinity of Innsbruck, then this can be a great getaway for everyone in the family!
As for me, I love the unique sparkle of Crystals. I like the simple beauty of it whether it’s in a form of jewelry or from an art installation. I have learned that it takes talent and high-end technology to come out with these gorgeous creation. The sparkle is something magical and when you wear something that blings, plus you feel good about it ,then nobody can take away that from you, regardless of how much it costs.
So when we’ve learned that the Swarovski HQ is just half an hour drive from Innsbruck, we decided to give it a go. At first I was just super curious of what’s all about the face of the Giant,I’ve only seen it in photos, so I wanted to know the concept behind it. The Giant, is one-of a kind symbol, that is the face of Swarovski, same as the Swan as its current symbol.I find it fascinating how from 1899, Swarovski uses the Edelweiss flower as its logo. Edelweiss symbolizes Alpinism and purity, for a fact that Edelweiss is one of the most beloved flowers in Austria.
All my questions were lost as we stepped into the magical world of the huge Krystallwelten. My eyes feasted, and my mind marveled into the artistic creations that are on display. The company itself , which operates in roughly 2,800 stores in around 170 countries, and employs more than 32,000 employees, and has a revenue of about 2.6 billion euros (in 2016) looks magnanimous against the azure mountains,it stands out among the hilly country side of Wattens. Now I understand why people from different parts of the world traveled half across the globe just to see what’s in this place. Swarovski is still Innsbruck’s #1 Tourist attraction! Thanks to the great mind of Daniel Swarovski, the founder of Swarovski Crystal Dynasty, a humble glass cutter, and a genius to create a Diamond for everyone!
If you are interested to know how it all started, from Daniel Swarovski’s humble beginnings to what Swarovski is now to the world, here I found an interesting Swarovski story.
I, myself were fascinated of how crystal is being made, so it’s just fitting to share with you what I’ve found out about the art of making Crystals. The modern Crystal museum is not just a shop where you buy a piece of crystal jewelry. The whole place itself is a platform for Arts with the theme of Crystal, thus making it a top-ranking Austrian tourist destination for its modern Architecture and facilities. Maybe not everyone loves Art or jewelry, but I must say that the Artistic installations there conveys great minds and concept, and of course guarantees delight for everyone in the family no matter what the weather is.
Its winter time and just in time for the New Year, so the whole place is still heavily decorated with Winter Magic Moments where the visualizations were designed by Tord Boontje. There’s a giant Christmas Tree ,carousel and many unique art installations glittering with lights can be seen in the gardens.When we arrived at the Arrival’s Hall where we got our tickets, we already have the glimpse of the grand entrance to the Chambers of Wonders, with The Giant of Wattens, slightly covered in snow and foliage, with its glistening eyes and mouth flowing with water.The world renowned-landmark of the World of Crystals created by the great mind of multi-media Artist, André Heller!
Little that the world know, inside the Swarovski Crystal Worlds are 16 Chambers of Wonders.These are special chambers designed by world-class talented Artists showing their inspiring creations.
The Artists have one goal in their mind:
Nurturing the sense of wonder of every visitor who came to Wattens! This place offers more than the bling. So it’s not only a place to buy crystal jewelry, it is a place that displays innovative Crystal Technology and artistic minds, with crystal as the main component!
Some of the notable Artists and Art installations that I personally found to be inspiring were :
Manish Arora’s “Ready to Love” is super colorful, funky, with dancing lights and a stairs full of colorful inscriptions with the theme Love.It is so fresh and luxurious that my daughter was so delighted to see this.If you are traveling with children, a place like this might be boring for them, but in the chamber of “Ready to Love”, it looks like it’s a colorful play area with interacting lights.
André Heller’s “Heroes of Peace” is an interactive stage. Heller designed an accessible explorable theater for all the senses to inspire, amuse and fill up the audience with positive energy. We saw Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi in a hologram-filled space! Looks eerie at first, but it’s quite high-tech!
Fernando Romero’s ” El Sol “ is a stunning art installation which focuses on man’s relationship with the sun. This is by far my favorite since it reminds me of the stunning Winter sunsetscapes that I saw while I’m in Tyrol. El Sol is a one-of a kind, large geodesic structure,mimicking the sun made up of 2, 880 individually manufactured Swarovski crystals!
Another beautiful sight inside the Chambers of Wonders is the “The Eden” by Fredrikson Stalard . For me, it is unique, and I love the mystery. My daughter enjoyed this one too. It’s like she is walking in a maze. It’s a forest-fantasy in an archaic, primeval world. At its entrance, a waterfall, filmed in the surrounding Alps, cascades down a screen and is reflected by the walls, while the roar of the water permeates the entire Chamber of Wonder, creating a wall of background sound. Inside, the visitor follows a path that meanders through a dense wilderness of simple polished brass structures, which through mirrored walls appear to go on to infinity.
Within the depths of this dark forest, the wanderer encounters strange, hidden gems in the form of the biggest crystals Swarovski has ever produced. They emerge as beacons of light from the dark, like strange, exotic birds, reptiles, flowers, or fruit, symbolizing the magnificence of nature and the origins of life.
For the rest of the Chambers of Wonders are listed Here. Seeing them one by one is like being transported into a magical world one after the other where Swarovski crystals shines the best.
Of course, inside as well is the tempting shop of Swarovski where we’ve seen all beautiful things out of crystals! Adjacent to the Chambers of Wonders is the Swarovski Shop where you can mesmerized yourself with all the beautiful jewelry and items offered by Swarovski. They are currently having a huge Sale so visitors are really flocking and hoarding over it.
We went out to grab a bite inside Daniel’s Cafe & Restaurant which is also dynamically designed. It is very spacious and we loved the food.The price was reasonable and their service is excellent.
Outside, we marvel along the beautiful Crystal Clouds installations.We visited on a snowy, cloudy day but still, the sight of the Krystallwolke is something that amazes me. It’s made up of 800,000 crystal jewels embedded in a net like structure to mimic clouds.It is designed by Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot.
We continue to wander off through all the Kunst im Garten ( Art in the Garden), Labyrinth (Maze), Roman Excavations, and go inside their one-of -a kind Spielturm ( Playtower) .This is a place that my daughter loves, so do we!She needed a time to release her energy so this place really comes handy.
They have a state of the art indoor playground and a tower that is completely amazing! The view from inside seeing the mountains is beautiful even on a cloudy day.The façades of the tower, designed by architecture firm Snøhetta, consist of 160 crystalline facets, though no two are exactly alike. The panes are imprinted with an innovative pattern of millions of tiny animal motifs. The view from inside to outside is visible at all times and at night, the structure is a spectacular body of light.
I have seen that not only children love this place but also their parents who played with them. There are slide tunnels, maze, puzzles and bouncing areas. Outside there is also an Outdoor playground, a Labyrinth maze and so much more.
To cap up our Swarovski experience, I could say that it has been a well-spent day. I did not expect that my husband would love this place but He said that He actually enjoyed it.We haven’t seen all the other attractions since its cold outside but then, there is always a reason to come back.
How did you start your year?
Do you like Swarovski Crystals over other type of jewelry?
Would you like to visit this place given a chance?
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you follow #myInnsbruck experience from my other posts about our New Year experience in the Alps.
Looking back from the time I started with my journey with Painting last year, I have received numerous requests of doing more Landscape artwork. People always have a thing for replicating nature—like flower fields, mountains, seascapes, mountain views, and yes, even the skies. I have received many compliments when I am doing the Galaxy-effect sky painting, from which I viewed only as an intermediate attention. I won’t lie, but I created that piece accidentally when I only wanted to use up my leftover paints.
I have the impression that choosing a particular piece and subject of artwork is definitely a personal thing. Like for example, some of my friends cannot appreciate any Abstract piece, while here in Germany, most of the people I knew value my Abstract pieces. But I have learned that as a self-taught artist, you created what you love. You paint what your emotions and mood dictates, from your brushes to your pinsel. the medium that you used is totally depending on where you feel most comfortable with delivering your thoughts on your work. Doing artwork for the sake of making money out of it and pleasing your audience is something offensive to an artist’s creed. It forsakes your own talent, your own mantra of creating something that personify yourself. Not unless you decide to become a full-time Artist and you rely solely on painting to pay your bills. That would be a different story.
I have collected some pieces of my moody landscapes paintings and would like to share it with you here. To give you an idea, I personally loved landscapes, but I am definitely need a lot of learning more to do to make the best of this, especially when I am working with watercolors. These paintings are inspired by the beauty of landscapes that surrounds me. I tried my best to use my watercolor pallete to bring out the hues and texture to give an attitude to these paintings.Notice that they are moody, almost surreal and I used varying shades to re-create a view from my mind.
Here are some paintings I did for Moody Landscapes paintings in Aquarelle.
Autumn Reflections — 40 x 50.8 cm ( 16″x 20″) Aquarelle painting in 300G/M2 (140lb) Cold-press artist grade paper.
Waves in Turmoil – 36 x 48 cm (14.2″x 18.9″) Aquarelle Landscape painting in Artist Grade paper.
Prelude to Dusk – 36 X 48cm ( 14.2″ x 18.9 “) Original Watercolor/Aquarelle painting
Magical Spring Garden – 36 x 48cm ( 14.2″ x 18.9″) Original Watercolor/Aquarelle Landscape Painting
Let’s Go to the Tropics – 36 x 48cm ( 14.2 “X 18.9”) Original artwork in Watercolor/Aquarelle .
The “Autumn Reflections“is displayed in one corner in our living room before shipping to its new owner.
Some pieces were already commisioned for purchase and I am excited that my artwork will find new home.There’s a feeling of happiness whenever I create something and people would actually wanna buy it! I, myself haven’t purchase any original artwork in my life, so I truly respect the people who wanted to invest in my talent. It is a great encouragement and tool for motivation to continue mastering your craft. I guess that the best job in the world would be the kind that you really love doing, like a combination of your hobby or passion, and you got actually being paid to do it.
I don’t even have my own studio. I used our kitchen counter when I do some messy work and oftentimes, I am in our dining table to do what I love. Sometimes I do things simultaneously while waiting for other paintings to dry. I visited Art shops looking for art supplies and using the translator app in my phone (since almost all labels are in German), I make both ends meet. Many times, when I am painting, I am also doing some house work, looking after my child, and taking care of other tasks. If I give in to complacency, then I wouldn’t be able to do what I want to do.
There is really no excuse if you want something to be done.
I write this because for me——every piece of artwork is personal. Painting is something that I wanted to do until I grow old and that my hands can still grip on a brush.
What is your opinion of these landscape artwork? Do you like landscapes?
Feel free to share your comments, I would appreciate it!
Thank you once again for reading my friends!Until next time!
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