National “Romantic” Tulip Day!

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Tulip picking !

Are you prepared to gather your own  FREE Tulips?

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Tulips in bloom in Keukenhof Gardens, Spring 2017

Is it Spring already? Nope, its still freezing over here in Germany, as it is still winter here in Europe, but in the Netherlands, you can catch an early glimpse of Spring! As a yearly tradition in Amsterdam, once again this year, the TULPENDAG or the National Tulip Day is set! What makes this super exciting and colorful? You can gather your own Tulips, as much as you can, and yes—all for FREE!

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Memories from Keukenhof Gardens, Spring 2017

In lieu of this year’s theme “Romance“, Tulips are such in tune with any romantic occasion. I ,myself love Tulips no matter what the occasion is. Most especially when it is given to me as a gift. Just last week, I got a bunch of Tulips and when I put it in the vase, I can’t help myself comparing the bulbs from the gorgeous Tulips I have seen back in Holland. They are totally in different genes !!

Tulips are such a nice token to give to someone you love.It has a universal symbolism of purity, love and beauty.Though it can be super expensive in other countries, in Holland, tulips has its own pride.

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On January 20, the Dam Square will once again be filled with over 200, 000 Dutch tulips ! On this day, Tulip growers will wow the world once again by creating a temporary Garden right in the touristic Dam square. From 13.00 to 16:30, so if you are in Amsterdam or you have a chance to visit this beautiful city ( like I did!), then grab everyone along with you to see this event!

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Photos are from my last year’s visit to Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, in Holland!

What about you? What is your favorite flower?

Have you ever heard of a Tulip Movie? I found it very interesting and if you love Tulips, then this is something for you to learn more about the pride of Holland.

Enjoy watching!

PFINGSTVOLKSFEST Germany 2017

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Welcome to Pfingstenvolksfest 2017 in Bavaria !

Last Friday, June 2, signals the opening of the annual Spring festival called  “PfingstenVolksfest ”  here in Bavaria and will run up until the 11th of June. We have two major festivals here, one in Spring  (or Frühling)  and one in Autumn ( or Herbst) . Last year when I came here, I was able to attend my first Autumn Volksfest and it was awesome.  For an expat like me, experiencing this festival like a local is one of the great things that happened to me for my first year in Germany.

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Pretty German ladies in Dirndls { PfingstenVolksfest 2017}

The festival started as usual with a parade in Volk music and a grand Fireworks display. On top of the tower of the Pfeifturm, the Bavarian watchmen perform their traditional gun shots .The band who plays the music composed of different groups. Young and old, children and kids join the happy vibes in the show, even some migrants joined the parade carrying the Bavarian flag. Everything is so open and welcoming.Everyone is  dressed up in traditional Bavarian tracht, men in Lederhosen and women in beautifully made Dirndls. Seeing them, all smiles, parading in such a cozy atmosphere is such a delight to see.The huge horses which pulled up the carriages of the two major beer breweries here in Ingolstadt  ( The Nordbrau & Herrenbrau) are absolutely the star of the show. They are so huge, loud and yes, they can be wild once prompted.

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Huge black horses carrying the carriage of the Nordbrau { PfingstenVolksfest 2017}

The parade starts from the assembly area in front of the Alstadt /Rathausplatz and continues to go in the Festplatz where our Town mayor  officially open the festival  or  O ‘zafpt is ! Inside the fair grounds are huge arena full of different rides for children and adults to enjoy. There’s the giant Ferris wheel, roller coasters, carousels, and other head-spinning rides. If you are not afraid of the heights, I’m sure you will have a blast here. There are also numerous stalls which sells traditional goods, 2 large Beer tents, and other beer gardens.Outside the tents are lines of  food shops which sells finger foods, sandwiches, hotdogs, Pretzels ( or Breze), currywurst and other sausages, crepes, burgers,cheeses, Lebkuchen and other sweet delicacies, and so much more.

You can never get hungry inside. If you opt for more appetizing meals, there are lots of grilled foods you can find inside the beer tents! Pretty waitresses in Dirndles would be so glad to serve you.

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Ferris wheel and other rides  inside the fair grounds

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O’zapft is! The tapping of the first barrel of Beer, signalling the opening of the festival.

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Shops selling the traditional Bavarian Tracht ( Lederhosen and Dirndls)
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Horses taking a spin while waiting for the horse show to start

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Volksfest is a festival for all ages.When you visit Bavaria, you will really feel the authentic and “Bavarian thing” in the way they celebrate things. This is totally different compared to other parts of Germany and here, festival like this is more than just a mug of beer. Oktoberfest is another thing but during Volksfest, I see all people, expats and locals, children, young and old celebrate in their own ways. The tables inside the Beer tents are full of smiling people, enjoying the day drinking their beer, singing, dancing, and gathering with their love ones.

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PROST!!!!
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Currywurst swimming in sauce and Pommes – A Volksfest best snack !

The festival grounds are always well maintained and clean. There are ample parking spaces for bicycles and cars and the traffic is moderated. Compared from last year, I noticed that there are more security persons roving around the place, but not harassing.There are plenty of toilets and bathrooms, even Baby changing rooms. What can be more cozy than seeing a group of young men in Lederhosen playing their trombone, flute, and singing Bavarian music?

With the warm weather we are having now, visiting the Volksfest is a perfect time to spent as a family and with friends. They have different programs everyday, like on Wednesday afternoon is the Children’s day , Tuesday afternoon is for Senior’s Day were discounted prices are offered to make the feast more enjoyable. There are also special programs where big companies like Audi and Ingolstädter Schanzer Football club have their own special gathering.

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If you have the chance to travel to Germany during the months of June and September, make sure not to miss seeing an event like this, it is definitely a showcase of the Bavarian culture. Even if you are not a beer drinker, there is always an activity that will suit your lifestyle. For the many times I have visited Volksfest, I have never seen a drunk person ran amok or making a scene, totally not a German thing.

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Bavarian Lebkuchen !

Have you ever tasted a German Lebkuchen?

Do you know that this yummy cookie is best known for its authentic German flavors? A typical Volksfest memento that you could bring to your loveones!Read more here.

See you in the Autumn Festival this year and yes, don’t forget to say PROST!

If you enjoyed this post, please make sure you follow my Facebook page/ JustbluedutchArt  for my personal Artwork gallery  and if you are in Instagram, connect with me by adding me as your friends. Thank you for reading and Frohe Pfingsten! 

Happy National Day Kuwait!

Kuwait is in full colors today, February 25,2016  as it marks its  55th National Day. Serving to ignite the very essence of nationalism, on National Day Kuwait celebrates with myriad festivities and events, including a spectacular display of fireworks, illuminating the night sky. On this momentous day, Kuwaitis are typically attired in national dress and streets are decorated in the colours of the national flag. Kuwaitis like to spray each other with coloured foam, and water guns so maybe do not wear your very best clothes.

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On #iLoveYouKuwait : A Kuwaiti Boy Squinting against the sun flying his kite.

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On #iLoveYouKuwait : Kuwaiti fashion faux pas ,typical National Day at the desert.

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On #iLoveYouKuwait : National costumes, face paints & gimme Korean love,Salam!

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On #iLoveYouKuwait : National Day for Kuwaiti children.The future of this nation depends on them.

Happy 55th National Day and 25th Liberation Day !

The celebrations also coincided with Kuwait being chosen as capital of Islamic culture for 2016.As annual tradition dictates, military shows are held with the high-profile participation of land, air, and marine troops from the military, Interior Ministry, and Kuwait National Guard (KNG).The military shows usually receives the patronage and attendance of His Highness the Amir with the attendance of chiefs of the army and the National Guard, and scores of top senior officials of the state.Military and security units’ performances reflected the spirit of efficiency and readiness in defending the homeland under all circumstances.

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On #iLoveYouKuwait : Of festive Kuwaiti dancing & singing & Diwaniya with hundreds of carpets laid.

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On #iLoveYouKuwait : Its all about the details.Of pins & flag needles.

A parade showcasing armored vehicles, tanks, and other machinery usually occur during the event.An airshow, which includes various types of air crafts, marvelously sprayed the colors of Kuwait flag in the sky, painting a portrait of the flag.

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On #iLoveYouKuwait : Of pimping rides and please make some sounds .

Regularly, the event takes place in Sabhan area where the public are welcomed to attend.Also partaking in the national celebrations is the Sabah Al-Ahmad cultural village which is being decorated with the finest of colorful lights representing the Kuwaiti flag. The village is holding several events and festivities which will last till March 15th in honor of Kuwait’s national celebrations.

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On #iLoveYouKuwait : Camels & guards steals the show.

The celebrations of Kuwait national day and liberation anniversary was also accompanied by the re-opening of the country’s most prominent touristic site and symbol the Kuwait Towers. The towers were closed for five years due to maintenance work and now it is currently permissible for people to visit.Private and public buildings as well as homes and dwellings of Kuwaiti nationals and expatriates also showcased lights and decorations dedicated to the dear national celebrations.

Do you appreciate National days of the country you are living right now?

Hala February Kuwait!

 

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Green, Red & Black are the colors of Hala February  in Kuwait

February is a beautiful month in Kuwait. The weather is cool and  at its best, (Hooooraayy! ) and super perfect for outdoor activities. This is the best time to spend more time outside and explore because there’s so much things to see. If you’re new in Kuwait, then this is the best time for  Expats to get to know more about this country and participate to this most-awaited national holiday. From the beautiful street decorations up to the fresh spring flowers that adorned the landscapes of Kuwait, the whole K- town becomes alive.

February is the month of the colorful festival “Hala February “  highlighting the National Liberation Day which falls on February 25-26. Usually there are lots of varieties for a month-long activities and events everywhere. From winter Bazaars, Light shows & concerts, Outdoor Markets, desert camps, cultural tours, concert parades,  local community  festivals and so on. There’s so much going on everywhere that your weekend is packed with events to suits your lifestyle. In relation to this festivity, recently, Kuwait flight its 2,000 meters National Flag- (  Guinness World Record by making the Longest Flag-February 9,2016).

When I was a newcomer here, I was amazed while observing  how nationalistic Kuwaiti people are. I distinctively remember how I knew that the festivities have begun. All the villas in our neighborhood has Kuwaiti flag hanged in their  walls. During the whole month of February, Kuwaiti national pride come to super boost. From the Kuwait Towers, up to the smallest Bakalas, the Red, Green & Black color is all around. Small flags adorned the windows, doors, shops and even cars. So many shops that mainly sells are stuff for the Hala February event. They sell costumes, decorations, hats, flags & banners and so much more. Most buildings have beautiful light decorations and shows which are quite a sight at night. It becomes so alive in the evening. This is one of the attractions during this month. If you love Architecture then you’re in a treat, all the towers & Skyscrapers are decorated with  beautiful lights. I love watching them.

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Little boy in a costume during the Hala February  Festival Parade.

Since this post is about the National Day of Kuwait, I think its just  fitting that I shared with you some of the  interesting facts that I have learned about this country . These facts have made this dynamic country to be a popular Expat destination in the Middle East and stand out because of its unique charm, spirit & flaws.Read on.

  • Until 1962, Kuwait celebrated its National Day on June 19, the anniversary of its independence, but in 1963 it changed it to February 25 to avoid the hot weather of June.
  • February 25 was the anniversary of Sheikh Abdullah becoming Emir of Kuwait in 1950. February 26, 1991 was the day Iraq’s occupying forces were driven out of Kuwait.
  • Kuwait has the world’s fifth largest oil reserves.
  • The national bird of Kuwait is the Falcon.
  • There are 1.43 males to every female in Kuwait.
  • In 2006, Kuwait became the first country to introduce the sport of camel racing, with remote controlled robot jockeys.
  • When Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait in 1990 and named it the 19th Province of Iraq some dissidents called it “Wimbledon” which is SW19.
  • Kuwait has won two Olympic medals, both bronze for Fehaid Al-Dehani at trap shooting.
  • Kuwait is the only country in the world with no natural water supply from lakes or reservoirs but it did open its first grass golf course in 2005.
  • Eating, drinking, playing loud music and dancing during daylight hours in public are against the law in Kuwait during the month of Ramadan.
  • Kuwait is on top  in Fattest Country in the world with 70% of Kuwaiti men over 15 are obese and over 80% of women.
  • Coke beats Pepsi internationally but only in the Middle East does Pepsi beat Coke.
  • Kuwaiti Dinar (KD ) is the highest valued currency.
  • On November 12 2012, Kuwait marked its Constitution’s 50th Anniversary with outraging fireworks.With the cost of nearly KD 4 million, featuring about 77,000 fireworks, they earned the place of “The largest fireworks display” in Guinness World Record. My neck got so cramped watching fireworks for almost an hour! It was insane!
  • Kuwait has 15,000* registered leisure boats (as of 2012)
  • Kuwait has the third highest density of millionaires in the world.
  • Fifty percent (50%) of Kuwaitis are Divorced.
  • The minimum legal age of marriage varies according to gender, where the age of marital consent is 15 for girls and 17 for boys. Arranged Marriages is still the norm in this country.
  • Kuwait has broken world record in number of traffic deaths, with 17 deaths recorded in every 100,000 cases on the average.The worst record ever that Kuwait has. According to death statistics of 2014, 5,819 death cases were registered out of which 3,186 cases were of Kuwaiti citizens and 2,633 of expatriates. The total population of the country has reached 4.202 million out of which 1.298 million are Kuwaiti citizens.
  • Kuwait ranks #80 with 2.48 (2015 )  for Total Fertility rate of Kuwaiti women around the world.
  • The largest supplier of goods and service for Kuwait is United States. Therefore, both countries have strong cooperation.
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Water Towers lights up in Kuwait

How about you, do you know any interesting facts about the country you’re living in right now?

I hope you get to know more Kuwait through this post. Thank you for reading!