This is actually a late post but I am glad I had the chance to witness and took some photos from my phone during the incredible show-off or demonstration of the futuristic Airbus “Flugtaxi”or flight taxi happened last month here in Ingolstadt in Bavaria. I am planning to create a series of posts about recent local sightings we have here in our old town of Ingolstadt and what a cool way to start this series with this eye-catching CityAirbus Taxi!
Have you ever imagined riding in a electrically-driven Cityairbus taxi? Take note, it flies without any Pilot with an approximate speed of 120 km/hour.
As an Expat here in Germany , I am already happy that we have a great network of high speed trains for long distance travel, the Autobahn, excellent road system and public transportation is amazing compared to other countries. I am saying this because in my home country, traffic is really a headache and public transportation is a nightmare.So when I see something like this, I can’t help but to be curious.
Will it really fly? How safe it is? and the most important thing is that “Is it really for public or only the rich and famous can afford it?
Anyway, I came home from work and I saw in my feed a photo of a gigantic drone parked in front of our local Rathaus (or City or Hall ). It happened to be the public demonstration of Airbus Flugtaxi! I headed quickly to see it by my own eyes and yes,it was really impressive. It looked like the ones I’m seeing in futuristic movies, those drones and sleek automobiles flying in the sky like jet planes.
It looks very modern and something like “toys for the big guys”. I’ve flown twice with Emirates A380, the biggest commercial airplane so far and it already feels huge, but this one, only has 4 seats compared to 853 seats with 8 rotors which takes off and lands vertically !I think that soon, we will really fly soon in the nearest future now that prototypes are being analyzed, tested, and Airbus has now presented its Air taxi and test flights will be done as tests going on further. In the not too distant future, electric air taxis will be operated manually or autonomously in the city.
The pilot project in the Bavarian city is supported by the Ingolstadt Technical University, the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and various companies, including Audi.
As a press release, the test flights will be announced soon and its just a matter of time. The maiden flight is planned at the airport in the German city of Manching near Ingolstadt – about 60 km away from the development site at Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth. Once this happened, I am sure I will write about it here in my Blog but for now, thinking about the Airbus Flugtaxis is already a step to the futuristic life ahead of us all.
What is your opinion about City Airbus Taxis? Do you think this will solve all traffic dilemmas?
One more day and its finally Silvester! We are on the last stretch of 2018 and soon a brand new year comes. Silvester happens on December 31st, the last day of the year and day before New Year. This day is observed and widely celebrated here in Germany. I don’t know why but whenever I think of Silvester, I think of something sparkling, something flashy, loud and silver or gold. In real life, this day doesn’t come as flashy and loud as it seems to be. Believe me, after New Year’s eve, the streets are quiet and people are sleeping-in, most of us are staying indoors ( or if we’re not on the road) because its cold outside and nothing much is going on. It’s also the time where frost comes and covered the decaying branches with blanket of snow and turns everything into something nice..to look at! It’s a beautiful sight to watch but the inner side of me screams! I don’t even feel merry and bright anymore when I think about snow and the freezing temperatures. I don’t like the cold much and everyday I am already dreaming of Spring. Can anyone relate?
In the mood for some Outdoor ice skating
This is gonna be our 3rd Silvester , time flies remembering our first Silvester here, and last year while we celebrated New Year in Austria, in the mountains where we enjoyed the views of snow-capped Alps and ogling the crystals in Swarovski in Wattens.
There’s nothing new to tell about cold German Winter weather, it’s been cold, grey, cloudy and rainy almost everyday.We have minus temps but we haven’t had a white carpet of snow that we can officially called “White Christmas “or Winter Wonderland. This new tradition came like a surprise to me because normally, I haven’t even heard of this, it doesn’t exist in the East, especially in South East Asia.
Frost came into town
For the past days after celebrating not only 1 but TWO— days of Christmas, (December 25 and 26), days went lazy, slow, unhurried and just a series of eat, sleep, make a mess days for the little one. Meeting up with friends, eating and drinking on repeat and series of brunches outside and some year-end shopping spree keep us motivated to wait for the new year.With almost 1.5 weeks of vacation, we had to think of something to do everyday, especially to entertain the little one.I personally needed this break but with a super active 4 year old who wakes up early and play Lego , Cashier and shopping, we can never sleep-in for so long!
Throwback to really sparkling crystal world of Swarovski
Anyway, if you’ve missed my post about last year’s Silvester, here’s some tiny bits of info about it. The tradition of Silvester comes from a 4th century Roman saint: Pope Silvester I (before I thought it spelled Sylvester). Besides the fact that he served as pope from 314 to 335, there’s very little information in internet about Silvester, though several legends have sprung up around his name. One, sown in a forged account called “Donation of Constantine,” claimed that he had been miraculously cured of leprosy.
The feast of St. Sylvester—that is to say, his burial ceremony—took place on December 31, 335. When the Gregorian calendar was reformed in 1582, the last day of the year was placed on December 31st, combining Silvester’s feast day with what we now call New Year’s Eve. Despite the shared date, most German Silvester traditions actually stem from a far older pagan celebration called Rauhnächte.
All white and frozen
A Silvester kind of day in Germany
Here, just after Christmas, fireworks flooded supermarkets and each one has a special offers and sale! Fireworks is legal here in Germany but it is not so frequent to see large fireworks display. I suddenly remember the Guinness World Record Fireworks display in Kuwait where my neck cramped from almost an hour of unbelievable fireworks, all for the sake of Pyromania! Here on the other hand, fireworks are enjoyed in every backyard on New Year’s eve and really just for personal satisfaction. You don’t feel like in a competition with your neighbor of who has the loudest, grandest and probably the eardrum breaking noise.Here I observed, some are not even bothered by it because the roller shutters of the windows are already down.
It’s not too late to enjoy the remaining Plätzchen (little Christmas cookies ) while having movie-marathons!
Large fireworks display are happening mostly in Berlin, where most of street parties for the countdown is also held, right in front of Brandenburg Tor, or in other key cities like Hamburg or Munich. What is interesting thing about Silvester here in Germany, right after the loud noises and firecrackers, people tidy up their own mess, they don’t leave the streets swamped with fireworks litter. But definitely no people drive their cars with dangling cans and making noises! I saw in the news that there’s even a call to lessen the fireworks display in New Year’s eve to lessen the injuries caused by it and the issue of environment protection where approx. 4,500 fine dust is bound to be released in the air in welcoming 2019.
Take your pick— Raclette, German’s favourite way to dig in during Silvester
Many restaurants also offers many Silvester parties. If you are guilty of all the calories you’ve been gaining from all the christmas foods, then you can just opt for Silvester snacks, which is also a norm here. Young people who party like an animal till dawn and dance the new year away. Another common tradition for families as well is eating “a la Carté “Raclette”! I love this way of dining together with stove range or hot-grill stove in the center of the table and every one has each own pans and the chance to “cooked”their own meal based on their choices. This reminds me as well of Korea’s Shabu-Shabu and Fondue which is also a favourite New Year’s choice.My first Raclette experience was in Netherlands this year with my Dutch family where we have different cut cheeses, meat cuts, chicken shawarma slices, würsts (sausages) , champignons ( mushroom), omelette, bacon,salads, and veggies. It is super “Gezellig” (Dutch) and “Gemütlich” (German) . These are two foreign words means “coziness, homey , warm and fulfilling” of dining or eating. As much as I want to do Raclette when I want, I just can’t because we are only 3 in the family! Raclette though applies to big families, or if you host dinner parties or brunches during holiday season!
Another common New Year threat in Silvester and New Year is Doughnuts (Krafpen) filled up with sweet marmalade or if you’ve got lucky, you have it in mustard sauce. My wish is that Krispy Creme opens up here in Ingolstadt then we are happy! Last but not the least, if it happens that you visit Germany in Silvester or during New Year, don’t panic when people greets you with these infamous yet really unique greetings:
“Wir wünschen einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr”! (We wish you a happy new year.)
” Ich wünsche einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr ! “(I wish you a happy new year.)
So , how was your year so far? Are you ready to have a good slide in 2019?
What are your unique New Year traditions in your country?
Ever wonder what makes Christmas or Weihnachten in Germany different from the rest of the world? Every country has its own traditions, but have you ever wondered how Germans celebrate Christmas?
There’s no stopping time now, few more weeks and November is over and here comes the end of 2017. And yes, Christmas is really just around the corner. Snow came early to Germany and winter-feel is definitely in the air. As the fire in the sky continue to pull the days closer to the merriest time of the year, also the darkest time, Christmas or Weihnachtenis heavily anticipated not only here in Germany, but also in the rest of the world. If you are planning to have a white Christmas or visiting Germany in the summer, you can now have the chance to learn about the unique and surprising German Christmas traditions in the Deutsches Weihnachtsmuseum located in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a well-preserved medieval town, also here in Bavaria.
It’s almost a decade now that I don’t celebrate Christmas in my home country, the Philippines. Time really flies,and it feels even surreal. I totally missed the way we do it as a family, just like in the old times. It’s quite the norm from where I grew up that once the calendar months ends in-ber, say from September, it signals the start of Christmas frenzy!We start to hear Christmas songs played in the radio, the shops are flooded already with Christmas decorations, and yes, office Christmas parties are planned. The raffles, the never- ending exchange gifts, and yes—the most awaited Christmas bonus! I will never forget the evening mass and “Noche Buena“, the Kris Kringle madness, the jaw-dropping Christmas foods, and the crazy traffic during Christmas shopping! Everything is just so festive!
For the past years, I have seen so many differences in the way that other culture celebrate the most colorful time of the year, and for Catholics, it’s probably the most festive. When I was still living in Kuwait, although it’s a Muslim country, the spirit of Christmas can still be felt, unfortunately only in the confines of private accommodation and flat. At work, we were also granted with a holiday from work during Christmas Day. I even attended the midnight mass once. I noticed that more and more shopping malls have their Christmas decor and it is being talked about. The large number of expats in the Middle East is the reason, why even miles away from home, you can still celebrate Christmas with friends and families. I had my first German Christmas last year here in Bavaria , with full anticipation (since I am very curious). I found many interesting German Christmas traditions that is worthy to document here in my Blog as part of my Expat life.
If you want to know how Germans celebrate Christmas the German way, then you might find this post helpful. So keep on reading and stay with me.
Here I wanna share with you the surprising German traditions for Christmas that I personally love!
Christmas in Germany is beautiful, unique, homey and very warm!
The Advent Wreath or Der Adventskranz
The moment I saw these wreaths and candles, I know that Christmas is near. Back in my home country, I see these decorated wreaths as purely decorational, of course, minus the lighted candles.They are used to adorn the doors, and add to the already overwhelming Christmas decorations together with all the garlands in the walls, stairs etc. Not so here in Germany, because Advent time is important for Germans.
The German Christmas season officially starts at the first Sunday of Advent, roughly 3rd of December. The Advent wreath (or Adventskranz) is adorned with four candles, one of which is lit on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. The first Advent wreath, which appeared in the mid-19th century, had 4 larger candles and 19 smaller ones. Each day, one additional candle was lit to help the children count the days until Christmas. Today only the four larger candles remain. Many Germans love to decorate their Adventskranz up to their own taste but there are also so many different designs of ready-made ones sold in almost every shop.
Adventskalendar —the sweet way of Christmas countdown.
During Advent season, you will never miss the sight of tons of Adventskalendar , (literally a Calendar with small boxes) almost overwhelming in many designs, colors, and yes, all with yummy goodness chocolates or sweet goodies. This is one of the obvious signs that Christmas is coming. This is a delight for children and the child at heart. In the Adventskalendar, there are 24 “windows” that reveal a picture, poem or even part of a story – often the story of the Nativity – each day through December right up to Christmas Eve when the secret behind the largest window is revealed. Seeing Germans do panic-buying of Adventskalendars especially when they are on Sale is a typical sight as early as 2nd week of November! This is totally German thing!
Vanillekipfelr (Crescent moon cookies)
Weichnachtsplätzchen or German Christmas Cookies
You know it’s the Advent season here in Germany when your nose is filled with heavenly delicious German Christmas cookies. Germans are very into home- made baking. They really appreciate if you made the plätzchen yourself and not store-brought. They are great bakers of cookies and other treats.There are lots of baked treats that will surely keep your mouth-watering. My favorites are vanillekipferl (vanilla crescent cookies) Lebkuchen, Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars), Linzer cookies and Spekulaas as well.Germans love to use lots of almonds, hazelnuts, butter flavored marzipan and cinnamon in baking. Believe me, German cookies are too beautiful and heavily decorated to eat!
Weihnachtsmann Schokolade or Chocolate Santa Claus
Its only here in Germany that Chocolate Santa Claus ( or Weihnachtsmann) floods the shelf of all supermarkets here in Germany. Prior to Christmas, St. Nikolaus is celebrated on the 5th of December and so most Germans get this yummy figures in many sizes. If you have a child, I am sure you will get this one as well.
Christmas Tree or Der Tannenbaum
With over 400 years in history, the Tannenbaum or the Christmas Tree is the real thing in Germany! The German Tannenbaum is usually put up and decorated on Christmas Eve, though some families opt to put up their tree during the Advent season. Please don’t tell anyone, but we already put up our Christmas Tree! Maybe my neighbors are shaking their heads when they see our lighted tree from our windows! I also see my neighbors starts to decorate their windows and garden with white lights. Who doesn’t? For us, Weihnachtsfreude (Christmas Joy) comes early! In Philippines, this is also the norm.
I grew up in adoration of Christmas Tree. Traditionally, I think it’s not complete when we don’t have a tree. Recently, on my research of German inventions, I found out that Christmas trees or Tannenbaum, actually originates here in Germany. I saw the biggest tree that I have ever seen in my life, to top it all— a REAL Evergreen Conifer , decorated with glass baubles, covered in real snow. Although there are lots of varieties for the plastic ones, most Germans still opt to put up the traditional real tree. During Christmas season, almost all town put up a giant tree in the city center adjacent to the place of Christmas market.Decorated with beautiful, handmade balls, and usually adorned with white lights.Compared to the Philippines, here I noticed that they only use white lights instead of colorful, blinking Christmas lights. And NO— they don’t decorate their whole house with lights!It’s also fascinating to know that it was German immigrants who brought the Christmas tree to America.
In Germany, Christmas balls are not just an ordinary tree ornament. Where most of the modern Christmas ornaments and plastic balls nowadays are made in China, USA or Mexico, the origin of these “baubles” or Glaskugeln came from Germany. The old town of Lauscha in German Thuringia is said to be the place of the handmade, glass-blown Christmas bauble.
Below is the photo of the family Weschenfelder work on Christmas balls in their combined living room and work space in the small village of Lauscha.
Christmas Markets or Christkindlmarkt
In Germany, despite the freezing temperatures, almost all towns are converted into one colorful, festive, unique Christmas wonderland during few weeks before Christmas day. Our local Christkindlmarkt is open since November 23 up to Dec. 23. Every place has its own attraction and each one has their own special features that draws attraction to everyone. If you want to have a glimpse of what is Christmas market all about, check this and it will bring you to a winter wonderland!
Today there are over 2,500 Christmas markets across Germany. One of my dream came true when I experience Christkindlmarkt last year. Famous ones are in Nuremberg, Munich and Rothenburg. Most markets are open also on Sundays and draws lots of visitors from neighboring places.This is the best time to see Germany in its most colorful and unique display of celebrating Christmas with the highlights of the Christkindl —the German equivalent for the world-renowned Santa Claus and depicted as an angelic figure with blond hair & wings. It’s really not time of the year without a Christkindlmarkt here in Germany.
St. Nikolaus and the Christkind
Santa Claus originated as a Catholic figure. The Christkind was created by Protestants. Christkind transformed from a suggestion of Baby Jesus into a blonde, female angel. In Nürnberg, each year a teenage girl is chosen to represent the Christkind in the weeks leading up to Christmas. She is known as the Nürnberger Christkind and, much like with Santa, children take pictures with her and tell her what gifts they would like for Christmas. The highlight of each Christmas markets is the German’s famous mulled wine or “Glühwein” or hot spiced wine, the Krippenweg, the beautiful craft stalls, and lots of traditional German Christmas food. There are so many attractions for kids like carousel, trains, carousel and the ice skating rink. One thing worth mentioning is the efficiency of Germans in their way of setting up the whole place into a big arena winter wonderland within weeks or so.
Sankt Nikolaustag ( Dec. 5 or 6)
I grew up believing the magical tale of Santa Claus as someone who is a bearded old man, with a big belly, dressed in red outfit riding the sleigh with sacks of gifts. All the way from the North pole giving gifts to children. But in Philippines, we don’t have snow neither reindeer or chimneys, so this makes me cringe now. For many children, sitting in the lap of Santa Claus while being photographed is one of the most unforgettable time during Christmas. They either scream in anguish or shriek in delight! Here in Germany, there is no such thing as Santa Claus, only the Weichnachtsmann who is a favorite among children during St. Nicholas Day! My daughter will be celebrating her 2nd St. Nicholas in their Kindergarten this year.
In Germany, December 5th is a very special night. Many children put their cleaned boots and shoes outside the front door on the night of 5 December. They believe that St. Nicholas fills the boot with nuts, oranges, gifts and sweets overnight. Sometimes the Nikolaus also visits the children at the Kindergarden or in the school and asks them if they have been good.My daughter already hung her sock in their Kita for the upcoming St. Nicholas. In Holland, as similar to this celebration, Sinterklaas is also a big celebration before Christmas.
Christmas Eve – Heiliger Abend (also Heiligabend)
December 24 is still a regular working day here in Germany. But around 2:00 pm, often even earlier, businesses, and most shops are close in preparation for the holiday celebration, a large part of which occurs on Christmas Eve in Germany. The traditional evening meal includes carp and potato salad, but nowadays it varies from what each family loves to prepare. Families sing Christmas carols together and may read the story of Christ’s birth aloud.This is the counterpart of our traditional “Noche Buena” without the roasted pig, Christmas ham and Queso de Bola ( Cheese ball)! Compared to the Philippines and other countries, I don’t see Christmas Carollers here either that goes from house to house, at least not in our neighborhood.Probably because its hard to sing and be out at night when its freezing cold at night.
Family members exchange gifts and children are typically the focal point of the gift exchange. Here in Germany, opening gifts on Heiliger Abend is the normal way, compared to other countries who opens the gifts on the morning of December 25th.
I grew up attending Midnight Christmas mass or Simbang Gabi. We usually attend evening mass on a 9-day series of mass up to the” Misa de Gallo “or ( Christmas eve mass) . Here in Bavaria, I only went to the mass on Christmas Day, German families – whether Protestant or Catholic and even those who are not regular church-goers – often attend mass or a church service. While the mass traditionally takes place at midnight, in recent times the services have moved into the earlier evening hours. It is terribly cold around midnight or in early morning so the schedule of the mass usually happens around 9 in the morning. The mass is in German and it was a great experience for a first timer like me who listens to Christmas songs in German.
Second day of Christmas ( or St. Stephen Day)
Here in Germany, you have an excuse to sleep in after the big party from Christmas. Yes, Germans and other countries in Europe including the Netherlands have 2 days of Christmas, both are legal and widely celebrated holidays! This is a mellow day, a quiet day to recover from the hustle of everything. Depending on the weather, people are still very active, running, jogging and doing sports during the 2nd day of Christmas. For typical Germans, they spend the second day of Christmas with their families, visiting Grandparents, enjoying seasonal threats and of course–ruhe or enjoying some peace & contemplation.
Also, do you know what else Germans do after Christmas?
Christmas won’t be complete without shopping!
They go shopping to grab the year-end clearance sales and buy everything on a decent price! Yes, Germans are practical, and spend their money wisely! Last year, we got our 7- foot Christmas Tree on sale for half of its original price!And we will be on the lookout once again for great things to buy this year!
How about you, do you also have unique Christmas traditions?
How do you prepare for Christmas for your family?
Sending you some warm cheers for the coming holidays!
This is the best shot from my phone camera out of a rush this morning. As we prepared to go on with our day and about to bring my daughter to Kita, I couldn’t help but to stop and admire this glowing daybreak— the real Autumn pink skies are back! I am no fan of using filters in my photos, but this one is no exception—no filters needed.
Within 2 minutes, there is this amazing slide show of the sky. The glow of the Dawn. What a glorious day break. It was pink, glorious orange, against the bluish grey skies and the fluffy clouds looks like a watercolor wash painting I am trying to replicate many times! This is the first time I captured for this season and I am sure will be more to follow in the coming days as we approach Winter.
Even my daughter was smiling while she’s gazing up in the sky. Trying to describe the natural beauty that she see. But after like 2 minutes or so, the sky is changing once again in its hues. The grey clouds are starting to form into darker shades , hovering the sun.
Just like that and the skies showed us one fleeting moment. I’m just grateful that before we finally go through our day, the glow of the dawn shined upon us, within 2 minutes!
I know the nursery rhyme ‘ Baba Black Sheep’ but Blue Sheep ???!!
While I was living in Kuwait, I knew Sheep because of Ramadan and Eid Al- Adha. If you must know, they are prime element of Islamic celebrations.I saw them from the same “Camel farms” I’ve visited and they don’t normally “graze“in Kuwait city but they are being ushered to the animal market especially during the Muslim festivities of sheep ritual slaughtering.
But here in Germany I’ve seen something different.
Today we’ve seen a flock of ‘Blue Sheep ‘ grazing right in front of our Altes Rathaus ( or City town Hall ). Totally eye-catching and one-of a kind. In the middle of the square, there are approximately 150 pieces of Blue sheep sculptures, erected as a symbolic art project which promotes mutual tolerance and peace.
From the artistic minds of German artists Rainer Bonk and Bertamaria Reetz from the design series ‘Blue Sheep’, the Blue Flock Art Project was first exhibited to public in Lido, Venice in 2009 as Germany’s contribution to the “OPEN 12” , an international sculpture and art exhibition. Since then, they continue to roam around all over Europe to promote their advocacy for peace , tolerance and equality. They normally “graze“in historical places, landmarks and iconic cities to create an artistic juxtaposition.
I live in Bavaria and our region is celebrating now the world-renowned Oktoberfest and the sight of overwhelming men in Lederhosen and lots of cleavage sight for women in Dirndls in beer tents downing mugs of beer has now been a typical sight for me. But seeing these blue sheep for a change is really refreshing, especially for kids. You can imagine how delighted my daughter is when she saw the sheep, and she explained how many are they!
Why they are painted Blue?
They come in bright Ultramarine Blue color, which is the color of the Earth, ocean and the sky. I recognized this color since I have these in my paints. Blue is a primary color, a powerful base of the color spectrum. It symbolizes peace, unity, freedom and space. It embodies all good moral aspects.
What makes the Blue Sheep special?
Every blue sheep is painted and crafted in the workshop for mentally disabled people ( Duisburger Werkstatt für Menschen mit Behinderung GmbH) , SBK Gmbh in Cologne,Germany. If you are interested to get a collector’s item ,you can learn more about this project here.They have a special offer for schools and hotels.
The Blue Flock of Peace Art Project have been to key places around Europe like Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Köln, Bozen, Dresden, Heilbronn,Dessau, Berlin, Hannover and Strasbourg among others.
I must say that my Wandertag with my daughter today has been a fascinating one. It’s definitely Fall here now in Germany and I am so looking forward to wander and discover nature’s best, its vibrant colors and festivities.
How about you, have you ever seen this type of sculpture?
Summer is doing its sluggish exit by now. The sight of this beautiful, fragile flower is nowhere to be found in the wild fields here in Bavaria. Once full of wild flowers and Poppy, the fields of Golden yellow Rapeseeds , the Ooh Shiny and glorious Sunflowers and Gladiolas are slowly fading. As I relive the memory of Summer this year, I discovered by chance that 2017 Germany’s Flower of the Year is none other than the “Poppy“ or commonly known as Papaver rhoeas . It’s no surprise that due to its delicate and vulnerability features, this flower is the symbol of remembrance for dead soldiers from World War I.
Scharmel Iris – “The poppy opes her scarlet purse of dreams”
Poppy seeds are rich in oil, carbohydrates, calcium and protein. Poppy oil is often used as cooking oil, salad dressing oil, or in products such as margarine. Poppy oil can also be added to spices for cakes, or breads. Poppy products are also used in different paints, varnishes, and some cosmetics.Poppies have been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, and death. Sleep because the opium extracted from them is a sedative, and death because of the common blood-red color of the red poppy in particular. In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead.Fascinating facts about this flower, right?
Germany’s Flower of the Year 2017 : Poppy
Since 1980, Loki Schimdt of “Blumes des Jahres “(or Flower of the Year) initiated the campaign for Stiftung zum Schutze gefährdeter Pflanzen (“Foundation for the protection of endangered plants”) which became the Stiftung Naturschutz Hamburg und Stiftung zum Schutze gefährdeter Pflanzen (“Foundation Nature Conservancy Hamburg and for the protection of endangered plants”) in 1985. One of the main purposes of this organisation is a public awareness campaign about the ecological value of wildflowers. Every autumn, the Loki Schmidt foundation announces their chosen flower of the year.
I find the sight of wild red poppy flowers in many fields here in Bavaria so beautiful. I felt like I am transported into another world just by gazing to a wild field full of these blooming Poppy. It grows abundantly here in the Bavarian region and when its sunny, we have a very nice scenery . It was actually the first signs that the heat is on and its summer officially here.
Do you love Kenzo Flower inspiration perfumes?
Then you might love that this flower is an iconic symbol of their perfume line. As Kenzo quoted “What if the poppy previously planted in the city, could now rise into the air? It would blossom the sky…
The idea of this Flower of the Year campaign, called ‘Blume des Jahres’ in German, is to draw attention to the plight of certain flowers which are slowly becoming endangered in our countryside. I hope it helps with awareness, as it would be tragic to lose more of our beautiful wild flowers.If you’d like to know more of this campaign and want to know the other endangered wild flowers, you can see it Here.
What are your favorite summer flowers?
Do you know any flowers that are also endangered ?
Bavaria, my second home here in Europe, is a region in Germany where holidays from work is plentiful. I mean, here, I have heard of holidays which I’ve never heard before , like for example yesterday was “Maria himmelfahrt“ ( or the Feast of the Assumption Day of Mary ) . So we decided to take another trip and extend our nomadic bearings in exploring the Romantic roads and historical cities of Bavaria. This time, we chose Germany’s (another) UNESCO World Heritage site, the fascinating city of Regensburg, the medieval city of northernmost town in Italy.
A little something about Regensburg
Before I don’t know anything about Regensburg, nothing at all. So when we tour this city, I was really surprised at how fascinating it is. My personal impression : Regensburg is beautiful, and has its own charm to be proud of.
But let yourself be warned, it is also very touristy and expensive. Most of the attractions can only be accessed with tours and entrance fees are high compared to other places we’ve been to.
For the record, Regensburg is the largest Medieval city in Germany. With two thousand years of thrilling history meets lifestyle on the Danube. It is one of the few cities in Germany which were spared from heavy bombings from WWII. Regensburg has 1,500 listed buildings; 984 of them make up the UNESCO World Heritage ‘Old Town with Stadtamhof’ ensemble.
Regensburg , a city that lies along the beautiful Danube ( or Donau) river was an important reloading point on the continental trade routes to Italy, Bohemia, Czech Republic and Russia.
Impressions about Regensburg
Regensburg is a colorful city. I love colors and art so this city is really gives me a very charming atmosphere. Almost all of the important landmarks of the city are within walking distance so its easy to navigate. Although I don’t consider myself as a tourist here, I was intimidated with the massive amount of tourist that I saw. Compared to Nuremberg, the tourists flocked like birds, they are everywhere. There are plenty of ‘Tuscan style’ of the pastel coloured patrician’s houses which makes it really unique from other cities we’ve visited. The small, narrow streets contains so much detail which you can see from the windows, railings, and doors.
Regensburg’s Old Town is an exceptional testament to the cultural traditions in the Holy Roman Empire and Christianity. In the inner city alone, it has 46 churches.There are churches of different denomination in almost every corner we go. It has small, narrow alleys which leads one to the other and I find the traffic build-up rather annoying . We were exploring the city with a stroller so I find it hard to push the stroller on almost gut-end of the curb of the streets, add the hassle of the cobbled-stone pavements. Nevertheless, as same as in most parts of Germany, drivers are polite and always giving way to pedestrians.
What to see in Regensburg
Oh Regensburg has a lot to offer for all ages, especially for families! Be it for leisure, fun, adventure or a simple getaway from another city, this city is never a dull one.
Your eyes will feast on so many different kinds of beautiful architecture, monumental buildings, museums, churches, and the views that surrounds the city. If you are a lover of art, there are plenty of museums to visit. We skipped this part because my daughter can’t stand the long hours contained indoors in Museums and tours. Here are some of the highlights of our trip which I think you shouldn’t miss if you are planning to visit this city.
The Old Stone Bridge ( Steinerne Brücke )
The panoramic view of the city with the large stone bridge dating from post-Roman times is completely a postcard-worth for photography! It is an impressive bridge , which were once considered as “The Eighth Wonder of the World”.This medieval monument has served as a model for many other bridges, including Charles Bridge in Prague.
Built between 1135 to 1146,with its original length of 350 meters, and 7 meters wide, with its fortifications with three towers.For more than 800 years, it was the only stone bridge over the Danube from Ulm to Vienna. Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa launched the Third Crusade from here in May 1189.
The views from the bridge and from its foot are really great. The view of the Danube over the Stone Bridge is a magical one and the view of the city’s skyline with its orange and rust colored-roofs is so impressive. I think this is the best landmark of this city. The only thing that bothers me is that a large part of the bridge was undergoing a restoration so half of it was covered in scaffolding so yes, the perfect shot that I wanted to make was unfortunately not possible.Nevertheless, I find it really impressive.
The Old Town
The Old town of Regensburg is a maze of wonder, every alley has its own twists and turns, own charm and yes, it is quite a challenge to discover them one by one. Best way to explore them is by foot since streets are narrow and there are plenty of attractions for sightseeing. There are numerous squares and cafes for a pit stop and place to rest. I saw a lot of details in the rows of buildings, houses and shops. The best way to describe the charm of Regensburg’s Old Town is through photos. You need to experience it for yourself.
St. Peter’s Cathedral ( Dom St. Peter )
Since I moved to Germany, I have seen beautiful Cathedrals, and this one is no exception. At the heart of Krautermarkt square, you can’t miss St, Peter’s Cathedral.The exterior itself is already impressive and the twin towers are the best landmark of the city. Wherever you go, you always see the towers dominating the skyline. This cathedral is famous for its ‘Sailer Chapel”, “St. Peter’s Window”, the “Smiling Angel ” and its complicated , striking and yet legendary Gothic vaulting. Big part of the Dom is undergoing restoration and during our visit, the front grounds is being prepared for the finishing program for a Triathlon race event (Challenge Regensburg) , so I find it rather in chaotic mode with so many boulders in front. Visitors with kids in stroller and wheelchairs can access the cathedral by way of the close ( Domgarten) to the north side of the Cathedral.There are guided tours ( 6 Euros) to access the cloisters, chapel of all Saints and St. Stephen but only in German.
The Old Town Hall ( Altes Rathaus)
I love the intricate detail of this 13th century old Town Hall ( or Altes Rathaus) which consists of the Town Hall tower, the Gothic Imperial Chamber building and the baroque Town Hall. From 1663 to 1806 the Reichstag Imperial Assembly met in the Imperial Chamber. It was there that the well-known expressions “to put something on the long bench” (to postpone something) and “to sit at the green table” (to take important decisions) originated.
Notable in this place is the imperial assembly hall and the torture chamber in the cellar where persons charged with an offense were “questioned”.This place can be accessed only with guided tour.Down the town hall is the Tourist Information Center where you can get any information you need to explore Regensburg.
Fürstliches Schloss Thurn and Taxis ( Thurn & Taxis Palace)
We discovered this Palace by chance when we are looking for a playground. It is very huge. More like a version of the Buckingham Palace. The palace gardens are of private property , including the Prince of Thurn und Taxis Museums, their own Brewery– the Brauhaus am Schloss, the Cloister of St. Emmeram. I admit that when I saw the explicit and grand Carriage Museum and Princely Treasury, I was totally in awe how rich this family is. The name of the noble house of Thurn und Taxis is closely bound to the postal history of Europe.The family, which originally came from Cornello,near Bergamo in Northern Italy built up a postal system in the 15th century.For over 350 years, Thurn und Taxis managed the postal affairs in Central Europe.
Not as impressive as the Porta Nigra in Trier, but if you love Roman architecture, then you are in luck. This hidden gem which shows the ruins and old Roman gate built without using a mortar. The twin arches served as a city gate until the 17th century. The parts that remain are the western arch, a section of the wall connected to the western tower, and the two-story eastern tower. The shaped stones were built-in layers without using mortar. The Porta Nigra, Trier’s northern city gate, was built at the same time, and the two are the only remaining Roman gates north of the Alps. For the record, Porta Praetoria gains significance as the only remaining gate of a Roman military camp in northern Europe.
There’s so much more to see and to write about Regensburg, even my photos won’t do justice. All I know is that I can sit there in the dock of the Danube for hours, watching the ship, cruise, and boats take the toll of time. Feeling the wind in my face, smelling history as I looked at the skyline and watch the hustle and bustle of people, roaming around, paddling the waves of curiosity.
Every cobble stone is patched to create a mosaic of rough patterns, transforming the movements of the locals and visitors into a myriad of tales, photographs, stories, and memories.Every photographs depicts a memorable time spent in new found land, a new taste of culture and wisdom gained from what the eyes conceived.
As the saying goes, “Travelling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller “.
What’s your story about Regensburg?
What do you think of this city?
Until then, let the turning of pages continues. I’ll see you in my next travel story about Regensburg!
Do you like Graffiti Art? Do you even think its an Art?
Fo a fact, I must say that from a point of view of an artist, you can never contain Art.
Just like this 250- meter old boring walls of an underpass bridge that becomes a world spectacle of art, talent and spray bottle becomes the medium of artistic expression. I love how a simple place like wall bridges turns into a beautiful display of unique designs and artistic expression—all in a form of the rebellious GRAFFITI!
This morning , we went with our weekly Wandertag and hop into our bikes. It’s a cloudy Sunday and we have high hopes that it won’t rain.On our way , we made a little detour and it was a lucky start I must say, because as we are approaching the underpass of Unserherrn, near Ringsee, we saw people gathering under the bridge and Graffiti Artists are already absorbed in their work. We made it into the “La Grande Schmierage V “, Hall of Fame, the biggest Graffiti Spray Party happening now in Germany!
Yes, the boring underpass becomes so alive and colorful with all the life-size wall sprayed- artwork of the talented artists, it was like walking into a street gallery!
Artists came from different countries — from Montréal, Barcelona, Moscow, Bergamo, Slovakia and various cities in Germany, also from top-class artists of the international spray scene. From yesterday, 1st of July, and today, they all meet in the so-called “Hall of Fame” to redesign the 250-meter wall surface of the underpass bridge.
Graffiti is something illicit, more like a rebellious symbol of expressing one’s ideas through drawings, writing or scribbling on public areas. Not everyone like it. If someone sprayed on your beloved personal wall, I bet you might be furious. You can never call it an art, its more of an invasion of your private place.
Spraying can be an assault and may cause damage to property. Others find lubrication and illegal spraying so invasive and illegal, whether for the sake of so-called hip art form , it’s still something vulgar and oppressive. But not so here in Germany, here in our region in Bavaria, Graffiti spraying is legalized. Legal Spraying and Graffiti Art has established itself increasingly in urban areas as an expression of lifestyle and worldliness .
As early as 1995 the gray concrete walls of the railway underpass were cleared for graffiti by the city of Ingolstadt and the spraying in the Hall of Fame was legalized. Since then, the walls are constantly being sprayed again, the hall often changes its appearance – and still counts as one of the largest legal halls in Germany.
Meet the Artists through their artworks!
They are bunch of normal, messy, hip-looking men and women you can see in the streets. But once they hold their Spray, the world is their audience. Notable artists for the 2017 Spray meeting are as follows: Five Eight from Montréal, Saturno from Barcelona, Kram from Barcelona, Zmogk from Moscow, Verbo from Bergamo, Kaisy from Slovakia, Omsk from Saxony, Bond Truluv from Leipzig , Rusl from Constance and Dater from Koblenz. In addition, two sprayers from the partner town of Kragujevac are expected.
I am so thrilled that even though I don’t know them each by their faces, I have seen them in their spray action. They are really amazing and full of talent! I could watch their drawings and draw unlimited meanings. Once you see their work, you will never see the same “old boring walls”the same as before– it’s like they have brought something to life. People stop and take a look, and observe. These walls deserve a look. No wonder it’s an international event! Some of notable Graffiti work that are worth to see are Here. My favorite was the work of Inti, a giant Don Quixote mural in Quintanar de la Orden, Spain.
The La Grande Schmierage graffiti meeting was launched in 2008 under the organization of the City Youth Initiative and in close collaboration with Boris Schmelter. The organization and support of the artists are located at the FRONTE79 Youth Cultural Center in Ingolstadt.
Do you like looking at street wall art? Which one is your favorite?
If you want to read more about the La Grande Schmierage, here are some useful links:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
– 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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