Shadowcast and David fighting Goliath in the streets of Regensburg

Shadow captured in my street walk in Regensburg
David and Goliath wall mural in Regensburg, Bavaria

Two of the unforgettable scenic spot I´ve seen in Regensburg was these photos above.The shadow cast of birds on a tiny tower is quite perplexed, yet eye catching.I can´t recall anymore where excatly I have seen this or the location but then for me it is one of my favourite photo.Maybe I was just lucky that the sun perfectly cast its shadow on the birds to create this scenic shot. I tend to create a lucrative imagination out of simple things, or maybe I just thought of it as a creative spot.

One thing, the Goliath House turned out to be a surprise.We were walking on a narrow alley and then this giant mural of David and Goliath fighting each other came right in front of us, reminding us that not all tourist spots needs a grand entrance, this one particularly is amazing. Did I mentioned that it was also a World Heritage Site in Regensburg, impressive right?!Along with the House Heuport, it is the largest mansion house in this place.

Luckily this time I was not looking for the beauty of Manholes, rather, my attention was quite diverted to this work of art.

This building was build around 1260, and the painting was done by Melchoir Bocksberger in 1573.I suddenly remember our Religion lessons about the story of David and Goliath.Now who would have thought that this painting could be written in history.

Exploring the streets of Regensburg in Bavaria

Regensburg is breally a place of unique and rich traditions. Just like their exotic Wurstkuchl, a 870 year old historic sausage Kitchen!

Another beautiful post about Regensburg I found is here.If you want to know more why this place is a UNESCO World Heritage site, then you might kill time reading these Post below ;

Discovering the Streets of Regensburg

Guten Appetit, White Sausage for Breakfast

Until then, please wear your masks ! Tschüss!

Is The Art of Rock stacking really Rocks?

Some rock Cairns, or rock balancing I have seen in the Pöllat Gorge (Pöllatschlucht) in
Höhenschwangau near Füssen

Have you ever tried doing rock stacking?

Stones, stones, and more stones… somewhere in the banks of the Pöllat Waterfalls

I have always been interested about rock balancing and balanced stone formations. It´s an image of Zen to me.It´s peaceful, stable and balanced in an artistic way.I find it such amazing skill to be able to stack rocks in balance, like a therapheutic hobby.

My Little adventurer trying to make her own rock stacking exercise!

This is a great exercise both for the young and the adult.Since it requires patience and flexibility, it can be good to manage stress as well.I guess this activity requires concentration, a skill that children needs to master just like sitting in the chair for a long period of time.

Try it with your kids and you will know definitely if they are impatient or not…If they tried Jenga then maybe it will be familiar for them to try…

On our hike goingto Neuschwanstein Castle, we followed the trail following the Pöllat waterfalls, and suddenly, we spotted so many rock stack formations on the bank of the waterfalls. It was so many that it is really impossible to miss it.I know it´s not a surprise anymore considering that this place is one of the most visited place in Germany.We are talking about millions of people visited Neuschwasntein Castle every year, so imagine the number of hikers going on to this trail as well! This spot is where you can see clearly the Marienbrücke from above and gasping in agony because it´s still a long hike to go….

And actually, the waterfalls is very beautiful!

On the banks of the calm splashing waters, there is it…. the field of stone stacks…small, medium, high, low, large, and proud.

A beautiful stone we found in Partnachklamm, in Garmisch Partenkirchen

Every single corner of this area was covered with stone stacking.Of course we didn´t let this chance go by, we also made our own.I have seen quite the same when we visit the Partnachklamm (Partnach Gorge) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. People stops by to admire them, but only those wild at heart build them.

Most hikers loved to do this, having a pit stop to rest on the banks of a river or waterfalls, and leave a memory, an imprint of art. Once you see it, its an automatic invitation to participate and make your own.

While on my morning run, I spotted the same rock stacks , this time on the banks of the River Danube. I couldn´t resist but to stop by and admire it.It was beautiful.

Whether people do this just to kill time or to be “in” , it doesn´t matter. The thing is, it is okay as long as you don´t take anything from nature and respect it.A time well spent stacking the stones is never a wasted time…well that is only my opinion.

I have read that in other parts of the world, this issue is not so welcomed and not favored by nature observers.To think that there is even a global competition about stone stacking is really crazy!

What do you think about this, a tourist trap or not? Are you one of those tourists dared to do stone stacking as well?

How about a painted Stone Art Project ? or what about A Field full of rock figures?

Wordless Wednesday

Random Ramblings : Dear Tourist, please unlock your Love…

Put your love on the wall ( East Side Gallery , Berlin 2019)

Who among you is enamored ( or had been, never was, or has future plans ) by these love -locks mania?

Is it only me or others also find it fascinating (or rather intriguing) to ask why people wants to put love locks on bridges, walls railings, fences, or to other odd places ? In the first place, padlocks belongs to doors and gates and not on bridges!

I was inspired to write this post because some time ago, I heard my Colleague sharing her story about her daughter who has a boyfriend. On her birthday she asked her mother for a gift, a very special gift— a “Liebeschlosser” in Deutsch or personalized engraved love lock ! With the name of the couple of course.Where they are going to hang it I didn’t bother to ask anymore!

See, honestly, it’s hard not to ignore them , they are almost everywhere! Crossing the bridge full of padlocks will definitely redirect your focus. I wanted to look at the city view but I can’t even have a better view because the bridge is so full of tourists–everybody ogling around the padlocks!

Just look at all those heart-shaped little piece of metal. I’ve seen that the new fad comes even with a photo! Look closely and you will realize that it becomes a human nature. People from different origin are doing it.Wanting to do it, and maybe already bought a padlock to put it somewhere.

They are unbelievably insane in numbers! All of these locks with inscriptions, in different colors, size and design composed a debatable grafitti--an undeniably vandalism of natural scenic spots. All for the sake of going through the “fad”or ” tourist trap”, “photo point” or whatever you call it. The effect can already be seen–some key states already started the padlock ban !

But what really drives people ( or couples) to “bridged” and locked their love? perhaps a travel culture, or just a plain tourist trap dilemma? Netherlands has another fad–locking their bikes along the canal bridges, and that’s another story.

Bridges full enough along the canals in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

From the place where I grew up, we never have this kind of love lock bridges, ( or not that I know of, or have seen!) nor that I’ve seen something like this in Kuwait either. First, padlocks are not cheap and rivers are already contaminated and adding keys will definitely pose another environmental problem. Just imagine the amount of padlocks that were removed from Paris that ‘s almost over a million padlocks that weights more than 45 tonnes! That was a sensational issue.

It’s not for sure a European thing because I’ve noticed that in many different parts of the world, there are definitely magnets for romantics to put a chain of their love ! It’s crazy just seeing the amount of padlocks and how multi-lingual the inscriptions, it’s really international! Even here in my little town of Ingolstadt, where Audi’s and BMW’s parades the streets, but also, our bridges are getting “heavy”and “heavier” because people are also putting more and more their love on chains! All for the sake of “Liebe“.

A love lock chained in the bridge in Salzsach river in Salzburg in Austria

I noticed that this thing became a thing in almost big cities. Started in Paris and now, almost big cities have their own bridge of love locks attraction. People picked-up the habit of buying locks, engraving their names, and chaining their hearts on these metals hooked up in bridges, throw the keys and then left. What is astonishing is that so many shops sells these stuff! If there were no padlocks, of course this “business” will not thrived as well. I noticed that many locks are written with different languages so people from different places really contribute to this commotion of locks in bridges.

How to kill time with a toddler : Bring them to a bridge full of padlocks and let them read all the names, better let them count the lovelocks.

Big balls of Love from Bavaria
Love padlocks invade the world!

Have you ever tried putting your love in chains?

If given the chance, would you ever put a padlock for your love on a bridge?

One fine day in Utrecht

Livin’the Dutch Life

Last Easter we had the chance once again to visit the Netherlands !It’s been two years in a row now that we’ve spent our Easter break in our second home in Europe, the bike capital of the world, the place where Tulips are goddess of beauty and pancakes are eaten for dinner! See, I always look forward going to Holland in Springtime for so many reasons. One, I’m still over the moon by the colors of Spring which I can only see in the Netherlands. Last year we have visited the Keukenhof in Lisse and I must say it again that it is really the most beautiful Spring garden in the world! If you won’t agree with me then you must see it by your own eyes to believe. Actually, we went to Holland right after we visited Berlin which is just 4 hours away by train on a direct Intercity train. I am glad that we made the right choice for this place because it turned out to be an amazing place add to the fact that we are having a wonderful spring weather in the spring capital of Europe!

Looking down on Manholes in Utrecht, Netherlands

We arrived in Utrecht at around 11 a.m . First thing I did was to look down for some manholes to ponder. I didn’t see much but I found some. Most of the shops are already open from 10 a.m on Maundy Thursday. Utrecht is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands, located 50 km southeast of Amsterdam and only takes about half an hour by train. Netherlands has a great train network so Utrecht is easily accessible from Schiphol central station. Trains runs very frequently so the ride is really quick.What I find unique in the Netherlands is their scanning gate system in the train station which is really impressive and have better control of the passengers.

One fine day in Utrecht, Netherlands
Dutch gable houses: Every angle is different wherever you look

Feels like Amsterdam

For me, Utrecht is a mini version of Amsterdam, less chaotic, trendy but less crazy, but can also be full of frantic crowds, and also very touristy. It’s a great family get-away because it has everything for young and old. The crowds can be so diversed and multi-cultural. Along the canal areas I saw rows of coffee shops and you know that they don’t sell the ordinary Cappucino or Latte! Looking very “Dutch” is Oudegracht’s full of “Fiets” or bicycles. Only in Holland you can see this bicycle fever (ever!). Netherlands is really the country of bicycles. In Germany, people also cycle a lot but I’ve never seen the same amount of bicycles than in Holland! Of course, with the unique “Gezellig ” flair of the two major canals that runs through the city center, the Oudegracht and Nieuwegracht, a daytrip in Utrecht is a great escape from big cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam. It’s Easter break so the whole canal area was full of people, relaxing,chilling, and basking in the sun.There was so much activity going on around. Never a dull moment and time really flies so fast. But be warned though, if you’ve never been to the Netherlands,brave yourself when cycling and watch out for other cyclists! Aside from the fact that the roads are smaller, most streets in the city center is one-way.

Traditional Dutch gable houses along the canals of Utrecht


Canals of Utrecht

I am really looking forward to spend time exploring the canals of Utrecht. While walking, I was taken back to the time when we are in Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht and the Red light District areas. With the long rows of cafes, shops, boutiques and restaurants along the canals, visitors can have a nice walk. Time flies so fast and it’s really cozy strolling around. This is a feature that is unique for the city of Utrecht. Utrecht is a small city and compact so exploring it doesn’t take that long and walking is the best way to explore it so make sure that you wear comfortable shoes. But because we had a toddler with us, we took our time going with her phase. I just realized that my daughter walked as much as we did even from our days in Berlin. The stone boulders and poles became her jump poles and playground. My daughter was fascinated by the ducks along the canal banks and she wanted to feed them with coins!

Utrecht, Netherlands
Bikes and even more bikes
Oudegracht on a fine Spring sunny afternoon

It is never boring to walk along Oudegracht with rows of houses because everywhere I look is so pretty! I took so many photos because every angle is just different, and as usual, they are never aligned!

Wandering along the canals of Utrecht

Domtoren ( or Dom Tower)

As soon as we exited the mall, ( I totally forgot its name..) which was adjacent to the the Utrecht central station we follow the crowds leading further to the canal area which directly led as to the iconic Domtoren (or Dom Tower).Built of design by John of Hainaut and is the tallest church tower (112.5 meters) in the Netherlands. It was completed in 1382 and the tallest belfry in the country. I’ve heard about this church before but seeing it for real is really great.The exterior of the church tower is heavily renovated from the time of our visit but still on operations so its still accessible for visitors. I’ve heard that renovations are expected to be completed by 2022.

Domkerk, Utrecht’s landmark

The Tower contains 14 bells that weigh 32 tons and what makes it unique is that its still rung by a group of dedicated ringers or the Utrecht Klokkenluiders Gilde. There are two chapels in the tower; the Egmond chapel and the St. Michael’s chapel. Take note that you can only visit the Dom on a one hour tour. If you are in a hurry, you can still enjoy its exterior facade.

Eye- catching statues in Utrecht
Lush labyrinth garden in Domkerk

Website : http://www.domkerk.nl/

Welcome to Miffy Museum !

Nijntje Museum ( or Miffy Museum) and Centraal Museum

Actually, the main reasons why we visited Utrecht is to see the Nijntje Museum ( or Miffy Museum) .I’ve been longing to see this museum for a long time because of my four year old daughter.She had a blast in Berlin in the Legoland Discovery Center, going crazy over lego and the indoor playground, but inside Miffy Museum she had a total world of fun and interactive learning. Miffy Museum is the pride of the Netherlands in memory of its creator Dick Bruna. Seeing the museum, I can say that this place is definitely true to his words–” I create a world that children fill with their own imagination”. For once, I think the Netherlands has the most wonderful museum for young children and adults.

Adjacent to Miffy Museum is the Centraal Museum which houses the great works of local artists such as Joachim Wtewael and Gerard Van Honthorst. Another interesting feature is the “Utrecht ship” located in the cellar of the museum.It’s located in front of Miffy museum. There was a cozy Cafe in the corner of the Museum which you can enjoy a quick bite and enjoy the beautiful gardens.The souvenir shop can be found in the main entrance of the Museum.

Website : https://nijntjemuseum.nl

St. Martin’s Cathedral (Domkerk)

We walked a bit further and we discovered the beautiful Labyrinth gardens in St.Martin’s Cathedral (Domkerk) .St.Martin’s cathedral is the main cathedral in Utrecht and once connected to the Dom Tower but due to the collapse of its nave from the Tornado in 1674, the two building have been separated.This church was once the largest church in the Netherlands.What remains of the interior is still of high quality and extremely ornate with many vaulted arches and colorful stained glass windows. This is the lone church in the Netherlands that has a close resemblance to the style of the Gothic architecture.The building has a sole 367 ft tower named Dom tower which is Utrecht’s landmark. I was rather surprised to see the serene green surroundings inside the square of the cathedral. It has a fountain in the middle and the naves creates a remarkable shadow from the afternoon sun that creates a very relaxing atmosphere. Unlike the other Dom that we’ve visited, the garden has no graves, only a Labyrinth that my daughter loves.

Nice wall art found in the streets of Utrecht

As we are getting tired from walking around 2 o’clock afternoon, we decided to look for a place to sit down and have a drink. We followed the train back to the canal areas and wander through the narrow streets. The crowds are still on frenzy and there were now street musicians playing along the canals. Super ” Gezellig “!

I don’t know its name but it looks yummy!

Grabbing an ice cream, we sat by the benches facing the canal and just enjoyed the view, languishing on the coziness of Dutch life. People of different skin enjoying every single moment of leisure and I know, I am not the only one who became a storyteller after visiting this wonderful little city in the Netherlands.

Indeed, it was one fine day in Utrecht.

Frostbite and Silvester

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Frozen Beauty in Winter

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?

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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 Christmasor 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.

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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!

SWAROVSKI cHANDELIERS
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.

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All white and frozen
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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.

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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.

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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?

Happy New Year everyone!

Until then , Tschüss!