Frigid hands and warm Toes

Frigid Hands and Warm Toes

Hello February! I decided to make another post about my Winter Photo journal this year. Yes, this Winter is abnormally normal that I am taking notes of it.

Navigating or neighborhood and taking notes on Nature´s daily surprise

Aside from the Pandemic, it is quite abnormal, I think not only for me ,but for most of us.Our days here in Germany is normally quite the same, quiet, in solitude of lockdown, and staying safe and sound. Our navigation is still within these parameters ; Supermarkets, Parks and running, Pharmacy if we need something and weekend markets.

Since yesterday is the 31st of January ,so far we set another record, ( well we started to make records!) and surprisingly, so far we have walked and run for about 108.46 km in 22 activities this month alone! It means we could have been walking farther than Münich and Nürnberg!

The water´s level on the Danube river is continously on the rise. Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany

We decided to follow the trail beside the river and so far we´ve loved it.It´s quite beautiful that Winter exposes us to many great views, aside from bald trees and fallen branches.

With my 6 year old who managed to embrace the walking trend here in Bavaria

This Winter, I began to appreciate walking on crisp, chunky white snow.The sound it makes us happy and reminds us of our winter vacations in Austria. My winter boots has been an angel and keeping me on tabs on neverending changing seasons. Now I understand why one of the best advice I´ve got since I came here is to invest in a good winter jacket and boots.They are really a life-saver.

White fields of dreams

The last days and weeks were combination of Snow, rain and stormy weather.We got used to it and now everything is covered again in white snow.I am still grateful that once again, walking in solitude have have helped us to stay sane, nothing else to complain.I am telling you, the reality of Homeschooling and everything is no joke.But the moment we stepped outside and breathe fresh air, our moods were changed.An hour of sledding in the snow is certainly a miracle drug.Sometimes it´s hard to sleep if we haven´t take a walk!

I really find it funny when I realized what a small world we have because we often meet our neighbours and friends outside while walking, it´s like a big agenda , the highlight of our days!Every snow day is different from the other, so my winter journal is really diversified.

Today we walked through the Danube river and the water´s level is continuously rising.It rained for couple of days now and watching the water level becomes our pastime.My daughter was filled with high spirits, so amazed by so many fallen trees covered in snow around and for her, it´s an adventure trail, a maze.She told me that this happened because of the imbalance in the elements, she meant water, ice, fire and earth.I got lost for a while but then followed her stories and in the end, I realized she was telling me the Lego Ninjago Saga.

When it comes to Lego Ninjago, we are serious about it!

I wish adults can think like children for a change.Talking to children is quite fascinating and they give you unique, practical sometimes ludicrous answers to everything.With them, life is uncomplicated, happier, and That the moment they see snow, their plan is fixed. One time I was doing my late night walking and I still saw children sledding in pitch dark nights.It´s like they don´t want the snow to go away, time is frozen and the magic ends…

Winter in my city where snow, water and wind meet at both ends! Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany
Watching the river current passed by…
Hidden away from the crowds and noise.Snow dusted trees makes that ” Silence of Winter” really loud.

Watching the foliages and plants covered in white washed snowy wonder is truly a magical sight.I guess despite the cold and agitation of frigid hands, we are okay with it.Enough with complaining, but hey, aren´t they beautiful?I saw that the paths are already covered with so many footprints, so I guess there were more early earth-walkers that has been here before us.As early as 6 am, people are out taking morning walks…

Watching nature´s wonder in Winter , Ingolstadt, Bavaria

I think I am getting good in knowing which plants stay green in Winter and which one gets bald first.

And now, it´s time for another walk!Stay safe everyone, have a great week. Tschüss.

It´s no Ordinary year

The photo we entered for this year´s Photo Contest finally made it into 2021´s Calendar

This year is not only all about the tons of masks we bought and wore, or the excessive disinfecting of everything we´ve touched and our hands turning into a resemblance of chicken skin. Aside from all this hygienic crazy mantra that becomes a new norm now, I realized that this year was actually a no ordinary for me, personally.

This year also is the year for the first time that I joined a photography competition here in our local town, hosted by one of our local Bank, the Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Bayern Mitte.I actually mostly forget its name because you know, its long and its kind of twisting my tongue. Well, that´s what German does to me.Anyway, turned out that loved our photo and included it for next year´s Calendar called “ Die schönsten Motive Fotowettbewerbs 2020″.

I was thrilled and excited.I was not expecting that my photo could be chosen considering that there were so many nice landscape photos who were chosen in the whole region.We just got lucky, I guess. We received a prize and donated half of it to another organization.It was a great experience and I think it made our year a certain mark, to remember, to be thankful for the beauty of nature who seemed to be the only one unaffected by depressing situations around us.

The photo that I took is titled “Glacisbrücke im Herbst” ,or the Glacis Bridge in Fall. I love this photo particularly since it caught the mystic beauty of Fall in my neighborhood, plus this bridge is quite fascinating as well since its one of the landmark near to where I lived.

Whenever I crosses this bridge, I am being reminded of this recognition.Who could have thought….?

The “Mushroom” Water Towers of Kuwait

When I was still living in Kuwait, I took pictures of most of the places where I visited. It´s pretty normal since I am an Expat working there and yes, the culture is different and there are so many things that is new to me.My iPhone Gallery was filled with snapshots, candid selfies and landscape portraits which I even used most of the time in my Blog articles.Using these Photos rekindled my memories of being in there and appreciating the unique beauty that Kuwait has, like for example this “Mushroom ” Water Towers .

At first glance you wouldn´t even imagined that it´s a modern water supply system, but then it was.The shape, the color, the size, everything about this symbolic reinforced concrete system is unique.Maybe to local Kuwaitis it´s just a normal water towers but definitely not for me. I am still amazed and perplexed of its function and design.Clever design from VBB , A Swedish engineering company, with Sune Lindström as its chief Architect.No wonder it won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, cycle 1980.

Mr. Antoon Kuhlmann from Hortus Nijmegen in the Netherlands along with Dominique Clement sent an email to me informing me if they can use my photo as a research material to be used in their upcoming manuscript about Mushrooms.What a brilliant idea!

This book really expains what special role Mushrooms played in Arts, Culture and yes, in Nature.I was totally honored to be a part of this book, to think even that Kuwait´s Water Towers was used as an example how Architects used mushroom as a concept for building a modern water system.

Just in time before Christmas I got a copy of this Book and couldn´t feel more proud than ever.It is cleverly done !Unfortunately, it´s only in Dutch language.

This post is not a promotion of the book mentioned above. I just felt grateful that one of my post and photo was used to compile all the amazing information supplied by this book.The Dutch Autors did a wonderful job in coming up to this phenomenal piece. If you are reading up until this part and interested to buy a copy, you can find the link Here.

Thought this year was only staying at home, social distancing and wearing masks…not for us actually.It was a no ordinary year because of this Online Art Project by the International Youth Library in Munich ( International Jugendbibliotehek München) called ” Kinder, malen sich Selbst” or the I-solation, Children ,draw yourselves, an online Exhibition initiative organized by this Library . The exhibition was joined by 800 participating children all over the world!

And my little daughter joined herself into this exhibition and by Spring of 2020, her drawing was submitted to the Library.By around June, we were invited to visit the Exhibition and had a Tour in their Library and see the beautiful grounds of Blutenburg Castle. It was her first, at the age of 5.

But as I wrote before, this year was actually a legendary year for all of us.Came December and we are still under stressed because of Corona infections, in Isolation and wearing Masks in School.Christmas Markets are cancelled and we entered a second Lockdown on Dec 16. Another melodramatic feeling of isolation creeps us, but then home is where we felt the most safe, well I guess, for everybody´s sake it´s the ony way out.

Nothing more to expect, we can´t change the tides.But then, we managed to have a meaningful Christmas season at home, without the frantic craze and glittering lights.

Here in Germany, children and adults are crazy about Adventskalendar. It´s literally a calendar, a coundown from the start of Advent to Christmas Eve.So this time, our local town hosted a drawing competition for children for the Adventskalendar with Winter moments as a theme. Once again, my daughter had her entry and yes, her drawing was chosen to be in the 15th day of Adventskalendar. On that day,she met the Christkind to receive her prize but of course, with a mask and distance!

Little clever Artist being proud of her Artwork.

I guess a Not Ordinary year means that we stopped expecting, and more of appreciating and giving.4 days to go til this year ends and I just want to document it here in my Blog what a meaningful year it was as well.There´s nothing much to tell of what we did, but we did the best of what we can do…

I think we´ll do this again next year if there´s another chance again!

Did you have a no Ordinary moment this year?

Alles gute und Tschüss!

Spaziergang– the one with mystical flair

After the rain where mists and dew become one

Let me share with you a really nice German word that I personally love, it´s Spaziergang. For non native German speakers like me, Google provides a simple and easy to digest definition of this word.

Spaziergang means ” a walk, taking a leisure walk ” or a ” stroll”

Etymology : Spazieren ( verb) + gang (spa*zier*gang)

Spaziergang ( M) (genitive –Spaziergangs or Spazierganges, plural – Spaziergänge)

Example when used in sentence : Viele Menschen machen am Sonntag einen Spaziergang mit ihrer Familie. / On Sunday, many people go for a walk with their families./

This morning I gazed outside the window and I saw a familiar face of one old man walking. He really takes a walk everyday, maybe 1-3 times a day and today was no exception. This is probably one of the word where I can perfectly describe my German neighbours and almost general here.They just love to be out, any time of the day, regardless of the season, in quarantine or not, people here loves to go for a walk or ” spazieren” . The other day, I was talking to some relatives in the Philippines and I have learned that they haven´t made a ” walk” for quite some time, all for various reasons. I have no time, I am too busy today, not allowed, too lazy, it´s raining, it´s hot …excuses are there and so on. Sometime its understandable, quite logical in these dire times of Pandemic. I just realized that there is really a huge difference between characters and lifestyle issues here and over there that I would not want to reiterate since its not the call of the hour.

Trying to recall my dreams from the day before today.

Now back to my story about this word .Spaziergang in other places where I lived is quite different, especially when the weather is quite challenging.In Kuwait, I often take long walks along the seaside. When I was pregnant, I walked in the seashore many times just to ease my aching feet . Seaside is very famous that almost everyone knows it, you can never get lost. Its a long strip of beach , the Arabian Gulf, beaming like diamonds in a blistering 48 degrees summer heat. It´s a nice scenery there especially during mild winter days, and also on very early summer mornings as well as when we don´t have dust storms. I missed those days where the only music I hear is the waves…. I have watched the tides being low and high, calm and clear…now going to the beach for me is quite a luxury.We are surrounded now with different kind of bodies of water which is also another paradise.

Here in Germany, people loved to take leisure walks. It is really a lifestyle that stands out everywhere. When people doesn´t cycle , you know they are walking. Sometimes I feel like if you don´t get out at least an hour a day, you are commiting a sin.I watched people of all ages do this, including myself. Germans takes walks for various reasons as well, but mainly, they loved to be out.Walking along the Danube river, in a park or forests can be a daily adventure trip. Walks are used for relaxation, recreation for families, or just simply observing and thoughtful leisure…or killing time, especially on Rühetag Sonntag ( Quiet Sundays).When the sun is out, people go out and take a walk to get under the sun, having a friend beside you walking and chatting is quite extravagant.Breathing fresh air, exercising in a form of ” brisk walking” is like a common changing your ” wallpaper”. You see,walking helps you see a different backdrop from nature especially during the change of seasons. A walk in the city is totally different experience from a walk from a quiet valley or countryside. A walk done through the weekdays is probably feels different when its on weekends.Here in Bayern, its very normal to see people walking with sticks, they say it makes walking easier, although I see it more frequently with old people.

Looking on the bright side side of life
Mornings reminds us to be grateful, to be thankful of life´s simple wonders

All of the above reasons, I did it all, all for the sake of ” walking”. In the early days, I would take a walk with my daughter in the stroller. In this way, I´ve got to know my new city and meet new people. Through “Spaziergang” , I have alearned to appreciate nature more, and made more pauses just to linger more with nature. It´s some kind of therapy as well. It´s a form of relaxing yourself aside from it is naturally healthy. I ´ve took a walk with my family, with friends, with my daughter, and yes, most of the time, I treasured the me-times or alone. There is a great consolation that I get when I took an early morning stroll and having a place all by myself. Most of the photos and inspiration from this Blog are the product of my daily Wandertags ( or strolling).

These photos are the ones I´ve took last week when we took a walk in the nearby town here in Ingolstadt. We were so early ( we always go out early to avoid crowds) that the trees and shrubs still have wet stems and misty. I totally got excited to take many photos and experiment with my camera.

When was the last time you took a walk? Have you enjoyed it?

Until next time friends, Stay safe and have a great week!

My Return to the yellow Rapeseed fields

After I saw them last year , I swore that I will be back again…and now I set my feet once again to the Golden Fields of Rapeseeds .

Back to the Fields of Gold in Germany

At this time of the year, from middle April up to mid May where we have mild Spring weather, acres and acres of golden sunny yellow bulbs of Rapeseed is my favorite Spring backdrop. And what´s not to love about them?They don´t cost a penny, but the experience is really nice. They are shiny, beautiful, glowing golden yellow in the bright sun! Everything about nature, especially the raw ones is a genuine stress reliever for me,and personally , I needed a different view aside from being contained at home for the past 42 days now! Due to Corona lockdown here in Germany, we stayed at home, maintained social distancing, don´t go out for unnecessary errands. We are not prisoners, we try to live as normal as possible.We are allowed to get out ( Only if we want to..!) to take a short walk with family members,exercise and do sports outside or just have a quick breath of fresh air because its also good for us ! Staying under the sun can boost your immune system.

The serene and tranquil beauty of the Rapeseeds fields in Bavaria, Germany

I looked forward to see the Rapeseed fields as early as the first days of Spring. I know that better and warm days are bound to come as soon as I see yellow bulbs in our neighborhood. With the daily stress of worrying on keeping ourselves protected from the deadly virus, and isolated, I have found refuge with nature. Here in Germany, I see people are living as normal as possible. Of course we are diligent in following the rules, but then I observed that people here are really disciplined, organized and bound to fight the spread of the virus.They also take care of their health, people of all ages exercise and move as much more and do something active.Yesterday, I felt really grateful living in this place where the government really care about the citizens. We finally received free masks !

And this is what the message I get whenever I view the Rapeseeds, they remind me that these too, shall pass.Just like these fields, one stem of this flower can´t bloom without the others. They need each other to make an impact.

In Germany, the Colza oil that is derived from this wonderful plant is used to fuel mainly machineries.The leftover from derivation is feed to pigs.

If you are an expat like me, I am sure this is one of the typical landscape views you see here in Germany.One of my favorite is seeing people cycling beside the fields and the view in the early morning where calmness plays a big role. If you happen to visit Germany during mid Spring , you´re in luck to see these natural wonder yellow fields. Most vegetation in the outskirts are beaming in yellow during Spring time, even on the sides of Autobahn! This landscape is also typical in other neighboring countries like Netherlands, France, Denmark,Poland and Belgium.

Yellow, Yellow, Yellow
If you prefer to enjoy the beautiful roads with a view here is WHERE you can take to enjoy them.

The good thing about lockdown is that we have more ( or at least a bit!) free time to do our hobbies, or things we loved to do…aside from eating and snacking! Anyone else gained weight ?! 🙂 Weekends are special to us so we tried to make it special despite the isolation. I totally enjoyed taking photos of my daughter and family to share with my friends and family abroad. After our walk, we cooked Spargel ( Asparagus) with potatoes and ham ,the traditional Bavarian dish that is in season , and enjoyed a bit of music in the garden.

Last week was supposed to be her Photoshoot in the Kindergarten.But due to the Pandemic and lockdown, kindergartens are still closed and we have no idea until when will it be opened again.So we made an idea to do her 5 year old Photoshoot with the Rapeseeds as background.
When Dandelions meets the Golden Fields!

Weekend is almost over and tomorrow is another week. Can´t believe it´s May soon. Back to work again and for some students here in Ingolstadt, especially the graduating class, it´s the first day starting tomorrow after the long break from Corona quarantine. I am really wondering what will be the effect of the easing of measures in our region.Another thing, tomorrow, 27th of April is the “Maskenpflicht” or wearing a mask is legally enforced here in Bayern.

How was your week so far? What fun things have you´ve done lately?

Until next time my friends, I wish you all a lovely week ahead, stay safe everyone!

For the love of Statues

I love to take photos of statues. For me, the weirder, the better. Small or huge it really doesn’t matter. The element of story behind it adds a super wow factor.Here in Germany, statues are part of every region, city or vicinity. Each city has its own distinctive statue, most especially famous persons that is being dedicated to.Since this is an Expat Blog, I thought it might be a great idea to share with you some of the things you can see if you happen to admire statues and monuments.

The Ludwigsbrunnen in Paradeplatz here in my old town of Ingolstadt in Bavaria, Germany

But not all statues can get your attention because somehow it just looks like a boulder. It takes something from the carved stone, bronze or wood that really caught your gaze. Then when your gaze is caught, you kept on staring, and searching, and then you look for more details. That’s the point of interest. Well I may not know all the facts about each statues, but anyway, I had fun gazing upon them.

What do you look in particular for statues?

I think travelling allows us to see different statues or by reading. The most common tourist trap is that people would always love to photograph something famous just to put it into journal of memories.Most people loved to pose beside it, making them as endless photo stop-pits. Everybody loves a selfie beside a famous sculpture or statues, because yes, it’s the thing nowadays. It’s a total giveaway saying “I’ve been here”… or “I have seen this!”

What are your favourite statues? Do you recognize them?

Here I wanna share with you a gallery of my photographed statues.I got them mainly from our short staycations here and over there. Some are famous, some are not. Some are great for me, but others really made an impression.The thing is, they have caught my attention and I love the fact that I’ve ever seen them.

A rather peculiar statue near the Dom of Utrecht, the Netherlands
Trains to Death, Trains to Life statue in Friedrichstr. in Berlin
The very loud and exquisite statues of Marriage Carousel

What’s your favourite so far?

Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Netherlands
The Giant in Wattens, in Swarovski Headquarters

I’ll be writing once again in the second part of this series especially that I have more photos of different statues that I’ve seen here in Germany.

But for now, I’ll say Tschüss, thank you so much for reading and following this Blog and have a safe week everyone!

The Scribe from Utrecht

Roaming the streets of Utrecht, the Netherlands
Here is some fascinating views in the garden beside the Dom Cathedral

Wordless Wednesday

Ruhetag Sonntag | Silent Sunday

Another beautiful morning with the sun just about to burst along the Danube River

There is something like “Ruhetag Sonntag” ( or Quiet Sunday) we have here in Germany. While in other parts of the world, Sunday is more like normal weekend day, it is not so here in Germany. It was quite a shock for me when I first came here because I’ve got used to having Sundays as a time where I can enjoy the shops and do shopping since it’s a normal rest day from work.

Ruhe Sonntag in Deutschland means “Ruhe”or rest, quiet, silent, and it is actually a law here. Don’t mess up with this tradition especially if you are in Southern Bavaria. You can’t even make too much noise like vacuuming because it will disturb your neighbor. One time, my husband mow the lawn and our neighbor raised their eyebrows and informed us that it’s better to do it on other days. If you plan to drill or play loud music, then you need to think twice again.

If you forgot to do your groceries then good luck to you.Don’t get me wrong, Germans loves to shop. But it really makes sense that they always do their groceries with their lovely wooden baskets on week-days. I find it really interesting to see their baskets in their bicycles filled with daily groceries. I spotted many old people visiting a shop buying a bottle of something, fruits or the recent “Angebot” of a local supermarket. On Sunday, supermarkets are closed and you can’t find anywhere to buy your chicken or fruits. It is very rare that shops are open on Sundays, only on few festivals and night fairs.

Train-spotting in Mittenwald on a Sunday Ruhetag

Every Sunday, everything is closed, that includes shops, mall, offices and almost everything. Only bakeries, restaurants, gas stations and of course, Beer gardens are open for business. Train stations are open so as the train operations so you can still take your train and go wherever you want to go.Bus service are also available during Sundays but they run on fewer schedules. Normally you need to wait almost an hour for the interval of the trips.

So what do Germans normally do on this day?

I live in Ingolstadt, a budding town here in Bavaria ( or Bayern) where people greets you with Servus instead of Hello. A place where people wear Dirndl and Lederhosen on almost every occasion, even on weddings! Bavarians are very traditional and Catholicism is seen into everyday life. And while the practice is based on faith, it’s also a law.

Article 139 of the German constitution states, “Sunday and holidays recognized by the state shall remain protected by law as days of rest from work and of spiritual improvement.”

I have been observing what’s going on here in my neighborhood during Sundays. Normally people sleep in during weekends so if you are an early riser like me, you can enjoy nature all by yourself. Many Germans ( or I dunno exactly where they came from!) loved doing some kind of sport during Sundays. They love to run, jog and walk no matter what the weather is. Sundays are also perfect for cycling especially if the weather is fine.

The silent beauty and calm waters of the Danube River

One of the frequent place to visit on a lazy Ruhetag Sonntag is this view of the river Donau ( Danube) from the Glacis Brücke ( or Glacis Bridge /Bruckenkopft). Here you can have a beautiful view of the foliage and colorful trees especially in Autumn. I often visited this bridge for a morning walk and here I discovered the beauty behind the mist.

A dewy Autumn morning on a silent Sunday in Germany

In the other places where I’ve lived, we lost our wallets for shopping, especially if there are so many Sales.Not so here in Germany. Sunday is a sacred day for the Germans. Germany and many of its European counterparts held a long resistance to Sunday shopping, despite that they have a good economy. I lived in Bavaria, a very conservative region, and most of the smaller Bavarian towns, Sunday is a time for reflection.

Take a seat, relax and enjoy the view.
The day belongs to those who wakes up early on Sundays!

People here also go to church on Sundays. But I notice that this practice of faith is not the same as in Philippines where there are really massive church goers. Same goes in Kuwait where Muslim people visits the mosque on Fridays, I tell you, the crowd going to pray in Mosques is big. Here, it’s also very quiet in the church, on many days, its empty. but I admit that they have beautiful churches. I find it quite funny that there are more people going to Oktoberfest or in Volksfest, or just sit in their favorite Beer garden on Sundays, rather than the number of people going to church .

Sunday is a day of rest, so everyone deserves to have a rest from work as well. Common people visits their Oma and Opa, having family lunches and taking a walk together. On Summer, you will noticed that most Spielplatz ( or playgrounds) are full of children with their parents having a morning play time together. Many mothers are having a playgroup meet up in parks and having a picnic. Staying indoors is really a second option only when the weather is not good.I have the feeling that after living here for almost three years, it is like a sin if you don’t go out. People here just love enjoying open places, fresh air and healthy options.

Black Swan

How do you spend your Sundays?

Do you also observe special traditions in your town?

Until next time, Get out, relax, spend time with your love ones. Drink beer and sit in the Beer garden if you like, after all…. it’s Silent Sunday!

Tschüss!