Summer fragile beauties in Germany

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need..”
{Marcus Tullius Cicero}

Goodbye Spring and Hello Summer!

My old little town here in Ingolstadt in southern Bavaria has a beautiful bed of mixed summer perennials or wild blooms spread all over the town. Germany is indeed a beautiful country but these little country details made me feel at home even more. I lived 5 minutes away from a lush walking forest and 10 minutes from Klenzepark. I think it’s such a new experience for me to see great nature instead of a bunch of cars parked outside or pile of garbage. Also cycling everyday made me appreciate my neighborhood and notice this details about flowering plants.Here, parks and gathering areas are normally decorated with real plants, not plastic.Aside from the fact that most Germans love gardening and plants, they are also crazy about buying cut flowers and bouquets! Everyday, most shops have fresh cut flowers and they are on a decent price. I am totally impressed that here, the outdoor landscape changes in every season and that they are taken cared of by the city gardeners. There are even wild spaces that is full of bright flowers that really looks amazing. I was even thinking how do they plant different varieties that the outcome is raw, and authentically beautiful.

For almost three years of living here, I’ve got already the trend when it comes to plants and flowers for every season. Summer perennials, or blooms are a reminder of the bright golden days ahead full of warm sunshine and colors. Flowers like Poppy, cornflowers, pansies,peonies, roses, zinias, and petunias etc. are blooming like crazy. They are so lovely to look at. I’ve always wanted to stop and gaze upon them. At home I know that summer is at my doorstep when my lavenders are in full swing. The proud stems full of blue violet flowers gives a fresher, brighter look in our place, its an enigma.

I was too busy for the past days that I haven’t had the chance to write about my own garden update and my first ever raised-garden ( or Hochbeet). I was even more thankful that my little “Roses corner“in our garden are now in full bloom to think that Spring is not even officially over! If you live in Germany, I think you know that Germans start to raid the shops for gardening stuff even before Spring arrives. Every balcony, patio, garden and every tiny window is transformed into a botanical garden. Germans love gardening, plants and yes–flowers! This is one of the reason why I am into plant propagation and planting my own herbs, flowering plants and cultivating my indoor pot garden. Through time, I have learned which plants to cultivate, which plant survives the frost and cold winter days and so on.When it comes to flowering plants, my crew is limited because most of them doesn’t survive the cold and I don’t have enough space to place them. I was thrilled this year that my Chrysanthemum survived winter last year and now continuously growing.

Are you also excited for Summer as I do?

I am thrilled when I looked up the weather forecast for the coming days and saw that warm days are coming, finaaaallly! The other day, I even went to work without a jacket! To tell you frankly, Summer has a brand new meaning for me here. Finally people sit outside and tan under the sun and having a drink for hours! Aside from so many constructions going on in the streets, people are cycling like crazy! What I mean is that here in South Germany, Beer culture is a real thing and is part of our daily grind, so sitting in Beer gardens is just as important as going to work. I am Asian and the hot weather was also so real , it’s a daily struggle to battle with humidity. I knew how it is to live in a “hot”city like Kuwait where temperatures reaches up to 48 degrees and the so called “spring and winter days flies so fast” and we don’t have summer blooms to admire, only palm trees! But here in Germany, summer signals for something else. Summer here for me means vacation, shorts, grilling and BBQ, sandals, garden, my plants are alive and blooming flowers!

So let me share with you my private gallery of my favorite summer fragile beauties.One of my pastime is to photograph nature, just like going to my favorite nearby lake. I’ve always said that you can never go wrong with nature. It’s one of my favorite subject. Last week during my free day, we went out to our local park and I’ve took some photos from Labyrinth garden and the Rose garden. I was just in awe of the simple beauties of the colorful blooms that looks so eager to welcome the warm sunny days . I called them fragile beauties because their beauty can be so dainty and fleeting like wonderful Tulips, too much heat and they also wither, and to think that summer days seems to be so short, they go so fast.

These bright violets flowers for the weary heart but do you know how the mystery behind the Cornflower?
I cannot simply stop staring at them. It might look violet or dark blue under the sun.
This one is a total eye-catcher with its fluffy petals and sunshine yellow pistils.
The wall of Roses
A walk to remember in the rose garden where history is written in the walls and the crawling roses are the storytellers.
They are warm reminder that good things comes to those who wait.

What about you, what do you love about summer personally? What is your favorite summer perennials?

If you are looking for ideas on how to spend your time nature tripping and wondering about the fragile summer flower beauties in Germany, these posts below might interests you. If you have time to kill then go check them out. This is going to be exciting because I’ll be posting and writing more for the upcoming “Landesgartenshau 2020 ” will will be held here in Ingolstadt and it’s all about plants, landscape, flowers, music, arts and everything exciting and last but not the least, I want to share with you 10 cool reasons why people over here go crazy about the Audi Sommerkonzert !

Until next time and thank you for reading !

Showoff Scarlet Forsythia

Fields of Gold, Rapeseeds in Bavaria

Bavarian Summer Flowers

Sunflower fields in Germany

Tschüss!

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Donau Radweg Cycling Tour

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Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bicycle…~JFK

Yup it’s officially Autumn here in Germany but let me ask you, what’s the most unforgettable experience you did last summer?

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The unexpected resurgence of the bicycle

This is a late post but last summer, we did our first Donau Radweg Cycling adventure as a family! It was pretty special, because for me, that was the farthest I’ve cycled non-stop in my life! And yes, we cycled with my daughter along and she behaved so well. I haven’t written much about what have I done for the past months mainly because lack of time and I am sorry for lack of posts and updates.This Blog is still alive and I wanna say a quick Thank you for all of you who paid a visit in my page and left some sweet comments.I’ll do my best to respond shortly soon!

So anyway, last summer felt so different from last year here in Bavaria. First, the temperature was warmer than I expected and as I have seen, so many fields and plants were ‘affected’ by the heat, even our garden was not spared. It’s kind of scorching and for quite sometime uncomfortable, reminding me of 40 degree-ish we had in Kuwait.This leaves us with only few options to enjoy leisure times outside. Best option we’ve had is anything with water. Swimming here and over there, and yes, even the pool in the garden had been a constant companion for my daughter.But aside from water activities, last summer was unforgettable because we’ve made it through our first Donau Radweg tour!

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Our destination : Donau radweg tour 

So how about doing a long-distance cycling? Oh yes, to start, approximately 23 kilometers, with a normal bicycle, with a 4-year old child in an Anhänger tagged along with us!

As I’ve written before, the moment I’ve moved to Germany, I think I have cycled more than I have ever cycled in my entire life! I ride my bike in every season, even when its winter and minus temps. I have heard about the classic Donau Radweg but I am always b intimidated of doing it, first, because I thought that it could be exhilarating plus I don’t know how would my daughter deal with it. Second, am I fit enough to do it? or would I cycle back home after 10 kilometers back home?

What if I had a tire burst?

But then long distance cycling for me is something different, it’s an adventure. I wanted to do something that is new and also fun. There’s something about reaching a goal. I guess I managed to integrate in the cycling culture here. When you live in Germany, you’ll be amazed to see that cycling is a very normal lifestyle. Everyone here I think owns a bicycle and cycle at least every day. It’s healthy, easy, practical and the best of all, environment-friendly. Add to the fact that Germany , or at least here in Bavaria, they have a superb cycling paths. I have read one time in the newspaper that in our city alone, its kind of look like Amsterdam now because of  the number of bicycles that they are planning to build more bike stands.

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I think one of the most important thing in my life is when I learn how to ride a bicycle…

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Backside facade of the castle Grünau

Another thing, cycling tours in midsummer is no joke, but since we finished our first Biotope Cycling Tour last year, with almost 30 kms within 2 hours, I knew it can be done.  I was  inspired when one morning, my teacher came to our class and shared that she had cycled from Neuburg to Ingolstadt, a sweet 23 kms within an hour to go to work and back!Okay she had an E-Bike, but still, I had great respect for the adventure part. It’s what I wanted to. Cycling through the Danube is a dream come true for me.

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A beautiful fountain in front of the Rathaus (City hall) of Neuburg an der Donau

Before the Radweg tour

We planned to start early morning and prepare our way to Neuburg an der Donau. Neuburg is famous as the “Renaissance City”along the banks of the Danube.When I saw photos of this city, I knew I wanted to see it by my own eyes. So my goal is why can’t I combine a small city tour and a cycling Tour?

We searched about our cycling path and we were confident  doing one of the old-time favorite tour along the Donau river, the Ingolstadt to Neuburg, with 23 kilometers over Weichering road. The only thing that is not sure is the weather. We checked the  weather numerous times, it’s a little bit cloudy, but enjoyable enough to cycle. We brought along the  daughter but this time she sits in an Änhanger, German’s version of the Bakfiets! It goes easy for her because she can read, eat, or sleep while we cycle. We packed very  light, with only few snacks and water  in our side packets. My Dutch husband cycled with an additional 40kgs ( total weight of the Änhanger +Natalie).Of course we had an emergency kit with us, and a huge packet of determination and crazy energy!

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The bicycle is a curious vehicle, its passenger is its engine…

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Exploring the Renaissance City of Neuburg

The Radweg tour

We started off cycling very light. The path is almost flat and through green forests. This bike path runs south of the Danube through the Danube floodplains, partly on paved roads with little traffic, partly (in the woods) over well-paved dirt roads, partly asphalted separate bike paths. Lots of nature, riparian forests, avenues, meadows and even resting benches along the way.

 

The first of the three sections leads from Ingolstadt to Weichering. The second section runs on rather long-curved-curvy Weldwegen to the castle Grünau. From there it goes with a paved separate cycle path next to the road without detours directly into the center of Neuburg. I knew we are almost in our destination when we were in front of the old castle of “Grünau”.  Our journey begins at the Baggerweg and runs close to the Danube along the direction of the Baggersee, where the Danube is crossed.I find the path very enjoyable, with plenty of fields and greeneries to watch while cycling. We came across with so many cyclists, everyone is loaded up with adventure packs. Along the way I was smiling to myself because I can’t believe that I’m doing this!

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Inscription on a giant Tree in Grünau Castle

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Grünau Castle 

Reaching our destination

Of course I need to make some stops when I see something worth photographing.After the Caste Grünau I thought we were almost in the city but I was mistaken. I need to cycle for at least 8 kilometers more! My daughter keeps on shouting “why is it so far?”where is the playground? ” But then once we see the beautiful architecture and the Donau river, I was completely excited.It’s even prettier than in the photos I have seen.We parked our bikes just beside the river and off we go to explore the city.

Fascinating finds

What is fascinating about cycling tours is that you can explore a new city by foot and that gives you more windows to explore– especially the hidden gems of the city.Neuburg an der Donau is a historical city which has a lot to offer, both to locals and visitors. The city hall itself is situated above the town proper, on a hilly top so it also requires stamina add challenge of cycling on a cobble stone pavement. The Hofkirche is situated beside the Residenz Schloss ( Residence Castle)  which is quite an impressive architecture.It is quite a norm in this region to be wedded in a Castle, like a fairy tale dream. In Ingolstadt, I often watched a wedding where almost all the entourage are dressed up in a traditional Bayerische Tracht ( traditional clothing) ,with Lederhosen and Dirndls, but the atmosphere of a wedding in a castle is something different.

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Door detail at the Residenz Schloss

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Intricate ceiling detail of the castle

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Sharing adventures together in two wheels !

Enjoying summer holidays with a family doesn’t need to be expensive. I realized that when you’ve never even tried something that intimidates you then you can’t even say if you are capable of doing it or not. I am so grateful that I have the chance to explore Bavaria through a cycling activity like this. Every place we go is really unique and worth telling.You don’t need expensive equipment either. Just make sure your bikes are in great condition and you are physically fit as well. Start slowly and take your time. I always remind myself that it’s not a race and to have lots of fun along the way! If you are looking for things to do next summer then you might try  long-distance cycling as well!

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Little Explorer

 

How about you, did you spent an active Summer?

When was the last time you’ve challenged yourself to do something for the first time?

 

 

 

 

Bitter- sweet Marriage Carousel Fountain in Nürnberg

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The “Ehekarussell ” fountain in Nuremberg depicts the tyrannical symbolism of the ups and downs of Married Life.

Have you guys been to Nuremberg?

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.

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The Marriage Carousel created by Prof. Jurgen Weber, according to a poem by Hans Sachs in 1541: “Bitter-Sweet Married Life.

 

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.

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Giant granite heart containing the lines from the poem by HANS SACHS, 1541 about Ehekarusell.

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.

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The woman busy feeding her children depicting one serious stage in married life.

 

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.

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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.

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A man was cooling down in the cool  waters of the Ehekarussel fountain in Nuremberg

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.

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A close up shot of the tragic end of the horrors of marriage like strangling to death.

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.

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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

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– 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.

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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?

 

Stay tuned for more of my stories about our trip to Nürnberg. Happy Monday and wishing you all a great day! If you are planning to visit Nüremberg, you might be interested to check out the Ehekarussell,  Imperial Palace or the Kaiserburg and the wonderful Dolphin show in their Tiergarten.

Hey, If you are in Instagram, make sure to follow my Instagram to follow our Expat life adventures here in Bavaria and have a look at my personal Artworks and Aquarelle paintings HERE.

 

 

 

 

The Heat is ON in Bavaria

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32 degrees today! What Summer feels in Bavaria

This is the real thing now, the heat is ON in Bavaria !

What Summer fun are you engaging now?

Nevermind  the plague of Wasps and bee season, summertime is finally here and in Bavaria, in my old little city, everyone is just feeling ecstatic of the fine summer breeze, or rather, toasty winds since we have 32 degrees now!

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A very inviting Lake where we had picnic and splash. This is just one of our pit-stop from our cycling en-route (35kms) .

Have you seen summer flowers yet? They are blooming, giving us perfect backdrop for outdoors. From our garden to the nearby parks, summer flowers can be so exotic just like the Echinops Ritro!

I came to Germany last Summer, and I’m telling you, this season is probably the best season to enjoy Bavaria. To make the most of beautiful nature, lots of sun and water fun is essential. This week we have temperatures ranging from 18~32 degrees C . With this we have all the reason to spend time outside given the favors of so many holidays. Staying in when the weather  is perfect as this  is  definitely a S-I-N. Generally, Germans, or the typical Bavarians, adore the sun. Soaking up under the sunshine until the last ray of the sun until 9 o’clock at night. You can see them  sunbathing in the banks of the river Danube, lying in the grass in the parks, or just right in their balconies.

With the kick-off of the festival season, the Spring Pfingstenvolkfest,  Die Welt is bunt, Bürgerfest, and strawberry season, it feels like summer arrived early since we have a very sunny spring. I have written countless times that from the moment the day breaks, people here are out, (including US!) and ready to explore— and yes, with their dogs, clad in outdoor clothing, in their bicycles, with their walking sticks, off to the lake, and drinking beer in the bier garten promptly at 10 a.m on weekends!

So here I wanna share with you some of the fascinating things  about ‘Summer Feels ‘ here in our region. Whether you are just visiting tourist or a local, sure thing that you don’t wanna miss out on these activities!

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We do BBQ like the German way!

Grillsaison ( or Grilling season)

Summer is not complete without BBQ and Germans really take their grilling to the highest level! You know its summer when you breathe in the smell of BBQ in almost every house on a fine weekend. Since we have 9pm sunsets, this is a perfect way to bond. Be it in an open park, garden or in the tiny balconies of apartments, German take their grilling time seriously. Months before summer starts, we are flooded with different kinds of grill paraphernalia, from the garden tents, lounging seats, and yes, ‘the meat and wurst‘. About 70% of Germans have BBQ every  weekend and its typical to see a grill machine in every garden. Pack a picnic, a mat and  head to the lake, throw a piece of sausages ( wurst) and meat cuts into the charcoal grill and drink beer. This spells the perfect “Gemutlichkeit “or what the Dutch called “Gezelligheid” .

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The Grillsaison has finally begun!

Poppy fields  and wild flowers everywhere!

When summer time comes, in between wheat fields and every single empty space is filled with this fragile reddish-orange wild Poppy flowers. When I run and cycle, I can’t help but to stop and just be amazed by how  these simple wild bulbs can change the whole neighborhood and the way I feel. Sure, Tulips are my favorite flowers , but then there’s something about a field covered in Summer poppy blooms. It looks so calm, peaceful and so pretty!

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Close up encounter with red Poppy flowers last week when I was cycling.

 Eis Eis Baby! 

Who doesn’t like Ice Cream?

Ice cream parlors and shops are finally open here since late Spring. On warm, sunny days, there’s even a huge line outside. You really need to sweat out first before you enjoy their wide selection of Eis ( ice cream). My daughter is crazy about the richly flavored popsicles and ice pops which comes out in watermelon, kaktus, and yogurt ice cream. One is not enough, eating ice cream is definitely a threat we always enjoy during summer especially after we are all sweaty from cycling around.

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Eis Eis Baby!

Make sure to eat “spaghetti eis”: We promise it’s only a stupid name. This concoction is really just a strawberry ice cream sundae with vanilla “noodles” and strawberry sauce with white chocolate flakes standing in for the cheese. Guten Appetit!

Sunbathing in a make-believe beach!

This is the photo of the Donaustrand, a place made to look like a beach beside the river. It is the platform located in front of the river Danube and facing the New Castle. During summer, this place is a magnet for Germans and all outdoor lovers to enjoy a relaxing time, especially during sunset. This is a place a for  open-air concerts and the ” Live Orchestra Nights” where you can enjoy live music, drinking with friends, and lounging in recliners and sunbathing like you are in the beach .This is such a cozy place.

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A shot I took while lounging in the Donaustrand and enjoying sunset drinks.

Hanging out your clean laundry outside

There is nothing like the smell of clean laundry, hung out to soak up the fresh air. Hang out your sheets before the drying racks take over your apartment for the winter.We have a huge space in the garden and I just love how the sun do wonders on the sheets! I love this since it really saves time from tedious long cycles of drying. Natural is always better!

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Skinny dipping in some lake

Skinny dipping and baring it All !

Oh yes, Germans are very liberal and no-nonsense people when it comes to nudity. In some lakes, there are areas which are particularly allotted for “nudist”. Here, people are no hang-ups in baring it all and soaking up the sun from dawn to dusk.Germans think nothing of stripping to sunbathe. They do it on beaches, by lakes, and in heavily frequented urban parks. It’s very common to see unclothed people on regular park lawns or topless on balconies. Germany is one of the few places in the world where naturism occurs not just in secluded areas, but in the heart of major cities. German-style public nudity, known as Freikörperkultur (or “free body culture,” and usually shortened to FKK), dates back to the 19th century; it’s not just an activity, but a culture intended to reshape behavior.

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Pack a picnic and your mat and head on to the secluded fresh lakes!

For some people who are not into this and for families with children, there are lots of areas in the lakes for them to swim.We love to discover lakes where my daughter loves to play and here, they are just plentiful!

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Running through the Lake with this view.

Fitness everyday

In summer, I see a lot more people getting active and staying fit. People do things “manually” and live more. They love to do things by themselves. Mowing the lawn, tidying up their garden, people here loves to do things—no maids or house helpers! People run and cycle no matter what the time and temperature. They walk more and use the car less as much as possible. With abundant jogging areas, nature can be best enjoyed while getting fit. Germans adore the  “pig”and heavy pork-lovers, but even if they sit in the Biergarten everyday and eat sausages, seems that they don’t get fat! Everyone looks so impeccably fit.

Summer Cocktail Drinks

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PROST!!!

It is very typical to see bunch of people hanging around in the lake, or in the park enjoying a nice picnic and sharing summer cocktails. Of course, the beer is always the easiest way to create a cozy gathering but cool drinks and smoothies are always something pretty special. When it comes to picnics, Germans can be proud of their lifestyle!

What about you, what do you love to do during summer?

There are more on this post so I think I will make a post #2! Stay tuned.

Wasps in Germany , Sweet menace in Summer

 

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Enjoying outdoors last Vater tag ( Father’s Day in Germany) in the Donaustrand, sans the Wasps!

It’s summertime again! ( feels like it already!)

The last few days, it  feels like summer already here in Bavaria. People are all over under the sun , engaging in any outdoor activity you can imagine. Swimming , doing Sports, devouring Eis ( ice cream) sunbathing in their balconies, grilling, children are playing without shirts all day in the playground, BBQ everywhere, cycling til they drop, walking their dogs, lounging in Beer gardens, crazy over running & Triathlons, and yes, sleeping under the sun!

With the long weekend holiday celebrating the Ascension Day  last May 25th, the same date as the ‘Vater tag'(Father’s Day)  here in Germany, we’ve got  the perfect mood and  weather for it. As I always share in most of my posts, Germans love to be outdoors the moment the sun is up. We are having a simmering 25-32 degrees C nowadays and I can tell you, this pool season is also a signal for the Wasp season . This is one thing that I observe to plague Germany, especially here in Bavaria when the temperatures gets warmer.

In summertime, the flowers are blooming and super radiant. Our little garden is already full of roses and colorful flowers, I love this season!  But if you think that Wasps only hover on any pretty flower, then you are mistaken.

 

Two years ago sometime in August, I first met the nasty crazy German wasps. On our trip going to Moselle and Trier, we had a stop over in one of the restaurant and we decided to eat outside since its very warm. My daughter wants to walk around and I already noticed so many critters flying.It’s hard to ignore them especially when they are literally hovering all over you.Also,it is very rare to find a restaurant in Germany that has an air conditioning. This is one of the times where I really missed the all year/all day AC we have back in Kuwait. When summer comes, it can really feel toasty here, added the annoyance you get from the flying wasps. Inside the restaurant, there are ornaments filled with wasps and bugs caught by the sticky fly swatter and nets.

How can you eat when in your sight is a giant plate-full of wasps, flies, and critters?

Wasps love to fly over your food and they can really sting badly. This is why I don’t want to mess up with them. As a kid, I had been stung by a bee and it’s something I  don’t wanna experience again, let alone watch them sticking to my Schnitzel, or to my curry sauce. I am very careful about this because I have a daughter who is crazy about critters, lady bugs and spiders. She thinks they are cute ‘toys’ and she is chasing them!

I know you might wonder, what’s the difference between Wasps and the normal bees?Though both wasps and bees are relatively harmless unless provoked, it is good to know the difference between the two.The German wasps – called yellowjackets – have a nastier sting than the common wasp and are currently at their angriest.

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Wasps are members of the family Vespidae, which includes yellow jackets and hornets. Wasps generally have two pairs of wings and are definitely not fuzzy. Only the females have stingers, but they can sting people repeatedly.German wasps are bigger than normal wasps but smaller than hornets, have three black spots on their face, and can sting repeatedly.

 

Bees are fuzzy pollen collectors that almost always die shortly after stinging people (because the stinger becomes embedded in the skin, which prevents multiple stings). Bees don’t die each time they sting, though; the primary purpose of the stinger is to sting other bees, which doesn’t result in the loss of the stinger.

You might be interested to read on these basic facts ;

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If you see German wasps in your garden the nest is usually less than 500 metres away. The cold kills the wasps, apart from the newly hatched queens in the autumn. They look for a warm dry nook to hibernate over winter. If you are planning to enjoy your coffee and cake in the outdoor cafe, don’t be surprised if you have someone to share it with. They just love to destroy summer picnics and cling on to any sweet fruit or fermented drinks.

I hope the above info could help you be aware of this. 2015 was a terrible year of wasps in Germany and thinking of the rising temperature, they are bound to be hovering everywhere and swarm over your face! So, don’t let the bug carried by these wasps destroy your summer mood.

Have you enjoyed this post?Tell me,  have you ever been stung by a bee? or a wasp?

 

 

 

Baggersee reflections |Mirror

Last weekend we went on a hike and we find one perfect place that practically take our breath away, the Baggersee.

Just look at these these photos and you will know why.

 

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Feeling romantic? Get a boat and dream away while watching the sunset in the Auswaldsee   { Baggersee, Ingolstadt} 

These photos don’t lie.

If you would ask me, I still feel so summer. Summertime means staying outdoors and having exciting Wandertags. Baggersee is a beautiful oasis that practically exist and can be reached within 20 minutes away from where I live. A nature recreation area  approximately 150 hectares and with a lake  in the middle where you can have a panoramic view of the wild forest but not really feeling isolated. It is situated 1.5 km  southwest from the old town of Ingolstadt. I have written how much I adore ‘Wandertags‘ and this place did not disappoint me.

You can leisurely stroll with your kids, trek with your friends, hike, have a morning run, jog after work or just do some Nordic walking or cycle for the whole length of 5.4 km. If you love these activities, then this is the place you should be hanging out.

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Weekend view from the Auswaldsee, I love how the reflections in the water create a magical world. Nature indeed never fails to amaze me.

The whole place is so green and won’t disappoint any nature lovers. Perfect for weekend family picnics and meet-ups.The lake is surrounded with wooden dock areas and padded slabs where you can  do yoga, sunbathe, or  take a quick dip and if you’re an experienced swimmer, you can swim across the lake as long as you want.I noticed that most Germans walk with their dogs in Baggersee. It’s no surprise that there is even a designated bay for your dog if you want to swim with them, amazing right?

This place is packed with visitors especially during Summer season. It almost have everything that is ideal for a nature recreation activities. I noticed that the whole stretch of the shadowed areas are ideal for campers and they have areas for BBQ activities.If you are feeling sporty, there are volleyball courts nearby as well as Mini golf course for the little ones.

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Reflections in the water are almost picture perfect ,Imagine them in Autumn colors. {Baggersee, Ingolstadt}

The reason why we went to this place is because we wanted to see the ‘Wildpark’ inside this area where you can see wild animals such as deers, wild boars, and the mighty Bison.The Wildpark has a whole area of 10 hectares on the further rear end which is publicly accessible, with adequate signage so it’s easy to find. Take an hour or so to explore this place with your kids and you won’t regret it.

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Namaste! Yoga after cycling? Everything is possible.With the Water reflections as a backdrop, Zen is just in front of you.

There is a Lake house ( Seehaus ) and other Biergartens where anyone can enjoy lounging in rack chairs enjoying these beautiful views. The ambiance in this place is so nice and quiet, quite resembling a beach terrace lounge where anyone can enjoy  great music while enjoying the view, or after work meet-ups having a coffee & cake or a glass of wine. Seehaus is a perfect venue for any given occasion such as weddings or family banquets. They have Grillschule for anyone who is interested in taking Grill courses ( BBQ courses, winter barbeques and the like ) that is available almost everyday.

In the middle of the lake there are  2 environmentally protected islands that serve as habitat for ducks, swans, coots, herons and grebes.If you feel more adventurous, you can hire a boat and just sail romantically in the waters or do some fishing.

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German efficiency – Wasserspielplatz

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For the Little Ones with little hands and feet

While parents enjoys a cool drink in the wooden benches, kids can have a grand time playing in this beautiful  Wasserspielplatz, overlooking the lake. It has a sandy area where little ones can enjoy playing in the shallow waters while making sand castles. One fascinating about this playground  is that they have water pumps  where adults   can do some exercise to pump out water to flow into the waterways. It is very efficient. No need for motor or electricity. My daughter adores this place and I am sure that we will come back for more. I am so thankful that nature lives so close to us and it never fails to amaze me, every single day. If I have a friend or a guest, I would definitely bring them up here.

If you’re visiting Ingolstadt, make sure to visit this place because it’s really worth it. The walk from the Dam from the Danube River is quite fascinating too.

What is your ideal weekend getaway?

In response to this week’s Photo challenge |Mirror

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What real Summer looks like in Coco Beach

What’s your summer looks like?

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Our room cottage overlooking the beach in Coco Beach.. Going primitive and yet very close to nature. In here, I don’t mind not having a Wi-Fi.. .

I frequented many times the beaches of Puerto Galera, but this is my first time to set my foot in Coco Beach.Puerto Galera is one of the most diverse and abundant marine life in Philippines. Tucked away in a luscious greenery and beautiful landscape, this is indeed one of my tropical paradise.This exclusive private resort themed with Coconut materials and various cabanas,  huts and gazebos with quaint decor has a unique charm,  yet very Filipino ambiance.Coco beach is also famous for romantic beach weddings.

Coco Beach lies in the shores of Oriental Mindoro. If there’s any place that I would like to spend some peace and tranquility, then it must be in an island with just a few meters away from the beach.There is really something about the pristine clear waters against the powder sand that brought healing to my soul.When I am in the beach, there I feel pure Bliss.Although the beach is a bit rocky compared to Boracay or Palawan, still, the beach, the sunset and all of it is beautiful.

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As we arrived to the resort from our boat trip ,we were warmly greeted with welcome drinks of coconut juices & iced tea and  hand-made shell necklaces with matching music . You can really feel the warm hospitality. And as we gazed through the reception, I had a glimpse of this beautiful main pool with turquoise waters.It’s so enticing!

What I liked about this place is that its very private and yet it has all the amenities you need for a short or long stay in this island.

Coco beach has the lagoon-shaped main pool which is located at the center of the resort and only a few feet away from the beach.We swam & sunbathe and enjoyed lounging here. Guests can enjoy  all sorts of activities at the pool like pillow fights, pool volleyball, scuba and swimming lessons! Beside the main pool is the small Children’s Pool with a slide.

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As the ocean is never full of water, so is the heart never full of love.

We had our Boat trip the following day , we passed by through the neighborhood of the small village where the fisherman and their family are busy tidying up their fishing nets while their kids hopping aboard the fishing boats. That is the simple life.The childhood of these children revolves from playing in the boats and swimming in the sea. The place we were brought to snorkel and swim is our  in our very own island for a day. It’s so secluded.This is one of the spots were guests can explore the island, and do water sports as they wish. Unfortunately,the weather was not so good during this time and the waves are strong but it didn’t spoil our island hopping.One can never be bored here as they have so many activities line up to maximize your stay. You can explore the nearby water falls, trek, learn to scuba and so on.DSCN0364

I want to run the beach’s length, because it never ends… {Deborah Ager}

I feel nostalgic watching these boats coming by and leaving the shores of Coco Beach. Each one has bunch of tourists and all of them wearing the smile that I also wear. Each one has packed memories and wishing to stay longer to recreate some beautiful moments of staying close to the beach & nature.

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Luscious greens surrounding the whole resort

The whole resort is surrounded with so many different types of plants. Some even I haven’t seen in my entire life. This is the shot I took while I was climbing uphill and I just love how these greens blend with the native cottages. It’s like one wild forest.

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The Main Pool

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Silent Pool in Coco beach

While enjoying our drink, we just watch the time goes by, not a care in the world.This resort has a Spa, a Main swimming pool and one Silent Pool located on the upper location of the resort.My favorite pool is the Silent pool,It is more secluded and private which is a few uphill steps  on the top of the hill. It has a great view of the sea, a jacuzzi and a bar. It is open from 8:00am to 6:00pm. This pool is more exclusive and as the name suggests, they highly encourage you to keep silent.

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While being here, you can even learn soap-making! Coco beach offers workshop on how to make soap.The soap used in their rooms are 100% made by hand  with real virgin coco oil where in they were pressed themselves by the staffs. Beside the many variation of soaps, they have other products for sale at the Shopping Arcade which includes Shampoo, After-sun Lotion, Insect Repellent.Really interesting. This is such a great bring home gifts!

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The theme of this resort is all about Cocos Nucifera or simply the coconut!Everything is designed to complement each facility and its natural surroundings. All made of natural materials like wood and bamboo for that tropical feel and decorated with native artifacts, Coco Beach’s accommodation definitely gives the of being feeling at home while away from it all.

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One Hazy  dawn in the islands..

To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.                                                          {Jeanne Moreau}

 

I adore exploring Coco Beach, and wished I could stayed on longer. I wanted to go Dolphin-watching and learn to scuba dive. I wanted to go on a trek and visit Tamaraw Falls & Takuran Lagoon. I managed to take snaps of the plants that i liked. I even got a henna tattoo on my legs! This is one of the things I’d like to do in every beach trip, to get a souvenir henna. I designed this myself and just let the artist copy it. I stayed in one of the rooms in the hilltop so we have a spectacular view of the beach every morning. I just ordered breakfast to be brought to our cottage and we have an amazing morning gazing at the sea.

I hope to visit Coco Beach once again, when my daughter is old enough to go on an adventure trip with us there. I’m looking forward for more real Summers like this..

What’s your favorite Summer getaway? How well did you spent your time for solitude & relaxation?

 

 

How to beat the Heat in Kuwait

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I bet Siri can’t even handle the heat in Kuwait
 

The heat in Kuwait is real. I’m telling you, for Expats like me, this is by far the hardest culture shock I have been battling over the last eight years. But then, I got used to it eventually.

The photo above is the screenshot of my iphone4 way back 2 years ago . I visited Wafra farm to see herds of camels & other desert animals. It was on a raging hot summer, ( as it seems to be all year-round summer !) and naturally, my phone couldn’t just beat the heat when I was being out for long time in the desert. For a moment it was like that and it refuses to function. It needs cooling down first.

So How do people living in Kuwait “cools down “during a 50 degrees temperatures outside plus a roaring humidity and occasional sand storms? From the time that Ramadan is approaching,(June-July) ,it could be the hottest month that lasts up until October. So how to beat the heat is simply : Water, Water, & Water!

  • Drink Up!-Drinking enough water & liquids is essential in this arid climate. Dressing up in cool,breathable clothes & staying in the shade,one can be able to survive the strong sun here. Kuwait has an abundant varieties of any type of beverages except alcoholic drinks. There are so many shops & restaurants that serves different juices, smoothies, & refreshing drinks that will definitely cool you down. My personal favorite is making homemade smoothies or getting the Samadi or frozen yogurts.

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Home made healthy smoothies to beat the Heat
 

  • Boat Trips -The Silsan Est. for Boats & Marine Equipment has a number of boats for rental. Like for example the Silsan 1 has 4 cabins on board and can take up to 30 persons to the island of Um Miradum for 120kd, or up to 45 people for 185kd. The Silsan 2/3/4 can take up to 45 people from their location at Salmiya Yacht club (@Sultan Restaurant) for a cruise around the bay or to a trip to Kubbar island or Failaka.

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Boats and yachts for rental in Marina Crescent
 

  • Jet Ski rentals – Jet skis can be rented from various locations in Kuwait,such as near the TGIF restaurant along Gulf Road for 15-20kd per hour depending on the age of the jet ski.More than 1 person can share the time and the skis can also be rented for half-time/hour as well. One needs to submit their Civil ID card & sign an agreement that you will be responsible for any damages. I personally enjoyed this experience.

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Jet skiing in the Arabian Gulf along Green Island
 

  • Soap Football – Kuwait is a huge Football fanatics and during hot summers, one can enjoy to get wet & wild in the water -and-soap drenched rubber football field that can be played near the Swimming Pool complex and the beach area between McDonalds & Naif Chicken restaurants along Gulf Road. Rates could be 15kd for an hour of playing.
  • Aqua park – This wonderful Aqua park is Kuwait’s water entertainment complex that is located just beside the Kuwait Towers.Inaugurated in 1995, the park spread over 60,000 sq/mts and includes kiddie pools,giant slides, waves pool,river pools, Jacuzzi and Adult pools. It has waterfalls, juice stands, restaurants, and other exciting park amenities. Other activities that can be enjoyed inside the park is paint ball, soap football, beach volleyball and go-karting. The park is open from April until October, Saturdays to Wednesdays (10am~10pm), Thursday ( 10 am ~11pm ). Tuesdays are for Women only from 2:30pm ~closing time. Fridays are for Families only. I really enjoyed visiting this water park and their Slides is really an exciting one.

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Kiddie pools in Aqua Park
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The refreshing allure of Aqua Park

  • Scuba Diving – Kuwait has several diving clubs which welcome new members or those wishing to learn how to Dive.The Kuwait mantas Diving Club was originally formed in the early 1970’s as a branch of the British Sub-Aqua Cub ( BSAC) and  aims to provide well-organized safe diving and training at the lowest possible cost to its members.The Palms Dive Center (PADI) at the Palms Beach Hotel & Spa in Salwa is a full 5 star diving club. You can check out their website for rates & details here.
  • Swimming in Beaches/swimming pool complexes-Cooling down in the Public beaches along Arabian Gulf and enjoy a beautiful sunrise & sunset while having a family picnic is one of the typical way to enjoy summer in Kuwait.

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My daughter is a beachbum in Kuwait
If you are not fond of Water sports and prefer to stay indoors, then a trip to the Scientific Center might just what you need. Here you can view the giant Aquariums and see  the wonderful Marine collections of Kuwait.Other Indoor Activities during Summer includes ;

  • PAINTBALL in Kuwait is a combination of the childhood game “tag” and “hide & seek”, but is much more challenging and sophisticated. Although there are many different game formats, typically a group of players will divide into two teams to play “Capture the flag”. The number of players on each team can vary from one, two, five, ten, up to 18 on each side of the field. In this battle, teamwork is essential and strategy is required to overcome your enemy and become number one. Rules for playing paintball vary widely, with most designed to ensure that participants have an adrenaline-filled rush in a safe environment. Basic package as low as 6.5 KD admission, including gun and required safety equipment.
  • SHOOTING RANGE-Enjoy firing a gun, or just want to get out some pent-up frustrations, the Mayadeen Public Shooting Range is for you! They have a range of guns and rifles in different shapes and sizes. Their prices are very reasonable and include safety equipment and the use of professional instructors. Make sure to bring your civil ID or passport as you won’t be able to fire a gun without one. They accept credit cards and Knet and there is an ATM machine at the location. The Mayadeen Public Shooting Range is located off the 6th Ring Road right by the Hunting and Equestrian Club and the Sahara Golf Club. You can contact them on 2475 9999.
  • TRAMPO KUWAIT: Newly opened and located in the new Promenade mall in Hawally, the place is packed with fun for kids and adults alike. With over twenty trampolines, Trampo Kuwait is the place to let off steam. Ideal not just for toddlers and children, but also adults. Booking in advance required for one hour slots. Open from 10 am to 4 pm and 8 pm to 1 pm during Ramadan. What’s App 60694352
  • ICE-SKATING RINK: For 1,5 KD per person, there is not much that can beat the heat than a couple of hours spent on the ice. The ice-staking rink is an Olympic size and caters for figure skaters, hockey players, as well as those of us who just want to go for a couple of hours to play around without breaking anything or anyone. Ice stakes are available for rent and there are even ice penguins for little ones who need a helping hand and something to hold onto.   Al-Soor St, Kuwait City, tel. 22411151 / 22411152

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