Friendly Friday : Balconies

A view of the Balcony of the place we stayed in Kaprun near Salzburg . This cozy Balcony has majestic view of the Alps and the Kaprun Burg.

This week’s mood in Friendly Friday Photo Challenge is all about Balconies.

A Green balcony is a thing here in Kaprun!

Each week the following bloggers published a new prompt for the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge:

Something to Ponder About and The Snow Melts Somewhere.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Holland, as I see it!

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Holland, our second home , as I see it!

Even from my countless visits, I am still charmed by Holland. It has its endless enigma that is so unique, so complicated and yet so unforgettable. This country behind its countless dikes, polders, and gazillions of bikes, is enormous. There’s a lot to enjoy and really worthwhile to explore, especially for families and for all ages.

For the first time,we spent our Easter holiday with my parent’s in-laws and my husband’s relatives and as usual, it was  a nice time, always ‘Gezellig‘. Though the sudden drop in temperatures dampen our moods for a while, the crisp winds, hail and rain came as a surprise but not for long, we managed to roll and live like a local.

So, aside from my recent Tulip-coma from the gorgeous Keukenhof gardens, here I share with you some of the things that still caught me by surprise.

This is Holland, the Netherlands, as I see it! Enjoy…

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Spring in Holland : Tulips everywhere, anywhere. I saw these bunch of  red beauty right along my in-laws neighborhood.

Easter egg hunt right in Opa’s garden!

Just like in Germany, Easter in the Netherlands was a blast. My daughter and her cousins had lots of fun hunting for eggs and of course, we had an overload of Osterhase ( Easter bunny) and chocolate eggs.

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Easter dinner with some fancy appetizers

Talking about the wind and Dutch Cloudscapes

The photo below is a typical Dutch cloudscape. I snap this  photo while I was in the attic and opened the window during dusk. You can almost feel the wind in the higher parts of the sky; the strips of clouds they call “wind feathers” . I know I am in Holland when the clouds makes an exhibition of their fluffy, airy, and colorful palette.The ‘cumulus’ type of clouds is as typical as the tulips and used as inspirations by artists in many classic paintings in the Netherlands. If you have time, Google ‘ Solomon Van Ruysdael’ and you will know what I am talking about.

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Phenomenal sky in the Netherlands, April 2017.

The Kissing couple  

I love everything Delft, and this one is far by my favorite second to the Tulip vase that I’ve seen from our visit to the Rijksmuseum. I can’t find any history of this but this little piece of a Dutch farmer kissing his wife in the fields is really something very-Dutch. It come in all sizes but they are typically in the blue and white color which means that they are made of Delft Blue (or Delftware) – a Dutch version of Chinese porcelain.

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Only in Holland, The Kissing Couple

Crystal clear water reflections

I know that I am in The Netherlands when nature is visible in any bodies of water. The water is super clean and clear that you always have a mirror-like reflections. I am obsessed photographing all these reflections. I took this photo  from one of our walks in the city center where the small river lies along the green trees and a castle. It always seems like just a few meters away and I am taken away to another place.

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Crystal clear water reflections

Flower power  spectacle in full colors

Need I say more,when it comes to colors, the Dutch have a reputation to defend. This applies to famous painters like Rembrandt and Van Gogh, two of my favorite painters, whose work can be seen in several Dutch museums. One of my unforgettable experience was seeing the “Night watch” in Dutch –De NachtwachtBut Holland is best known for its spring flowers, especially Tulips. They are gorgeoussssss!!!

My recent trip to the Keukenhof left me with a flower-coma but I’m telling you, by Springtime, a sight of tulips  are seen ordinarily in every Dutch household. Actually the flowers are just a by-product, it’s the bulbs that counts and is exported all over the world.

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Keukenhof Gardens, Easter (April 2017)

The Dutch Tulips, and the season of Spring in the Netherlands is something that you should not miss if you are visiting this country. If you wanna know why these flowers causes the first financial crisis in Holland, you better read it Here.

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Pretty in bright, red tulips, the queen of Spring season.

I have a kid who is obsessed with animals and in Holland, the wild animals are typically seen up close. You can see herds of cows, goats , chickens and sheep as you drive along the highway. There is always a country-farm feel like even in the midst of a busy city. I think I have seen so much horses and stable in my entire life every time I am in Holland. Here, deers are still 100% natural. In the Veluwe, a protected wildlife park, there’s always a chance to run into one. My daughter enjoyed her up close encounter with huge deers that she can feed and with the petting zoo in Keukenhof gardens.

 

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Huize Almelo 

Our lazy walks lead us to this castle, just a few meters away from the city center. Huize Almelo is a castle ( manor)  in Almelo which is owned by the family Van Rechteren Limpurg. It is not open for public access but of course you can view it from a distance.We love walking around here as it has a beautiful greenery and clouded with trees with a nearby lake and ponds.

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Local sighting- a herd of cows lounging in the fields

The taste of Dutch cheese

Need I say more? Gouda is the type of cheese that is known worldwide, but the famous cheese market is held in the town of Alkmaar, north of Amsterdam. I don’t know about my husband why he doesn’t eat cheese, but as for me, I adore cheese and I could eat this everyday!

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Delicious Dutch threats 

My sweet tooth indulgence when I am in Holland is elevated to the max. I can’t resist the delicious goodies like the  stroopwafels, gevuldekoek, kozakken,  Dutch Apple pies and bonbons. Though the Netherlands is famous for its ‘Frites’ and bitterballen, you can never underestimate the Dutch homemade dishes. My parents-in-law always spoiled us with so many home-made cooking that I can’t describe farther than ‘Gezelligheid’. It is always served with lots of love. And yes, even in Holland, it is Spargelzeit!

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Having a Gezellig time inside the Bolletje ” bakery and museum where the Apple pie is as good as their spiced biscuits and the all time Dutch favorite—Kruidnoten!

Our visit to Holland is not  complete until we had coffee and a slice of warm Krentenwegge ( raisin bread) and Dutch apple pie with a window view of  spring violet pansies, for which is truly relaxing. This bakery which dated since 1867, is a home to my husband’s favorite- raisin bread and Kruidnoten.

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If you see bikes  everywhere, then you know you are in the right city and you are definitely in the Netherlands! Either tucked in the central station, if not on a bridge, they are firmly locked over a canal or  in front of Dutch houses.

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Ik voel me zo ( I feel so..) Miffy figurine design created by Artist Mies van Hout. One of the life-size decorated Miffy  we loved during the Art parade on 60th Anniversary (2015) in Amsterdam.The fact that Miffy rarely shows her feelings allow children to project their own feelings on her.The red line that winds its way around Miffy is made up of faces that expresses all kinds of feelings.

Her name is Miffy, and  she’s older than Hello Kitty !

Nijntje, is a shortening of “konijntje,” which means “little rabbit.”Oftenly mistaken as Japanese because of it’s ‘kawaii’ features but actually she’s Dutch. Sanrio even got sued for copying her design; the court ordered them to discontinue their “Cathy the bunny” character.

Dick Bruna released his first bunny book in 1955, followed by over 30 more. This year, Dick Bruna passed away but left a legacy with this white bunny character loved by children all over the world, even adults. We were lucky to witness the Miffy Parade last August 2015 in Amsterdam for its 60th Anniversary where 60 artists decorated a life-size miffy  (1.8 metre high) from creepy goth to rubber ducky. My daughter adores Miffy  since birth, and I am thrilled that we brought home one of the limited edition’s design.

There’s still so much to write about but I don’t want this post to be a novel . But do you wanna know what’s my priced souvenir from this family trip? This…

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Finally, my own Dutch Potato masher!!! I am completely Dutchie-FIED!

You know you are completely Dutchi-fied when you have this in your kitchen!

 

Did you enjoy reading this post? If you’d like to waste more time reading about stuff Dutch people like, make sure to follow my Blog  for more stories like this and hey, If you like to support my artwork, please like my facebook page JustbluedutchArt  which I created just recently.

Are you in Instagram? Please follow me in JustbluedutchArt and let’s stay connected!

 

 

 

Keukenhof, the most beautiful Spring garden in the whole world!

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Welcome to Keukenhof Gardens, a Dutch pride!

Woowww!” This is my daughter’s word when we saw the bright, bursting colors of tulips last Monday in the Keukenhof gardens in Lisse, in the Netherlands.

Visiting  Keukenhof on the second day of Easter was totally overwhelming, but yes, for me, it is probably the most beautiful garden in spring in the whole world! I have been looking forward for this trip this Spring and I am so glad we had a great weather to witness this place. This year was the 68th time that the Keukenhof gardens ( literally translates as kitchen garden) wows approximately millions of tourists and even locals. My husband, who is a Dutch native, but a first-timer to see the flower-mania inside the Keukenhof gardens was surprisingly impressed by the beautiful landscapes. He thought only old people and tourists go there, but then he was mistaken.Seeing tulips grow as normal as weeds during spring in almost every backyard all over Holland, he saw the other side of its beauty.He was greatly enamored by the flower power as I did. He hates crowds but I must say that the traffic flow inside the park was still controlled and manageable, even with a 2.5 year old toddler with us. Since our visit falls on a holiday, we’ve seen visitors from all over the globe,different nationalities.Totally chaotic but then also so much fun!

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Tulipa…in bright dark red blossoming in Springtime in Keukenhof.

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A chaotic, crowded garden on the second day of Easter in Lisse, the Netherlands.

We took the trip with Arriva tours and it was very pleasant, on time and smooth all the way.  I won’t be surprised if visitors this year would surpass last year’s  2016 recorded 1.1 million visitors! As one of the highlight of our Holland trip, my feet was itching from the moment we book our tickets and kept on hoping that we had a great weather or else we will definitely cancel the trip.The time that I come face to face with the gazillions of around 800 varieties of tulips, I fell in love!

There is beauty everywhere I look! Have you ever heard of Tulips coma? There is never enough Tulips to see, and of course, to photograph!

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This year’s theme in Keukenhof Gardens is the “Dutch Design”, or also known as Mondriaan. This is a landscape created to depict the artistic dutch design in red, blue, yellow and white frames.

I think this is how I’ve felt when I saw the bright tulips fields, the tripartite layers of colors, gorgeous landscape filled with different colors, unique artwork, inspirational gardens and flower exhibitions!

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This year’s theme is “Dutch Design“. Dutch Design is characterized by Dutch sobriety combined with innovative solutions.The Mondriaan Garden with its primary square color patches was crowded and so as the Roses flower show in the Oranje Nassau pavillion was a great crowd pleaser. Surprisingly, my daughter had a blast in the petting zoo, in the Miffy house ,spacious playpark and running around the garden. The restaurants were crowded but there were plenty to choose from.You will have something to eat and drink depending on what you want.Don’t forget to  try the Dutch , Bitterballen, and yes, the Kroket sandwich to have a taste of Dutch foods.

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Orange crown tulips

Personally, seeing this garden up close and personal  was a dream come true!

Gazing at the tulips made me appreciate nature even more and I was just overwhelmed by how beautiful the flowers are.From this, the Dutch people should be very proud because they have this heritage. It’s no wonder people travel across the world just to see flowers, especially  this Tulpen-Mania!

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Beauty everuwhere…Tulipas in dark pink and yellow.

This spring,we are lucky to see the new amenities of the park, like its beautiful grand entrance hall, with geometric design ceiling, visitors luggage deposit area, restaurants, souvenir shops, and a car park where 4,500 cars and 1,000 coaches can park. If you like to gaze at the Tulips fields, you can walk a few meters from the park and just be amazed by horizons painted in red, yellow, violets, and pink tulips!

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I am so glad that I had the chance to see this place in person. It was totally worth it. This place fueled my love for nature even more, flowers and the inspiration behind the art. I think its not just the tulips but there’s really a creative art behind these landscapes.

Here are some interesting facts I’ve learned while researching about this amazing garden.

1. 2017 is Keukenhof’s 68th opening to the public.

2. Keukenhof is only open eight weeks each year and, in that time, welcomes 1.1 million visitors ( as of 2016 records).

3. Nearly 50 million people have visited Keukenhof since it first opened and, nowadays, 75% come from more than 100 countries abroad.

4. More than 7 million bulbs are planted in Keukenhof’s 32 hectares (79 acres), which are supplied, for free, by 100 bulb growers.

5. The gardeners dig out these bulbs, at the end of each open season, and destroy them (by order of the growers). Most are used as food for livestock.

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Pretty in Orange ( Orannje Tulipas Double Blooms)

6. There are about 30 full-time gardeners, who work year-round at Keukenhof.

7. Each autumn, the gardeners plant the bulbs, by hand, in a completely new design. It takes about 3 months. The bulbs are selected to bloom throughout the eight-week opening period.

8. The bright green grass, around the park, is a special quick-growing variety, needed to cope with the shady trees. It is reseeded each year.

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A garden full of colors!

9. In addition to the tulip gardens, Keukenhof also hosts a Japanese garden, an English landscape garden, a spring meadow, a natural garden, a historic garden, a garden maze, and seven inspiration gardens that are different each year.

10. Although known for tulips, Keukenhof is home to the world’s largest lily show, during the last ten days of the opening season.

11. Keukenhof began, in 1857, as an English landscape garden, designed by the Zocher firm, who also designed Vondelpark in Amsterdam.

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12. Keukenhof’s name has even older origins. Countess Jacoba van Beieren owned the land in the 15thcentury. The uncultivated land was used for hunting and gathering herbs for the castle’s kitchen, hence Keukenhof, or Kitchen Garden.

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Fringed Tulipas…a rare breed!

13. The striped tulips, so popular in the 17th century, got their colouring from a virus, transferred by aphids, only discovered in 1931. These days, multi-coloured tulips are bred to look that way.

14. Growing 4.2 million bulbs a year, the Netherlands is the world’s largest producer of tulip bulbs. Half of which are exported.

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The Kissing Couple , famous Delft figurine from Holland

15. The main bulb-growing region of Holland stretches from Leiden to Haarlem. The number of hectares for bulb production has increased from 10,000 hectares in 1960 to more than 23,500 hectares in 2007. However, the number of growers is decreasing, from 13,000 in 1960 to only 2000, in 2007.

16.The website travel guide, Lonely Planet, opens with a feature on Keukenhof. Wikipedia has just one photograph of the Netherlands: of Keukenhof. More recently Keukenhof was awarded the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor

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If you have the chance, you need to give it a go to visit this amazing garden, you won’t regret it. Keukenhof is  definitely a family & kid friendly place and there’s so much events and activities inside Keukenhof for all ages!

 

Did you enjoy this post? If so, you might want to see Keukenhof in Pink and The National Tulips Day in Amsterdam .

If you are planning to explore the off beaten attractions in Holland, you might want to check out why Dutch clouds, especially the Cumulus clouds are long time inspiration from artists and depicted in famous paintings. Read more in Holland, as I see It!

Gästehaus Panorama : A 360° Panoramic stay

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Our Guest cards for the Tiroler Zugspitze Arena

“A 360° Panoramic  surroundings filled with natural landscapes, cozy rooms with  decent amenities, conveniently located, accessible to all attractions in the Zugspitz Arena, and provides a homey atmosphere for my family– This is what I called a “Home away from Home”. The satisfied feeling that I’ve got from our stay in Gästehaus Panorama in Biberwier, Tirol, Austria.”

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Our room view of the Zugspitze mountain in Biberwier,Tirol, Austria

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We have this view while we stand at the entrance of the hotel

If you’re planning for a holiday in the Tiroler Zugspitze Arena, then I highly recommend Gästehaus Panorama for your accommodation. I seldom give reviews on places we’ve stayed , since I don’t have time to look further into details of hotels,or share our experiences, but on our recent Winter Wonderland stay in Biberwier,we were just totally satisfied with this place. It really exceeded my expectations, considering that it’s only a 3-Star hotel as per Hotelstars.Eu standards. The whole region is filled with Pension houses and even on Biberwier/Ehrwald area, almost all houses are turned into a family run hotel business. Gästehaus Panorama offered us with something that you can only have once you’ve experienced it . Once you are here you leave your worries behind and feel totally at home .

 

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Picture of the Winter Wonderland Stay

 

Karin, our Hostess did a wonderful job all throughout the days that she and her family welcomed us in their homey  house located at the foot of the Zugspitze mountain.Our reservation went smoothly and we’ve got immediate confirmation. This hotel is ideally located just a few meters away from restaurants, the Marienberg Ski & Snowboarding resort,and 5 minutes away from the beautiful hiking paths.It has a panoramic views of the mountains, the forest, and sparkling springs that flows nearby. A 3- minute walk to the bus stop for all the Hiking & Winter wandern in the region. There’s so much things to do and I had my top 10 Reasons why I love Winter in Austria,especially in this region.

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Cozy stay at Gästehaus Panorama

Our room was located in the ground floor adjacent to the service entrance area where we can leave my daughter’s Kinderwagen and for guest’s ski and Wintersport gears.There is a Infrared Sauna & Massage room right next to our room. We have TV-Sat, a very good wi-fi connection, closets, and its great that our bathroom was clean, with enough fresh towels & even a hair-dryer! It maybe outdated compared to modern standards but I didn’t see any problem with it.

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Hallway in the ground floor

The beds in Germany and in Austria was one of the culture shock that I eventually got used to. I was so surprised to see that  beds here consists of 2 separate mattress, and with 2 separate blankets. Totally weird for an Asian like me who grew up with different bedding arrangement.Always making us feel comfortable, they have arranged an additional bed for my daughter as well, offered to lend their sled, and gave us all the info and tips we need in exploring the area.

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Wall display

Every morning, we have delicious buffet breakfast personally arranged & served by Karin. Everything  with her personal touch. She prepared everything with the help of her kids and I find that so impressive. We were really pampered and treated like a guest in their house and not as a client in their business.My husband was happy with everything and so as my daughter who enjoys all the many choices of cereals, breads, cheeses, and fruits. their orange juice is really good and the best so far that I have tasted! I could even sit there for hours for the view!

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My daughter checking out  the beds

We always have a great time lounging in the Breakfast room because we have an amazing view of the mountains. When it’s snowing, we all kind of speechless just watching how magical the winter wonderland experience we are having. This place is super -value for your money and worth the travel since now, the new Tirol Express Arena have free train connections from Garmisch-Partenkirchen up to Vils. From the Ehrwald station, you can be in Biberwier within 10 minutes. Going to main attractions such as the Ehrwalder Almbahn & the Tiroler Zugspitzebahn, there is a free bus ride to take you there almost every half an hour! Totally convenient for us since we have a toddler with us and this place is super kid-friendly.

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A very hungry guest at the Gästehaus Panorama

We wanted to extend our stay but we have already purchased our return tickets. If we would have a chance to visit Tirol once again, maybe in Summer, Gästehaus Panorama would always be our choice.We were even offered by a free transfer to  Ehrwald station by Karin’s husband and it was really a kind gesture from them. Totally unexpected.

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The postcard that we’ve brought home from Gästehaus Panorama

If you’re heading to Austria on your next holiday staycation, do check out Gästehaus Panorama. Experience an authentic Tirolean hospitality in their house to have an unforgettable Winter Wonderland & enjoy the fresh snow in the Tyrolean Zugspitze region .

Please Check out their great offers for skiers and Kurzentschlosssene with their amazing deals for 3 Nights in Double/Triple/Single or Family Rooms for only 105 Euros/Person from 11:01. – 01.27.2017 including daily buffet breakfast, 1 time Sauna/Massage/Ehrwalder indoor pool, a trip to visit their alpacas & a parting gift.

Hotel Contact details & Address : Gästehaus Panorama- Prof.Giemsa Weg 1, A-6633 Biberwier/TIROL, Austria

Tel. + Fax .: +43 (0) 56 73-25 46/ Tel .: +43676621 92 01

Email : info@gaestehaus-panorama.at /www.gaestehaus-panorama.at

You can also check their Facebook page and they have an App available in the App store:Gastfreund to have instant travel tips, top news in the Tiroler Zugspitze Arena region, Food & Drinks , Tourist Attractions and so much more!

 

Olympic Park Munich : Beautiful yet tainted by a dark past

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Olympic Park in Munich | Tainted with a dark past #One day in September

The eighth stop on the U3 train is labeled Olympiazentrum, adorned by five gray interlocking ring and you don’t need translations.You are in Olympic Park, as well as be taken into 1972 Massacre site.

One of the highlight of our recent Munich trip was the visit to the Olympic Park. We went there  to bring my daughter to her first Aquarium & Sea Life adventure in Europe.She was still too young back then to appreciate the sharks & clown fishes in Kuwait ‘s Scientific Center  but in Sea Life, she definitely had a blast. I highly recommend this for young toddlers, and for a family outing.

Just a reminder : Prepare to WALK!

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Plenty to see and Do

Sea Life in Munich has a variety of more than 4,000 animals in display! They have an Interactive Rockpool where you can touch mollusks, Anemones and starfishes. My daughter loved splashing waters whenever, whatever!This is a great place for an exploring toddler to watch the marine life with a delight in their eyes.It pays off to book tickets online to avoid long lines.

After we’re done with Sea Life, we walked into a green, spacious hilly esplanade , with modern tent-like structures and theme park with a little blue train passing by. It’s like taken from the past, we made it into Olympic Park München.

I did not expect that this place has the World’s highest Rock Museum, Yes, up there in the Olympic Tower! It has tons of memorabilia, from signed guitars, concert tickets, posters, clothes, and so on. I love seeing the Beatles , Deep Purple, David Bowie,and my daughter is poking Pink’s poster with glee.

So much outdoor activities to enjoy. Lots of cycle paths, so you can cycle til you drop.Have you ever tried Flying Fox and roof climb?

Or what about doing a roof climb with Abseil stunt? You think you can brave heights?If you’re like an Architecture buff like my husband (So do I!) then you can just join the Architec tour which focuses more on the buildings & concept of the whole design of this complex.

Near the lake was the Munich  Olympic Walk of Stars (MOWOS). It’s like the Hollywood thing but here is more of National and international legends from the worlds of sport, music and entertainment. You can see their precious marks with hands and signets in the concrete and take their place on the Olympic Park’s MOWOS.

 

I have never been to an Olympic park  in my life.Only now! I’m glad that travel allows me to learn something from the past. For those who doesn’t knew, just like me  (before ) this same park with beautiful architecture & filled with joyous laughs  is the same place that hosted the 1972  Munich Olympic Games,wayyyy  back from the past that I was not even born . The place where you see history in blood and naming the dead.

The World’s best Olympic Park even Tainted with a dark past

This post has triggered my curiosity about how host countries famed, struggled       and  ( strained from planning for years ahead) eventually created their marks in history when it comes to Olympic games that is happening every 4 years.Figure this ;

It took Canadian officials 30 years to pay off the cost of the 1976 Montreal Olympics and they’re still stuck with a stadium that’s rarely used. In Atlanta, the scene of the 1996 Olympics, the stadium, which was reduced in size for the Braves baseball team, is being demolished as the team move to the suburbs.

In Athens, where the Olympics returned in 2004, a beach volleyball court, baseball stadium, an 8,000-seat tennis table venue and other buildings are unused and crumbling, sparking public outrage as the Greek economy stagnates. In Beijing, the famed Bird’s Nest stadium that was the central venue for the 2008 Olympics  has no consistent tenants, and costs $11 million in yearly upkeep.

The best turn out for an Olympic Venue with a sad past.

But in Munich, things are different. Even though the Bavarian capital was the scene of one of the darkest days in Olympic history, when Black September  terrorists took 11 Israeli athletes hostage and total of 17 people were killed in 1972, the Olympic Park now looks so alive to be one of Munich’s pride & tourist attraction.Everyone who visited the mogul car giant BMW & its museum most likely  went to this green paradise.It’s worth a visit if you are in Munich area.

The whole site is built with an unusual architectural style, depicting ‘Happy Games ‘ designed by Behnisch and Partners. Viewed from above it looked like a continuous flow same as the rhythmic elevation of the Swiss Alps. The site itself is made up of a number of sporting facilities including an indoor swimming pool, ice skating rink, mini golf, indoor soccer and athletics arena as well as a large park and lake.This lake was lovely. I could sit here all day just watching the ducks swimming and the clear reflection of the clouds & the sky gleaming in the clear waters.Don’t miss out on the Stadium, the great work of Otto Frei. If you’re more into the design, you can read it from Here. It was last regularly used for Bayern Munich matches before Allianz Arena was built for the 2006 World Cup.

The focal point of the park is Olympia Hill (Olympiaberg), a man-made mountain which provides a great view over Munich, and in good weather to the Alps in the distance. Interestingly, the hill was largely constructed out of the ruins caused by bombing from Allied forces during World War 2. On the Olympia Hill is Munich’s highest beer garden, the Olympia Alm.Now who doesn’t want to have a beer while enjoying a great view ?

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Olympic Village where the Munich Massacre happened in 1972 | #Building 31

The place where the massacre happens stands up to this day.Just type 31 Connollystraße into Google Maps, and it will lead you to the massacre apartment.The Olympic village was turned into a student housing now and you need the permission of the residents to view it.

Do you want to know what exactly happened on the day of Massacre? You can find it Here .

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Memorial for the victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics | #Black September

We climbed the Olympic Tower. Reaching on a height of 190 metres. With a toddler in my arms, I’ve got the best views of Munich, including the majestic Alps.The Olympia Tower (Olympiaturm) is not for the faint-hearted, it has an open air platform on top. If you’re afraid of heights, then think twice. My husband climbed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and yet was squemish about the open air observation deck. The tower is 291m (955ft) in total  height, with an observation platform 190m (623ft) meters above the park. Underneath the observation platform is a rotating restaurant which seats over 200 people.

After seeing Olympic Park and learning about its dark past, it made me thought of Led Zeppelin’s song –Immigrant Song ;

“So now you’d better stop, and rebuild all your ruins.
For peace and trust can win the day, despite of all your losing.”

May we never forget so it won’t happen again.

No one wants to open old wounds. No one wants a remembrance of violence. Or maybe no one wants reminding that no place is safe.I’ve heard laughs and seen smile of people in Olympic Park, but then thought that thinking back of the massacre, doesn’t make much sense nowadays. They were all gone.Only the Names remain.

Do you find this post interesting? If you want to know more about the Summer Olympics Munich Massacre and how the Germans handled it, then you can read further Here and Here.

When was the last time you’ve learned something from your travels? Did you bring home stories from the place you’ve visited or only left with Selfies & photographs?

Would you like to visit Olympic Park in Munich? Tell me what you think , I’d love to hear your stories.

 

 

Look Up, Adore the visible sun {Kiltepan Peak}

Keep   your   face  to  the  sunshine   and   you   cannot  see  the  shadow 

~ Helen Keller

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Pursuit of Happiness : My close encounter with the visible Sun

Life is either a great adventure or its Nothing.

Which one are you in?

I have climbed so many high points but I was never in too much awe-overdose with the visible sun than my close-up encounter with the sun as it rises in Kiltepan Peak. This is one travel memory that really shapes up my addiction to sunrises & sunsets. The sun is my favorite subject for photography. For me, its perfect. It’s beauty is endless. Its charm is relentless.

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 Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye..

Just like most of you, many times when I refuse to look up & appreciate another sunrise,It’s the same moments when  I don’t see any reason to feel motivated. I felt like everything is monotonous, a tiresome routine. When I’m stooping down, it’s because my spirit is low. I couldn’t see the good in anything except the shadows, all gloominess in my sight.

I am so thankful for my family and friends who have been there to support me and made me get up, gazing up & looking forward to the new day. Nature has been a place where I get my renewed inspiration. Like a magnet in which I find myself attracted.

 

Could you imagine a life without nature?

Or a life spent in complete solitude?

I overcome. I learned to look up, fixed my gaze to the beauty of sunshine. I have started to adore the visible sun once again.The pursuit to happiness doesn’t happen overnight. I know it’s easier said than done but it’s also doable. It requires every muscle of your body to move together with your mind. But once you master it, you will be rewarded with a great view.

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 Life is the fire that burns and the sun that gives light. Life is the wind and the rain and the thunder in the sky. Life is matter and is earth, what is and what is not, and what beyond is in Eternity .

Hope is the most important thing that people need to move forward. The slightest ray of hope can ignite the human spirit’s ability to overcome.

So for my first post for the 7-Days Nature photo challenge, I shared with you breathtaking views from Kiltepan Peak in  Philippines. I wrote another post about the beauty of this place in Here.

Although I regularly post nature photos , this particular post and the upcoming 7-day series was inspired by an amazing mind behind the Blog SimpleDimple in response to her 7-Days Nature photo challenge. Stella  is writing from her heart, spreading warm love in the great community here in WP. If you have time, please do pass by her page & get to know her through her soulful posts.

Stella, Thank you for thinking about me & mentioning me in your post.

The rule of this challenge is quite simple: Post a nature photo and nominate someone else per day for 7 days.

For my Day 1, I nominate Jovy of BecomingDeutsch. If you wanna know how a life can be more exciting when you are in an interracial relationship then head on to her page to get some inspiration.

The mills of Kinderdijk (A Dutch icon)

Do you know the old  tale about the windmills in the famous Kinderdijk in Holland?

The name Kinderdijk is Dutch for “Children dike”. In 1421, during the Saint Elizabeth flood of 1421, the Grote Hollandse Waard flooded, but the Alblasserwaard polder stayed unflooded. It is said that when the terrible storm had subsided, someone went on to the dike between these two areas, to see what could be saved. In the distance, he saw a wooden cradle floating on the waters. As it came nearer, some movement was detected. A cat was seen in the cradle trying to keep it in balance by jumping back and forth so that no water could get into it. As the cradle eventually came close enough to the dike for a bystander to pick up the cradle, he saw that a baby was quietly sleeping inside it, nice and dry. The cat had kept the cradle balanced and afloat. This folktale and legend has been published as “The Cat and the Cradle” in English

[ Excerpt derived courtesy of Wikipedia ]

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Cycling in Kinderdijk

This is one of the fascinating things I have learned about mills & Kinderdijk  when I explore Netherlands. Seeing these original, iconic & wonderful windmills for real and up close  is really a great experience with my daughter & our  family. This is absolutely a top family destination, definitely a place for young & old to enjoy cycling, biking, hiking or just have a lazy stroll while learning about the mills’s history. It has complete amenities such as tourist vessels, water buses, group tour arrangements, restaurants, museums, restrooms & souvenir shops. I am  sure your kids will thank you for exposing them to world-class  sights such as these.

If you come during winter, they have a special threat to warm you up. In the souvenir shop “De Molenhoek” of Kinderdijk you always can eat or drink something you like plus
they will  serve delicious warm pea soup. This is the time to experience another Dutch gastronomical delight, the typical Dutch pea soup.

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Dutch Pea soup  (Photo courtesy of Kinderdijk)

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UNESCO World Heritage Site , Kinderdijk in Holland (photo courtesy of Kinderdijk)

When it comes to beauty, the 19 polder draining windmills of the Kinderdijk are top one. Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a masterpiece of water management in a typical Dutch landscape. In 1997, the windmill complex of Kinderdijk was added to the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage list because of its unique character. UNESCO considers the polder area with its dykes, boezems, mills and pumping stations to be proof of human inventiveness in reclaiming and protecting the land.This is worldwide recognition of the fact that this unique area must be preserved for the future.

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A journey through time with the mills.

The nineteen (19) mills in Kinderdijk  were constructed around 1740 as part of a larger water management system which prevented floods. Now they’re a symbol of Dutch water management.

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Old photograph of the mills in Kinderdijk (photo credit : Kinderdijk)

We got inside the Museum Windmill Nederwaard and we are so grateful that we did because we learned a lot how a real Miller works, let alone seeing a REAL one!  There is a short film about the history of it and inside it was a full-blooded miller and we are able to explore the mill, which has been preserved in its original state, from the inside and from the outside. If there is sufficient wind, the mill might even be set in motion! Fortunately my daughter was just busy tumbling down the chairs and doesn’t mind the loud noise from the movie. It was dim inside because of the film so we were not able to took some photos. There is a distinct motor sound that would really identify a working mill. I could still hear it in my ears. When we got inside the real windmill in the Museum Mill, we are able to see what’s  in an authentic Windmill which can be traced from 1950’s. There is a steep ladder going to the top, and I was able to climb only up to the 2nd floor because I wear my baby in a sling & I find it difficult to enter the small passageway with other people trying to get in. The original bedspace areas, or called “Bedstede” (alcove bed ) was still preserved. We were even lucky to see the local Miller, and he’s wearing Dutch clogs of course!

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Old, yet still standing through time: Kinderdijk Mills  (photo credit :Kinderdijk)

I have dreamt of seeing a windmill someday. When I was young, I used to daydream that I would be able to visit Holland and see a real one. My dream came true. Finally, seeing it for real is even more meaningful because I have learned an important culture of the Dutch people. Before I only see it as a landmark, I have no clue that it has an important function, Re: preventing floods. When I knew about this, my mind was opened and appreciate its beauty even more. I have great respect for the pioneer who engineered these masterpiece.

There is so much more to say and write about Kinderdijk and mills, but its all up to you to see it for yourself and create your own story.A visit to the Netherlands won’t be complete without seeing this. If you wanna know more about Kinderdijk and how to explore this place, they have a wonderful website with all the information such as the tickets, opening times, location etc that you need to know. You can check it Here.

Do you want to experience the life of a Miller?

If you are adventurous enough , then in Kinderdijk  you can have the chance to  get an exclusive look into the construction and maintenance of windmills. You will also get to know more about the profession of a miller such as how to build a windmill,maintain it or what is it a day in a life of a Miller? You can really be in a real threat because It’s an unforgettable experience in a typical Dutch environment.

What’s in your Bucket List?

What was the last Unesco World Heritage Site you’ve visited?

Hope you have a wonderful time making your dreams a reality just like I did. Thank you for reading & Safe travels!

 

 

Landgoed Singraven : Sun is warm, grass is Green.

The world is better when it is Green.

We found another perfect green paradise and as always, Nature never fails to amaze me. I am a lover of beautiful buildings & modern structures, but nothing compares to a visit to nature. The allure of the sound of the gentle waters slushing from a flowing river, the crisp green plants, the warm and bright sun that touches our cheeks with the gentle breeze.

Its all priceless.

 Do you know that your mood changes the moment you are exposed to green outdoors? It’s a natural  booster.

Or haven’t you realized  that strolling and walking outside can even increase your creativity?

I grew up playing outdoors a lot. My childhood memories are full of  playing & running in the rice fields, catching spiders and spending so much time as if there’s no tomorrow.It was so much fun compared to the modern games of iPad now. Now that I am a mother, I am so concerned about this especially with a wandering, active, feisty toddler who wants to be out, all the time! Studies show that playing in the dirt (soil) outdoors helps kids stay healthy. Bacteria, viruses and other gross things in the soil actually help the immune system, and brain develop. Playing the dirt can also improve a child’s mood and reduce anxiety and stress. There is really a great insight why spending outdoors in green settings can do so much to our overall being. This is also one of the reasons why Dutch kids have a very active & happy childhood. They are so blessed with natural greens.

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The wandering Toddler

We’re so glad that we stumbled into this hidden Green Oasis and a gem tucked in the woods. It”s  a secluded place of imaginary fairies, lotus, and serene river Dinkel tucked away from the busyness of the city life. There we heard only the sound of Nature. Nothing else. Everything is green. Everything is fresh. Even the sun has a special rays. It is gentle. The breeze is cool. We felt instantly at home.

Langoed Singraven estate is beautifully situated along the Dinkel near the village of Denekamp. In here are many special monumental buildings, including the state house Singraven, the rear coach house and the ancient water mill with three wheels. Singraven offers a versatile landscape with woods, alleys, fields, meadows, marshes, and the ever-present Dinkel. If you visit Holland, don’t miss to see this place. It is worth your time.

This place has  fascinating cultural history, soothing and interesting nature, active leisure activities such as cycling or walking and much more. My daughter just simply loved lounging on the greenest grass that we have ever seen! She climbs everywhere and licked the grass, pinch it, and tasted it. I cannot blame her, the place is like an oasis to us. We haven’t had these amazing greens in Kuwait, so we really indulge.

 

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Even the water in the river celebrates nature. A reflection of quiet green bliss.

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The Langoed Singraven  ( Singraven means Large Canal )

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Of Mid Summer Night’s Dream ,with clear River Dinkel on the side.

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Dutch Watermills (Watermolen)

Now one of the fascinating things about Netherlands is their Watermolen (or WaterMills).The Singraven watermills were first mentioned in 1448 and inspired famous 17th century painters like Jacob Ruysdael and Meindert Hobbema.

 This watermill is unique because of its three mill wheels: one oil mill (inactive), a flour mill and a saw mill; both of which are fully functional and still in use. Current buildings date from around 1880. So much beauty &  history on this place.

Singraven has a manor which is sometimes open to the public and a watermill. The watermill has three functions: oil-mill, flour-mill and a sawmill.  Today the oil-mill is a restaurant but the other two are still functioning with the of volunteers.

The first house of Singraven dates back to 1415 but it was demolished and replaced by a new house in 1661. Several different Counts and families lived in the house. Almost all of them made improvements to the house. The last owner is  Willem Frederik Jan Laan donated the estate to a foundation.

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The River Dinkel that flows through Singraven

There so much activity that this place can offer. Its perfect for families with little children who wants to explore and roam.The vast area is perfect for Hiking, cycling, walking, strolling, or just enjoying a quiet meditation. The place has a park, a range of restaurants , Dinkel shop, Watermills, Carriage Houses that can house a function, Dinner or Luncheon meetings. You can even marry in this lovely place. This could be a perfect setting for a romantic garden wedding.This is also the ideal place to learn more about Nature. Estate Singraven participates in the project “Education on Location”, organized by the Foundation Museums in Dinkelland. Other participating institutions and museums are: Huize Keizer, Natura Docet, Mill Foundation Lattrop-Tilligte the Open Air Museum Ootmarsum and Cosmos Observatory. If you want to learn mohre about this place, you can check their website (Dutch ) Here.

Do you enjoy green landscape of Nature like this? What do you appreciate about country living?

Hope you have a chance to visit a green place just like this. Here’s to #theworldneedsmoregreens!

 

Little Peaked House in Bernkastel-Kues

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Little Peaked House , Anno 1416.

Why you need to see this amazing  Peaked House?

Because its a beautiful relic of History.

This unique peaked house, which was built on the smallest surface area possible ,becomes progressively wider the higher it goes.

When I saw this striking structure, I understand why people from all over the world stop to pay a visit to this picturesque building during their holidays in the Moselle region. The narrow-gabled little house with its sturdy ground floor dates back to 1416 and is one of the most photographed attractions along the river Moselle.

The Architecture is rich in detail. Has an impressive timber frame, which overhangs on three sides, was only exposed in 1914. The timberwork had been rendered over in the preceding years due to the risk of fire. The pretty oriel window and the half-timbered facades are hallmarks of the traditional architecture of the Moselle region.

The style of the pointed house symbolizes the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque period in a vivid and tangible way.
At the same time, the building is also a typical example of an old Moselle-style winegrower’s house with its oak-beamed wine cellar supported by blocks of slate, the upper floors protruding outwards on both sides and the tall attic for storing winter food and accommodating pets.
The ground floor of the building now houses a wine tavern run by the Schmitz-Herges family winery which for generations produced fine Riesling wines and also Pinot Noir red wines since couple of years ago.

Unfortunately, my daughter did not see this beauty. She was fast asleep taking her midday nap in her stroller which I parked just beside this peaked house.But someday, I will tell her the story when she dozed off to la-la land in front of this beautiful building.

Have you’ve been to Bernkastel -Kues?  How was your experience?

Failaka Island : Forsaken Memoirs

As we continue our quest to explore and look for fascinating places in Kuwait, we finally get our feet on board of one of the Catamarans from Marina Crescent to bring us to  Failaka Island. If you have your own boat then you can freely reach the island. There are only 2 options  for visitors to reach Failaka , You can either sail on board the ferry of the Kuwait Public Transport Company (KPTC), which also allows  to transport your  vehicles on board. This ferry trip usually takes about 90 minutes or a little longer and the ticket costs KD 5 roundtrip per person and about KD 30 per vehicle. A second option is the ferry boats of a private company which sails from the Marina Crescent and costs KD 15 per person. On board of this boat, a passenger can reach Failaka in around 40 minutes. We opt for the 2nd option.

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Watching the sun go down in Failaka

Failaka Island is located in the northern part of the Persian Gulf, approx. 20 km off the coast of Kuwait City. Don’t get me wrong , Failaka is not the hip island destination. Right now, it mainly attract visitors because of its Historical significance. A visit to this place can give you the traditional past of Kuwait with structures dating back to the Bronze Age Dilmun civilisation with more ‘recent’ events such as the 17th century settlement of the Utubs. If you are a war history buff , then a visit to this place might interest you. Rundown buildings and houses with bullet shots is a common sight . It’s like walking into a ghost town .

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Memoirs of war in Failaka

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Iraqi forces expelled the civilian population and mined the beaches. After Iraq was expelled from Kuwait in 1991, the Kuwaiti government resettled the island’s population on on the mainland of Kuwait and compensated the locals for their property. The island has been cleared of mines, and it has been used for military exercises. Many Kuwaitis fish there and some former residents visit occasionally, but special permits are required.

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A Vandalized wall in Failaka Island

Failaka is a floating desert. Once i reached the place i wondered why an oil-rich country like Kuwait afford to let this land goes to waste. If I have a billion KD  I want to buy this land and turn it into something else. It’s sad to see that  it’s deteriorating. The remaining structures are poorly maintained. If this place indeed have a rich significance in Kuwait’s Heritage, then why they are not treasuring this. Soon, time will steal the charm of this place. Nowadays, this place has become home to most camels . Although this is one of the typical visitor’s destination in Kuwait, still,less effort has been seen in promoting the tourism in this place.

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A war tank used during Iraqi invasion

If you step on Failaka island, its for sure that you will take memories with you. Once you see the abandoned town, the hotel lying in ruins , war tanks debris ,and the sprawling barren landscape, you could have an idea how the inhabitants feel whenever they would see their former dwellings. Even their memories are buried there .But wouldn’t it be better if you see hope on this place? War is over , but this place never recover.

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Abandoned hotel

The day tour includes sightseeing on key sights such as the Heritage Village, Camel farms, the remnants of war where you can see old debris of tanks used { which best described as a junk yard } and a coaster driven tour of the whole town. You can see the bullet shots from the walls of  the bank and other establishment. At midday, a buffet lunch served in a big tent which is quite nice. It brings out the ambiance of traditional Arabic feast inside the tents.

Travel Tip !

  • If you want to visit Failaka , check out  Aware Center’s events & schedule,  they  often arrange special tours for this. If you live in Kuwait, you can just head on to Marina Crescent and look  for the trip itineraries & schedule. Recommended time to go in Winter months where the temperature is nice to stay outside.
  • Failaka is a total laid back island. Don’t put your expectations high. Bring enough cash if you plan to get some souvenirs or eat in the restaurants.
  • Delays on the ferry schedules & pick up times oftentimes have a lag so be prepared. We were delayed to embark in our boat  last time because it was low tide.
  • Although this is a family friendly destination but i don’t recommend bringing a baby in Failaka because really, there’s nothing quite new here to entice your baby.

 

A visit to Failaka is a change from the normal life in the city. If you want a short breather and you have free time to kill, then it’s one of the things you could check out while in K-Town.

Thanks  for stopping by !