Ruhetag Sonntag | Silent Sunday

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

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

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

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

Train-spotting in Mittenwald on a Sunday Ruhetag

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

So what do Germans normally do on this day?

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

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

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

The silent beauty and calm waters of the Danube River

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

A dewy Autumn morning on a silent Sunday in Germany

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

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

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

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

Black Swan

How do you spend your Sundays?

Do you also observe special traditions in your town?

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

Tschüss!

Cruising through two rivers, from Kelheim to Weltenburg

Oh hello September and Servus from Bavaria!

Yesterday was the first day of school here in Bavaria, for most parents like me, it’s one of the times we anticipate. We can’t afford a vacation of more than 6 weeks so we’ve survived the “Urlaubzeit” (or summer break) by doing “small vacations“. Budget wise and travel-wise, it’s all our deal to keep the little one busy and for us to keep the day going keeping with our day jobs!

We’ve been to the Hops fields which get us up close and personal about the raw material of German beers, One of the most memorable thing we’ve done was cruising into two rivers in one day without breaking our budget!And yes, toddlers enjoy boat trips as well!

But first, what do you think of the view below?

Bavaria, you are beautiful!
One of the best kept hidden beauty in Bavaria– cruising in two rivers from Kelheim to Weltenburg and ogling the Danube Gorge.

Yes, we sailed by boat through this Gorge! On the heat of summer , we discovered another nature adventure, and yes, we didn’t need to travel so far. Just approx. 1 hour max. (55 kms) drive from Ingolstadt, we head towards to the tranquil city of Kelheim. Kelheim is another beautiful town here in Bavaria which is known for its Kings, Celtics and Dukes and the relaxing boat trips along rivers of Bavaria. Thank God for the Dutch husband that discover this excursion trip, if not for him, I wouldn’t be able to see the hidden beauty of the Danube Gorge! Kelheim is also famous for its natural attractions because of its nature reserves, adventure hiking trails, cycling adventures, and the city’s cultural heritage. It lies within the proximity of the Danube river and so close to the Naturpark Altmühltal. Together with my parents in law and my ever active 5 year old story teller, we got our Tickets and boarded our boat ( MS Ludwig the Kelheimer ), that’s going to sail us through two rivers — the Danube and the Altmühl!

We decided to take the ship and explore the Danube Gorges up to the Monastery of Weltenburg but the weather kept on bothering me. But then we stick to our plan and off we go. In the middle of the trip, we were greeted by fleets of heavy delusions of rain that we almost cringed and wanted to go back home! How on earth can we have a boat trip in this rain? But then we continue driving. Tell you frankly, this trip reminds me so much of the boat trip we made when we are in Regensburg where we made an excursion up to the Walhalla, or the German Parthenon!

For those of you who doesn’t know, Southern Germany is famous because, it is Bavaria, the only Bavaria, the beautiful region in southern Germany where Castles and dreams go together so good. Plus, we have King Ludwig. When he is on his rule, he kept himself busy building his dream castles. He is really a one of a kind.The king of sky- is- the limit , and has extraordinary imagination and lover of great architecture. In Bavaria, he built so many beautiful Castles, Halls and gigantic monumental structures that made Bavaria a tourist magnet as it is now.One thing, he likes to build either on a high hill, on top of a mountain. It’s always like we need to climb, hike, travel by boat or with a Bergbahn or just walk, in order to reach his memorable hideaways!

Schiffahrt Kelheim and Personen Schiffahrt im Donau & Altmühltal are some of the companies who runs the boat trips and departs from the dock of Kelheim on a close schedule, daily ( Summer schedule, from May to October).For the updated boat trip schedules, do check their detailed Fahrplan in their website. Their prices is pretty decent and affordable. For this Summer vacation, they even have discounts for students and if you’ve got a grade of 1, then you can even have a trip for Free! If you’re interested about this, you can check the full information Here. Our ship was pretty full. Aside from the normal group of tourists and elderly people, I noticed that in our ship that its full of cyclists with their bikes, mountaineers, and families with small children. It’s really an adventure trip for all ages! A trip to Kelheim offers cruising the Danube narrows , trekking , rock climbing, canoeing, paddle boat rides , swimming and exploring the nature reserves and cycling with a view until your Adrenalin drops! Your pets are even welcome on board!

The weather was a bit gloomy but still we have fantastic views from Kelheim and the Liberation Hall located on Michelsberg. It was built between 1842 and 1863 by order of King Ludwig I of Bavaria to commemorate the Wars of Liberation from Napoleon, above all the Battle of Nations in Leipzig.
The extraordinary mosaic of cliffs exposed to the summer heat, shady forests, tranquil abandoned river channels, and the cool stream of the River Danube provides habitats for numerous plants and animals. This place really deserves to be declared as one of the oldest nature reserves in Bavaria. Definitely a natural heritage of European significance.
The Danube Gorge –here the river is only 80m wide. but depending on the water level, it can reached up to 20m deep. It is the narrowest and deepest part of the Bavarian Danube.The flow velocity is at mean water level of about 2.5 m per second.

The bee-Hive or hollow stone–Here we saw that the lower part of the rocks are almost white, it shows the height of the “Flood of the Century”at Whitsuntide 1999.At that time, the water level was about 5 meters higher at mean water level.
The spectacular Rock formations in the Danube Gorge that evolved from Jurassic period.This nature reserved was declared since 1978 and one of the most beautiful Geotopes in Bavaria.
A beautiful baroque pit-stop !
On sight is the oldest Benedictine Abbey in Bavaria—the Monastery of Weltenburg which was founded in 620 A.D. The Abbey church was built between 1716 and 1751 by the Asam Brothers and its famous for its great Baroque decor!

The Weltenburg Barock Dunkel is a dark bottom fermented beer specialty is being served in Weltenburg for generations.Where else can you see a Brewery, restaurant, Biergarten in a Monastery in front of a benedictine church?— Only here in Weltenburg!.. and yes–Only in Germany!

Fascination for the Little Wanderer!
One of the best discoveries we had in Weltenburg and Danube Gorges was the “Wipfelsfurt” .This circular basin with a diameter of 150m was created about 15 million years ago when a meteorite hit the ground and formed a crater. Wipfelfurt is the shallowest part of the Danube between Ingolstadt and Regensburg.
Enjoying a late sunshine on board !
Tourists and visitors enjoy a beautiful backdrop of the Danube and the rock wall formations .
Besucherzentrum in Kloster Weltenburg
In the deciduous forests, which are near naturally cultivated, some fascinating birds can be found like the Woodpecker and Stock Dove. This museum is situated in front of the restaurant and in here visitors can learn more about the history of the Monastry, the Danube nature reserve and the construction of the Asam church.

It was quite an enjoyable smooth boat ride with only occasional showers and soft winds.Inside the boat is a restaurant which also serves different refreshments and dishes so you won’t really worry about being hungry on board. There is an audio guide Tour on run so we are informed on every significant details of the boat tour. Right on time, we made it to the Monastery of Weltenburg after 45 mins. and we hopped off from the ship to explore the oldest Benedictine Abbey in Bavaria. This monastery was built by the Asam Brothers who are famous with their Baroque masterpieces. I’ve seen quite some of their works in Asamkirche here in Ingolstadt and the Asam church in Munich. If you love Baroque, then you must really see this church

It’s almost lunchtime when we arrived in the monastery and just in time for us to grab some bite at the Weltenburger Wirthaus-Bladl. We are in Bavaria so even after a boat trip, we sit ourselves in front of the Asam church which is adjacent to the restaurant. What’s so special about this restaurant? It is actually the oldest brewery in a Monastery, and famous for its dark beer. Here you can enjoy the famous Kloster dunkel bier ( dark beer) and Bavarian traditional dishes such as the Weiss wurst (white sausage eaten with sweet mustard), Klosterwurst, Klosterkäse ( Cheese), and their Klosterkaffee.

Big discoveries for Little Wanderers!
Making a pose at the oldest Monastery Brewery in the World. The oldest Benedictine Abbey here in Bavaria was founded by the monks of St. Columbanus. It is situated near the entrance to the scenic Danube gorge, on the northern slopes of the Arzberg mountain, near the site of the ancient Celtic settlement of Artobriga. .
We leave nothing but footprints, but we took along giant bags of memories, wonderful photos, and worthwhile experience.

What kind of family adventure have you’ve done lately?

If you’re in the vicinity of Regensburg, you can combine this nature adventure trip with a boat trip along the Danube, and to its neighboring town of Riedenburg where you can see the largest Crystal group, or if you are in the mood to discover some amazing Art while drinking Beer, then you can head on to Abensberg to see the Kuchlbauers Kunsthaus . You can also check more on Here.

Thank you for following my Blog and until then, see you again in my next family adventure! Tschüss!

Roadtrip into Bavarian’s Hops fields (Hallertauer Hopfenhimmel)

The green gold in Bavaria : the Hops, along with malt, water and yeast make up the world famous Bavarian Beer

Unplanned and totally spontaneous, today we droved along the Hop (or Hopfen in Deutsch ) fields in the quiet hilly town of Wolnzach, Bavaria. Wolnzach is the heart of Hop producing Hallertau region ( or Upper Bavaria) and is also a known “seal district “( Siegelbezirk). One of the great thing about living in Ingolstadt is that it’s so easy to do a day trip or excursions, plus the notable cycling tours in the vicinity. Within half an hour drive, ( around 35 kms) we reached Wolnzach where the green lush fields came in sight. It’s pretty amazing just to see them up close and personal. Totally reminds me of the grape vineyards in Moselle! Hop fields on hills are normal landscape scenery here in Southern Germany , especially in the Hallertau region (Holledau) 50 km north from Munich. I’ve seen these fields many times along Autobahn and I wished that I could see them close-up, and today my wish came true.

Hops – ” A Green Flower “
When growing hops, a minimum of 120 frost-free days are necessary for flower production. It is the green flower of the female hops plant that is a key ingredient in beer, and these flowers are called cones. Each cone is an inch or two long with papery green scales, and when mature the cones produce a yellow powder called lupulin. It is the lupulin that give hops their flavor .

The Hallertau region is the largest Hop- producing region in the world and they exist since 736!It’s no surprise why we have Oktoberfest and twice a year Beer festivals. There is no single occasion here that is not celebrated without Beer! Mind you, the beer culture here is so strong and has rooted itself as a cultural legacy. This is one of the first thing I embraced from the time we moved here. Did you know that aside from the home of Audi HQ, Ingolstadt is the birthplace of the Beer Purity Law. Now, seeing these endless Hops fields made me realize how on earth we were blessed to lived in a region were these “green golds” grew. I am not a drinker or beer enthusiast, but through time, I appreciate the value of this valued beverage like a noble Bavarian.

Where there is Hops, there is Beer!

Adventure of the Day : Grabbing a bunch of Hop flowers !
Hop is actually a flower, called Strobiles from the plant Humulus Lupulus.

Here in Germany, we only need Hops, malt, yeast and water to brew Beer.This is what the Reinheitsgebot 1516 ( Beer Purity Law ) is all about. I already mentioned many times in my Blog that beer here is considered as “Food”and not an alcoholic drink. Our trip was just in time for harvest, the Hops that we’ve seen are almost all ready for harvest!

We made a stop in the Deutsches Hopfenmuseum Wolnzach and learned more about Hops from its botanical background up to its main role in Beer brewery. Imagine, around 14,220 hectares (35,120 acres) of hops are grown in this region and harvested in mid-August. Being around with these gigantic vines is a great experience. The smell and fragrant of Hops is really something you need to experience personally. In Germany, the total hops-growing area amounts to 19,000 hectares and makes up a third of global production

Creative art from Hops : A wreath made of Hop flowers!
In the Museum where we visited ( Deutsches Hopfenmuseum Wolnzach) it costs 15 Euros !

One of the coolest thing you can find there is the Hop picking machine, where it is the biggest and most expensive agricultural machine of all times. The museum’s own “Iron Picker” was refurbished and is now ready again for special demonstrations. When we arrived, a group of American tourists also came. They were cycling and they were are all excited to know more about Hops and making photos! One says “the smell of Hops is really strange!” My daughter said it smells like pee! I also find it strong , no wonder it was once quoted as “wicked and pernicious weed“!

Mind you, cycling along the Hop yards is actually another adventure that I wished to do myself!

Did you know that Hops plant cannot be harvested on their first year after being planted? But after its initial phase, they can produce for the next 70 years! This is really a plant for decades! Another crazy fact that I’ve learned is that Hops flowers should only be female flower to be allowed to be brewed.

Because pollinated seeds are undesirable for brewing beer, only female plants are grown in hop fields, thus preventing pollination .But how would you know if the flower is female or male?!

Creative decorative wreath made of Hops
A worthwhile visit in the Hopfenmuseum in Wolnzach , Bavaria

If you’re looking for a different kind of adventure for families and all ages and you’re in the vicinity of Upper Bavaria, a visit to the Hop fields should be on your list. What’s best, you can end your road trip with a Prost!

Do you have a Bier Wanderlust? If you have more time to kill, check out my post about the artist Hundertwasser and the unique Kunsthaus in Abensberg and Kuchlbauer’s Bierwelt where you can also learn about Beer brewing in a magnificent Artistic backdrop!

Until then, Tschüss!

We can never be Royals | Tourism

“We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams! “
Horse-Drawn carriage are always a magnet for Tourism, everywhere, anywhere!
{Salzburg, summer of August 2019}

My very good friend TheSnowmeltsSomewhere is hosting a great Friendly Friday Photo Challenge and I thought I might join in. I haven’t done any Photo Challenges in ages for lack of time to write. Today I managed to squeezed some time and come up with this Post and just purely excited to be able to share something in this wonderful community once again. This week’s theme is Tourism and Overtourism and here’s a photo on how I best see it.

Whenever I see Horse- driven carriages, the first thing that comes to my mind is : Tourists! Where there are horses or camels, there will be tourists!

Tourism in Salzburg : Fancy Horses on one fancy sightseeing ride of your life!

I don’t know about you but in most places I’ve visited, these horse-drawn carriage is always on sight. It’s definitely a top-thing to- do for most people who likes to be pampered and experience royalty even for quite a while. Let’s admit,it feels good to be seated on these carriages, it’s cozy, comfy and definitely a magnet for attention. It’s also pure business, a means to makes money and everything.Not to mention the issues of animal cruelty, this tourist top-to-do is slowly running down the hill.

In Salzburg, The Fiaker Carriages ( horse-drawn carriages) used to be the personal and official transportation of the Prince- archbishops. In this lovely city of Mozart , 14 carriages are lined up everyday in front of Residenzplatz square offerring various sightseeing tours such as “The Sound of Music Tour”, “History of Music Tour”and many more.

If you are willing to pay for a 50-minutes tour of the city with reservation including pick-up at the hotel or from another location in the city for 200 Euros per carriage (4-5 persons) or 340 Euros for the larger hackney carriage (10 persons), then, probably it’s a chance to feel like Royalty!

Writing this post made me remember when we visited the “Marstall “in the Thurn und Taxis Palace in Regensburg where we saw the museum filled with different Royal Carriages that belongs to the Royal family. Every piece is pure image of luxury and royalty.

Be it drawn by Horses, Camels, Carabao or cows, it doesn’t matter, the joy of the trip lies on the ride..

The Flaming mountains, dirty shoes and edelweiss flowers

Waking up in a room with a view like this.

As Goethe quoted “A picture book come alive “ is the the best way I can describe this little town in the Bavarian Alps. I had no idea what is this place all about and I was totally clueless. All I know is that we’re going somewhere near Garmisch-Partenkirchen . While on the road,the element of suprise was there for sure and as the days went by, I am just glad that we visited this place. We spent 4 days in Mittenwald and Garmisch-Partenkirchen area and there are bunch of things that really stayed in my memory.

Someone asked me “Why do you always go to the mountains?” I thought, why not?

For me, mountains are so special as beaches are gems in my life, they have such magic to them that nothing substitute. I think ,nature absorbs boredom and everything. It’s another world up there. I wrote here in my Blog how many times nature provides solitude and peace for me personally. I always love a great adventure but somehow I am always guilty that I am scared of heights and altitude. It really takes time to get used to all the deadly curves in the high Alpine roads and the crazy mountain culture. Maybe it is the fact that mountains are can be so dangerous or maybe it is because they make me feel so small, both figuratively and physically speaking.

I was even bewildered seeing myself that finally now I have proper mountain shoes! This is really what expat life does to me.

Tired feet and dirty mountain shoes

I felt that even if I don’t normally climb the mountains so to speak, the mountains really has a way to call you, its like wanderlust.

Beautiful small villages and towns with ornate walls are tucked in at the foot of the Alps

As a parent of an active toddler, we visited many playgrounds that are way up in the mountains and I really find that super exciting. The views pays it all plus the children really have unforgettable experience as well as eating in restaurants with the panoramic views of Glaciers and mountains covered with snow! I have this feeling that all my problems in my life dissolve when I am around them or that life slows down a bit . All that I can tell you is that after spending time surrounded by them, my views about everyday routines were changed. For me, its priceless just to drink my cup of coffee surrounded by these gigantic peaks. It’s pure luxury for me because I don’t have them everyday.

A charming find from the valleys

The mountain views we have from our balcony everyday and the richly ornamented houses especially in Mittenwald’s inner city (or Obermarkt) are really worth the effort. I really wonder if the people living there know how lucky they are.

View of the mountains from our balcony, not a bad birthday threat, right?

In Mittenwald, we rented an apartment with a direct view of the mountains (Karwendel) in our balcony. I think its definitely better than a penthouse view! It’s like having a giant wallpaper changing non- stop. I can’t forget how it looks in any time of the day. At one time covered with clouds, on a rainy day, dawn and dusk and one time with the full moon hovering over it! In the surrounding countryside, the scenery of the Wetterstein and Karwendel peaks constantly changes and one lovely afternoon, it looks like flaming and turns to burning orange! The feeling can be surreal that I can watch it nonstop.

Whenever I see these mountain peaks it directs me to a goal.I wanted to see and explore more but I always wondered how it is to be on top. I can still remember the time we are sitting on a cold winter day on New Year’s day in Fulpmes in Schlick 2000 where we have the snow capped mountain views for hours while I watched my daughter playing with all the skis. It’s becoming a habit now that we celebrate special occasions with mountain views! This summer, my five- year old daughter had her first walking stick when we trek up to view the Krimml Waterfalls where we reached up to 1,390 m (Bergerblick Platform) and wandering and playing through the Mooserboden at 1,200 meters. I think we are getting used to these altitudes more often. What is even fascinating is that mountains nowadays are not intimidating because of the high technology lifts that brings you up in minutes!

The mountains are calling and I must go…
Watching the clouds dissapear from the peaks is magical, like a time relapse!
The elusive mountain flower –the Edelweiss ( Leontopodium nivale)

It’s a surreal feeling when I finally got to see the Edelweiss flowers which are totally highly treasured and valued. The Edelweiss flower symbolizes the Alps and prefers rocky limestone places of about 1,800–3,000 metres (5,900–9,800 ft) altitude. Now I understand why its called the cliffhanger’s flower!

Don’t look at the whole mountain take it one piece at a time…This is something you will come to understand. You will learn to never give up; to know that the reward will be worth the work it takes .
Mountains that teach me to value the small luxuries in life. It taught me how to treasure a great jacket to protect me from cold winds and chill.
I’m sure, every mountain that I see now in my life taught me a lesson.

At the end of the day, its only the good things that we cherish that matters. Flaming mountains, dirty mountain shoes, loaded backpacks, 200+ photos in my camera and empty water bottles meant only one thing : FUN.

Until next time , Tchüss and Have a happy week!

All shiny and pretty in Kristallmuseum Riedenburg

A mountain of crystals in Riedenburg’s Kristallmuseum

Recently the little wanderer is into stones. She loves to collect stones, especially the shiny ones , or something with texture. We have a handful of collected stones at home and she is into crystals and gems nowadays that we want to feed her curiosity. She even have a name for them all. She said she dreamed of having stones from volcano! How are we going to have that! I think she got so fascinated as well by the sedimentary rocks we’ve seen in Stauseen in Austria and now, everywhere we go, we pick up a stone, in short; we are stone collectors!

Today, at around 8:30 a.m, the little wanderer is wide awake and wants to play outside so after everyone got refreshed and showered, we packed our cameras, backpacks and off we go on the road again.We had a great time last night in Metallica’s concert in Munich ( which she really entertained the crowd nearby to where we sits!) and today we want to do something relaxing, quiet, and not so stressful. Destination as decided by the Dutchman, so off we go to Riedenburg and visit the Kristallmuseum, which houses the biggest crystal groups and stone gems collection by far here in the region of Bavaria.

Watching the fountain at the entrance of the Kristallmuseum after trying to calm her after a tantrum.
Beautiful artwork in the walls which I am trying to decode the meaning…bringing my imagination to the fullest!
Gigantic multi facet stone, could be a nice home artdeco as well. But it would be hard to transport this one…

Riedenburg is around 40 kms away from Ingolstadt and we drove there for approximately 40 minutes because this time we took another road away from the Autobahn. The road was hilly and full of curvy edges overlooking the hills and green forests. The scenery and landscape around the countryside is so calm and we almost have the road to ourselves.One of the perks is a stop in the Sunflower fields which I really love. For me, summer is not complete without sunflowers!

A stop to the yellow fields of Sunflowers !!!

I haven’t finished writing my blog post about Kelheim where we took an adventure cruising along the Weltenburg narrows . In there, we took a boat and ogling through the Gorges and through the oldest Monastery of Weltenburg Abbey and what a surprise, we saw once again one of the ship gliding in the Altmühltal while we were there in Riedenburg. The museum is located along the banks of the Altmühltal river and the boats going to Kelheim on a boat tour.

These crystals are huge!

The Kristallmuseum is a private gallery museum situated in Bergkristallstrasse in Riedenburg. We arrived around lunchtime so the Restaurant Fasslwirtschaft is already packed with guests, visitors, bikers, cyclists and families with kids eagerly enjoying the relaxing saturday afternoon. There is a playground which immediately catches the attention of my daughter , a mini-gold area for the whole family, and the Kristall museum !This restaurant serves traditional Bayerish food and the ambiance is really good!

A good amount of fresh greens served in the Fasslwirtschaft Restaurant! Guten Apetit!

We first seated ourselves in one of their traditional barrel huts (or Fässern in German) and ordered lunch. The prices were decent and the food was excellent! We played some minigolf and then explored the Crystal museum.

In the Kristallmuseum, I saw a great collection of crystals , gems, precious stones, and so many pretty shiny things that I have never seen in my whole life. I love beautiful stones and handcrafted jewelry and here I’ve got to see and admire. Here you can see the Turmalin Collection from Madagascar with over 600 pieces in varieties. If you are fond of Horoscope, then this place have a special treat for your own Zodiac sign where you can press a button and the ceiling ( or the Sternhimmel) will illuminate for your preferred sign.The artistic side reminds me of the House of Mirrors I’ve seen in Kuwait.

The city of Crystals
Torquise beauty – Some fine creations you can buy in the Kristallmuseum souvenir shop

What’s so special also in this place is that they have the replica of the biggest Diamond and more than 300 gemstones and their stories. The 7.8 tons, 3 x 2 meters Crystal group is something that would really catch your attention. It was discovered in Arkansas, USA in 1981. It’s big, shiny, gigantic and really a complete wonder. The Scholz Family brought them to Riedenburg and built the foundation of the Kristallmuseum and since then, Riendenburg became their home. Nowadays, it is one of the top tourist attraction in this town.

A small part of the family of crystals!

I was asking myself how did this crystal grew this big? Now I need to do my research and feed my curiosity.

Anyway, if you are looking something family friendly destination around Ingolstadt and can be done in a halfday out of town, then this place is really something you can check out. It is open from March to middle October from 10 o’clock but they have a Ruhetag (closed) on Mondays! If you’d like to visit them on Winter, you can find the details in their Website Here.

What is your favorite gem stone?

Do you want to have an insight what is it inside the giant Swarovski headquarters or just be amazed of the creation of 800,000+ crystal clouds in Krystallwelten in Wattens!

How about you, have you discovered something interesting lately?

Until then and Tchüss!

Chasing the Mozart’s golden ball and the sound of music in Salzburg

Chess and golden ball really looks good together!

No, it’s not really a ball of chocolate nor a giant Christmas ball . This is the sculpture named “Sphaera” on Kapitelplatz in the heart of Salzburg. It’s about nine metres high and made by German artist Stephan Balkenhol. It represents a male figure on a golden sphere with a neutral expression. It has become a famous landmark in this city and photo point for many tourists.

Perfection at its best , this is the Mozartkugeln or the chocolate delicacy named after Mozart.

First,we didn’t go to Salzburg to buy the Mozartkugel ( or the Mozart chocolates), named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but I admit buying a pack to taste the locally made ones. It tastes really good, of course, its chocolates and it has marzipan, pistachios and nougats! I have this feeling that the local food tastes better than the ones sold from other places, don’t you agree as well? If you are curious how this chocolate beat your Toblerones and M&M’s and why it becomes the legendary chocolate specialty from Salzburg to the world, then you can read more Here.

She is looking for the golden ball but instead we went through a bridge full of locks! There are some gold ones hanging there.
Taking a stroll through Getreidegasse : One certain house in the Getreidegasse always draws particular attention: No. 9, the house in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. Salzburg’s most famous son came into this world on 27 January 1756. His family actually lived here for 26 years, from 1747 on, occupying an apartment on the third floor .

Anyway, this famous landmark just came into our mind when we saw the brochures about visiting Salzburg. With the little help of our little friend Google maps, we find ourselves squeezed from masses of tourists trying to get a better photo in front of Sphaera. It is in near to the Festung HohenSalzburg or the Fortress, and Domquartier. All this places are nearby to each other and reachable by foot. Wehad parked from Designer Outlet and got the Kombiticket including parking fees and Bus Day Tickets so we can go to all places we wanted to. The Ticket costs us 15 Euros!

Nice little things as souvenir from Kapitelplatz in Salzburg. They are bells attached to cows, they can give a rather loud noise!

Salzburg is only an hour drive away from Kaprun. I think everyone who visited Kaprun visits Salzburg and Zell am Zee because they are really nearby to each other. We went on a day that the rain from good heavens poured its shame in Kaprun and rained all day! It’s a great thing that we went to Salzburg to see something different, and of course, something nice, and yes–aesthetically beautiful. Of course we still have the mountain views, the Salzsach river that follows our route and the never ending winding Austrian roads.By the way, they have really good roads in Austria.

“Travel shapes you” — Mozart took 17 major trips, costing him 3720 days of his life. That equates to 10 years, 2 months and 2 days .

We took our time exploring Salzburg. We had a stop in the nearby playground for my Little Traveler companion to burn her energy with climbing and sliding. We found a great hidden playground beside the Mirabell Palace and gardens and it was really good. We tried avoiding places with huge lines and crowds because my toddler doesn’t like to really wait.

The souvenir coin with engravings from the Hohensalzburg or the Fortress

Amazing views awaited us after a 54 seconds lift from the modern inclined cable railway in Salzburg going up to the Fortress. The Festungsbahn or Furnicular runs every 10 minutes and its quite impressive.It is a must for everyone who visit Salzburg to be in this Fortress. If you’ve never been up there, then you’ve never seen Salzburg! I always loved a good panoramic view of a new city that I visited. Everything looks so small and for the love of architecture, this place is really beautiful close to the river and the neighboring mountains. So much history, pride and culture in this city, It is indeed true to its name: the stage of the world. There is music played everywhere. Street musicians playing different instruments and artists is a typical sight in the streets and in every square. You can really hear the sound of music everywhere. Salzburg is the birthplace of the film the Sound of Music that is why this place is very very touristic! I must add here that during our visit, I saw so many Asians–Japanese, Koreans, Indians and so much more, not to mention tourists from the Gulf. Hearing them talking in Arabic sounds so familiar to me!

Another panoramic view of Salzburg city with the Salzsach river flowing through the city.
Can you find the Golden ball in this photo?

But Salzburg is not only famous because of Mozart, the whole city is so vibrant and the Baroque power and splendor can be seen from its city facades, museums, and the Domquartier or the Cathedral. I have made quite a few photos of the interior of the cathedral but i think photos don’t do justice in this beautiful cathedral. It is really one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen. This place is also memorable for us because we took the eclipse photos hanging in our living room in this vicinity.

Mozartplatz : Without music, life would be a mistake.
Beautiful Baroque power inside the Dom Cathedral
Fancy collectibles : Cool fascinating symbols of Salzburg
Everywhere is MOZART inspired! If you are interested to know more about Mozart and read about surprising FUNNY things about Salzburg’s wonderchild, you can read on HERE.
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The preferred snack food in Salzburg

We find tranquility and beauty in the baroque pleasures in Mirabell Palace and Gardens. It is full of intricate details, and the Grand Fountain (or the fountain pool) we saw four groups of statues by Ottavio Mosto (1690). They symbolize the 4 elements: fire, air, earth and water.

It was really packed with tourists and its really surprising to find so many Italians and Korean tourists here! In the famous Hollywood film “The Sound of Music “, Maria and the children danced around the Pegasus fountain and sing the “Do Re Mi “.

We had an amazing daytrip in Salzburg. We saw many sights that I hope to share in my next posts about our summer trip.We had fun, we had a taste of Salzburg, explore the Fortress, seen Mozart’s birthplace and residence, and marveled through the real sound of music in this city. We brought home wonderful memories as well and I am so glad that I can write down my travel memories and share it with you.Hope it can give you practical tips on how to do a family friendly trip!

Still more to explore, hoping for more travels. If you have time to kill, go and please check out our Mountain hiking adventures in Kaprun and Hike through the Krimml Waterfalls with a toddler ! For detailed trip Guide, you can find it HERE.

Until next time and have a lovely week everyone! Tschüss!

Frostbite and Silvester

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Frozen Beauty in Winter

One more day and its finally Silvester ! We are on the last stretch of 2018 and soon a brand new year comes. Silvester happens on December 31st,  the last day of the year and day before New Year. This day is observed and widely celebrated here in Germany. I don’t know why but whenever I think of Silvester, I think of something sparkling, something flashy, loud and silver or gold. In real life, this day doesn’t come as flashy and loud as it seems to be. Believe me, after New Year’s eve, the streets are quiet and people are sleeping-in, most of us are staying indoors ( or if we’re not on the road) because its cold outside and nothing much is going on. It’s also the time where frost comes and covered  the decaying branches with blanket of snow and turns everything into something nice..to look at!  It’s a beautiful sight to watch but the inner side of me screams! I don’t even feel merry and bright  anymore when I think about snow and the freezing temperatures. I don’t like the cold much and everyday I am already dreaming of Spring. Can anyone relate?

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In the mood for some Outdoor ice skating

This is  gonna be our 3rd Silvester , time flies remembering our first Silvester here,  and last year while we celebrated New Year in Austria, in the mountains where we enjoyed the views of snow-capped Alps and ogling the crystals in Swarovski in Wattens.

There’s nothing new to tell about cold German Winter weather, it’s been cold, grey, cloudy and rainy almost everyday.We have minus temps but we haven’t had a white carpet of snow that we can officially called White Christmasor Winter Wonderland. This new tradition came like a surprise to me because normally, I haven’t even heard of this, it doesn’t exist in the East, especially in South East Asia.

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Frost came into town

For the past days after celebrating not only 1 but TWO— days of Christmas,  (December 25 and 26), days went lazy, slow, unhurried and just a series of eat, sleep, make a mess days for the little one. Meeting up with friends, eating and drinking on repeat and series of brunches outside and some year-end shopping spree  keep us motivated to wait for the new year.With almost 1.5 weeks of vacation, we had to think of something to do everyday, especially to entertain the little one.I personally needed this break but with a super active 4 year old  who wakes up early and play  Lego , Cashier and shopping, we can never sleep-in for so long!

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Throwback to really sparkling crystal world of Swarovski

Anyway, if you’ve missed my post about last year’s Silvester, here’s some tiny bits of info about it. The tradition of Silvester comes from a 4th century Roman saint: Pope Silvester I (before I thought it spelled Sylvester). Besides the fact that he served as pope from 314 to 335, there’s very little information in internet about Silvester, though several legends have sprung up around his name.  One, sown in a forged account called “Donation of Constantine,” claimed that he had been miraculously cured of leprosy.

The feast of St. Sylvester—that is to say, his burial ceremony—took place on December 31, 335. When the Gregorian calendar was reformed in 1582, the last day of the year was placed on December 31st, combining Silvester’s feast day with what we now call New Year’s Eve.  Despite the shared date, most German Silvester traditions actually stem from a far older pagan celebration called Rauhnächte.

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All white and frozen
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A Silvester kind of day in Germany

Here, just after Christmas, fireworks flooded supermarkets and each one has a special offers and sale! Fireworks is legal here in Germany but it is not so frequent to see large fireworks display. I suddenly remember the Guinness World Record Fireworks display in Kuwait where my neck cramped from almost an hour of unbelievable fireworks, all for the sake of Pyromania! Here on the other hand, fireworks are enjoyed in every backyard on New Year’s eve and  really just for personal satisfaction. You don’t feel like in a competition with your neighbor of who has the loudest, grandest and probably the eardrum breaking noise.Here I observed, some are not even bothered by it because the roller shutters of the windows are already down.

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It’s not too late to enjoy the remaining Plätzchen (little Christmas cookies ) while having movie-marathons!

Large fireworks display are happening mostly in  Berlin, where most of street parties for the countdown is also held, right in front of Brandenburg Tor, or in other key cities like Hamburg or Munich. What is interesting thing about Silvester here in Germany, right after the loud noises and firecrackers, people tidy up their  own mess, they don’t leave the streets swamped with fireworks litter. But definitely no people drive their cars with dangling cans and making noises! I saw in the news that there’s even a call to lessen the fireworks display in New Year’s eve to lessen the injuries caused by it and the issue of environment protection where approx. 4,500 fine dust is bound to be released in the air in welcoming 2019.

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Take your pick— Raclette, German’s favourite way to dig in during Silvester

Many restaurants also offers  many Silvester parties. If you are guilty of all the calories you’ve been gaining from all the christmas foods, then you can just opt for Silvester snacks, which is also a norm here.  Young people who party like an animal till dawn and dance the new year away. Another common  tradition for families as well is eating a la Carté “Raclette”! I love this way of dining together with  stove range or hot-grill stove in the center of the table and every one has each own pans and  the chance to “cooked”their own meal based on their choices. This reminds me as well of Korea’s Shabu-Shabu and Fondue which is also a favourite New Year’s choice.My first Raclette experience was in Netherlands this year with my Dutch family where we have  different  cut cheeses, meat cuts, chicken shawarma  slices, würsts (sausages) , champignons ( mushroom), omelette, bacon,salads, and veggies. It is super “Gezellig” (Dutch) and “Gemütlich” (German) . These are two foreign words means “coziness, homey , warm and fulfilling” of dining or eating. As much as I want to do Raclette  when I want, I just can’t because we are only 3 in the family! Raclette though applies to big families, or if you host dinner parties or brunches during holiday season!

Another common New Year threat in Silvester and New Year is Doughnuts (Krafpen) filled up with sweet marmalade or if you’ve got lucky, you have it in mustard sauce. My wish is that Krispy Creme opens up here in Ingolstadt then we are happy! Last but not the least, if it happens that you visit Germany in Silvester or during New Year, don’t panic when people greets you with these infamous yet really unique greetings:

Wir wünschen einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr”! (We wish you a happy new year.)

” Ich wünsche einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr ! “(I wish you a happy new year.)

So , how was your year so far? Are you ready to have a good slide in 2019?

What are your unique New Year traditions in your country?

Happy New Year everyone!

Until then , Tschüss!

Breakfast with Harley-Davidsons and Ferraris

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Ogling for a Ferrari

I’m not so much of a car-fanatic but there’s something I’ve discovered lately this year. I told you, my town is so small and yet so full of hidden facts that are just waiting to be discovered. And yes, not too late to share but—I found a place where you can have a thrilling one-of-a kind experience of having a breakfast with Rolls-Royce, Harley Davidson, and crazy beautiful sleek fast luxury branded sports cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini. All set in one great ambiance in the business Hotel called Classic Old Timer Hotel! Germans are crazy about their cars but here in Ingolstadt, with the giant Audi HQ set within few kilometers away , everyone is just crazy about cars.There’s no doubt that anyone who visits the old town will probably head to Audi Forum!

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Big bikes are on display!

For car enthusiasts, this is something appealing. Even if cars is not your thing, seeing the showroom from a glance is quite an experience, best of all, its free and open to the public.The showroom is actually a private collection of Mayer Classic cars and it is adjacent to the Hotel premises of Old Timer Classic hotel.

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Mayer Classic cars

Few of the worthwhile collection includes a Ferrari F488 GTB, Lamborghini Aventador, Porsche GT2 RS,F458, and so many more luxury branded cars. If you fancy anything and you’ve got the money, you can even buy it because some pieces are for sale.Unlike the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt, this collection is private and more on classic and luxury branded cars.

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Vintage Wall art 

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Located in front of the Saturn Arena, with just few meters away from the lush Klenzepark and the old town . With its premium location, it also holds  various Rock concerts, fashion shows, and other events .The hotel itself offers a conference room and most of the clients are car-related business as well.

The architecture and design are typical of Hotel standards and the concept of combining the Automobile charisma with the business hospitality of a modern hotel is something new and an absolute win. Not only this place ideal for car lovers, but also for adventure seeking and someone who loves the one above the ordinary.

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The grand showroom of Mayer Classic cars

As I’ve written before in many of my posts, Ingolstadt is a small town here in Bavaria,( approx. 80 km)  away from Munich where the Audi Headquarters is  located.Known for the ancient tales of the secret group Illuminati and the birthplace of the fictional Horror character “Frankenstein“, it offers a lot of diversity and cultural highlights that makes it worthwhile to visit. I can say that for almost 2.5 years of living here, I must say that it does not have the big city vibes like Berlin or Munich, but we feel at home here. It’s safe, clean and we feel at home!

I’ve also visited the Audi Forum  and I am totally immersed to this Automobile culture. This hotel  and the Mayer Classic cars is no exception because even the rooms are designed with car decors. Whether you’re a classic car collector or enthusiast, or simple car lover-admirer, then you should not miss this place.Some regards it only as an additional amenity. The important thing is you got the value of your stay from what you’ve paid for!

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Breakfast with a view!

Hotel guests can enjoy  their breakfast in grand buffet with a view because its free. It’s also a nice place to meet friends and enjoy coffee, or beer in  the Lobby or Reception area.The Reception area  as well shows a lot of car collectibles and vintage decors.

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Bright colorful lamps in the Reception area of the Hotel

There’s something for the stomach and there’s something also to please the eyes. Both senses are fulfilled ,visually and gastronomical. I can tell from my own experience that the breakfast experience is also commendable and worth all the cost. The buffet offers a wide range of choices, from traditional Bavarian breakfast of Kaisersmarrn and weisswursts, Brezen  to american or continental breakfast choices of  cold cuts, muesli, cheeses, salmon fillets (Lachs)  breads and assorted salads. The hot drinks includes numerous Tea variations and coffee, and fruit juices.

When was the last time you’ve experienced something unique and out of the ordinary?

Wishing you all a happy weekend and until then!

 

Tschüss!

One of a kind: Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt

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Falling in love with the Glühwein tradition in German Christmas Markets

One of my wishes came true this year and that is to visit the world-famous Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt, or probably the best Christmas market in the world, as far as Christmas markets are concerned. It’s one of the oldest, grandest and also the biggest ! Yes, I am saying it’s of world-class— and simply one of a kind, unforgettable and extraordinary Christmas market-fair-trade-fest rolled into one!

I cannot use too many more adjective for it but it is really worth a visit.From an Asian like me, I love everything about Christmas Markets! As an Expat, its one of the culture that I have fully integrated and loved. Despite the cold weather, everyone should try to experience this if they have a chance. I say this because I am totally thrilled and pleased with the experience of seeing everything that I’ve read in internet in full life and colors. Just like Oktoberfest—another magnet here in Bavaria, Nuremberg set a world record of number of visitors during Adventzeit. The crowd is simply overwhelming!

It’s a shame not to write about it since it’s really on my Bucket List–something that I never expected to be. I can’t get enough of the nostalgia from the Bitter-Sweet  Marriage Carousel so we end up exploring the Christmas Market and we were really blown away!

 

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Once in a lifetime experience in Germany’s Christmas Market

Maybe its a mistake when we decided to visit Nuremberg on the second week of Advent because it was packed, crowded, beautiful,charming and definitely exhausting! The crowd was something that I never expected to be. Despite of the grey , cold, windy, storm-ish winter weather, people, old and young, on different ages flocked to the streets of the central Hauptmarkt  square to witness the grand and only one Nürnberger Christkindlmarkt!

We arrived at around 11:30 am but we were lucky to find a table for lunch only around 2pm! Everything was packed, but the atmosphere is really something different. People are smiling, the vendors in the stalls are courteous and everyone is just in jolly mood.

 

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Not a Winter Wonderland, but still beautiful

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Creating memories in Nuremberg

We visited Nüremberg before  but the atmosphere in Winter is something different. The surrounding is filled with Christmas decors- in fact, what’s make it unique it its very traditional decors made of copper, wood and one-of a kind materials! Bright lights and the colors of Christmas is seen everywhere. Every shop compete with its own unique charming decors. The smell?— Oh your senses will be filled with the aroma of cinnamon, pastries, fruit cakes, Bratwurts, Nuremberg sausages and Glühwein. The taste of Nurnberger Christkindlesmarkt!

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Aniseed, cinnamon, Lebkuchen and more Lebkuchen!

As a child, I can’t recall a Christmas market experience. I remember, we attended the midnight mass during Advent and there are few stalls of vendors selling traditional “Puto bungbong and Bibingka” ( sticky rice cakes) outside the church and nearby is a Carnival where we play and had fun rides. But nothing like the Kinder Weihnachtsmarkt in Nüremberg. For little ones, the rides, the grand carousel and the overwhelming threats for children is so tempting. From chocolate covered fruits to kinder punches and tasty threats that are beautifully displayed in every stall.

The first time I’ve ever tasted Lebkuchen from Nürnberg is when my husband brought some when he had a trip in Germany while we are still living in Kuwait. The taste of Spekulatius, cinnamon and Lebkuchen is unforgettable. I have tasted different Lebkuchen and Ginger breads here in Germany but I must say that I would always come back to Lebkuchen Schmidt.Highly recommended and worthy to bring as a gift to your love ones. Only be wary of the long lines especially during peak seasons! It’s not only their Lebkuchen but their cakes and Pastries are mouth-watering too!

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I’ve visited Nuremberg in Summer and my neck was cramped looking at beautiful old architecture, and the old city has always something to offers. The streets of Nuremberg during Christmas season are endless, chaotic,but really unforgettable. There’s always something to explore, to see and even if your feet already aches from walking, then just take a break and melt into the crowd.

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Christmas decors, balls and other Traditional Christmas ornaments made from different materials.

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Crowds in Nuremberg Christmas market

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Frohe Weihnachten

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Time to rekindle your childhood in the Kinder Weihnachtmarkt.The fairground is beautifully decorated with Nativity stalls, snowmen, sleighs and a winter wonderland for children. It offers lots of food stalls as well as toys stalls so it’s a perfect timing for gift buying too. I went to this Kinder Weihnachtsmarkt when the Christkindlesmarkt is too crowded for my daughter and I am even afraid to get lost!

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Happy writing— Giant pencils as a gift for the Little ones.

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Mistletoe!

Or kiss your Honey while taking a quick stop on this Mistletoe bundle!

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The world is your Oyster when it comes to food while you are in the Market. You find every type of food depends on your taste. The only downside is if you get a place to sit! On our visit we tried dome Balkan food and despite that its quite expensive, we were not disappointed with the taste.

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Tropical dried Fruits ! Yumm…

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Take the Carousel ride rain or shine!

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One happy little visitor!

There are thousands of Christmas Markets all over Germany and you can never have enough or shortage of it. Even our local Ingolstädter Christkindlemarkt can never be ignored but then if you have the chance to visit a Christmas Market, then go to something that worth the travel–and that is the Nürnberger Christkindlmarkt! I’ve just read that it’s almost 400 years old since the earliest writing about it was since 1628!

Nürnberg left me an impression and continue to do so… I wish it does the same to you. Maybe on my next visit, I’ll discover something else. From the mystical Kaiserburg Old Castle up to the overwhelming Tiergarten, I’ll leave you with endless options. My writing is not enough , you should be able to experience it with your own eyes.If there’s a market that I would like to bring my family in Philippines to see–then it is here.

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What do you think of German Christmas Markets?

Here in Germany we have 2nd day of Christmas so here’s wishing you all Happy 2nd Day of Christmas and a Happy New Year! Until next time.

Tschüss!