To love winter is a Privilege

From our recent trip to Austria where I have seen  surreal images of the beauty of snow during a cold Freezing January , I admit I was in love of this pure whiteness all over me. To tell you honestly, coming from one of the hottest country in the world,and grew up in a tropical climate where I only knew humidity, rain & scorching summer, the sight of the mountains, especially the Alps covered in snow, and walking through a gush of  a heavy snow fall, all day, all night, sure thing its a pretty sight. It’s overwhelming for the first time! My husband said ; you are asking for snow, now you have snow!

I can’t stop staring and capturing these moments. All the more that I was immediately smitten when I saw  from Snowmeltssomewhere  her wonderful captures of  the silence, beauty,  and the low visibility in the Finnish Lapland, covered in pure whiteness, almost unreal for someone who experience snow for the first time.

Then comes the second day, the third day and the rest of what we called nowadays, it all becomes…pretty normal. Almost everything. It’s still a winter wonderland, but the “wonder” diminishes gradually.

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To love Winter is a privilege

All I wanted to say is,  to love winter and snow is a privilege.

Because not everyone experience these changing seasons. I, myself was one of them. There are people from the other side of this planet who have never seen a single snowflake in their lives and for them, seeing a place like this is an absolute paradise. They would fly miles away just to see a winter wonderland and experience White Christmas, dressed up in winter clothes and  soak in the winter atmosphere. Yes, they have the right to brag about it. I remember seeing people in Kuwait during the months of December ~January  who dressed up in winter boots, faux fur coats and  wool jackets in a temperature of 10 degrees on a sunny day . Meanwhile, we would all be cycling and taking walks here in Germany in pullover and light jackets. Here in Bavaria, even with the minus temps & snowing, people still cycle to go to school and work, jogging, bringing out their kids in the cold, and walk their dogs on a freezing day. Same routines.

Not everyone have the chance to grow up in a winter wonderland place. I used to dream about snow and a white Christmas too. I wonder how a snowman is being built and how does it feel to ski or even ride a sled. I longed to know how does it feel, and taste the snow, and watch the magical snowflake falls on my face. I was so eager for this experience like a child.

But the fun ends and I won’t lie, I have these secret emotions and I don’t expect that every one of you can relate. Despite the beauty that I’m seeing, I can’t deny that I have these blues that engulfs me whenever I see all these whiteness and exhilarating coldness. I know complaining never helps because I don’t hate the cold, I am not just used to it.

Can anybody relate to my feelings?

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A walk into this winter wonderland.

This biting cold. It creeps to my bones and I can’t stand anymore even 3 seconds without my gloves. One time, in the middle of my Wandertags and my whole body  feels  a surge of panic to get inside immediately or else I couldn’t even  feel my face anymore. I’m afraid I might get a frostbite. I dunno what is a frostbite. No, not yet. That on weekends, I was dying for a bike ride but continuously hesitated, dreading the freezing wind in my face and I know my nose will just be stuffed and becomes runny. How annoying it is to remove your gloves, get a tissue, wipe your nose–all in repetition? Oh well if it itch somewhere, then…

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A christmas Ball covered in snow.

This panic of layering clothes. I am not so conscious but what exactly is Winter fashion?  Here in Germany, I can’t think of any fashion— only Function! You need to dress up for the weather. They say that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. But how much is too much? Is 3 layers enough? Unless you’re attending a very important meeting, your impeccable dress doesn’t matter. At home, dressing up a wiggling toddler is something that we do in haste nowadays, oftentimes leading to drama. Please tell me if you have any tips how can I make my daughter put on her mittens/gloves because it’s always a fight for her to keep it on. Before I could even put on my shoes, she already removed it.

 

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Time to work the messy work in Winter

It’s a hard work pushing! Winter is a lot of work. If I managed to push my daughter’s stroller in the snow-covered streets  for even an hour, then I don’t need to work out anymore. I needed to be cautious in my steps too, or I’ll end up landing my ass in the streets. Even buses I’ve seen have snow chains since roads with ice can be so slippery. Not fun at all. I’m just glad if we survive on a daily basis. Besides,  my toddler might ask me why we need to take walks in these minus temps, freezing cloudy days ,  when all the playgrounds have disappeared, literally!

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A Submerged Mercedes-Benz  in snow .

I’m sweating the moment I get in.I thought I felt cold but why I was sweating so much?  I should blame these layers that I wear. I can’t wait to untangle my scarf when entering a shop but dreading to put it on again after 5 minutes. Is it only me who thinks that drinking Hot chocolate everyday  makes me feel so bloated? I admit I have drink more tea nowadays more than I have ever drink tea in my whole life, also countless trips to the bathroom.

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A  statue covered in snow.

Happy hour is nowhere. No leisure walks outside means no sunsets to watch. It’s just grey & white there,then black. When I am dreading the 5:30 a.m wake up call knowing it’s still pitch black outside and that our days practically ends at 4:00 p.m when everything turns dark. Am I supposed to have early dinner and what else? go straight to bed?  Remembering back in Kuwait where we put on dark curtains just to shield out the bright sun and children are playing up until 1 am in the morning in the park. In winter, all fun is indoors after 4pm. Now that we are living in these changing seasons, the only time Germans go crazy to rush to go outside is when the sun decided to show up. It is a sunny day, but also very cold.

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Snow everywhere and a frozen bird house.

 

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A perfect  natural White Christmas Tree

These Heavy. Winter. Garb. The daunting feeling when you’re about to go outside and start getting dressed, and you grab your winter jacket, boots, hat & gloves. It has become your daily uniform. For quite sometime now. The streets suddenly become narrow  with all these people walking in their stuffy jackets. I wore 2-3  layers of socks sometimes and yet, my toes still feel cold. I must add that wearing tights & leggings becomes a daily struggle.

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I’m not stopping  by this time!

When some friends made  comments about how much they LOVE Winter and the only words that comes out from my mouth is–Yes, it is.  But deep inside, again, these silent emotions– the reality bites of winter. I am thinking how to give a polite answer with all these things in my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I love winter but sometimes it’s utterly depressing. I see it as everything is hibernating!  I love seeing the snowfall today, and I would love to watch it tomorrow ,again & again. I love-making snowman in our garden with my daughter, after all, I just had a complete winter garb this year, great finds I must say. I love everything about White Christmas too. My first Christkindlmarkt and our first Christmas here in Germany is all good memories although I’m not so fond of Glühwein! But…

 I  hope the warm sun touches my skin again and see  beautiful sunny days…can’t wait!

What about you, what do you like about Winter? Which one of the seasons is your favorite?

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Giant White Buddha

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Giant White Buddha 

If your passion does not include yourself, it is incomplete { Siddhartha Gautama Buddha)

Danube River

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The Danube with the view of Neues Schloss (18-19th Century)

Back then in Kuwait, I have the view of the Arabian Gulf from our bedroom window and just 10 minutes, we can dip our feet into its shores. It has become our haven.It was great living so close to the beach.

But how nice it is to live so close to one beautiful River? To gaze at its mellow stream? to gaze at its serene flow? I am so grateful that we have the river Donau (Danube) just  5 minutes away from where we live now .

I have seen the Mosel River but the Danube has its own charm.We fell instantly in love with it.Who doesn’t?

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The Donau River from Ingolstadt,Germany 

The Danube is the most important stream of Europe. With its 2.857 kilometers from the well in Schwarzwald to the Delta in the Black Sea it is the second largest river of the continent. 2.488 kilometers are navigable and connect 10 neighbor countries namely ; Germany,Austria, Slovakia, Hungrary, Croatia, Serbia,Bulgaria,Romania, Moldavia & Ukraine.

The nature along the Danube changes from hills and wild canyons to flat land. Forests, fields and many river coasts are living space for many animals and plants. Many of the pretty landscapes are verified as National parks and Nature reserves.

I can’t wait to explore more of the wilderness along its banks.

Don’t hurry, Don’t worry

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.  “

Walter Hagen

For my Day-2 for the 7-day Nature Photo Challenge, I wanted to post about my morning walk this morning. Friday is the day-off here in Kuwait so I always look forward to this day. This is the day where we as a family can enjoy the “Don’t Hurry, Don’t Worry “mode because we are free from the early morning rush when preparing to go to work.

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These beauties have greeted us with delight. They’re gazing up into the bright morning sun. At this time, we have these spring flowers in Kuwait just along the beach.I called them “wild silent spells “. 

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I spotted an orange butterfly hovering around these wild flowers and I just smiled.This is quite a rare sight here..I normally see more  flies, but not a butterfly!

If you just looked around, there’s so much beauty in simple things around us. If we just took a moment to not hurry, then we will not miss these special moments in nature.The basic pollination and beautiful metamorphosis. I decided not to hurry because I know I must take this moment while its still in front of me. After a month, the weather in Kuwait will soar high that I will no longer see these wild silent spells.

When was the last time you are actually in a “Don’t hurry, Don’t worry “mode?

When was the last time you took time just to adore & smell the flowers around you?

To end this post, I would like to pass on this 7-Day Nature photo challenge to Cheryl,  the amazing woman behind the Blog “Twobrownfeet” which is a very inspiring blog about travel, chasing your dreams & love to seize the day. I hope she accept this challenge & enjoy posting about nature.

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

Again, thank you Stella  of Giggles&Tales for inspiring me to do this challenge.X

Corregidor : Gibraltar of the East

Do you like seeing war ruins? or old battlegrounds?

Stories about war are never aesthetically appealing but very emotionally moving. When I watch clips about the WWII in Europe particularly in Germany ,my heart & my mind cannot comprehend well enough why things such as these happened. It’s heartbreaking.It is sad. War ruins are always gloomy . But learning from history is good. This is the reason why I made a choice to visit one important war battleground in Philippines.

This fascinating trip I have made in Philippines is touring Corregidor island. Its one-hour boat trip away from Manila. Corregidor is a small rocky island in the Philippines about 48 kilometers west of Manila which is strategically located at the entrance of Manila Bay. This island fortress stands as a memorial for the courage, valor, and heroism of its Filipino and American defenders who bravely held their ground against the overwhelming number of invading Japanese forces during World War II.Seeing this place in real  is indeed better than what I have read from books in school when we study History.

Officially named Fort Mills, was the largest of four fortified islands protecting the mouth of Manila Bay from attack and was fortified prior to World War I with powerful coastal artillery.

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A very scenic sight in Corregidor Lighthouse

Corregidor is a Spanish term which means corregir“to correct”. The Spanish lighthouse and the marker nearby, as well as the flagpole at Topside taken from a Spanish warship, are witnesses to the fact that before Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States in 1898, after the Spanish-American War, Corregidor Island used to be a checkpoint for vessels entering Manila Bay. A marker reads in part: “Corregidor Island became a part of the Spanish Crown on May  19, 1571 after its occupation by the dauntless Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, who found the City of Manila. Due to its strategic position, Corregidor, which was a Spanish island for 327 years until May 2, 1898, served as a fortress, guarding Manila Bay.”

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Corregidor offers majestic views of the sea as viewed on top of the Corregidor Lighthouse

Also known as “the Rock,” it was a key bastion of the Allies during the war. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines in December 1941, the military force under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur carried out a delaying action at Bataan. Corregidor became the headquarters of the Allied forces and also the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth government. It was from Corregidor that Philippine President Manuel Quezon and General MacArthur left for Australia in February 1942, leaving behind Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright in command.

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Ruins of the War
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Mile long Barracks : So much history in the Ruins,if only they will speak

Although Bataan fell on April 9, 1942, the Philippine and American forces held out at Corregidor for 27 days against great odds. On May 6, 1942, their rations depleted, the Allied forces were forced to surrender Corregidor to Lt. Gen. Homma Masaharu of the Japanese Imperial Army after having successfully halted the Japanese advance on Australia. It was only two years and ten months later in March 1945 when the Allied forces under the command of General MacArthur recaptured Corregidor .

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Lying in Ruins,the tales of courageous Soldiers who fought the war

 

 

 

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So much History to tell,war ruins.
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Giant Batteries: Corregidor  Giant memoirs of War

Mortars at Corregidor’s Battery Way could be rotated to fire in any direction.

It had been firing for 11 straight hours amidst constant heavy firing from the Japanese, killing over 70% of those manning the station and seriously wounding Major Massello. He is thought to be the most decorated soldier of the Philippine campaign.

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Corregidor ‘s memoirs of War

Batteries of Corregidor : Battery Way, with its four 12-inch mortars, was constructed between 1904 and completed in 1914. It can fire up to 8.3 miles (13.135 kms) in any direction.

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Mile long Barracks Ruins

The Middleside barracks could accommodate 3,000 soldiers—1,000 on each of its three levels.

These big guns of Corregidor are now silent and the ruins of buildings, structures, and tunnels in the island tell a very moving story of a war that has claimed so many lives. A visit to this former battleground is a memorable experience especially for those who cherish and value peace and freedom.I am not a war buff or an avid historian, but looking at these ruins and learning the story behind it makes me grateful that I am a free Filipino now and I have this privilege of freedom. This place speaks so much of the brave men who fought for my country and with that I have great respect to any war-zone-torn down places.

A daytrip to Corregidor is being arranged by various tour companies. We opted to get Sun Cruises and we were not disappointed. The boat trip was a swift,calm journey. The whole program of the tour itinerary caters to everything that we needed to know & see in this island. We were taken care of very well & the sumptous lunch served in Corregidor Inn was also delightful. This trip offers a lot so if you are interested to explore this place, you can check out their packages & offers Here.

Does war memories fascinates you?

Liberation Tower of Kuwait

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Kuwait Liberation Tower

Have you’ve been to the Liberation Tower in Kuwait?

I have reached the viewing deck of the Liberation Tower in Kuwait in one minute, 150 sweet floors!  in swift seconds.That elevator ride was fast and surprisingly cool. Since I love Architecture and modern buildings, I made sure that climbing this tower was one of my bucket list while I live in Kuwait and today it came true.Admiring beautiful building is my favorite past time whenever I’m into a new place or rather part of exploring the local culture.Through visiting key places like the Liberation Tower then  have come discover new details and concepts behind it.

I searched for ways to go here but I’ve learned that it is not open for public and could only be viewed through arranged appointment with the Ministry of Communications (MOC) management. Luckily, the always amazing Aware Center have arranged a tour to this iconic landmark and fortunately I was able to go.Finally!!

For those of you who lives in Kuwait, this tower can be seen if you go Sharq area and Kuwait city. It dominates the skyline standing at 372 meters from ground level. The Kuwait Liberation Tower is one of the elements of the “Liberation Communications Tower Complex ” situated in the heart of Kuwait City.

This is the tallest structure in the Middle East and is considered the Fifth (5th) highest freestanding telecommunication tower in the world (status as of yr 2000).Compared to other famous constructions in the world, it is 72 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and nine meters shorter than Empire State  Building in New York. The view I’ve had when we visited the Olympic Tower in Munich was totally different from here, mainly in Kuwait it’s full of high rise buildings and less green.

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Kuwait skyline viewed from the viewing deck of Liberation Tower

The construction was completed in 2 distinctive phases separated by an interruption of more than 3 years, followed the treacherous occupation of Saddam Hussein in Kuwait.It was meant to be called “The Kuwait Telecommunications Tower “.  After Saddam Hussein’s forces were expelled from Kuwait last February 27,1991,the Tower was completed in 1993, and renamed “Kuwait Liberation Tower “depicting  special significance of the country’s freedom from Iraq.

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Rotating Viewdeck

Here are some useful facts I have learned from visiting this Tower. I find  everything interesting and contributed to the uniqueness of this structure.

1.The total cost of this project amounts to 50 million Kuwaiti Dinars (Approx. $ 165 US Million Dollars )

2.Construction Time (Total ) – Sixty seven months.

4. The Revolving Restaurant was done by  Glantre,UK.

5. The Instrumentation were done by Interfels,Germany.

6. Secalt from Belgium did the External Cleaning Systems.

7. Gleitbau from Austria were responsible for the Slip-forms.

8. The Structural steel work & steel mast erection were done by Centrozap from Poland.

 

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Liberation Tower

The structure is made using ceramic tiles on the façade from base to first mezzanine level. Three natural light shades render a geometric design from the base. The tower, including the telecommunications complex, is divided into three working areas – a public communications center; revolving observatory level, and a restaurant at 150 meters; and the adjacent plant and equipment structure.

There are a total of 18 elevators, and are amongst the fastest in the world. As for the revolving mezzanine, there are six office floors spanning 12000 sq/m above the revolving observatory level, that rise up and out within a section covered in Anodised aluminium, so as to withstand the extreme temperatures.

The tower includes a revolving restaurant and an observation platform, apart from radio and telecommunications offices.

Given the historical and monumental significance of this tower, visitors usually do not miss the opportunity to visit this destination during their travel to Kuwait.Visiting this Tower is a wonderful experience. The host welcomed us warmly with brief introduction and tour of the whole building. I had great views of the skyline of Kuwait when I’m on top of the tower.It is nice to view Kuwait from above, so different from the ground.

If you’re interested to tour the Liberation Tower, check out Aware Center’s scheduled events to find out more details. They have lots of amazing cultural events about Arabic culture that you might find interesting. You can also check out their website Here.

I just hoped that Kuwait would invest more on maintaining this type of monumental buildings. The time I visited, I noticed that there were some renovations going on. I think this tower is worth the pride of Kuwaitis since it really stands for a symbol. Kuwait has no nature to boast but If they continue to build buildings with adept planning, then this place will go further.

Do you think you would want to climb a tower like this?

How was your experience visiting some famous architecture in your country?

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