Walhalla : The German Parthenon

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Walhalla , the German Parthenon
Finally, we’ve reached our destination , the Walhalla , the German Parthenon as they called it, a revival from the one in Acropolis, in Athens. After  almost an hour of pleasant cruising along the Danube, we embark from the ship and set our foot in Donaustauf, directly looking at the foot of the mountain.

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Lots of green in different shades , cloisters, and castle ruins

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View of Walhalla from the boat
It was indeed a pleasant ride, add the fact that we are rewarded with scenic views along the river. I am so thankful that the weather has been perfect, a sunny, around 30-34 degrees, toasty, but nevertheless, we are happy that we were not bothered by rain, otherwise, we would have cancelled this trip.

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Took this photo of the scenic vista of Bavarian countryside up from the massive Walhalla temple, east of Regensburg
Guys, going to Walhalla with a 3-year old toddler is no joke. I wouldn’t even called it as an ideal destination to bring a toddler. It’s not a place to play.

I mean, yes, we are adventurous, strong and able, but not stupid enough to exhaust ourselves climbing the steep mountain with a stroller in hand. Looking at our group, I didn’t see anyone with a stroller, there are lots of bikes in the foot of the mountain, but no stroller. For a minute I thought that we  made a mistake in going to this place. Looking at the 300+ steep steps, the elevation, there is no way a stroller can go up there, nope. I wanted to go back, as I am already feeling tired. I am in the brink of giving up, and in a helpless blank mode, since I don’t know where to go. Taking a deep breath, I just smiled when I looked at my daughter, my busy talkative  Little travel Buddy . She said she just want to see the orca in Walhalla!

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Tourists braving the steps

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Colonnade
But my husband is my lifesaver. Google maps aren’t working but then He managed to find the foot path that leads us to the alternate route going up the mountain. Honestly speaking, I have high respect to German sites such as these. I knew it’s not a tourist trap. I knew from experience that they make sure that the place is accessible and always give considerations for the physically challenged, disabled, with wheelchairs, let alone strollers with very young children. I’ve seen even cows and horses goes up to the Zugspitze  or in the Alps, in a comfy cable cars! Why not here?

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Fine details inside the Memorial Hall
With the gigantic view of the massive Walhalla in front of us, we decided to head to the left side road, a small foot path leading to Walhallastrasse in the village of Donaustauf, in the direction of the backside of the mountain.We took the skimpy foot path where we came across a lady with 2 little boys who told us that the foot path going up the mountain is currently closed, and the one which goes through the forest is difficult to follow for lack of directions. We chose to stick to the highway that leads up to the main parking area, and climb  uphill. This is the best possible option if we can’t make the 358 steps.

The walk uphill is not that bad actually, it’s a 20-30 minute walk depending on your pace. The moment I saw from a distance so many cyclists and horses with people climbing up, I felt hopeful, and positive. We entertained ourselves by listening to my daughter’s ramblings and singing. She was just in a happy mood. We decided to climb the remaining steps and she’s fine with it. At the ride side of the temple, finally there is a ramp.

Hooorrraayyy, we’ve made it!

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The Hall dedicated to honor the notable Germans
Something about Walhalla

The Walhalla is located in a dominant position high above the Danube in the east of Regensburg. This Neoclassical building in the form of a temple surrounded by a portico with gigantic columns that  represents one of the most important German national monuments of the 19th century. Created by order of  Bavarian King Ludwig I (reigned 1825-1848). The Walhalla was built by Ludwig’s I favourite architect, Leo von Klenze (1784-1864), one of the most important Neoclassical architects of the 19th century. The foundation stone was laid in 1830 and the building was ceremoniously opened twelve years later, on 18 October 1842. Klenze’s design was primarily inspired by the famous Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens dating from 5th century B.C.  The combination of colonnaded temple and massive substructure and the free design of the interior however prevents the architecture from being a mere copy of the ancient building. The temple building, which is clad inside and out with precious marble, rises above the massive tiered substructure. This was originally intended to house the ‘Hall of Expectation’ containing the busts of people to be honoured in the future.

In short, Walhalla is one great site to see!!

 

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King Ludwig of Bavaria, the man who made all these things possible. Without him, we won’t have this place to explore.

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I find this door really intriguing…
 

The memorial  Hall displays some 65 plaques and 130 busts covering 2,000 years of history, beginning with Arminius, victor at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. Inside the temple is a striking hall, filled with busts of people, gigantic monuments and the ceiling is quite impressive. Notable people whom I recognized (at least  from which I am familiar with )  were Goethe, Richard Strauss, Alfred Einstein, Wilhelm von Oranje, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Albrecht Dürer , Erasmus of Rotterdam, Nikolaus Copernicus,Martin Luther,Johann Sebastian Bach, and of course, King Ludwig of Bavaria.

The rest I don’t know, or at least I haven’t heard of them. Most of them are really notable and made a great impact in German history, to be in this hall of fame, at least you need to be dead for 20 years…

I wonder whose going to be included in this list?

The columns in Walhalla are huge and gigantic. I find the whole place so majestic, like I imagine it would be, suddenly I thought about the Greek Mythology and the mighty Gods in Mt. Olympus. It’s a surreal experience to be on top. We arrived on a bright sunny day, perfect weather, and yes, as expected, packed with tourists, but the views are breathtaking. I couldn’t find a place in the front colonnade to be empty. Everyone was busy taking their photos, having a picnic, lounging in the floor of the temple, admiring the scenic vista in front of them. Acres and acres of different shades of greens, the graceful flow of the Danube and the beautiful skyline of this region. I never imagined that this place could be so beautiful.

I have a thing with vertigo and I am scared for my daughter. I can’t ever let her go, even for a second. There is  a warning and precaution for this place since fatal accidents  already happened if ever you slipped in the edges of the temple.

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Not afraid of the heights…
If you are exploring Bavaria and the neighboring cities like Regensburg, Weltenburg and Kelheim, this trip should not be  missed. Once you are at the top, you forget that you sweat out.Traveling with kids has never been easy, be it by car, plane or whatever means. Imagine the  chaos, but also imagine the joy you feel as you create memories as a family.

No matter how you choose to explore the beautiful Bavaria, it’s gonna be amazing!

What do you think about Walhalla Temple? would you consider exploring it with your child?

More information about this place can be found Here, and if you want further reading about spending 48 hours in Regensburg, then you might want to check out these links.

Exploring the Streets of Regensburg

Wurstkuchl: the 870 Historical Sausage Kitchen of the World

Cruising along the Danube

Hundertwasser and Kuchlbauer : When Beer and Art meets

 

Walking in the Red Light District with a Baby

Now who among you parents out there would bring out your little ones in the Red Light District or locally known as “De Wallen ” in Amsterdam?

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Red Light District in Amsterdam or locally known as De Wallen

Nope, it’s not the Disneyland of Amsterdam, and if its your first time to see Amsterdam sure thing it has many attractions  that might catch you off guard! I have written before how to enjoy the free things in Amsterdam but this one is totally different. Different in a way that the Netherlands is a country more than sex & drugs! You really need to see the country for you to have an impression since what you read in the internet is not always true. This country is totally laid back and relaxed, highly tolerant and the Dutch people are very liberal. No wonder that Dutch Teen pregnancy rates the lowest in world standing, and as what the experts and studies shows,  Dutch kids are the happiest kids in the world.

Okay, I’m sure most of you who have traveled in the Netherlands specifically in Amsterdam knows the “Red Light District “that I am talking about. But for those of you who are clueless, here’s a brief description of what Red Light District is all about. Before I had our trip, my vision of the Netherlands is mainly of Tulips, clogs, cheese, canals, and beautiful architecture of the leaning gabled houses. Even the taste of Poffertjes and Stroofwafels are unknown to my taste buds so imagine my surprise when my husband & I with our 1 year -old daughter took a walk along the streets near the Zeedijk up to the Oudekerksplein.My husband is Dutch and visited Amsterdam frequently but He rarely went to the Red Light District. So for people who think that Dutch people are fond of taking drugs and fooling around in the RLD, on any given day, then you are completely  wrong!  I noticed that this place really thrives on tourists and visitors and not the locals!

We decided to pass by the streets of the Red Light District in the morning, where there are less crowds. We had previously explored the city and thought of having a break from the Museums since my daughter easily gets bored and in dire need of playtime.So then we found ourselves strolling through the alleys where its best known to be a public display of prostitutes and marijuana! Yes, prostitution and drugs is legal in the Netherlands! It is also came as a surprise to me knowing that the Netherlands is the first country to legalize gay marriages. The red-light district in Amsterdam  consists of a network of alleys containing approximately  three hundred one-room cabins rented by prostitutes who display their goods and offer their services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights. These “kamers” are the most visible and typical kind of red light district sex work in Amsterdam and are a large tourist attraction. I have read about it but seeing these girls , totally made up as early as 10am in the morning  still gives me a different experience. In the broad daylight,they all looked bored and there’s so much in their stares, some are just playing with their phones and fidgeting with their shiny underwear.

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Street sightings in Amsterdam

De Wallen, together with the prostitution areas Singelgebied and Ruysdaelkade, form the Rosse Buurt (red light areas) of Amsterdam. Of these, De Wallen is the oldest and largest area.The area also has a number of sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, a sex museum,brothels, a cannabis museum, and a number of coffee shops that sell marijuana, legally. My 1-year-old  certainly had no idea what these are all about and doesn’t pick up anything about what is in the billboards and signage. Taking photos of the ladies is highly prohibited and the whole area is on surveillance of camera so every visitor is expected to be discreet.

So, am I a bad mother for dragging my innocent daughter into this place?

After we’ve seen the Miffy  (or Nijntje ) exhibition in Museumplein, then we took her into a place full of things she doesn’t even have an idea of what it is. Well, as shocking as it may look to the world that a toddler can have a glimpse of ladies parading their almost naked bodies, I find the whole experience normal.Just like in other cities. Of course we didn’t get inside of those Sex museums or lounge in the Coffee shops, we merely passed by to take a look. Strolling around the Red Light District with a toddler was peaceful, calm, and safe. The only disturbance we’ve had is my toddler’s whining and wanting to run all over the place.

Although the Red Light District is for adults, its  only after dark that there are throngs of people just walking around to soak up the atmosphere, I too, as a visiting tourist have spent some good times just watching the world go by.Most of the tourists there are actually not there to indulge in those activities,they’re just there simply to watch. I found it a very  relaxed friendly place. Although I don’t recommend to go in there at night , and yes, not even with a baby with me.

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Street art in Amsterdam

Amsterdam city centre has a romantic image. I truly enjoyed the cozy strolls along the city center and now I know why Amsterdam is such a vibrant city. The city is gorgeous and a place for kids to enjoy. Sure it has its seedy and naughty parts of the city but its a beautiful place to explore and I am even grateful that my daughter experience the benefits of traveling at such a young age. The neighborhood is full of interesting shops, pubs, fantastic restaurants, leaning gabled houses and the city’s most charming canals. It is the same location of the Nieuwmarktsquare, the gothic Oude Kerk  and just a stones throw away,you will be in Amsterdam’s Chinatown, the Zeedijk (also home to an impressive Buddhist temple). It is unbelievable that after a few minutes strolling along the RLD, you will be in another place, a totally different atmosphere.

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Dutch Gezelligheid

Our trip to Amsterdam became a memorable one, and not because of the things we’ve seen in the Red Light District, but because, it is a beautiful city that is rich in culture. More than the bike culture, Amsterdam will always be special for us. It was our first trip as a family and I am sure, I can tell stories to my little girl that during the first year of her life, she had been there…through the secrets of the Red Light District!

If you want to visit Amsterdam and have a look in the RLD, this page might give you some interesting information.

Would you stroll along the Red Light District with your baby if given the chance?