Wordless Wednesday

It´s all in the details of sparkling Crystal Clouds

Swarovski´s Crystal Clouds designed and created by Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot

One of the highlights of our trip to Wattens was seeing the Crystal Clouds in the gardens of Swarovski Crystal Worlds.This place is really full of surprises.There´s the Giant, the lush and Art Chamber of Wonders, a beautifully designed Restaurant, and of course, a world class interactive Tower play area for kids.

Probably people think that it´s just a place for sparkling crystal and shopping for “Bling -bling” but I ´m telling you, there are some serious good stuff in here. And the—sparkling Crystal Clouds is definitely worth the look.

The details, the concept, the artistic approach and overall installation is simply brilliant. Of course, natural clouds can never be substituted, but this installation is absolutely gorgeous. For me, the focal point is the quality of 800,000 crystals attached to the cloud-like net formation.I respect the concept and laborious creativity. These crystal clouds are shining bright against the sun on a sunny day and reflects a shimmering delight at night.

Anyway, if you would ask what´s so special about the crystals?

As compared to other glass jewelry, Swarovski jewelry is made of extremely high-quality crystal glass. The high-quality crystals come from the very uniform structure which offers the Swarovski crystals amazing clarity

Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Close up details of the Crystal clouds in the Swarovski Kristallwelten

In this place, your imagination is set up to sky-limit. On a bright sunny day, the dots and spots that these crystals reflects is purely aesthetical element which makes it even more wonderful sight to see.

Clouds fascination in Swarovski Crystal World
Swarovski Crystal Clouds in Winter
Swarovski Kristallwelten, Wattens, Österreich

With the Austrian Alps in the backgrounds, these crystal clouds gives us the pleasure that even mighty clouds can kiss the grounds.

Cloud fascination in the Crystal Clouds in the Swarovski Crystal Worlds

What do you think of the Crystal Cloud? or what about the “Head in the Clouds” ?

Inspired by Lens Photo Artist Challenge, Focusing on Details where Patti had some amazing insights about the interpretation of this taking note of special details.

If you´re interested to visit Austria and to check out other attractions in Innsbruck and the place of Swarovski in Wattens, then you can find more tips so read more Here.

Under Construction

The vacant lot beside where we lived is now under construction. That means….

Everyday there´s something going on. All except Sundays. We have loud commotions and noises under our noses and lots of scrambling like someone is being murdered. There are huge trailers,Lorries,delivery vans, cranes, endless trips of ready mixed concrete trucks.

My daily sights include the flying ” Mobi” or the porta toilets for the workers, and in the street across us, a container is settled for the worker´s quarters. There is always human and motor traffic. When the land was being cleared, I have seen the biggest damp truck I have ever seen, and I was really amazed how fast it did the job done.Within 3 days, the empty field was scraped and a big hole was dug.

It´s not always an enjoyable to watch and to live with the noises is really maddening. But then, nothing we can do.

We live with it and hoping that it will be finished. Soon.

On the other hand, when I cycled to work, I am rewarded with these beautiful sunrises.The skies are colorful and the construction serves as the sun´s background to show it´s amazing dawn.So far, this is one of the perks of waking up at 5.30 am and starting the day early.

Throwing back to the lovely sunrises and sunsets and more chasing the fog in Summer while I am memerized looking down on pretty Manholes.

Though in some point, these pretty purple magenta sunrises reminds me of Jude , who challenges us to look out for the color Purple in everyday life. Do head on to her ” Life in Colour “ page if you wanna see some serious adventures in full colors.

Until then, and by the way, here in Bavaria, we say “Servus” instead of Hello! Tschüss.

Wordless Wednesday

One Thousand One Nights of Sand Sculptures (Arabian Nights)

“A library of books is the fairest garden in the world, and to walk there is an ecstasy.”
― E. Powys Mathers, The Arabian Nights

“Arabian Nights” Sand Sculptures by Delayne Corbett

I thought sandcastles are made only in the shores of beaches, I was definitely mistaken.In Germany, every little kid plays with sand and dig their hearts out .It´s no wonder that most child owns a bucket , spade and shovel .If they are spoiled enough, they have little trucks and even a mini wheelbarrow.Mamas take their children for a walk into the playground and tuck these toys in the stroller and their day is complete.

That´s how special sand is…!

But nothing compares to these professionally built sand sculptures.

1,001 Nights Sand Sculptures Exhibition , in Arabic ” Alf Layla Wa- Layla
Sand Sculptures in Kuwait in Remal International Exhibition , Kuwait, 2014

I was pregnant that time and the heat was really scorching, I laughed because this weather is quite normal in my life in Kuwait but then again, it didn´t stop me from seeing this once in a lifetime largest Sand Sculpture in Kuwait in 2014. With the theme ” 1,001 Nights ” or better well known as the ” Arabian Nights”, we head on to Remal International Exhibition. Looking at my swollen feet, I´m glad I´m wearing flats. I was excited since it would be the very first time I would see gigantic sand sculptures but then the baby keeps kicking me so I was also feeling lethargic.

My first thoughts were ” How did they do it?”

What kind of sand would they use for making the model figures?”

I know from experience that the budget for this exhibition is no problem for Kuwaitis , since they always opt to do extravagant and unique exhibitions like this. Looking back, it was even easy for them to record the biggest and world -class Guiness World Records Fireworks display that lasted almost an hour to celebrate it´s 50th year National Constitution. I´ve heard that for this one alone, the whole exhibition costed 1 Million Kuwaiti Dinars or approx. 3 Million US dollars!

And yes, my neck hurts from staring in the skies for that but it was a beautiful experience.

Sand, stories, fire and lot´s of creativity!

There were LOTS of sands in this place!The entire sand sculptures were made of 28,000 tons of sand which is about 1,000 dump truck loads! It´s really big and the walking throughout the place made me really feel fired.The artist behind the gigantic sand sculpture exhibition is no other than Canadian Sculpture and Stone Mason Delayne Corbett along with other 73 Scuplture artists from 25 different countries.

“Open Sesame ” ! -Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Who would have not known the story of Ali Baba and Aladdin and his magic lamp?

Growing up, the stories of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, Alladin´s Lamp, the Seven Voyages of Sinbad and the Sailor is quite familiar to me. Decades have past and these Arabian folk tales, and magic carpet rides still plays a major part in early childhood.I´ve seen quite a few of films and plays depicting these ancient stories .Now as an adult, I realized that these stories tells another far much deeper “TALE”.

The Arabian Nights , or 1001 Nights which is a compilation of different folk stories during the Golden Islamic Age .Of course, the story settings are in the Middle East like the ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, India and China.

The highlight of the story for me was about Sharayar and his wife Scheherazade.Their story really made an impression to me because as tragic as it is, it tells about the story of one woman´s cleverness and will to change his master´s heart. Sharayar found out that his wife cheated on him so he vows to marry different woman every night and kill them afterwards to prevent further betrayal.Then comes Scheherazade whom he married, but she learned about his plans and prepares a tactic to survive from his evil plans.

Sand sculptures of “Arabian Nights” tales and stories

Her plan? It´s reading and telling stories to Shahrayar every single night, but stopping in the middle of the story for Shahrayar to increase his curiosity. This way, he gets more anticipation and excitement. Sheherazade repeats this pattern for 1,001 Nights! With this technique, she were able to save herself from being killed and stop the heinous crime of killing women of her husband.Now that´s a lot of storytelling!

I realized that Scheherazade wouldn´t be able to do it if she is not well versed in general information. Looking at her character she must have read thousand books and equipped herself with enough knowledge to be able to deliver stories like that. She must have loved to read and study a lot.

Different sculptures depicts the scenes of the stories that Scheherazade told to Shahrayar so it´s like walking into a picture book.The whole place was soooo pretty and beautiful at nightime. I admire the sand sculptures when it is lighted up to the heavens. They all looked so real, wonderfully crafted to the very edges! They were really done well and the details are so intricate. I respect the great labor of the artists, considering that working under the heat conditions in Kuwait is no joke. Paying attention to every tiny detail is very important. One false move and the sculpture would suddenly collapse!

The whole place of Remal is transformed into a giant sand paradise.Tons of sands made into different sculpture figures is definitely one of the best interpretation of human´s artistic skills and talent.

Stories might not be able to change the world, but they are capable of changing us by making us look at ourselves in new ways.”

 Sand Sculptures of Elf layla wa- Layla (1001 Nights)
Elf Layla wa-Layla and the Fire show

To make it even grandier, there are also Fire Dancers, Python show and Fata Ole ; demonstrating the finest in African folklore within a 3-minute dance performed 3 times daily.The largest sand castle made in a contest was 18 feet tall; the owner, Ronald Malcnujio, a five-foot-high man, had to use several ladders, each the height of the sand castle. His sculpture consisted of one ton of sand and 10 litres of water to sculp!

But then, here in Germany, they have broken all these records and made it to Guiness Records with their Biggest and tallest Sandcastle in the World!

Every little details counts on these sand sculptures
More amazing photos can be found here, and here .Thank you, Shokran, Salamat Kuweight64 and the viewingdeck for sharing!

Since then, I´ve looked at sands on a very different level.

Let children play and get dirty playing with sands.Continue reading stories to your kid, in the end, it pays off.

Inspired by Jo´s Bright Memories and hopefully not too late for the great post from Patti taking on Lens Artists Photo Challenge- Focusing on Details

Until then, over here in Germany we are celebrating Father´s Day. Tschüss!

A Penny for my thoughts and a legion of Kois

Hungry Koi Fishes waiting for feeding time in Nuvali Park, Santa Rosa, Laguna

From time to time, I love to share about some fascinating places I´ve been whenever I visited the Philippines. I think I´ve been away for too long and sometimes I couldn´t even recognized the same streets that I´ve walked into. Funny and feeling odd, I get a mental block.I laugh when I heard our native language and it seems like a stranger´s voice to me whenever I hear the diction and the local accent. The buildings have been renovated and more infrastructures have been built, and yes, commercialization is always there. There has been lots of shops that opened for business, mostly unfamiliar brands that I never heard of, but some still thrive and lasts up until now.Familiar sights brimmed in my eyes were the line of tricycles, pedicabs , shuttle buses, jeepneys, and stand shops. The streets is always full of people walking around.As usual,the weather is hot and humid and as expected,I am always sweating .It´s an old habit of mine to go inside the shops to cool down since it´s the only place with air conditioning.

Here in Germany, it´s very seldom that I´ve been to places with air conditioning. Only at work, in the car, or I can´t even recall…!

Anyway,some places still looked familiar, and whenever I remember the fond memories, I couldn´t help but to smile.One of them is a nature park called Nuvali. It is one of my family´s favourite place to go. There are plenty of restaurants, shops, play areas and picnic areas nearby so it´s a one stop place for everyone.Nuvali´s amenities includes a lake with lush nature surrounding it. I personally enjoyed the scenery and the quiet walks in the park.Within the vicinity, a unique attraction is the KOI fish feeding area.

Koi feeding in Santa Rosa, Nuvali Park

When I first saw photos of it, I got really curious to see it with my own eyes.To tell you the truth, there were Lots of Kois! I have no idea how many Koi fishes were cultivated here.

The whole sight was really overwhelming in number that it looks scary. Kois are jumping, swirling with their mouths open, gaping, and waiting for fish food. There´s a legion of carp fishes that swarmed into the lake and looking at them is quite exhilarating especially the sound they make.I am just not used to see them in herd like that. Pre Covid, people flock to this place every single day, especially on holidays and weekends just to feed the fishes. It´s really a magnet for kids, and also for adults! It is forbidden to feed the fishes with other types of food, only the one being sold at the ticket entrance.There is a shop that sells fish food so everyone can really enjoy the experience of feeding the hungry Kois.

Santa Rosa became quite famous because of these Koi Fishes. The location is ideal , it is very near to exressway so its a popular stop over for those who are travelling south-bound.I´ve heard Nuvali even become the Koi capital of the Philippines.I´ve seen quite a number of Koi ponds in many gardens here and in the Netherlands but nothing compares to the Kois in Santa Rosa.I brought my daughter here but I guess she´s too young to remember all these.

Koi Fish feeding in Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna

Koi fishes are omnivorous, which means they feed both on plants and animals including insects, crustaceans, and meat proteins.One positive thing about it that despite it´s commercial purposes in this place, these Fishes help to make the lake waters clean.This whole experience of Koi feeding have taught me that these fishes can actually detect if someone wants to feed them!You can really see their eyes , and wide open mouth as if they really recognize the arrival of food.

There are countless laughs heard at the background plus the amazing sound which the Kois made. The shops are full of hungry guests, each one trying to sample the day´s offer. Filipinos are always been hospitable and costumer service is always on top.

These Kois would never learn to do social distancing!

Feed me, Feed me..!

Koi fishes are really special, no wonder they are one of the beloved aquarium pet in south east Asia, especially in Japan.Having a pond in a zen garden is perfect for little Kois to swim around. In Feng shui, a spiritual form of organization and placement of objects, says that having the spirit of the koi near you will attract good luck, fortune, and spiritual benefits. Aesthetically speaking, they are really beautiful.

Tropical Garden with Kois

Excuse the nostalgia, but it was a great day to remember.

Until then, Tschüss!

Wordless Wednesday

Face of a Giant Fountain

The Giant in Wattens

The other day I was reading a book about ” Schöner wohnen im Garten” , which is all about simple and DY projects to make your garden homey and yes, infused with lots of creativity. I really wanted to have a small fountain, something with water, lots of rocks, plants in Terra Cotta, envisioned like a oasis zen corner. As I gather my thoughts and ideas, I remember the giant fountain in Wattens in Swarovski Crystal Worlds. It´s world famous called as “The Giant”, which simply looking from these photos is quite obvious why they called it like that!

The Giant in Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens, Austria

The Giant Fountain is designed by and created in 1995 by world famous Multimedia Austrian Artist Andre´Heller. He envisioned this creation to commemorate Swarovski´s Hundredth Anniversary.The giant head peeks out from a hill with a mouth flowing with gushing waters, which actually serves as the main entrance to the Chambers of Wonders inside the Crystal World. It contains different kinds of beautiful art installations and compositions of world renowned artists.The concept was genius, with bringing out the crystal as the key features.From the Artist imagination, this giant travelled around the world and finally settled in Wattens and brought home all treasures from around the world.

He collaborated with different artists, sculptures, and visual artists to create different chambers aiming to “mesmerize” the visitors with glance, shimmer and sparkles.

I´ve heard that its quite famous and one of the main attractions in Tyrol so I was really thrilled to see it with my own eyes.After ourdaytrip in Innsbruck, we went to Wattens. I spent a lot of time glued inspecting it´s mouth, eyes and the whole face is just a pure wonder. Made me wonder just how many crystal pieces were used to accentuate the eyes, it´s eyeball mainly, and the eyebrows up to the nose. It is really impressive work of art.The eyes sparkled even in broad daylight but it´s totally a wonder to be seen at night. As the season changes, the Giant creates different impressions. I have never seen it covered in snow but I´ve seen photos of it and it really looks wonderful. German FAZ called it ” the place of pilgrimage of Amazement”. The original concept of the Chamber of Wonders is based on the historical wonders of the16th century in the Castle of Ambras which aimed to collect universal collection of knowledge .

It´s no doubt that the artist has succesfully achieved it´s design purpose since inside the chamber of wonders are collections of different artistic and original creations based on the concept of using Crystals.It´s so impressive that it makes me itch to visit it once again .In the chambers, world famous Artists like Fernando Romero, Andy Warhol,Niki de Saint Phally, Fredrikson Stallard, famous Indian designer Manish Arora, and Yayoi Kusama and Lee Bul contributed their works to make this place a giant Theatre and stage of Art.

In this place, I was able to appreciate technology even more. The shimmering lights, and every bright sparkle makes this place really special. I am not a shopaholic but then, the crystals are really beautiful and worth the drool.

And yes, everytime I would see a fountain, I would always be reminded of the Giant…!

Until then, Tschüss!

Stranded thoughts in the beach

“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”
― Vincent Willem van Gogh

“Whenever I look at the ocean, I always want to talk to people, but when I’m talking to people, I always want to look at the ocean.”–Haruki Marakami

Today I read in the news that Germany wants to open Tourism soon, meaning anytime in the coming months. That would mean easing border restrictions and allow public travel vacations soon. One friend posted a story about Ostsee while enjoying some drinks buried in the sands. My neighbours wants to book for Turkey and spend 2 weeks in the beach.My new passport had never been stamped yet and it seems like I have forgotten how does it feel to be in an airplane once again…

Then I decided to daydream a bit…

Some fond beach memories are still very vivid in my mind. There are rows of dancing coconut trees, white powder sands, seafoams and waves ,crystal clear turquoise waters and lovely sunsets.Here, time goes in a very rhythmic slow motion but our faces beamed with wide smiles. Sun -burnt skin that lasts weeks to fade out but our hearts are grateful, warm and glad. Spent a long time of waiting and planning as soon as vacation days are set but once my feet touches the shores, my worries are all gone. I always thought,I don´t need much money , all I need is a bag full of sunshine and a heart eager for adventure. Because I know, a day spent in the beach is always good. As long as I am at the beach, I am happy.

Maybe I get a new Henna Tattoo, this time with the same design that I have in my mind.

Adoring the different shades of blues, teal and turquoise colors

In my childhood,I spent most of my beach holidays in my homeland. Growing up, an excursion to the beach is the highlight of our summers. From my previous works, we always have company outing and of course–it´s in a beach resort! The journey to the beach is always a long, tiring one, going through rough roads and far away villages,and the horizon seemed endless. But once I saw the beach glistening from the bright sun, the excitement begins.

Once the weather starts to cool down mid-February, my heart races, excited which beach and island would I be able to explore. As a kid, I got used to swimming in the beach where the sands are ashen black because of the volcanic minerals and rocks that have eroded from Mt. Mayon. Black sand from what I know is derived from cooled lava from numerous volcanic eruptions, perk is that it´s great for exfoliating dull skin. I never knew this before, since as a kid, we´re just used to seeing dark sands and we never thought of it as dirty. Through time, I started discovering other fine beaches, with sandy white shores, and cream shade and full of crushed corals as well.

It´s one of the most marvelous times where we can go night swimming as well and watch the moon reflecting in the pitch black waters.

“Life is a summer, full of fun,
at the beach, under the sun.”

Rugged hills surrounding the beach

The harder you seek, the greater you find” is always true. Some beaches that I have explored required a lot of commuting and travel time, especially ones that are in remote areas and can only be reached by boats or ferries. I remember discovering a secluded island in Palawan by chance. The island that we´re supposed to go is closed so we were offered another place.There´s always a mysterious beauty when it comes to hidden paradises. I wish I have all the time and money to spent to explore them all. In the north, I went to different beaches to watch endless sunsets , cave hunting and yes, made a picnic in the dunes.

” On the beach, you can live in bliss..” -Dennis Wilson

Sandcastles and dreams took my breath away in Boracay Island, Cebu,Philippines
Crystal clear waters in Kayangan ,Palawan

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Malcapuya Island, Palawan

Having an island all by yourself is quite a luxury. Without the crowds, I can admire this paradise as long as I want.Pre covid , where travelling is free and no restrictions, having a beautiful beach always comes with a price. Crowds are a hassle when you wanted a beach to enjoy freely.Stranded in this island for few hours, I don´t even have the energy to complain about life, it is just too good. I busied myself fondling my feet on the shores, counting the clouds, looking for shells and swimming. We had a packed picnic and I saw our guide climbing the coconut trees to get us some fresh coconuts to drink and enjoy. The smell of the fresh grilled fish is quite tempting. The table is set with different kinds of fresh produced seafoods and fruits.As I turned again my eyes to the sea, I just felt grateful. I wish these moments last forever…

I kinda missed the ripe mangoes, watermelons and scraping the fresh coconut which drips its juices. Probably I would have another round of swim before I decided to took more photos after my camera drained of its battery life. There are banana boat rides, camping, taking a nap in a hammock, and yes, shopping for sea shell jewelries!

In the beach, I don´t care about the time, all I know that as along as the sun is out there, I am free to enjoy. I don´t even bother to wear a watch.I feel alive while floating in the waters, staring at the different cloud formations,amazed by the green foliage and bushes. From time to time, distracted while listening to the waves splashing in the rocks. The weight of the waves which carries me to the shore and the seasalt taste in my mouth is enough to remind me all the goodness of life, because when I´m in the beach, I am free to think of the things that I refused to think.

Watching the boats sailing by

There are countless hours spent sailing and island hopping. I got excited as soon as we put on our life vests and the engine motor starts to roar. I don´t mind the water splash, I am at the beach anyway so I am bound to get wet either. The waters are too inviting, beautiful, glistening and the bottom is really inviting. Snorkeling is a must and I told myself to master my strength to adore the world down there.

What a beautiful world to explore the waters who holds such deep history of wars and trade, the old Japanese ship wrecks , legions of corals and colorful fishes…surrounded with jagged limestone cliffs.

The harder the access, the sweeter the find.”G.J Walker Smith

There were simple meals shared under the Nipa huts. Countless photos were taken from nature and laughing comes naturally.I´ve heard stories about the old tribes and folklore stories of each region, shared by the local guide who is quite humble and proud of his roots. Little did he know that they are super lucky, endowed because of living so close to this beautiful nature.

Life taught me that I should walk more on the seashores, forget wearing your shoes, you need to feel the sands under your bare feet, to lie down on the sandshore and take a nap, maybe built a castle and watch how the waves smash it, and perhaps,if I get lucky, I find a giant seashell to bring home or fill up a tiny bottle with sands…

Someday…soon.

Coron Bay, Philippines

When was the last time you went to the beach?

Have you ever tried diving through shipwrecks?

Life in Colour- Purple

This month, Jude is looking for Purple, the shades and hues from red to blue.When I think about Purple, I can´t help but to think of my Oxalis Triangularis plant and one of my favourite Rock band “Deep Purple”.My Oxalis are my lucky gem in my indoor jungle and I have already handed away so many babies from it. It´s magical to watch them close their leaves as soon as it´s gets dimmer and open it once greeted by sunshine. For me,purple is an ambitious colour, it is solid and whimsical, and always makes an statement. I love to use this hue in my abstract paintings and Galaxy Artworks. Personally, I love wearing purple nailpolish and yes, I have purple sweaters and as a kid I love eating Aubergine which is also of deep purple shade.

And what´s the perk of getting up early in the morning for a run? It´s view like these….purple dawn! better than Prince´s “Purple Rain” !

Lovely purple skies never fail to amazed me, too bad they are fleeting and gone in seconds.I must admit that I dared to be eccentric and love to try to wear purple hair, but then my hair was so dark that it turned into burgundy!

Purple can be yummy too, a favourite homebaked of mine, a slice of delicious Blueberry cheesecake dripping in purple sauce, anyone? One of the most beautiful sights I´ve seen in Purple is when they lighted up Kuwait Towers in shades of Purple and over here, we have a Winter Lounge in Christmas which is solely lighted in Purple lights!

Though Purple is the last color of the rainbow, what would a rainbow be without it? Running on purple pavements is a win but a bunch of purple fresh figs makes me happy.And of course, I can´t complain for the wide array of Purple flowers and blooms, they are notorious of their beauty, scent and they make every garden an envy.

Compliments to Life in Colour series by Jude for inspiring this Post. Tschüss!