The beauty of Wheat Fields in Bavaria /FOTD

Exploring my neighborhood is always a joy to me. Everyday I found something unique about it. From where we lived right now, we can experience the best of city life and rural indulgence such as sights of different fields and the modern amenities of the city.For me, fields here in Bavaria is a normal sight. In Spring, we enjoy the vast fields of wild flowers, the endless Yellow Rasp Fields, and in Summer, we are lucky to cycle around the Red Poppies stunning fields, Sunflower fields and the Wheatfields. Of course, our summer won´t be complete if we don´t visit to the Spargel (Mushroom) and Strawberry fields! Another top field to explore is the green paradise of the Hop Fields—the green gold in Bavaria where the key ingredient for Beer is from.

So you see, we have a LOT of fields over here. Every season, it´s different except in Winter where fields become a place for sledding!

I decided to compile all my Wheat Fields nature photos and share it here in my Blog so here are some of my favourite photos.I realized that Wheat as well produce flowers, which is called “Florets“. . Florets in wheat are very small , inconspicuous and green. They are arranged in an inflorescence called spike of spikelets.It can make it to Cee´s FOTD-Flower of the Day Challenge, though not in the garden but at least it´s in fields!

As a foreigner living here in Germany, a sight of Wheat crops is quite a surprise to me. I grew up seeing only fields of corn and rice fields but here, I was acquainted with Wheat .No wonder that Wheat ( 20,2 million tons/year-2018 data) belongs to the top 3 agricultural crops that Germany produces, making it to 10th place as world producer.

While Wheat is the largest crop followed by Barley and Rye, some fields are also planted with beans, potatoes and other agricultural crops.For me, It´s a joy seeing them while I am running and cycling through them while they are still green from late Spring to mid Summer.

By late Summer, these Wheat fields turns into “Gold ones”.They exude an exclusive natural beauty in the morning mist, on a foggy day, after the rain, and even covered with spider webs!

A single Poppy flower among the green wheat crops and a lovely sight of Wheat Florets. (Wheat fields in Bavaria/Justbluedutch)

I found this great video below explaining about the Beauty in Cultivating Wheat in Bavaria. Quite not a surprise since “Weizen” (Wheat in German) is essential here for making bread.Bread is a stable product here ,I mean we even eat Bread for lunch & Dinner! Germany is actually a Bread country and (Brot-German word for bread) consuming carbs is a significant part of German cuisine. Living here made me eat so many bread for the past 5 years. It´s quite shocking when I found out that we have about 600 main types of breads and 1,200 different types of pastries and rolls are produced in about 17,000 dedicated bakeries and another 10,000 in-shop bakeries.

So you see, Wheat fields explains the beloved German culture of “Kaffee und Kuchen” ( Coffee and Cake).

They even study and do constant researches to make Wheat “fit” to climate change!

Today, I did my morning run and I stopped for a while to admire them again, wet from today´s rain. I just realized that in every 1 square kilometer area of this wheat field, out of the 18grams of seeds planted, it produces 800grams of grain, and eventually roughly around 500 grams of Flour (weizen mehl) which can make 23 yummy German buns! Every sunday, I cycled to the bakery and buy 4-5 buns to enjoy in our Sunday breakfast!

What´s your favourite type of Fields?

Until then, I´ll be writing more about my life here in Bavaria in my next Posts.

Danke und Tschüss!

What I saw in Amsterdam

Does it always rain in Amsterdam?

I love Amsterdam. All its noise ,trendy shops, charming but very busy street life. There´s something about the charming canals through the city, and the lines of beautiful Architecture of Dutch gable houses that makes the city such a magnet for international visitors.Looking at each windows and tiny doors with detailed porches and balconies adorned with lights and blooms makes such a statement.Well, at least I love it. Dutch are not so fond of having curtains on their houses so most windows are see-through. There´s a unique sense of it!

There´s something about this city that really captivates me but one thing for sure, the bike culture in this city is so enormous.Everywhere I see bikes, bicycles,or Fiets as they locally called it, and they all come in different forms.The children of my sister-in-law all grew up riding their bikes to school and to everwhere else. It´s like when you don´t know how to ride your bike, then it´s a big handicap! One thing, Dutch people are not so fond of wearing Helmets while riding their bikes, which is very unlikely here in Germany where even pre schoolers wore their helmets!

I guess they are not bothered by wind either!

Life in the Netherlands in two wheels!

Now I can´t imagine walking to this city without a sight of these bicycles, and the coffee shops, and the provocative yet always “trendy” restaurants and Cafe´s along the streets.Just like Germans, Dutch people also loved to sit and have a cup of coffee and a slice of a cake, or Apple pie even in midday! There´s always time to take a break, and simply enjoy time outdoors with friends and families.Sitting in circles? yes, that is actually very typical Dutch!

Life in Two wheels
Cool street Art and Graffiti

What else have I ´ve seen? Hmm, In Amsterdam, there´s always a time to have a sip of traditional Dutch beer and stroll along the canals.There is no Beer gardens like here in Germany but people also love to sit under a shady outdoor restaurants, with a view of the canals.They are busy drinking wine at 10 a.m, having Kroketten for breaksfast and Bitterballen.

How do people kill time? People watching, admiring the blooms and count the countless “Lovelocks” hanged on each bridges.I guess it´s very common as well to have a feeling of “Coziness” or “Gezellig” even just by lying on a picnic mat and killing time in Vondelpark or sitting under the shady trees near Museumplein.

I love AMSTERDAM

I saw people screaming and climbing on giant letters. Definitely a “must” for every Instragram worthy post or story.Toddlers can learn early their ABC´s!

Summer in Amsterdam
Flowers, Tulips, cheese and fine Dutchies

Though the beautiful fields of Tulips is in the countryside of Lisse, Amsterdam has it´s own Flower attraction in the Flower markets in the old city.There I have seen so much variety of flowers and different bulbs whatever you called it. From decorative flowers to significant varieties, they have it all. I love these dried flowers in particular.They even have their own National Tulips Day in the middle of Winter .It is held on every third Saturday in January!

I can´t get enough of Dutch´s Golden Age

Of course, exploring Amsterdam always made me appreciate more of the Dutch Golden Age of Contemporary Fine Arts. A visit to Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Rembrandt House would definitely quench your artistic hunger and satisfy your curiosity.I visited the Rijksmuseum with a toddler and it was a success. Pre-covid, everything was quite different but nowadays, visiting a museum requires early online bookings.

Amsterdam is a place where I have got to know more of the Dutch culture and it´s masters from 20th century up to the Middle age up to the modern day Artworks.World-famous highlights from the Dutch Golden Age, including Rembrandt van Rijn’s Night Watch and Johannes Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, can be admired at the Rijksmuseum.

Vincent van Gogh

During our visit, the museum was quite packed that mit was actually hard to get a full glimpse of the Night Watch, but with little patience, we enjoyed admiring every little details of it. This painting was so beautiful and the use of lighting is really superb.

From bicycles to boats

Boat houses, sunbathing while boating, drinking and having lunch on a boat is quite a typical sight in the canals of Amsterdam.We visited around summer so I have seen it all. If you have time to kill, you can have your own boat experience and live like a Dutch cruising the canals as well.

Museum of prostitution?, anyone?

Probably not for everybody´s taste but Amsterdam is a very liberal capital. Besides the Family friendly strolls along the canals, there was quite an adult show, which came to us by surprise in the Red Light District area. I gasped at the sight of it but now, I fully understand why it is so. For first timers, this might come a shock to you. A sight of scantily-clad women in bright colored windows having a parade show might not be a suitable sight for young children so you need to plan your walks if you pass by to this area.

There´s always a light at the end of the canals…

If its not for your liking, you might skip this area and turn into the other parts of the city. This is a city with intertwining bridges and small nooks where the choices are endless.

Dutch Gable Houses

If you see the same Gable Houses which you have seen before, don´t worry, they might actually looked all the same , but there are quite a number of them and you are not lost.As long as you have the canals on your sight, you are still definitely in Amsterdam.

Lavenders, Hydrangeas, and more life in a boat in Amsterdam
What´s your size?

Aside from Cheeses and hand made delicious Praline chocolates, I have seen thousands of these wooden clogs and souvenir- kinds in Amsterdam. I got myself one so I guess I have been strucked by Dutch´s charm.

Ciao Amsterdam!

Do you like this Post? If you have more time to kill, then you might be interested how and why Dutch loved their Wooden Clogs and their traditional Spekulaas cakes.

Ever wondered why the Yellow Cube Houses in Rotterdam are such a tourist magnet? Or why Keukenhof is the most beautiful Spring Garden in the world? I still have so much to right about what I have seen in Amsterdam but then I reminded myself that yes,I almost forget to mention, actually, my husband is Dutch!

What´s not to love about the Netherlands, anyway? It´s The Netherlands, the land with more Bicycles than people!

Have a happy week, stay well & Tschüss!

Echo Valley and the Hanging Coffins

Hanging Coffins in Sagada, Philippines

I was rambling thorugh my gallery and saw these photos. Reminded me of my adventure exploring the Mountain Province , Sagada, in the Philippines.We went cave spelunking , hiking, and swimming after discovering perfectly hidden waterfalls, but none of these brought a nostalgic memory than this sight.

Hanging coffins–what a weird sight.

It´s my first time to see such things. Everything about the dead and burial practices are no interest for me, but I practically was curious why such practice is being done here.Of all places, they hanged all the coffins high up above, and even labeled them. The local guide says that we can´t go near to this place so I just zoomed my photos to have better capture. Although I must say that the forest surrouning this valley is really beautiful.

A burial practice that is over 2,000 years old.

I have never met the local tribe, tried mingling thorugh the market but I guess I can´t distinguish enough who are the locals since I don´t understand their dialect. Me & my friend started our early hike and upon reaching the “Echo Valley”, our guide asks us to try yelling, shout loud to test the Echo thing. We did as we say and it was really working.

Too many strange things, and very old cherished practices.

As we gazed through the other direction, the view of the coffins really surprised us. We´ll of course we´ve heard about it but seeing them for real just gave me goosebumps. Such a beautiful place with so much virgin nature .

I have heard that the local tribe has many rich stories about all of these graves-or coffins. They have chosen this higher place, high up in this cliff, to be able to be close to eternal heavens. The dead chose this place to reast for eternity. The guide mentioned that there are far many more hidden coffins among the cliff tops of the valley, all sacred and undisturbed.

I tought about how they have brought it all up there…

Before the Spaniards came to Philippines, there was no Christianity. No one is Catholic. The old generation worshipped nature and spirits called locally as “Anito”.The locals believed that the spirit of the departed ones can still be reachable even when they are already deceased. That they can asks them for guidance by conducting spiritual “rituals” and prayer.

And nature is their best hiding place…

Just a normal sight in the Echo Valley, Sagada

In the remote areas of Sagada, people are still practicing this burial practice but nowadays since most of the population in the Philippines are Catholic, this kind of culture is discontinued.

Another short story about cultural Heritage, what do you think of the Hanging Coffins?

Hiking through Burg Randeck Ruins

View of the Essing old Town in early Spring with Burg Randeck Ruins on top

This is the first hike we did this year, I mean out from Ingolstadt. We visited Essing before a couple of times in early Summer, during the peak of Corona Lockdown. Now we are back again, still in Lockdown ; but for another reason than sightseeing.With strict Corona measures and restrictions, the places we´ve been through are all outdoors, where we did almost hiking and walking.

Good thing about Lockdowns,we adapted to slowing down, staying outdoors as a family.Apart from cycling together,we opt to go to nature parks and go hiking, exploring the old cities since there is no other places actually to go. Museums are closed, play grounds are open but only the one outdoors.Nothing else to do.

In this hike, we aim for four things ; hiking with a view, seeing Ruins and Castle, and doing some exercise, lastly, and most important–having fun!

Driving to Essing from Ingolstadt takes about 45 mins. We parked and started our hike that assumed to be good for families with children. It´s about 7,7km and is doable with small children from 5 yrs old up. It can´t be done with strollers so it´s not suitable for very small children as there were steep stones and cliffs. During our hike, the temperatures were mild and most of the paths are in shaded trees so we really enjoyed it.

Some Ritter ( Knight) wood engravings we found inside the ruins of Burg Randeck ( Essing)

The first 2 km we walk on flat grounds and going steep. The paths are well marked and plenty of tree views to enjoy.As soon as we reached the vast field, we took a break since the Little Miss already starts to whine. She kept on insisting to look for a playground but there isn´t. Good thing we opt to tell stories and do quizzes once again to entertain here.

Below is the photo of the wooden bridge that we visited from last year. From here, you can have a beautiful view of the Altmühl river

Typical and very Bavarian landscape, Jura cliffstones, quiet and serene flow of the River Danube and a row of quaint houses along the banks of the river.Cycling through this path is really one of the best outdoor activity that locals and visitors loved to do.

There´s so much to explore in this wilderness. We took our time to spot early spring flowers, counting and checking out Bunnies and even had a glimpse on a garden with pools. I actually don´t know if it´s part of the river but it is quite beautiful.

The crackling of leaves on every steps makes the rhythm. We feel exhausted but we kept on. Holding on to branches of trees and rocks saves us always from slides and fall. In the end, we just smiled and laughed at our own sillyness.

I saw many families are also doing the same hike like we did and it just made me smile. I hear the same tantrums of the kids same as what my daughter did and I just smiled.Looks and feel familiar in every way. One practical tip, engaging your child to participate in a quest, like looking for Knight and swords signs, or who could be the first one to spot a Knight sign then receives a reward is a great motivator. It always works and effective.

What a view…finally!

There are many activities that can be combined in this area. Here´s a sample of our itinerary and the places we´ve explored that is tailored to be family-friendly.Altmühltal offers a variety of activities for all ages but below are some of our personal favourites!

Getting up close and personal with Tyrannosauros Rex in Dinopark in Bavaria and some fun times digging out Fossils!

Combating Vertigo and Climbing into the green forests in Beilngries

Watching the mighty Falcons fly high and a beautiful view of the Rosenburg Castle in Riedenburg

Cruising into the Donaubruch and having a sip of Beer in the old Weltenburg Monastery

or simply admiring the biggest Crystal in Bavaria in Crystal Museum in Riedenburg

There´s still so much to explore and to see…until next time, stay safe and have a happy week to you all.

Tschüss!

Alpine Fairy tale Hiking to Salet-Obersee-Fischunkelalm

We´ve found a Paradise in Obersee

We are still high from the dramatic beauty of Königsee and then out of the blue, we are again rewarded with another shock of natural doses of beautiful landscapes from our beautiful hike to Obersee in Salet up to Fischunkelalm. Actually, Salet is the last stop for the boat trip we´ve had in Königsee and St. Bartholomä.This place is actually remote–meaning, it can only be reached by boat. There are no villages near Obersee, only the few Beer gardens and the Fischunkelalm.

Yes, there is no other way you can see this lake, only through the boat company who runs the tours through Königsee. But then, let me tell you—it is really worth the trip because this place is simply—the alpine paradise in Bavaria!

“It´s not the mountains that we conquer, but ourselves ”

I think I lost count of the different shades of greens, blues, aquamarine, turquoise, and teal colors when I saw this place. They say that the tougher it gets going, then the wonder power gets real. What is true about hidden paradise is that maybe the reason why they are deeply tucked into the mountains so it is well sheltered there.

From the time we step out of the boat, I already started hearing people saying ” Ohhhh” ” Wowww” ” Sehr sehr Schön ” ” Wünderbar“, I , myself included saying these words. I still think my photography skills deluded the naural beauty of this place. It is really worth every step to see this place. Well , with hiking with a view like this , who am I to complain?

” A walk in nature walks the soul back home..”
” There are no short cuts to a any place worth going …”

Of course with a little hiker with us, we took our pace. We stop to admire the universe of moutain peaks and listened to the choir of cows making their own thing. With the crystal clear waters of Obersee, we saw tiny fishes swimming It´s probably that they are also rejoicing, hearing some noise after a long pause because of Corona .

My neck kinda hurt from looking up and admiring the moutain views. The rocky formations are so incredible and imagining how a Moraine separated the Königsee from Obersee.Either way, both lakes have their own charm.

We´ve done so far so many family hikes but hiking through Obersee in Berchtesgaden became our number one choice now. For now.We are already thinking of coming back and seeing this place once again, probably in Autumn when the foliage is more colorful. The hike through Obersee is a great experience, at least for us. For such a long time in Lockdown and confined to only nearby hiking destinations, the sight of Obersee takes away our breath and all our worries from Corona.

This place is definitely worth the hike even with small children. Although I personally would recommend to wear your little toddlers instead of bringing a pram since the ascent path to the Fischunkelalm is not accessible with strollers. The photo below is the one I took just after we passed through the flat hiking path before we continue the steep flight of rocky, muddy steps heading to the Fischunkelalm and Röthbachfalls.

Hiking adventure is one of those thing you can do only if you have the determination to do so.

Crystal clear mirror like waters reflecting the mountains creating a perfect Apline fairy tale views, that´s what Obersee is all about. In every angle, I can smell the clean air, the crisp sound of the trees, and the excited steps of nature walkers like me.About the hike, it starts at Salet and ends there as well. The hike length is approx. 8km ( 5miles ) and classified as medium difficulty. It is doable with kids, and I personally recommend doing this with little children.

The uneven rock steps with only a cable support for hand might be a strain for elderly and for families with very small children. The ascent and descent path is one way so it would be really challenging. I noticed this because we travel during the times of Corona so we are still practicing social distancing. The path is rocky and slippery so small children should be guided accordingly.But then, I have seen so many families doing this hike so it´s really worth the hike.

After hiking for almost half an hour, we´ve passed through cascading river, beer gardens, wandered through the lush forest and finally we´ve reached the first resting area. This boat house is quite famous, it´s the image of Obersee, its all over in Instagram and causing quite a traffic in this point. People are waiting in line to do photoshoots and families lined up with heir kids to do selfies .There are banks and tables for people to sit and rest as well.Now I understand why this spot is really worth a photo.

Finally, after a adrenaline hike, we finally reached Fischunkelalm and this view awaits us.I could stare for hours at these panoramic views. So peaceful, tranquil and beautiful in every sense. Families packed a picnic and sitting near the banks of the lake is quite a beautiful thing to watch. Couples hugged each other and taking selfies beside the lake, and some sit and enjoy a cold beer in this unique setting. Children pets the cows and played with them while others play with the waters.

Pretty mushrooms along the way

While trekking, I spotted these rare row of mushrooms on a tree bark. It looks so pretty with light purple color surrounded with lime green moss. Its amazing how nature surprises us in many ways. As we continue our hike, we sing a song, did a quiz to entertain the little one and with a few pops of Gummy bears, the drama and tantrums came to an end.

Upon reaching the Fischunkelalm, we decided to grab a drink and have some snacks. The menu is limited but everything is delicious.We tried their local delicacies of bread with fresh cheese, bacon and some drinks.This is the stop point as well to completely admire the whole view of Obersee surrounded with stone mountains and reflecting waters. This is where I actually get some space to to snap photographs without the crowds.

My daughter busied herself talking to the cows and playing with other children. She was quite thrilled when she heard that some kids are speaking English so she decided to make friends. She played for a while near the lake banks while I got busy taking photos and admiring the views. The water is still so cold but feeling them with your hand is forgivable.I guess in peak summer months, one can enjoy dipping their feet in this glorious lake.

At this point, stretching for another half an hour, one can continue hiking (1,5km) through the mountain pastures that leads to marvelous view of Röthbachfall, Germany´s highest waterfall (400m). Seeing this waterfall, we were reminded by our thunderous experience seeing the Krimml Waterfalls compared to this one.

A panoramic view of Obersee with the enigmatic Boathouse

Our feet are aching at the end of the day and our faces are red from the sun, but definitely, our hearts are full and glad.We started heading back to Salet to wait for our return boat trip. The last trip departing from Salet is 5.10pm, (on peak season 5.40pm) take note of this last departure time because there is no other way to go back to Schönau unless you are prepared to pay for around 250 Euros for a boat to pick you up!

Some practical tips on visiting and hiking through Obersee :

  • Don´t forget your camera. It´s such a shame if you don´t caprure these wonderful nature.
  • Start early, especially if you are traveling with small children. The mid- path going to Fischunkelalm can get lots of traffic as noon time approaches so this can strain your child. Bring plenty of snacks and drinks to keep them hydrated.
  • Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes, preferably closed. The rocky parts can hurt your toes and you don´t want to go home with blisters and cuts. Layers are recommended to wear. You can also discard a light jacket once it gets warm and hot.A hat and sunscreen is always a great idea.
  • Go to the bathrooms and wash hands frequently before doing the hike. The cable for hand support on the face of the moutain is used by thousands of people who hike there so be aware of personal hygiene.
  • Decide early if you want to go to St. Bartholomä first or hiking through Obersee. The earlier the better to avoid the long queue lines on returning to the boat back to Schönau-Königsee.
  • Bring some cash–it´s always wise to bring cash since snacks from the Fischunkelalm is paid in cash only.
  • and lastly but very important —Bring lots of Good Mood!

What is your favourite hiking adventure?

Have you already traveled during Corona times?

Until then, stay safe and have a happy week. Tschüss!

Königsee -Schönau,the heart of Berchtesgaden National Park

Königsee majestic views taken from the Jenner Bahn (1,874m)

I am super excited to share about our family trip to Berchtesgaden which is also called Berchtesgadener Land.I totally fell in love with this place at the moment I saw it. It looks even more beautiful than the photos I have seen in internet.For a moment, I thought I was in Norway seeing Fjords but then it´s just right here in Germany! Berchtesgaden is definitely a heavy tourist magnet in Bavaria , especially during the summer season .We are lucky enough to visit it end of May so the crowds are still manageable and the temperatures is still enjoyable.

In 1978, Berchtesgaden was declared a National Park no wonder everywhere I looked, everything is clean and the nature is quite well preserved.

It is located southeast of Germany, near the Austrian border, (Salzburg 30km) ,180km away from Münich and connected through A8 and is easily accessible with inter city trains. It´s quite famous for Königsee, the cleanest lake in Germany , and the second deepest to Bodensee ( Lake Constance), with a depth of 192 m (650 ft).This lake is so unique and beautiful in every sense that it even retains its cold temperatures even in summertimes.Königsee or King´s Lake can only be explored through the electronic boats which is run by Königsee Bayerische Seen-Schiffahrt. I highly recommend to book your tickets online and early as possible since this place can get really crowded and packed.

Very charming boat houses in Königsee

We booked our tickets online and got there early, around 9:30 am to avoid crowds.The Corona Testing stations are located near the entrance and the one beside Mcdonalds in Seestraße.The parking area is large enough but I noticed that during lunchtime, it was already packed. FFP2 masks are required inside the boats and everyone was really observing the regular hygienic measures.The boat trip is stroller friendly and also handicapped persons are welcome on board.Pets are also allowed provided they wear nozzles. Unfortunately, bicycles are not allowed.The boat tour starts from Schönau, then make a stop in St. Bartholomä and goes further to Salet. All the timetables and boat shedules are clearly indicated in here so it´s really good to plan your trip to avoid missing the boat.In general, all boats trips goes every 30 minutes.

A beautiful world in greens and lush waters

Berchtesgaden is a national park so private boats, fishing, and camping are not allowed. They only allowed electric boats to preserve the cleanliness and silence of the lake.With the water temperatures, it is not really ideal to go swimming .

There´s a very informative audio guide tour while on board so everything is actually well narrated about the lake and the surrounding nature. One of the highlight of the trip is the “Echo of Königsee ” (at the Echowandcliff) which is interesting as we heard the mimic echo sounds played with a Flugelhorn.

Königsbach Waterfall

Through out the sailing, our hearts skipped a beat because the scenery is really beautiful. The boat glides gently and creates soft ripples through the water. With the majestic views of the Watzmann mountains, cascading waterfalls, and evergreen forests, we surrendered to the power of nature. The beauty of nature is beyond words.

During the calm boat ride, we feast our eyes on the beauty of Watzmann, the 3rd highest in Germany, 2,713m (8,953ft).We saw another side of this mountain aside from the views we have in our hotel.the Watzmann Ostwand is the highest cliff in the Eastern Alps and stories says that almost 100 mountaineers have lost their lives there. So climbing this peak is actually not for the faint hearted.

The boatman shared an interesting legend which my daughter found so cool that she kepts on asking what happened to King Watzmann. I said, probably, He´s still bad and did not repent so He´s still a mountain up to this day and guarding the Königsee. The legend says that King Watzmann is the highest peak, his Queen is the second and their seven children are the smaller peaks in between.Unfortunately, he was a cruel ruler so God turned him and his whole family into a stone.

The entire boat trip from Königsee Seelände to St. Bartholomä is approx. 35 minutes. This is the first stop where you can depart the boat and have a hike in the area surrounding the church and the lake shores.From St. Batholomä, the boat goes further to Salet which takes again another half an hour. We stopped by here to check out the check but unfortunately, because of Corona, the church was closed for public so we just have a short hike around it. The views are breathtaking as ever!

View from the dock harbor of the St. Batholomä Church

This little Baroque church in the peninsula of the west shore of Lake Königsee is quite admirable. It was built from 17th century and it´s idyllic setting makes it even more peculiar. The architecture is so unique with its two onion domes and a red domed roof has the floor plan after Salzburg cathedral.We take a look around and my daughter enjoyed feeling the cold waters and hiking thorugh the large boulders of stones along the shore line.

Emerald blue waters of Königsee

Königsee is so clear that the water quality is like drinking water. Just looking at the waters is really relaxing and how I wished that all lakes would be so clean like this.

This Fjord-like lake is 8km long and up to 3/4 miles wide reaches a maximum depth of 192 meters. It is really deep! I saw many tourists in a rowing boat and they looked so small in the middle of the lake.What amazes me more is its unique emerald color which cames from dissolved mineral deposits which breaks the sunlight on a beautiful sunny day. High above viewed from the Jenner Bahn, Königsee lake is quite deep blue in color which creates a very picturesque view.

This stop also allowed us to take a breather and relax with a view. There are charming beer gardens, restaurants with serves traditional Bavarian foods, plenty of bathrooms and infinite nature vista of Königsee and the outstanding mountain peaks.

The rock formations ” Schlafende Hexe” or sleeping Witch

We´re quite amused to know that on the right side of the boat we are rewarded with another fascinating view. This is the rock formation of the “Schlafende Hexe” of the Sleeping witch.Legends tell that these rock formations resembles a witch who lie on her back. When we drive back and on the area going to Bad Reichenhall, this view is actually in front of us. The whole time we are talking about how prominent the nose of the witch and probably someone already hike and reach the peak of her nose!

My daughter loves Königsee very much and she adores the mountains. Once we reached Salet , it´s almost nearing lunchtime. Good thing that we took our snack in St. Batholomä before we go on our next hike through Obersee. There are many families doing this hike so she was quite entertained that many children of her age are also doing some fun hike with alpine views.

We took our own pace and enjoy our time hiking , making frequent stops taking photos, creating memories along the pristine views of the mountains and azure blues of the lake Obersee. I highly recommend that you wear adequate clothing and plenty of layers just in case it gets windy and sudden change of temperature. It is always good to wear proper shoes as this path going to Fischunkelalm is quite rocky.We brought enough water and snacks so we can stop and make a picnic whenever we wanted to.

“To walk in nature is like witnessing a thousand Miracles” –Marie Davies

Exploring Berchtesgadener Land

Great news, we are finally able to do traveling again.

Fresh air, lush mountains and crystal clear emerald lake

I have always wanted to see Königsee in Berchtesgaden for a long time. I have long heard from friends what beautiful nature paradise it is and I can´t wait to see it by my own eyes. Besides, we are really looking forward for proper hikes and just being out in nature. It´s still too cold for swimming but the thought of lakes and boat rides is so tempting.As the temperatures starts to get warmer, the more that I am itching to be out…to explore and to safely travel again. Of course, with Corona, it was not so easy. It really felt odd. I feel uncomfortable just the thought of being in a large crowds and mingling with people once again. The idea of having contacts is somewhat exciting but then the worry is still there…

There were so many “What if´s” ….

A much need breath of fresh air and hiking together

I am telling you, It felt really strange to pack a suitcase once again. I don´t even know where to start…

What to bring?

Of course, masks and dinsinfectants are present.

But then our excitement grows more and more…so we decided to book ahead , pack our stuff and go !

View of the Berchtesgadener Alps from our hotel room

We kept on checking the updates in Berchtesgadener Land for the re-opening of Tourism so we can book our hotel. Luckily, from last week, hotels and vacation houses finally reopened and Königsee reopened for Tourism. These includes the boat rides, cable cars, tours and everything. Some attractions remained closed during our visit but then we didn´t mind it since we planned to stay outdoors as much as possible.The less crowds, the better. We took note of the current Corona situation and scheduled daily Corona Tests just to be sure.We are already partially vaccinated but then we opt to do a PCR test just before leaving since it´s also required for our hotel stay. Schools here in Bavaria have two long weeks of holiday so we are definitely looking for something to do with kids and just be out from the house and staycation in Berchtesgaden made is simply a heaven for us.

Berchtesgaden is quite a great choice for a family staycation.It´s located in the southeastern part of Germany, almost near to the border of Austria ( 30km), south of Salzburg and only 180km drive from Münich.We drived out early, so we reached Berchtesgaden in time.Throughout the planning, I was totally stressed out thinking about the weather and what do we wear. It was predicted to be rainy, cloudy and yes–not so good so I was really frustrated. It would totally ruin our itinerary.But then we pushed through it, and I was really thankful that we are blessed with wonderful blue skies and enjoyable temperatures for the coming days.

It was perfect!

Can´t get enough of these beautiful mountain peaks

Lovely weather, fewer crowds, it´s just perfect time for lots of hiking and enjoying the glorious nature.

I wanted to share this post for families who are planning their first vacation and Staycations with smaller kids.I think it has been quite stressful for everyone but then I am glad to post more positive experiences during this time.The scare and anxiety is real but then I think we all deserve something better than worrying.I was totally happy seeing my daughter singing happily, hiking in the woods and dreaming of playing endlessly under the sun.

Malerwinkel Hike in Berchtesgaden

On the positive note, I must say that I am quite impressed by the system.We felt at least assured since the normal Corona Hygienic measures were strictly observed in Berchtesgaden. When we arrived at the parking area of Königsee, I noticed that there were quite a number of tourists, probably because it is “Ferien” or school holiday. The hotels requires a negative Test results and only in- house guests are allowed to dine -in and eat in the restaurant. The touristic places have very clean bathrooms, complete with Disinfection stations and there were lots of Schnell Tests Stations or ( Corona Quick Test). Doing these tests made us feel assured and safe so it´s really a must to do if you are planning to go on a trip during this time.

Here, ticket purchases can all be done online and reservations are quick to do as well so it really saves us time.

Prost!

And lastly, we were able to finally sit in a Beer garden, but luckily, this time with a majestic view of Watzmann and Hochkalter mountains!

Did you already tried traveling during Corona times? How was it?

Wishing you all a great Sunday, and stay safe. 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!

All for the love of Turquoise Cannons

The Face of a War Cannon

Let me take you to another fascinating nook in my neighborhood.This place is special because it´s where 17 Torqouise war cannons are displayed. They can be found in the front yard of the Bayerische Armee Museum.Museums are still closed up to now over here so we can only visit the grounds.The Bavarian Army Museum is beside the Neues Schloss or the New Castle.

The castle grounds is in spring mood. Cherry blossoms are blooming and the view is quite picturesque. The grounds are filled with yellow and white Narzissen and surrounded with birds chirping about .Picturesque enough that it deserves a photo.

View of the New Castle in Springtime, Cherry Blossoms and bird-chirping weather

My daughter is a history buff at the age of 6. She loves to read World History, and everything about important events in the history in Germany and of the world, including wars and other significant events. Believe me, if you asked her about famous presidents of the USA; she will elaborate it to you. I am embarassed when she asked me when was Abraham Lincoln born and why he died.

Who was the first elected, the youngest, the oldest and of course, how and why did they died.I wished I have her memory…I really do.

Normally when we walks, she talked a lot. She just can´t stop talking.She loves to stop for a while and read signages, especially writings about famous person, buildings and places. Even the roman numerals she wanted to decipher. Then we came across the billboard near the castle where it says ” Formen des Krieges” ( Forms of War) and then she asked if we can take a look at the grounds because she wanted to check if the cannons are still complete. She knows how to count, actually she´s very good in it so she can never missed it.

So we began another explorations of the Turquoise Cannons. Her favourite color is Turquoise so I promised to her that I called them Turquoise War Cannons.

Then I wonder why the cannons have faces of Lions,not really like a beast but somehow one looks more like a dog, wailing and waiting to be fed.With heraldic Lion´s head, it´s no wonder. They symbolized the power and strength of this animal. It´s also used in many sculptures around here as well in the Bavarian flag.

Actually this is one of the first places I´ve visited since we´ve moved here and I am always fascinated with it.From all of the relics of war that I usually see in Museum, especially war canons and weapons, they looked dull, black as granite, and cold.

Why would you even engrave something so intricate when you would only load large iron balls in it and shoot to destroy enemies?

I mean, cannons are weapons of war and used for defense and attack. It´s a weapon to kill, not to display some kind of art.

But I think these ones are used for decorative purposes only.

In the time of Pandemic, the castle grounds is so quiet and empty. No people around except us. But then I still asking myself why would they made such cannons with Lions faces, and engraved them so intricately with animals, flowers and even faces of Kings (Kaizer) .I´ve seen quite a number of cannons in Kuwait when we visited the Failaka Island, the bottleneck of Gulf war and other museums in there, but nothing compares to these war cannons.

Friedrich von Gottes Gnaden ( Wilhelm IV von Preußen)

Good thing they are in Turquoise shade. If they would be in dull bronze color then they would be so boring.

Memories of war

Looking at these canons made me realize that war before is definitely ugly and bloody. A pair of these cannons are named “Scherer and Schererin ” weighs more than 9 tons! They are not to be joked upon. Imagine how large and expansive the War Defense Arsenal in those times.

My little girl fascinated with war canons in the Fortress Castle of Salzburg
Why war cannons are in best locations for optimum target.

Thank God war is over…and hope that cannons remains for touristic purposes only.

It´s a rainy, gray Monday over here, hoping on your side it´s sunnier.Tschüss!

A dreamy tipsy walk in the Vineyards

Panoramic views in the vineyards in Mosel Valley

I´ve seen it all often in movies and it still reminds me of romantic settings. Acres of Vineyards, beautiful, serene landscape, lush valley and quaint neighborhood, sunkissed grapes, people hold hand in hand and walking through the 8 ft wooden stakes grape vines, and savouring one of the best joys of life.

Nature and wine goes hand in hand, as always.

Panoramic views in the Mosel Valley

These views are glued into my mind, ever, especially the beautiy of the Mosel River flowing gracefully. I always loved to reminisce fond memories. This one in particular was when we visited the vineyards in the Mosel Valley. We explored Trier and Bernkastel-Kues as well. I loved walking through the long, colorful and narrow streets lined with quaint timbered houses.But walking through the vineyards is another experience.

This one in particular was in the area of OzannMonzel where we drived up to the ruins of a castle and we took a walk through the acres and acres vineyards. I was totally in loved of the sight of grapes, bunches of them. We visited around August, late summer time so they are still in course of ripening up before they are ready for harvest in Fall.Everywhere I see says “Weingut” or Winery.

Germany has best of both worlds, having best beers and also world renowned types of Wines. As I walked into the supermarket, I see that you can already have a good white dry wine for 5 Euros! While in other countries, wines can be brutally expensive and only people with money buy them and reserved for special occasions. Over here, you can never go wrong if you visited another household nd carry a good bottle of wine.

Growing on the rich Devonian soil which stores sunlight and minerals.

Visiting Mosel won´t be complete without wine tasting and glimpse of a Winery.We actually stayed in a Ferienwohnung ( Vacation house) which is being run by a family with winery business.At the moment we arrived, we ´ve got to taste their own selection of Riesling wines that I particularly loved. Personally, I am not a drinker, only on occasions. But I love a good glass of white wine.

When it comes to wines, the ones in the Mosel area are the ” Riesling specialists”! given its location, most vineyards are on a very steep locations.Today half of the vineyards are on steep and terraced sites with a slope of over 30 degrees, some planted at an astounding 70-degree gradient. Given this location, nearly all grapes have to be picked by hand. That includes tying each vine to its own eight-foot wooden stake, and carrying up the slate soil that has washed down with the winter rains. Very labour-intensive and a true sign of dedication to cultivating unique wines

Panoramic views of the Mosel River

Besides Riesling, other grape varieties were cultivated here.Today about 5,000 vintners cultivate roughly 9,000 hectares of vineyards, making the Mosel the 5th largest of Germany´s 13 wine producing areas.

I am grateful enough that besides a beautiful travel destination, culinary and winery offers it´s best in this region.Of course, wine tasting is excellent and you should never miss it!

Rivaner (Müller-Thurgau) is the second most important grape variety that is being cultivated here and Elbling, an old grape variety on the Upper Mosel, may have been cultivated here for 2,000 years. Fresh, fruity and uncomplicated dry and sparkling wines are made from it.

Grapes, Grapes and more grapes everywhere!

Grapes grow almost everywhere!

I have never seen an area without a climbing grape plant, even near the church and cemeteries there are grapes, really incredible!The old town was so quiet and we don´t mind it because we never liked crowds either.After a walk in the vineyards we´ve got to visit some nearby sights in Bernkastel Kues and the beautiful Burg Eltz castle.

IMG_1034

Walking through the vineyards made me laugh because I remember the movie ” Wine Country” directed by Amy Poehler.It was a comedy film with Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph.It´s a hilarious film narrating stories about these women and their friendship and of course their sugar- coated lives which were about to be revealed during their get together  group trip. There were lots and lots of crazy funny scenes but there were also stunning views of the vineyards of Napa Valley. 

Hopefully we can visit once again soon once Corona is gone….

Yes, sometimes in life, all you need is a good glass of wine, friends and a good time!

Do you have a particular taste in Wine?

Prost…and Tschüss.