A very Frosty walk

The fast few days were cold over here in Bavaria and it´s in the forecast for us to have the first snow this weekend.The air is freezing cold, especially in the early mornings . As you can see from the photos, we had a bit of Frost.Good thing I already took my plants inside which are sensitive to frost.The garden is ugly,only my Mums and the `winterhart Silberdraht ( Calocephalus Drownii) and Olender stays unbothered by the cold. I don´t have the energy anymore to rake the fallen leaves once again. Let them turn into soil this time.

Yesterday I took my morning run and brave the cold, minus 5!I took a couple of short breaks and look around. Most trees are now leafless, withering.Standing in the middle of the forest where I usually run feels eerie, the silence is really something. The surroundings are bleak and grey.There´s nothing much really to admire these days.In a few weeks, I know that this place will all be covered in white, and yes…colder.

I used my iPhone to take these photos and I´m glad they turned out well.

Beauty in the cold
Another frosted leaves
Dead but not forgotten
Touch me not..

There´s an ongoing rendezvous over Corona-Lockdown over here in Germany, (again!). Cases of infections are rising again and public mobility for unvaccinated people is being monitored and controlled strictly. Impflicht (Vaccination Law) is now imposed and yes, everyday, there´s something new so I don´t really know what will happen tomorrow or next month. Christmas markets are cancelled but life goes on…

Good thing the Frost somehow cheered me up.

How are you guys doing ?

Until then, Tschüss.

Autumn hiking in Felsentor Unteremmendorf

Charmed by natural lights from the wild forests of Unteremmendorf

So what do you call a great hike?

For days we´ve been itching for a good autumn family hike , lucky enough, I had a weekend free so then off we go.The weather was great , and after breakfast, and only half an hour drive, we arrived to our new hiking place–in Unteremmendorf . The main attration in this place is the “Torfelsen“, or the Rock Gate. It´s a natural rock formation splendour and believed to be a part of the entrace of the three castles ,named “Torfelsen“, “Saufelsen” and “Hubertusfelsen” which were believed to be owned by Messrs. Emmendorf, a family of servants from Eichstatt.There is a 25- meter deep cave that attached to the gate and we thought it is quite cool to explore it. My daughter have never seen a cave, a real one alone!

Here in Germany, names of places are hard to memorize, actually I can speak of it but sometimes it´s so easy to forget them. But knowing German grammar, when I noticed the last syllable, dorf, that reminds me of a tiny village.Well, basically this place is easy to navigate since it is in the vicinity of Altmühltal valley, panoramaweg. If you lived here in Bavaria and in the southern part like us here in Ingolstadt, then eveyone knows Altmühltal. We have explored this area so much, and it actually has a lot to offer, for every ages, all in 4 seasons.But especially Autumn, it´s in its most colorful colors which I loved.

This hike was from 2 weeks ago, when the Autumn fog and the chill outside with bright sun is really enjoyable, a golden moment in October. Now, not anymore, nearing almost Halloween, it´s all grey, dark, gloomy and cold.The other day that I was cycling to work it seemed like it´s already winter, and I don´t really care If I´m already wearing a warm boots.

Anyway,this hike was a friendly family hike for us, approx. 7 kms and as usual, we took our time and made few stops to snack and let my daughter play.This path is also famous for mountain trail biking and connected to other panorama hikes with Ruins and castle views here in Bavaria.My daughter urges to bring her hiking stick but I know that in the middle of the hike,it´s me ending up carrying it, which is really typical.

So who doesn´t need a break when the sights are this pretty?

The beauty of nature is quite simple,the silence, the trees, the bright sun, these path, crisp autumn leaves which cracks everytime we walked on it….this place is quite magical.

The lights get through the trees is simply enchanting

The first part of the hike was almost flat. We hear the sound of the gushing water in the small brook that flows from the forest into the side street of the village.We parked our car in the foot of the village and the small path led us to right into the woods. From the beginning, I h It was a quiet place, and I love adoring the small gardens filled with autumn blooms. I haven´t seen anyone else hiking, or probably they´ve taken another path.There are lots of piled woods and tree branches along the way. That was a smart thing to do, those woods will definitely give warmth during the upcoming cold months.The sights were typical, yellow-orange leaves of the trees gives us a great backdrop but then the soil was damp, muddy and yes, wet from last night´s rain.We didn´t mind that though.

Then our search begun. Searching for mushrooms and other autumn finds is exciting. From odd spider webs to unusual colorful foliages up to the dried pine cones, they are all adorable during this time of the year. I just loved how fog makes everything misty and everything else in the wilderness seemed magical.I enjoyed taking photos of them as well!

At the end of the path we´ve met few people who goes in the same direction as ours and that always gave me relief. There was also a big family at the end, with a baby, another stroller and a dog. Then came another group of older women who are busy chatting about their dogs and the weather. Then it was a perfect time to have a break and some warm tea. When we do family hikes, we always pack a warm thermos, drinks and snacks,because it always saves the day.

The viewing point did not dissapoint us, but I think the view that we´ve got when we hiked through the ruins of the castle in Markt Essing and Kipfenberg is much better.The valley looks the same, nothing special and the river Altmühl view here is quite plain compared when we hiked through Burg Randeck.

The view from the top of Unteremmendorf

We´ve continued walking, this time searching for more mushrooms. This time the path gets slimmer and some uphill.Finally weve seen the signs that we are almost near to the Rock Gate.The moment we saw the slight narrowed path, covered with fallen leaves, this view surprised us. We´ve finally found the gate.

In Winter, this path is not opened to public and no winter path maintenance. But I think it would really looked lovely when everything is covered in white…like a winter wonderland plus this rock gate!

There´s a tree where you can climb and famous photoop site and of course, my kid did not missed that!I guess the beauty of hiking actually lies on the whole fun you´ve got while you do it , the hardship, missed turns, and not when you actually reached the summit of the point you are looking for. The adventure of searching the paths and looking for the right signs makes it all worthwhile!

Just beside the Felsentor is the cave where bats and nocturnal creatures lived and hide. They are probably hanging there, sleeping so we don´t wanna disturb them. There´s a sign that this area is protected so we did not dare to go inside the cave. Also I am not really fond or excited to meet some bats at this time. My daughter was excited and curious but then she did not walked further.

Felsentor, a rock gate in Unteremmendorf
Why do moss stays “Green” ?

What I loved about the Altmühltal Panorama weg is its diversity. We´ve seen castles, ruins, huge boulders of rocks, stones, carved mountains, wild forests, caves, bridges and historical churches and museums. Everything is just fascinating and each place has its own gem.We´ve done quite more hikes from this area and it always surprises me that there are more to see. The sceneries, the wildlife that we´ve seen are all truly special. I guess this Rock gate has been important during the old times but I am personally glad that in the middle of the woods, we were able to see it during this time.

Many times, my kid doesn´t want to walk anymore, making tantrums and feeling bored .The choice is not to give up. When we looked back at this time and looking at our photos, we actually forget all the troubles and problems. Just like any other hike, when we´re going down, it gets everything easier…and merrier.

Down in the valley, we rewarded ourselves with a warm lunch in Kratzmühle which have a very nice lake view , a mini golf area and a large playground. There were lots of bikers who took their break and many families doing the same things as we do. My daughter had a blast playing there while we enjoyed some day of rest. I wish the sun continues to shine like this through the coming cold months…oh how I wish!

What a simple, lovely day.It already feels like we are back in normal.

What does makes a simple hike great—I guess it´s just a day like this!

When was the last time you went for a hike?

Until next time, Tschüss!

Guten Appetit, the flavours of Bavaria

Warning spoilers:

This is not a Foodie Blog. I am not a Foodie but I do love a good, warm meal. This post is all about what I have been tasting around while living here in the southern part of Germany, Bayern, or locally known as Bavaria. Sometimes I think that Bavaria is another land, because it is so much different from different parts of Germany, in many aspects.

Anyway,from an expat view, here´s what you can expect to taste if you happen to visit Bavaria, either for business or pleasure. Of course, food comes along always from many different reasons. From navigating and exploring all the nature wonders, lakes and German castles and palaces—people would eventually take a break, and sit together to enjoy a meal. What is a typical Bavarian meal?

In German, we call Food as “Essen“. We say ” Mahlzeit, or “ Guten Appetit ” before eating, it means like “enjoy your meal” or simply enjoy eating .Germans eat normally 3 meals a day, plus there´s something in between small meals like Brotzeit, ( Bread) and ” Kaffee und Kuchen” -or Coffee and Cake.

Beer is unanimously enjoyed while eating traditional Bavarian dishes in restaurant or in Beer gardens.

Major meals during the day are ” Frühstuck“, (Breakfast), Mittagessen ( or Lunch) and Abendessen or (Dinner, also called as Abendbrot).Here in Bavaria, there´s also a famous delicacy for breakfast. It´s the Weißwürst with Breze, a white sausage eaten with freshly baked Pretzel and with sweet mustard. It´s being served only until 11 o´clock and can be eaten in weekend food stalls or in restaurants. Others enjoyed it with Beer as well.I have never tried it myself since I am not really a big fan of sausages.

Germans are bread lovers . They do eat LOTs of Bread.

They dont mind too much carbs.They adore their hard crusted buns, croissants, and dark loafs or Dinkel.

Eating bread almost every day was really a shock to me. I am used to eat rice 3x a day before, but coming here, my taste buds were altered. At first I find their buns so hard, sturdy and I can even throw it like a stone. I grew up having soft breads and toasts so I can´t believed it that now, I got used to eating bread as well for lunch or dinner. There are so many different kinds of bread here, almost more than a thousand varieties!

I try other kinds once in a while when I´m in the bakery to discover new flavors. In every kilometer is a nearby Bakery (or Bäckerei) which sells different kinds of rolls, dark breads with lots of seeds, and even gluten -frei ones and they are open everyday as early as 7 o´clock up to 6 o´clock in the evening.

If you´re in Bavaria, you will definitely see a lot of Beer garden culture. People loved to meet in here, with friends and family, special occasions, watch football or just leisurely idle away on Silent sundays. Yesterday I was in a Beergarden and there´s a special dish from Yugoslavia. We tried the “Pola-Pola” which made of meat in skewers,Cevapcici, fresh salads and rice with sauce. It totally delicious!

Below is a typical huge platter here in Bavaria. For bigger groups and families, they prefer a big servings consisting of sliced hams, bacon ( or Schinken), breads, slices of fresh salads, tomatoes, radishes and fruits cuts like melons. This is very tasty and I specially loved the spreads and Ementaler cheese.

Of course, Bavarian dish is not complete without Sausages. Just like Breads, there are thousands variants of Sausages. I am not so fond of eating them. Only some occasional Bratwürst when we do BBQ´s and the curry wurst that my daughter love.So when you come to Bavaria or anywhere in Germany, you will definitely see some Sausages in the menu. To fully experience Bavarian food, you´ve gotta try eating Wursts at least!

A 800+ old sausage tradition in Nürnberg

Other famous Bavarian dishes are Schnitzel, Gulasch, a pork or beef stew with dark sauce ,Rouladen (rolled meat) Knödel or a ball made up of some kind of noodle and their Spätzle. Bavarian food is commonly paired with potatoes, (fried or cooked), and side dishes of Sauerkraut and fresh Salad mixes.

Schnitzel, a mainstay in Bavarian menus

I was introduced to Spätzle and we loved it. Our favourite local restaurant to go is the Weißbrauhaus zum Herrenbrau and they really served delicious dishes. Spätzle taste like noodles or pasta, only that the form is smaller and either it is fried or cooked with mushrooms and onions,we loved them both.

Bavarians loved to enjoy sitting in restaurants and eating out. Over here, there are lots of restaurants and some Asian restaurants as well, but not really arabic ones.Young people loved to snack on Döner Kebabs and sausages with a bun.

My plate is full !

Most of Bavarian sweet desserts are made of traditional cakes and pastries. A local version of Kaisersmarrn is always a good choice served with apple sauce, vanilla ice cream or berries.Over here, we love trying their different fruit cakes ( or Blechkuchen) and Apfel strudel with vanilla ice cream.German desserts is also notorious for using many heavy creams and mascarpone with their Bayerische creme top with pistashios and fruit slices.

I noticed that Germans ( or rather Bavarians) loved their cakes to have almonds and always fruity and not so much icing. Some other variants are Mohnkuchen ( Poppy seeds) cakes, Quarkbällchen, Schwartzwald Torte ( Black Forest ), Marmor Kuchen and many types of Pudding.I find their version of cheesecake made with sour cream also better than oversweetened ones.

The undisputed taste of Kaisersmarrn

Aside from frequenting to sit in Cafés and restaurants to enjoy Coffe and Cake, people around here also loved baking at home. Honestly,I have learned to baked many goodies since I came here. In Supermarkets, you can find different kinds of baking inspirations to make your own dessert or something for birthdays.I have learned the value of homemade cakes .This is so different from the culture that I´ve grown up where everything about cakes and pastries can easily be bought in store.

Then there´s this thing we called “Abendbrot”. When we don´t have a big appetite for dinner, we opt to eat soup and bread, or simply bread slices with some fresh cheese, ham or bacon slices, or with tomatoes. It is a light meal at night.

A piece of Abendbrot
Life of a third culture Kid growing up with German Breads

One thing worth of mentioning is all about customer service in Germany.They don´t have it. I have the impression that service is quite dull and very cold. They are not the ones who would greet you gladly and cater to you in the most approriate way. They are very direct and I guess, it´s just the way they are. Most restaurants accepts payments by card ( esp. during Corona times ) or less contact, but then in many areas, paying with cash is always preffered.

I have discovered new dishes since I came here and I eventually have learned to cooked them. I must say that I have finally got a taste of German Culture, both gastronomically, and culturally.I haven´t actually tried any unique street food here since street food vendors are not so common here.

Have you ever tasted German or Bavarian dishes? How was your experience?

How to say Hello in Bavaria

Is the grass really greener in Bavaria?

Prost, how I learned to drink Beer in Germany

Germany, more than Dirndls and Lederhosen

Until then on my next expat adventure! Tschüss!

Knitfiti :The mystery of Yarn Bombing

I first saw these trees wrapped in yarn from last year´s Winter. We did a lot of walking and stroll during lockdown so we actually discovered many nooks and crooks of our neighborhood. One thing caught our attention : Trees behind the Museum für Konkrete Kunst (Museum of Concrete Art) and in the area facing the Viktualienmark are covered with colorful and intricate knittings!As I was running early this morning, these trees caught my attention once again and gave me an idea–Hey, this can make it to Becky´s #TreeSquares, after all, they are trees!

Whenever I see something with art, colorful and unique, I need to check it out.I thought, how unique, creative and beautiful is this idea. It was a wonderful idea to display the creativity of the knitters of Ingolstadt.

But then, are there any other reasons or good cause behind it?

My daughter said ” Mama, maybe the trees get cold too, so they need to cover up when it´s cold..” I nodded and agree.

But what is actually Yarn Bombing?

Yarn bombing in Ingolstadt

yarn bombings main motivation is to bring life, warmth, and a feeling of belonging and community”

Yarn bombing or Knitfiti is actually the practice of using knitted or crochet yarn to cover (typically public) objects – is just one example of a range of new and creative forms of activism.It´s also called as Guerilla knitting, Urban Knitting or yarn storming.It can be anything, like bike stands, or anything of public use and property. This agenda is attributed to Magda Sayeg,who on 2005 covered her door shop handle with a custom-made cozy.Joann Matvichuk of  Lethbridge, Alberta, founded the International yarn Bombing Day, which was first observed on 11 of June,2011

Over here in Bavaria,the initiative of Tree yarn bombing in my city was presented by the Free Voters organization and local community to express their form of protest against clearing of the trees, preservation of the small city park and building of a Kammerspiele.The focus of the consideration is something to do with the renovation of the City Theater and better consideration for the artists.

So I guess, yarn bombing is actually have to do something about a cause–a reason or something to protect on.At present , there are total of 13 trees that are already “wrapped” with these artistically knitted yarns .The yarn used is approx. 60 kgs .Most of the Knitters are done by women so I guess this is a showcase of how many talented knitters we have here .I even have a colleague who happened to learned knitting during Corona Lockdown only through watching You tube tutorials…what a talent!

The thing is, it is not clear until when these trees will be wrapped in yarn. Nowadays, we have more rainy days than sunny days , it is summer and it´s really crazy weather.So I was thinking that the longer that these trees will be clothed with yarn, then it might start to create molds–which means, pests can nest in and eventually cause damage on the trees.

Do you think Yarn bombing is purely for aesthetics purposes only or not?

“properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn´t hurt the untroubled spirit either….

-Elizabeth Zimmerman,´Knitting without Tears´

I grew up seeing one of my Aunt doing ridiculously good knitting and this was captured by her daughter. I think knitting is a passionate hobby. It can even turn into a source of income. But knitting for a cause–is yet another mystery.

What do you think?

Happy weekend, until then, Tschüss!

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 Regensburg, Bavaria

Watching the boats pass by in the Danube river in Regensburg

So here´s another post for “What I have seen..” This time I´ll take you to Regensburg.

Regensburg is such a fascinating city here in Bavaria. I find it quite nice and totally enjoyable for a family day outing.I have a kid so when we visit a new city, we always consider things for kids and something for her to enjoy as well, and Regesnburg has it all.My Blog is mostly about my wandering here in Germany with my little family and how I see this place as an expat.

We visited Regensburg on a fine summer day and we had fun. We decided to take it slow and enjoy exploring the city without a rush. We had a weekend stay in the hotel because we wanted to take a boat ride the morning after to Walhalla.

There were colorful houses along the banks of the Danube River

We took the early train and arrived at Regensburg in time. Deutsch Bahn has constant train connections to Regensburg and the train ride was super smooth, this was pre-Corona so we don´t have any worries about the virus and naturally we don´t need to wear masks all through out the day especially on a hot summer day.

We began strolling the old city, with its beautiful harbor lined up with quaint colorful houses. The view reminds me so much of Innsbruck. On the same location, we had a great view of the famous Regensburger Dom ( Cathedral of Regensburg) with its two 105 meter-spires. This church was really magnificent.The other side was being renovated on the time of our visit but this church was really beautiful.No wonder it was labelled as the finest gothic Church in Bavaria.It was actually very impressive!

There was the finest Gothic Church in Bavaria

Then we moved on and walked further through the city harbor with the view of Danube river.We spent some time admiring the views of the old Stone Bridge ( which was also under renovation on the other side) and yes, the views of the Danube from this side is actually nice, with all the old wooden boats passing by is quite a sight to marvel. I looked back that the view of the river is totally different from what I´have seen in Ingolstadt, Kelheim, and Riedenburg.

I mean I don´t see them everyday so I find it really interesting.There´s the Bridge Tower Museum adjacent to the Brückturm, the last of the remaining towers of the Bridge where we saw some of the city´s worthwhile piece of history, and bridge construction works . Here we had one of the amazing view of the city as well.In the museum, there is an interactive learn materials for children so my daughter had actually great time exploring there.

There´s always so much going on in the Regensburg Harbour

As we entered the old city, we were surprised to see some traces of the Roman times…quite interesting! In the streets of Regensburg we found the town´s oldest tower, Porta Praetoria, which dated back as early as 179 AD.I realized that Roman influences is found in many parts of Bavaria as well, and not just in Trier. Actually, just like the other walls and gates,the Romans built this gate conncting to the other walls of the city and it´s quite cool to see it. I posted in my other post about another interesting street local sight here is the David fighting Goliath mural. It´s such a great mural and my daughter loves to reiterate the story between the two.

Great details of the old town City Hall ( Rathaus)

Regensburg has a UNESCO World Heritage City Hall and Square, the locals refer it as Rathaus, or Alte stadt. It really made me wonder why it was a UNESCO-World-Heritage, then we began to explore and found out why. Regensburg´s Old Town, the Alter Kornmarkt, or also known as Old Cornmarket as they called it.I´ve heardi it’s here you’ll see the oldest surviving part of the town, the Roman Tower dating from the 2nd century, and the Herzogshof, a residence of the Dukes of Bavaria first mentioned in AD 988.

Yes here in Bavaria, there are many traces of Dukes, Kings, and many Royalties!

Take me back to the Roman times in Regensburg

I am not a history buff, but sometimes a guided tour of a city is quite boring for me, plus it can be expensive. But knowing the facts of history is also another thing. So on some occasion, I love taking a decent tour. Traveling gave these options to me. I could get to know the city by it´s landmarks, at the same time, through dates and rightful events of history, same time I could have a sense of the place´s personality. I mean, I have a toddler tagged along with me so I cannot dig into history for 2 hours. But given these glimpses and important landmarks, I can now understand why people took their time to explore this city.It really worth to visit.

It does something to offer…

After passing through countless shops and colorful houses, we got back to the harbor and enjoyed some quiet time watching people and the boats.We found a playground near the VHS School so it was really a plus! In this area, you can do a lot of things as well.I´ve heard that Regensburg has the Oldest Sausage Kitchen in Bavaria (Würstkuchl) so of course we head on to this kitchen and try some local delicacy. They offer many kinds of Bavarian traditional dishes but their sausage has also a lot of history.Typical Bavarian scene for weekends is that people flocked in the Beer gardens and drink some beer after cycling or meet with friends and families.

More than 800 years old tradition of Sausage making!

Of course, another typical sight in Bavarian towns is some local musicians playing their tunes to entertain the passers-by. We found it very entertaining and the atmosphere is so lovely!

Pre Corona, the atmosphere is so much different!

Some random street musician having a selfie in the alley of the Old Stone Bridge.

Our visit to Regensburg won´t be complete without the boat ride or Schifffahrt. It is really such a great thing to do with kids to ride in the ship that cruise over the calm waters of the Danube, offering us so much needed lush green sights of Regensburg. I love cruising the Danube and I can recall wonderful memories when we did it as well in Weltenburg in Kelheim and in the most beautiful lake in Bavaria, the Königsee in Berchtesgaden.I can´t explain it but I find peace sailing in a ship, especially with a view like these.

This time, our ship took us to the majestic Walhalla, the famous German Hall of Fame. Its like the Greek Parthenon, only the German version. Its located along the Donaustauf, approximately 11km east of Regensburg. Perched high up in the hills, mighty and tall. It´s really one of the tourist magnets over here in Bavaria.

Look at that view…

Crusing through the Danube was so peaceful.We have enough space in our seat, by the window side on the right, far from large groups, so we are doing okay.The ship has great amenities and very kid-friendly. There was an audio guide tour inside and very informative but we are actually busy entertaining the kid. Our stroller has a place to stay until we embark so that was actually a plus.The price as well is very reasonable and there is an on board restaurant just in case we got hungry .I would definitely recommend this trip if you have elderly and active kids with you.

Visiting Walhalla with a child and a stroller was quite a challenge at first but we managed to make it. After embarking from the ship, there´s a small pathwalk which leads us to a main road going to Walhalla. We decided to take the short hike and it was doable. The path was a bit steep but our stroller made it. I observed that there are more families with children doing the hike so I think it´s actually good to burn some energy.

Walhalla temple is huge. Just look at how majestic it looks. When I saw it, with its giant pylons and colums, Oh men I thought I am in the old times of the Greek mythology.

Really crazy wide temple with long collonades. You need to do 358 steps in order to climb up this temple.The views above here are breathtaking. This place was built under the inspiration of King Ludwig II; the Märchenkönig, or the fairytale King of Bavaria. He is really so busy building great temples, castles and palaces during his time. I can´t imagine Bavaria now without his ludicrous yet extravagant ideas. After seeing the Neuschwanstein Castle in Füssen, I realized he had so much in his mind about building memorable temples such as the Walhalla.

Walhalla is designed by neo-classical architect Leo von Klenze, and is actually a place to honor people, persons who have done a great job in whatever field they´ve excelled. Poets, mussicians, politicians, warriors etc. It´s a huge Bust-hall of Fame. Inside, I have met some very very prominent people in German history… I think by this time it will be 130 busts and 65 memorial tablets, in total, and at least I have seen how they actually looked like.

But of course, in the center of the great hall is King Ludwig II himself.

Back to the outskirts of Regensburg, I saw many facets of the local neighbourhood as well such as great street art.this one I saw while we took a walk near the hotel and watching people cycling along the banks of Danube.

Souvenirs from Regensburg

I haven´t seen enough but at least I have a glimpse of this beautiful Bavarian city. We had so much fun and definitely loved to go back there once again.

Also,when I think about Regensburg, I would definitely remember that red Vespa parked right in front of the stone bridge, that sight is really funny for me because it was facing the main traffic and whoever parked his Vespa there, He probably had his reasons for sure.

So what have you´ve explored lately?

Until then, stay safe everyone!Tschüss!

LAPC : One Photo, Two Ways

Here´s my entry for this week´s Lens- Artist Challenge, One Photo, Two Ways where our dear clever and artistic Tina of Travels and Trifles asks us to share and interpret this theme ,a photograph ( or subject) in two ways.

“We’d like you to think about the various ways you create your images. Show us the same subject captured using multiple, different approaches.”

Well I thought about this theme, photo in two ways? Hmm, I simplified my thought and just narrowed it down to angles, perspectives and scope. I am not a professional photographer, and I am not really into technical details while taking photos. On normal days, I just love using my iphone to take snaps and my gallery is actually filled with photos of my daughter and our daily Wandertags and outings. I normally used my decent Canon camera on travels and when I really wanted to do good photos.Like sieze it and capture it, anytime!

But then I realized, I also took many nice photos using my Iphone so definitely it´s not just the gadget. A lot more. Anyway, we see beauty based on our perceptions so for me, sometimes I prefer trusting photos, and not words…but photos can also be photoshopped, or edited..so basically, anything is possible.

So enough of my babbling, Here´s an example how I see my subjects with two different interpretations.

St. Bartholomä in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria

I´ve seen hundreds of photos of this beautiful chapel in internet while I was researching for our trip to Berchtesgaden.Most of them are taken with the angle where it settled with the whole landscape surrounded with Königsee, the Watzmann mountains and the harbor. But I realized why not take an “up close” shot where the two cupolas are actually kissing each other and looked like sausages bundled to each other.

Oh Yes, my architecture views are sometimes twisted.

But then, here´s another perspective of the church, the one that I actually envisioned in my mind. In this shot, the whole view shows the 3 onion like cupolas, very imminent, plus the tower behind it and I was actually pleased with the result.I tooked this shot while I was still in the boat and approaching the harbor. Here, the geometric forms are much emphasized while the other photo shows the ” strength” of the boulder-like structure of the chapel.In here also, the fine details of the mountains, the lake and the lush surroundings complement the aesthetic composition of the photo, and not therefore completely blending with the subject.

St. Bartholomä in Schönau, Berchtesgaden, Bavaria

“Photography helps people to see ” – Berenice Abbott

Another example to show my photo in two ways is actually just using some common sense. As a viewer, I tend to quickly notice the “grand”, “big” or “flashy” side of the subjects. We are born to be easily attracted to these objects where our senses immediately detected. Just like in this photo, I clicked my camera because I love the view of these Virginia creepers creeeping to the walls of Botanical Institute in Münich .I just noticed the greens because it´s so immense and having the look of nature.I guess this photo helped me to see more than the climbers itself and also took notice of the stonework, the facade and the detail of the stone work in the Iris Garden.

That´s why I am actually glad that I took another shot, but this time focusing my level shot on the stone work. I still noticed the green nature surrounding it but my attention was shifted to the expression of the stone work. I guess the saying above is true, taking pictures really helped me to see more..to search more, and to perceive more.

Iris garden in the Botanical garden in Münich, Germany

“The two most engaging powers of a photograph are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.”
– William Thackeray

Iris Garden in Botanischer garten -Nymphenburg in Münich, Germany

“Wherever there is light, one can photograph.”
– Alfred Stieglitz

And lastly, my favourite element to play while taking photos is how Light ( natural light) makes different versions of my photos. Light here is so vital that I have taken lots of photos with the Yellow Raspöl Fields but I always get different versions.But I love all of them.

Here´s one taken with two different phases. Same fields, different angle, same skies, a little bit of time lapse and switching the direction.

Which one do you like?

Light here played an important factor to create the “drama” effect, or something like ” Oh it looks like rain!” but still, the fields are beaming with beauty. The landscape is very catchy… On the other photo below, light was reduced, and the silhoutte of the trees creates a borderline of different tones and mood.

Is it dusk, or dawn?

“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.”
– Joan Miro

In the end, when I looked at these last two photos of Yellow fields, I am actually reminded of the many times I have seen them and different weather of my time of visit. I was reminded the first time I saw it, for the very first time in Spring, and when I am deeply in need of inspiration. I have seen it actually in many different ways.

What do you think of these photos? Did I ever make sense in here (Lol!)

Thank you so much Tina for the inspiration and for the chance of little photo reflection.Its a pleasure to take part in this fun-engaging Challenge.

if you have more time to kill, please do check her amazing photography, lovely stories and bright lessons through her wanderings.

Until then, stay safe everyone, Tschüss!

Summer cycling and Spray painting (La Tour De Schmierage 2021)

Die Bunten (Skem, Wesk & Marc Sund)

Today was really warm, 29 degrees . I know it´s warm because the local swimming pools are jampacked , fully booked and everyone is surely out for swimming . Either they´re cooling down in the lakes, rivers, or at luxury of their private pools in their gardens.Our own garden is now occupied with our little inflatable pool, plus a slide.My daughter loves to swim there and it already starts to be small for her.Actually she can´t actually swim there, she can just splatter herself and do breathing exercise under the water.But I guess that´s the real essence of beating the heat for children–water fun and more water !

They will stay there probably as long as the weather permits!

Medusa, is that you?

I totally forget that I came from a very humid and hot tropical country, and to think that I have lived in one of the hottest regions in the world where I survived 40+ deg temps.Yes, we survived with AC´s, ventilators, and lots of times spent swimming and staying indoors.

City cycling, Graffiti Art and a bag full of good vibes.

Here in Germany, people are already complaining once it´s 30 degrees! It´s funny because everyone complains about the weather whether it´s sunny, raining or freezing. The other days we have thunderstorms and rains, and now, we are sweating like crazy. It´s very seldom that houses here in Germany have airconditioning.Every house has a heating so everyone stays warm in Winter.

Loveletters (Rusl, Dater & Nilko) working

Anyway,this Sunday, another quiet Sonntag as usual, but we decided to do something active and fun.We participated in the Stadtradeln Ingolstadt 2021 (or city cycling) where we cycle and count our distance to save energy and prevent more Carbon Dioxide(t CO2 ).I think it´s a very good cause and it encouraging everyone in our local community to hop on to their bikes and simply burn calories, having fun as a family and being active.We definitely love cycling ,so it was really fun to do this. My little Miss is happy with her new bike so she´s letting off her own steam. In our city, this active campain runs from June 26 to July 16,2021.I just realized how nice it is to see people getting by mingling with others again, cycling from here to there, moving on to normal life again.

Not only local residents are encouraged to cycle everyday, but also the politicians. They are also encouraged to hop on to their bikes and look for themselves, perhaps they can see far much better improvements and what is better for the city…new and better roads, perhaps?

or more cycling paths..?

Angry Gorilla? DFM Crew Germany (Dyset, Tesa34 & Batik)

As we cycle, we went for another fun activity, a Graffiti Art quest!

I feel so excited about this because I am a huge fan of Graffiti Street Art. So after getting all the locations ,we drove our bikes to the different spray stations of the “La Grande Schmierage“.This year, though in Corona times, they launched another beautiful and really cool Graffiti Art campaign all throughout Ingolstadt City ” La Tour de Schmierage“!

And yes, I was not dissapointed. They were all super cool and it really made a difference to me. How they transform empty, boring walls into something so creative is really impressive. I wrote about them about their project “Hall of Fame” and now after 2 years of break because of Corona ,they are back again , full of creative ideas and inspiration.

Mars and Moe at Halle 9, “Der Dach ist der Hut” ( The roof is the hat)

We cycled out after we had breakfast , that´s the good thing because the streets are still empty.By the time we went back, the streets are now packed with people on their bikes. I smiled to myself , thinking I am really living in a cycling culture .Both old and young, and children, everyone just enjoy pedalling in two wheels. The soft summer breeze is so nice under the shady roads, but around noon, the sun starts to sting already .It´s definitely summer.

More Graffiti works by great artists of La Tour de Schmierage.

Some walls and establishment looked quite dreary, but after the new Graffiti art totally transformed the place and exudes new appearance. An old restaurant, bar, facade, and a boring electrical box are now beaming with colors, alive and with intricate details of happy activities, creativity, animals, creatures, and lots of symbolism.

Can you recognize which Greek/Roman Gods are they?

After being out for about 4 hours and cycling with a 6 year old , we rewarded ourselves with our first Beergarden Lunch. On our last stop, there´s a nice little playground under the shady trees and as we sit there, I remembered the months of quarantine, endless lockdowns, and being stuck, eating at home. I was happy that restaurants were finally allowed to reopen and reviving their business once again.We are starting to do normal things again.I know that it will still take time to finally feel at ease with crowds without the fear of this scary virus, but then…

We opt to hope for the best.

This is how my typical Sunday spent. How about yours?

Until then, Tschüss!

Take me back to Malerwinkel St. Sebastian Church-Ramsau

Do you go to church?

Ooopps, perhaps this is a invasive question but i think it´s very normal to ask someone about it. The answers could be varied though…

The iconic and idyllic picturesque Malerwinkel “St. Sebastian ” church in Ramsau, Berchtesgaden.

If you do…when was the last time you visited?

Anyway, few weeks ago, we saw this beautiful little chapel in Ramsau called “St.Sebastian” and I´ve heard that everyone was raving over it. I´ve got to see it before my own eyes. They said it is the most photographed landmark in Ramsau, and became quite famous for cover magazines and travel destinations in Germany.

I wonder why even former US pres. Einsenhower himself even painted this landscape…?Why is it so special.

St. Sebastian church -Ramsau

Then we drived to Ramsau and visited this church, not only once, but twice. Ramsau is very near to the hotel where we´ve stayed when we visited Berchtesgaden so it´s along the way.Too bad we weren´t able to get inside because of Corona restrictions.

Seems that the idyllic setting of this church is quite a catch. Behind the chapel is the Watzmann mountain, and a river flowing and a great backdrop with a iconic wooden bridge.I heard that it has become a favourite subject for landscape painters and photographers.It´s called “Malerwinkel” because it´s so picturesque that many artists uses this backdrop as an inspiration.I found a beautiful Ramsau Gallery here.

My favourite version is how it looks in Winter.

Growing up, I am a church- goer. Probably not by choice but as a kid, you were taught to obey and you do what you are being told.In Philippines, almost 80% of the population is Catholic and going to church is actually a big part of our culture. It creates a certain stigma that “one must” repent and spend meditation or prayer times and observe Sunday as worship day.Over here in Germany, Sunday is a “Ruhetag” , a silent day, for relaxing, and not making “too much” noise, there goes the unwritten rule of not mowing your lawn.

Idyllic landscapes in Ramsau, in Berchtesgaden National Park

As a small kid, my grandmother would tag us along every Sunday, and attend the Cathechism classes. Aside from the religion classes we have at school, we do so many routines in the church, like reciting the Rosary, observing the Lent ( Holy week) and so much more. I have memorized all the prayers and sitting in the church every Sunday, observing and watching the priest do the ceremony and take communion as well.

I remember that we look forward going to church and have this childish behaviour of sitting backwards facing the next row so I could see the other people. I am happy If I saw someone that I knew ,a classmate, a neighbour, or maybe my crush, perhaps! Our old church is quite beautiful. I love the choir and I often spend times meditating there.

I still remember it´s interiors, especially the paintings on the ceiling and the engravings on the wall. I spent so much memories in that church because first, me and my siblings were all baptized there, so as my cousins.I would glance up in the ceilings and trying to decode what the images means and yes, inside the church, I felt calm and safe.

The first church I´ve visited here in Ingolstadt is the Liebfrauenkirche . It´s a 15 minute away from where I live and I went there for quite many times, but not for worship.There´s also a nearby church to where I live, a 5 minute walk and I went there during Christmas mass.Religion and worship is another culture-shock for me here.Nobody talks about religion, or asking if you went to church, or what are your beliefs.They talked about politics, football, and rock concerts, but not anything about religion. Churches became like museums, a tourist attractions.

But here´s the thing; I pay taxes for being a Catholic.

Truthfully, I am quite amazed just how big the cultural gap that I am living into. I have no personal problem with it. Here, churches are really really beautiful, the architecture and history is enough to make someone captivated, Gothic or Renaissance it maybe, churches here in Germany are something that I am always fascinated with.

Do you have any unforgettable church experience?

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!