Petrichor or the smell of snow?

Ever wondered what´s the smell of snow? or the scent of the pitiless cold in winter? Coming from a place where Winter doesn´t exist,I would really like to know what´s the scent of a snowflake and now experience tells me a lot…

Anyway, the other day, I was watching a series and there´s a part where the lead actor says “Come, let us see the wind..”, the lady answered

How can we ever see the wind?” says the Lady.

“Of course, we can, let´s come to the field of Reeds, you see them dancing, sure thing, the wind is with them..” the man replied.I realized that our sensory glands tells us exactly what is happening or even right before it happens.

You see, I live in a small town here in Bavaria and I am telling you,I always go out on the first day when it snowed.I don´t know why, but I just kind of knew the smell of snow…especially the fresh snow. Probably a kind of habit I´ve picked up through the years?

This year, snow came early. It falls on weekend so definitely I decided to take a nice walk .I told my daughter that I will show her how to smell the snow.She laughed at me and said “Oh really!?, howwww? ” I am not really sure how am I gonna do it but I´ll try.Good thing, I don´t need to wear my mask when I am outdoors.Feeling excited, I brought my camera as well with me, just in case I see something nice from the usual sights that we see everyday.

I decided to wear my thermo, just in case I stayed longer outside.I have been running now for 3 times in a row where it rained and snowed, and icy cold as well and it really felt great.I got used to exercising outdoors with minus temps but it´s actually different when I only walk.

I don´t wanna cringe when my feet starts to feel cold so I worn my warm boots, prepared to walk through the fresh snow, and muddy snow later. Of course, with a kid with me ,then it might take a while longer. We didn´t bring her sled since i guess the snow is not that thick for her to go down the hills. Probably next week, or maybe tomorrow.

As we step outside, I found my daughter, clad in her red snowsuit, already sitting in a pile of snow and asking me to help her build a wall. I said what for? She said, she wanna build a wall that extends to an Igloo or something. I really love her imagination. After I brought her to school the other day when it started to snowed as well, she said to me “Leave me some Snow, Mama, I wanna play with it later…”

It makes me even wonder…”why do children loved the cold too much?” Or am I getting old? They are all super excited to see snow and play with it, They can play outdoors building snowman and snow ball fights for hours and hours.

I felt the cold in my cheeks and it´s not even winter yet, but yes, our neighbourhood is transformed into a lovely winter white scenery overnight.The smell of the snow is so pungent, it reaches to my nose, I can´t deny I need to wait for more than 4 months again after we see the face of warm sun again. German winters lasts long, I know it for sure.But somehow, I kind of sense that something might happen, like snowfall.

I ´ve got to get my facts straight so I actually researched about this.I actually enjoyed listening to the Podcast explaining a lot of Physics behind this so I wanted to share a bit of things I´ve heard.

 "On an ordinary winter day, the air smells dry and maybe even dusty. 
Plus the cold and pressure change stimulate the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve sends information that isn’t the same as scent, but is often associated with it (e.g., the coolness of mint or the heat of hot peppers). The end result is the human nervous system perceives a difference in the weather that may account for the smell of snow."

While walking past through the houses, I find it cozy that they leave the lights on. Some have nice Christmas decorations and lights–how fancy. It means, everyone must be staying in longer today and enjoying a warm breakfast together.My friendly neighbours are busy shoveling the snow in their front yards, as if more snow might come soon.Here in Germany, we are obligated to clean the snow in our driveways.The lines of cars parked outside are all covered in thick white snow, like a blanket of overnight madness.I guess the snow from the shields won´t be scraped up until noon today, or best, let it just melt.

My daughter opens her mouth and started to eat the snow that falls on her face. She looks quirky doing it, like a hungry dog waiting for his morning feed. We´ve seen lots of dogs being walked too, so I shouted ” no yellow snow!” you know what´s in it!”

"These elements—cold weather, humidity, and a stimulated trigeminal nerve—combine to create something that isn’t an odor, but a sensory experience you’ve come to associate with snow. That’s why when asked to describe the scent, people often use words like “clean,” “fresh,” and “cold"— a.k.a. things that don’t have much of a scent at all." -Podcast : Physics and the smell of snow

As we reached the footpath of the nearby park, we heard children´s screaming.Its not only us who heard the news. More people are outside , playing and are eager to smell the snow as well.We head on to the field and decided to roll out a snowball. It´s a yearly family tradition. Snow is bound to be rolled, smelled, tasted and turned into something else.

The mighty sun is timid. He never peaked or shined, throughout the day it stayed gray and dark.Almost a melancholic snowy day.I won´t lie that I really get excited when the sun starts to shine, but today is not my day but then, it wasn´t actually bad; at least we´ve got to build our first snowman.

"Snow that falls over a field may smell earthy, perhaps bearing a lingering scent of grass. Snow that falls on trees carries the clean scent of terpenes from the plants, including pinenes, limonene, myrcene, phellandrene, and camphene. So, snow in rural areas smells fresh and maybe even a bit woodsy."

I looked at my daughter and laughed, her suit was totally drenched on the outside and she was having a grand time. She had probably ” smelled the snow” by now!

Until then, Tschüss!

Wordless Wednesday

Life in Colour : Floral Koleidoscope

The world is a kaleidoscope¹ of colour so this month let’s celebrate that with the brightest / most colourful images we can find.What a grand way for Jude to wrapped up our year of wonderful palletes of colors.This time, I found some beautiful natural koleidoscope in one of my favourite place—nature!

¹(Something that is made up of a lot of different and frequently changing colours or elements)

To find out more about this year’s photo challenge here on Travel Words, please read this post.

Silent Sunday

Wordless Wednesday

Hello from Queen Viktoria in Münich

Viktoria plant in Nymphenburg Palace gardens in Münich

No, I´ve never met the Queen of England, though I would love to say Hello to her if I´m given the chance. On the other hand, I am a certified fan of Queen, of Freddie Mercury´s music, especially his Live-Aid performance, I can´t get enough of it: I have watched it actually a million times.

But then, this Post is not really about the Queen, although…

I´ve met a very special living thing, a couple of months ago. Her name is Viktoria, spelled with K in German and with C in English. She is not like my everyday normal green friend like my Monstera Deliciosa or my Pilea Peperomioides, but rather a special one, a rare breed of a kind.Münich is the place we´ve met and throughout the entire time, I can´t take my eyes off from her.

Look at her huge leaves, like huge Paella pans, I mean even more bigger than that.Viktoria plants are really one of a kind wonder. Have you heard that they can stand a weight of 2 human beings?!You´ve got to see what´s under it´s leaf, it´s an example of nature wonder.

How on earth do they keep on floating? Not an exaggeration but it´s leaves are perfect in diameter, the radius is exact in perfection…

Coming from the family of Water lilies, Nympaeaceae, even their names are too hard to spell and remember.As a kid, I have seen a lot of water lilies, but not this type. I´ve seen them as quite fascinating for a plant. The common ones I played in the little pond of my Grandmother. We would poked the leaves for us to clearly see the giant Kois and golden fishes, the waterlilies are just sidekicks.

Never I have seen such a wide-leafed variety. Certain type can be 3 metres (9.8 ft) in diameter, on a stalk up to 8 metres (26 ft) in length!

I mean , I thought the Anahaw palm (Saribus rotundifolius) can be that wide, around 1,2meters, enough to cover your head like an umbrella when it rains, but this one is even huge, aide from the fact that its floating! They say a baby can even sit on top of it ?…I wonder if it´s true though… but Wikipedia helped me to confirm this.

Round beauties swimming and floating

The leaf of Victoria is able to support quite a large weight due to the plant’s structure, although the leaf itself is quite delicate: so much so that “a straw held 6 inches above and dropped perpendicularly upon it would readily pass through it”.[3] To counter the fragile nature of the leaf, the weight needs to be distributed across the surface through mechanical means, such as a sheet of plywood. This allows the leaf to support up to 32 kilograms (71 lb).”

Amazing, right!??? But hey, would you risk putting a baby on top of it?

This types were coincidentally named after Queen Victoria of England.Which made me wonder if they have some Victoria plants in Buckingham palace.Well at least right here in Nymphenburg Palace in Münich, they have lots of Viktorias! They lie flat on the water, have an upturned hem and on the underside a network of strong, prickly and air-filled ribs. A toddler can easily sit on a sheet of paper. My favourite so far is the green one with an upturned hem, the Viktoria Amazonica, the largest of water lily species in the world and a native from the Amazon River basin. No wonder, it´s kinda exotic and wild.

Something about them that really fascinated me. Again, I seek the help of Wikipedia, the lily, with ribbed undersurface and leaves veining “like transverse girders and supports”, was Paxton’s inspiration for The Crystal Palace, a building four times the size of  St. Peter´s in Rome.

My visit was even made fabulous when I´ve met some more of the exotic flowers in the Viktoriahaus. I don´t really remember their names, but they all look weird, crazy and exquisitely beautiful.Do you know any of them ?

She looks rather coming from the Genus of Hibiscus, I am kinda familiar with her look.
They all look like tiny hungry mouths, waiting to be fed.
She just dangles and entertain us

What´s the most exotic plant you´ve ever seen?

This Post is inspired by Cee´s Flower of the Day Challenge

Oh Molens..and the Dutch National Windmill Day

I know there is indeed a National Tulips Day but a National Windmills Day ?

This one is very, very old.

When I married a Dutchman, of course I got curious about Dutch culture and life in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, we don´t live there but somehow to it´s neighbour ,Germany.Although through the journey up until now, I find so many quirky things about “How-Dutch-people-do their-things” compared to the German culture that we´re living right now.Still, I have found great fascination with many typically acclaimed “Dutch” things.Let´s take for example their beloved “Molens” or windmills.

The Dutch love their windmills so much that they have even dedicated a special day to them. Apparently, every year in mid-May, the country celebrates National Windmill Day, for which windmills throughout the Netherlands are decorated with flowers, figures of angels or Dutch flags, and doors are thrown open to visitors. Hmmm, probably they will serve some freshly baked Dutch apple pies then.

The National Mill and Milling Day is an annual event on which more than 600 wind and water mills and pumping stations are open.

A fine one standing in Kinderdijk in the Netherlands

I got properly introduced to Molens in my first visit to this country. Arriving in Schiphol, I was greeted with Dutch icons–tulips, clogs, windmills and cheese! While exploring the local neighbourhood, and looking for a playground, I saw that many gardens with miniature windmills in their garden. I find it really nice.With a toddler in my hand, we had a quick hike, climbing up to the oldest Windmill in the area nearby.I have seen one fine old Windmill, there´s no doubt! It´s not operating on the time of our visit but was good enough to explore.In Holland, the sight of traditional windmill is just as normal as seeing cows, sheep and goat pasturing freely in the countryside.I find it idyllic though.

Up close and personal with one of the molens in Kinderdijk

Seeing rows of Windmills in the Unesco World Heritage siteKinderdijk“, translated as Children Dyke a few years back brings me back good memories.One thing, it is very windy, very very windy. Of course, there are approximately 19 huge windmills in this area.But then, these windmills produces very little turbulence. I thought for a second that they generate a sort of wind power, but then I was mistaken.

Kinderdijk is also the site of the old St Elizabeth’s flood, where Kinderdijk actually means ‘Children’s Dyke’ after a cradle had been found bobbing up and down in the water after the flood with, what is assumed, the house cat keeping the cradle steady.That´s how the history started.

I guess these polder makes this country so unique. Even without the UNESCO enlisting, these Windmills serves a common purpose.I find it quite interesting how the Dutch approach to prevent and control floods.This was necessary because the Netherlands is 26% below sea level. Windmills were also used for sawing wood, grinding grain and spices, making paper, and pressing seeds for oil.

I was reading the book that my husband gave me and was surprised to know that there are more than thousands of these windmills are still intact today.Now that´s another reason to explore the others.

I had the chance to see what´s in side of the windmill. There is also a tour for visitors to take and learn more about the mechanism and the art of operating it. Pre-Corona times, it comes easy and no hassle.Visitors can actually climb up, see the pumps and see what´s going on in there and I found it all super interesting. My daughter would probably never remember that visit but she had fun there. There was an interactive museum, a place with some farm animals or we called it little zoo , and a local neighbourhood where you can have a glimpse of the old days.

The place is very picturesque, even better in a fine clear weather. Unfortunately during our time of visit, it was summer time but the weather was like in Autumn, with lots of wind and grey.

A very windy and grey weather

The oldest from the windmills here is the “Blokker” which is actually dated from 16th century. Up until now, it´s standing there. One thing I noticed were its unique sails, they are mosty open and wide.They said that the sails were used before as a means of communication between the millers.On festive occasions,such as Dutch´s King´s Day, locals would decorate their windmills with flowers and colorful flags.

My parents in law were locals but it´s actually their first time to visit this place with us. They even thanked me that I have found this place online and urged them to visit this place together as a family. I guess seeing tulips and windmills were their everyday cup of tea but a little trip won´t hurt.But no, they were never able to wear a real wooden Clogs in their lives.

For them, windmills are part of their lives and will always be…

Glad I found another interesting thing about this country which is flat as a pancake! But yes, they have one of the best gardens in the world I must say and Amsterdam´s canals are not that bad compared to the Venetian lagoons.

Until then, stay safe everyone, Tschüss!

Life in Colour : Schwartz und Grau

Two more days and November is gone. The weather itself is always gray, wet, and gloomy,nevertheless, I managed to find more Blacks and Grey around me.Quite surprised and realized that there are really many things, normal things around me in this colour especially in the natural surroundings.

Every Grey stone tells a story, Stone Figures in Hessental

Thank´s Jude for hosting this Challenge. If you like to know more about this Challenge, head on to this wonderful page.

Anyways, while I was browsing in my gallery, found this old photo of a dead bird..lifeless, a sad sight. I don´t really like seeing dead animals, but you can´t avoid seeing them. Sometimes, ran over by a car, or I don´t know really what happened.

A grey ending…

Spotted these rows of Fungi, the color is crazy, but black stints is so fascinating.

And the times where there is no rice cooker yet…

Of course, my daughter adores Ninjago and Lego so Cole, the Black Ninja needs to be here, as per request of the Little Miss.

Have a peaceful Sunday everyone.Tschüss.

Silent Sunday

Ciao, bella Venezia.

Venezia-The magical City of Bridges, canals and Gondolas

Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate film set suspended on the water.“ – Frida Giannini

This is a very late post about our visit to Venice but really worth sharing. Let me start by sharing some photos that I took myself with my camera and share about our wonderful experience in this city .I had a secret wish after this holiday.

If I have the chance to choose another place to live, I would like to live in Venice…

Laundry time in Venezia

Venice, as I see it!

The first word that I have heard when we entered ” Veneto ” is Ciao and Prego. We had a quick stop to look for a Gelato shop , you see we can´t wait to have it.Me and my daughter are having fun looking out for signs if we are in Italy already so when we finally see the sign “Veneto” , we are super excited! She can´t stop saying “Ciao, bella Venezia!” of course, with an accent.I think they are lovely words, don´t they. Not like all the stiff German words that we speak everyday. Very appropriate for daily conversations with the locals, like Ciao Gelato, Prego Salami Pizza or Spritz, and yes, Grazie!

Walking through the city on water

Venice is incredible. Although you may have seen it in pictures, you can’t grasp how beautiful it is until you visit.

Gino D’Acampo

Our first sights of Venice were the speeding boats, the canals, and the architecture. The Grand Canal, the autobahn of Venice is busy.View from the train is just a normal port, docks, and a koleidoscope of parked cars and motorbikes. I need to pinch myself reminding me that all of what I am seeing is real. The architecture is sublime. The Gondolas are beautifully crafted. The stillness of the lagoons are far even better than the pictures.The magic starts when we walked through our first Bridge–Ponte della Constituzione.We call it the glass bridge because it seems like we are walking on glass, with fishes underneath.

Another colorful laundry day in Venice

In front of us is a rush of Venetian BaggagePorters, or the Portabagagli.They have this cart where they carry heavy luggages in their back for the tourists who decides to stay in the city of Venice.I heard the price can range to 50Euros per luggage and another 10Euros for other extras. I kinda ache when I see them. Those bags are heavy and needs to be carried through all those steps.Their job is to carry your trolley bags through the 400+ bridges, depends on the location.I only carried a backpack, my camera and water and yet I got tired of it. But these people need to earn their living and thrived on Tourists.

Only in Venice, A Serenade at 10 am?

When I seek another word for ‘music’, I never find any other word than ‘Venice’.- Friedrich Nietzsche

It´s hard to describe Venice in one word, but the word beautiful will do, in many many ways.It´s also complicated but very mysterious.Anyway, for me Venice is unique, eccentric, and unforgettable. Why?, I used all these adjectives because I think this place really deserve it. There are millions of articles and stories about this place also travel blogs written about it, but I guess you´ll never really understand it unless you see it with your own eyes. The moment we get out from the train in Sta. Lucia, the smell of Venice is quite different, it doesn´t stink at all as what I´ve read about.The Lagoons, the port, the boats, the crowds, and the hustle and bustle in “Rialto Bridge” is really amazing, plus everybody is just happy and smiling, at least people are not bothered by Corona anymore or at least they remove their masks while doing selfies.

There´s always a story to tell, tells the Godolier, probably I will sing as well.

We visited in times of Corona so we took it really slow, walking low key and opted to escape the crowds as much as possible.At least in the secret alleys where few people gathers, we can have all the photos we like.It only takes a few minutes then people would come out, our teritory is not ours anymore. But we can´t resist as well the charms of the grand Palazzo Ducale and St. Mark´s Basilica in the famous San Marco as well as the colorful island of Burano.We even found a garden, a little park but the playground were fenced. I guess it´s not our lucky day to play in the playground.

Transported into another time, another era but it´s really good to be lost.

A challenge though, finding the narrowest alley can be tricky , maybe yes, or maybe not, google maps might not work.But then if you managed to do that, then you are definitely enchanted by Venice. In the end, it´s okay to get lost.

The trouble is, walking in Venice becomes compulsive once you start. Just over the next bridge, you say, and then the next one beckons.

Daphne du Maurier

When I read the quote above, I knew that it explains exactly what I felt. The moment we started walking, we always ended up to these famous places, as if we are really destined to see it.It comes naturally like we don´t care.It´s crazy because when you walk in between the tiny streets,looking up the charming Venetian houses, it´s like a big labyrinth, a maze that you can only solve if you continue to walk, it´s actually the only way to know your bearings.

Riding a Gondola can be pricey, but definitely worth it

The Gondolas have their own charisma, that is really a fact. The thing is, you are not in a romantic movie, you are in Venice.Isn´t it amazing to see nowadays a boat being manually-driven? A boat which makes so little sound and you can´t hear a single motor roar? Watching them smoothly glide from the narrow canals and lagoons is really interesting. The Venezian masks and Gondolas were like a page in history and yet seeing them for real was like a time-travel for me. The romantic ambiance in this city is just so real and yes-unfiltered! Watching couples doing selfies always fits in every bridge, in every corner.

Where are the cars?

We parked our car in Tronchetto and we rode a train to go in Venice and at this point I still feel that we are in a normal city.It´s still amaze me that everything in Venice is navigated only by boat, water Taxis, Vaporettos and Gondolas. There are no cars, no bikes, no scooters, no train or bus.Rain or shine, winter or fog, any weather, people ride their boats and commute on water.

After all, Venice is best seen through the waters.

Many times during the day, I have seen an ambulance (in a boat form!) numerous times speeding through the Grand Canal and all the other boats are making way for it, just like in the normal highway and Autobahn. Surprisingly, water traffic is also real and was amazed that they also have speed limit .In general, vaporettos (water buses) and traditional wooden boats tend to take it slower than water taxis.

As far as colors are concerned, well Venice is a great pallette.The colors of Venice are very rustic, gold, and the houses along the canals looked old, rugged but it it just the way it is, since they are almost 2000 years old! Every little nook, quaint tiny windows where the Gondolier´s uniform hang is quite a magical sight to watch. There are no cars but you can see different boats . I have seen many abandoned houses which kind of looking creepy, but then I wondered why it was abandoned. The rent is so steep that the locals can´t afford it anymore or they are just driven out of it?Sad truth though…

Canal Grande seen from Rialto Bridge

Imagine living in one of these houses in front of the Grand Canal and witnessing the daily chaos everyday? But first, any day won´t be complete without “Gelato“.We found this little nook, totally forgot it´s name, but their Gelato were really good. I am not so fond of ice cream here in Germany but ironically I love Gelato.I´ve heard that most Italians prefer their Gelato as a late afternoon snack and after dinner treat.The person in a “Gelateria” serving it is called “Gelati”.

A sweet taste of Fragola Gelato

And why eating Gelato three times a day is like a dream for children, and adults too. Of course, we can´t say no to this region´s pride-Tiramisu!

A myriad of windows, canals and boats

Why every corner, every nook is different from the other?Many times I though I´ve already seen it, but then it´s just different from the others.

Tourists and locals going on along like an endless charade, a real life Opera. Inside the water bus, I stand beside an old lady with a little girl which I think at age of 10. They have been shopping,as I saw the plastic bags full of vegetables, fruits, and other grocery stuff. They both wear mask as we did. They are headed probably back home or might need to do another stop-over. Across me were a young couple, they speak Spanish and needed help with the camera, they wanted to make a selfie but couldn´t find a right angle.While the rest of us are busy clicking our cameras and admiring the houses by the Grand Canal, they are living their everyday errands.

I wonder if they are also amazed by how wonderful their city is? For them , a boat ride means doing things to be done, and for us yes, sightseeing, an exhausting time to see what´s need to be seen, collecting amount of photos and memories.

I am a lover of Architecture and in Venice, I have seen what I can handle, well almost, but I think I haven´t seen everything. My favourite so far was the Doges Palace. It´s the place where the ruling council resides. We had a tour of this Palazzo (thanks to the rain!) and I was totally even more amazed by it´s history and interiors. Grandeur is an understatement to describe this place. The bridges who connects houses, palace, gardens and people is an enigma to me up until now. Inscripted in the walls of the Palazzo Ducale is NVNQVAM DERELICTA, means “Never abandoned”.These words stands rightfully to Venice, considering how many siege it endured.

And if you look closely, some sights really have fascinating stories. I didn´t know that the Bridge of Sighs , the Ponte dei Sospiri connecting to the Palazzo Ducale to the New prisons over Rio di Palazzo has something interesting worth telling. It´s in this bridge were the prisoners have their last beautiful view of Venice before they go to their cells, as Giacomo Casanova tells in his memoirs. An old tradition also says that if a couple kiss in a gondola beneath the Bridge of Sighs in Venice at sunset while the church bells toll, they will be in love forever.

The Bridge of Sighs, Ponti dei Sospiri in Venice

Can´t get enough of Venice´s reflections on the water

I hope to see Venice once again, with it´s vibrant life, probably see it more in the nightime or in not so busy summer days, with its charm and less tourist drama.I spended 3 days in this city and yet I am still curious. My time was so short compared to this city´s time span-400 A.D! I think it´s impossible to truly understand Venice´s immense history and culture within a short timeframe…maybe in that time I would understand why the locals tend to always talk with their hands, why drinking Espresso is a golden time and why their masks seemed so alive.

The fantasy of Venezian masks

Time had passed so quickly….so there it goes, Venice, as I see it.I, not only love Venice but the Veneto region as well. It´s pretty vineyards,charming old medieval town landscapes, and of course, who can´t fall in love with the Dolomites?

Until then, Tschüss.