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!

Silent Sunday

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.

Medieval Beer Fountain ( Bierbrunnen)

Waiting in line at the Beer Fountain (Bierbrunnen)

Let´s talk about Beer for a while and let me take you again to another fascinating, unique hidden gem in my old town, Ingolstadt. Germans take pride of their Beer, especially the Bavarians. One of the pride of the locals here in my town is the Georgianum Beer Fountain or what we also called in German “Bierbrunnen“.We have lots of Beer gardens but then this fountain is really special.

Well, yes, Beer is an important part of Bavarian tradition, especially here where the Beer Purity Law or Reinheitsgebot from 1516 begun. For locals here, Beer is an integral part of the daily life and people regarded it not as an alcoholic drink, rather a “staple food” or Lebensmittel.With this Purity law, it goes by the rule that only 3 key ingedients should be present in brewing beer.These are Water, Barley and Hops.

With this Beer Fountain, it looks rather more than a faucet per se, but then before it was really regarded as a sacred fountain where fresh water is dispersed and people quench their thirst here on hot summer days.This place was an old school then turned into Catholic Seminary and were later bought by the local Brewery Herrnbräu.On the Jubilee year anniversary special, a golden liquid started to flow giving this little nook a special charm for the locals and visitors.Of course, only the finest beer of 16 years of age flows in this fountain.

Beer Fountain or Bierbrunnen

Last 2016, we had a local celebration of the Jubilee Year of the 1516 Beer Purity Law.It celebrates 500 golden years of the Reinheitsgebot and to commemorate this event, the Beer Fountain was made.The event was actually very festive. Starting with the programme, parade, and musicals, the whole town is really very noisy and full of people.Recalling the times before Corona, we have yearly celebration for this.People dressed up in medieval costumes and made an reenactment of the old times where people gather around the fountain to have their drink. I think it was really cool and I am so lucky to have seen this. My daughter was really thrilled when she saw Knights, and people clad in vests, funky shoes, hats and yes, swords!

Mural Bronze made by Alexandra Fromm

This bronze Mural was designed by the artist and painter Alexandra Fromm from Neuburg an der Donau.Along with the 500 year anniversary celebration, the state of Bavaria also released a limited post stamp, and coins from silver and gold. I managed to go home with a Beer mug (Bierkrug) and the golden coins so that makes me happy!

My husband and few of our friends attended the Beer tour which caters the history of the different kinds of Beer and their brewing process. Of course participants were able to taste all of those beer so practically, this day is really a celebration of Beer! With all of these beers, from dark to light coloured ones, I always go to my favourite—the Pils!

Pils is invented by the world class Master Brewer from Bavaria, Josef Groll from Vilshofen.

Declaration of the Beer Purity Law with the Little visitor

The Beer Festival, together with the whole celebration was attended by so many people and there were beer stalls where people have the chance to know the Beer history. It was decorated with stalls, weapons, tents and a stage where the law was read and declared by the Duke.

I was totally shocked to found out that world record of 1.3 seconds is what only takes for an American man named Steven Petrosino to drink a whole maß of Beer! That is a big gulp of 1 liter of Beer! This record is still unbreakable…

I am not a heavy Beer drinker but when I came to Germany, I began to appreciate their beloved Beer drinking culture. Sitting in Beer gardens is a normal habit, it is super cozy and the whole family can totally enjoy it. Writing this post made me missed those times.Because of Corona, Beer gardens are closed .People dressed up especially on weekends, wearing Lederhosen and Dirndls, even the children are clad in Bavarian Tracht as well. Most Beer gardens has a corner for children to play so it´s really an ideal place for weekends.

And last thing, here in Bavaria, we say instead of ” Cheers” , “ Prost” !

Do you like Beer? or are you more of the Wine type?

If you´re interested for more Beer related stories, I have written quite a few of them ,feel free to read them if you have more time to kill.

The green Gold of Bavaria, the Hops

Beer Gardens and Beer drinking tradition of Bavaria

1516 Reinheitsgebot -Beer Purity Law in Ingolstadt

Until then, Danke und Tschüss!

A very Bavarian Easter

A very Bavarian Easter

Let me share with you how Easter looks like in my little old town, which I particularly branded as very “Bavarian easter“.I grew up in a very different environment as people observed Holy week here.But then as an Expat I have learned to love this LOVELY tradition here in Germany.One thing, here I observed that it´s not a religious event, mogre like a feast. It´s also a big celebration, just like Christmas sans the snow and it´s mostly enjoyed within families. The best part is that we can finally sit outside and enjoy some warm weather. This week, we had spring T-shirt weather,we have 10-21 degrees! On the other hand , sadly, just like last year though, we are still in Lockdown. Travelling is not actually required because of Corona restrictions, but finally it´s Spring.

Anyway, here, three weeks before Easter, shops are already full of Easter things, that includes colorful easter egg chocolates and Easter Bunnies. The designs are limitless, everything is colorful. When it comes to chocolates, Germany has it all.Top chocolate makers like Kinder, Lindt, Milka and Cadbury are always the top choices for children. When it comes to Easter Bunny chocolate, the bigger, the better.I am not so fond of this but I have a kid so we get some for her as well.
Egg hunting is an old tradition for German speaking countries (same as in the Netherlands) where painted colorful eggs are hidden in the bushes or in between plants, or almost in every nook for children ( and adults!) to seek and find.Easter decorations adorn each houses with painted eggs hanging around, baskets with colored eggs and early spring flowers.


Actually , there´s nothing much special in it compared to other countries when it comes to celebrating Easter, but then there´s something about our blue and white themed Egg Art work here in Bavaria.
Does it look familiar?

It resembled closely to Dutch´s Delft paintwork, using only two shades, blue and white .It´s a local heritage here where creative ladies handpainted all these eggs all year round.Imagine the time they consume blowing and drying all these eggs then afterwards painting.These two colors are the prime Bavarian colors which is also seen in Bavarian state Flag.

Handpainted blue and white Easter Eggs adorned the Fountain in the city
Every egg is unique and painted with different designs.What makes it more laborious is that it needs to be hanged together in a steel rod to join them together.Each piece is a masterpiece and the ladies put on so much effort in binding all of them.I´ve heard that it can count up to 10,000 pieces of eggs as of 2019.Those are indeed lots of eggs.

The eggs are binded with green garlands and decorated with little flowers so it can be hanged in the fountain.It´s another long time tradition here to put up an Easter Fountain or Osterbrunnen.Normally we have Easter Market, where people can sit and enjoy the festivities and listen to folk Bavarian music.There are small craft shops, Beergardens, play areas,face paintings, games and programmes, but then now everything was cancelled because of Corona virus.

A very Bavarian Easter celebration

Then there´s the osternbaum, or the tree with painted eggs.Handpainted or plastic eggs are hanged on foliage, trees and bushes are an example of this old tradition.It´s not only in Christmas where Germans decorate their trees, it happens that it´s quite the same in Easter as well. I , myself did this as well in our garden.My daughter brought home some Easter creative art projects, which she eventually displays at home.

Why do I love our Bavarian Easter, probably because it´s unique, cozy, Gemütlich and festive; and anyway, who doesn´t love chocolates?

Do you celebrate Easter?

Happy Easter, or in German we say it best with ” Frohe Ostern!”

tschüss.

Dinosaurs are out on the loose in Dinopark Altmühltal, Bavaria

Say Hello to one of thes giant of the Jurassic period, the mighty plant eating- Diplodocus

Happy New Year everyone! I know it´s Winter over here, but we are already dreaming of Summer.We are dreaming of sunshine, tulip fields, strawberries, funparks ,hiking in the mountains, and getting lost in some European cities.

Yesterday while eating luch we are discussing, or rather dreaming, and (hoping!!) that we can fill our suitcases again and able to travel.Travel without health worries, because that is super important.But for now, we can travel back through time and dream away….to Jurassic period!

Have you ever dreamed of walking through the woods with giant dinosaurs in the view ?Those giant claw, magnanimous size, razor sharp teeth, and yes, the presence itself is quite overwhelming.With dinosaurs, we all know that the bigger..the better, the more realistic it is!

Well that is the experience we´ve had while walking and exploring through the Dinopark in Altmühltal.

Real life size Giant Diplodocus dinosaur and unbelievable huge !We couldn´t barely hug its legs!

Gigantic Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex are just a few of the “friends” we met in this beautiful nature park.We were quite amazed of how funtional and cleverly designed it was , considering that we visited this place during Corona pandemic times.This is definitely one of the best open air Dinosaur Museum here in Bavaria.

Did you know that Brachiosaurus only eat plants ?They are one of the Plant eating dinosaurs, so do you think they are friendly?
It is so hard to get them all in one photo because this one is really a long and huge Brachiosaurus , so even the tail is humungous!

My daughter is crazy about Dinosaurs, she knows each dinosaurs with all their crazy names by heart.From the year they were discovered, and from each era , from Jura, Kreide and Trias. Hard to tell, but I really don´t know how and where her fascination started.We have watched couple of Jurassic films and we haven´t even finished it all becaused she got scared of all the screaming and bloody T-Rex manhunt. I guess children loved dinosaurs , adored them and gasped at their powerful statues ,bewildered, and thinking that they were heroes and lovable, or something like the best friend one could ever had, just like in the movie films “The good Dinosaur“, “Dinosaurs“, and” the Land before time“.

And myself only knows “Barney“, the purple dinosaur!

There is something about these claws and freaking sharp teeths! Finally a Dino fan meets T-REX

When she watched Peppa pig, she just loved how George adore his Dinosaur.We have tons of Dinosaur books and she always loved to read about them and yes, I think that´s how she got so hooked with it. So imagine her delight when she saw this giant disnosaurs in the park.She could even put them beside her when she sleep and no, I can never win with her Dinosaur Quizzes…She knows it all!

My daughter thinks that this is Alosaurus

The park itself is HUGE,We haven´t had the energy or the time to even explored it all.There were lots of fun playing activities to be found inside it,of course considering that we need to distance ourselves from the crowds as much as possible.There´s of course a Museum, play areas for big and little children, outdoor recreational spots, picnic areas, restaurants, Fossil exploration areas, shop, and much more.All these fun filled areas are with Dinosaurs views, and that´s what we find so engaging.I was really glad we visited this place, because not only the child with us is entertained, we as parents as well. We can´t complain any further, lots of fresh air, lots of greens, and children will never get bored because they have always something to see and explore!

Therizinosaurus looks like a big bird with absolutely unique elbows and long claws which is 1 meter long!
Spinosaurus we spotted near the playground

And about the Museum, here´s what it looks inside…

We paid 19,50 Euros each for adult fees and children are 9,5 Euros. This includes all access to everything inside the park.We are allowed to bring snacks and drinks so we never really worried about getting hungry.The beergarden were spacious, large enough for Dino-groups.I saw families even brought picknick bags and they just hang out there in the grass, enjoying full sunshiny day.TheParking lot is also admirable and the location of the park is easily accessible from Autobahn.

A take away cup with 3rd Dinosaurs design, a staple for having a quick break under the trees in the outdoor picnic area inside the Dinopark.

Another fun part of this Dinopark is the Fossil area where kids and adulhts have the chance to see, find and explore their own Fossils, with tools and everything! My kid is totally into this and could never stop hammering out from rocks looking for Ammonites! Now that is one way to let go of their energy!We even got freebies when we check-out since we mentioned that it´s her birthday!

Let the whole family enjoy looking and finding fossils and dig the sands!

Since we are observing Hygienic restrictions, I am perfectly impressed as well how the park observed these rules.There are plenty of clean bathrooms, outdoor sinks with sopas and disinfectant for children and families to frequently wash their hands.Mask is required when entering the shops, museums, and Restaurants.Only when wandering through the open air dinosaur park that wearing masks is not required.

The Birthday girl digging and looking for fossils!

I am really excited where would be our next family destination this year…

Meanwhile, while we are still on Holiday break, we stay at home and dream away our worries, hopefully this year would be a better one!

Crazy over Legoland in Günzburg

Adventure park Nature climbing in Beilngries

Cycling through the Danube Trail Adventure

Exploring the Donau Gorges

The taste of Biergarten Culture in Germany

Falling in love with the Romantic Roads in Bavaria

Until then, stay safe and Tschüss!

Neuschwanstein Castle: A Fairytale land in Bavaria

Schloss Neuschwanstein, a Fairytale castle in Bavaria

Defintely a dream come true for me.

Since I came here in Germany, I put this castle in my top Bucket list to see.I was bent on seeing as many castles and Palaces anyway, so I think I just hit one of my top pyramids! Schloss Neuswanstein is indeed beautiful,unforgettable, charming,and a place that you should see once in your lifetime!

Have you ever seen a place so beautiful that you just can´t believe if it really looks the same in real?

Neuschwanstein is like that. It is something to pursue. It was not an easy trip to go there,nor short. It takes time and difficulty to see something like this….but then it was all worth it.

From the moment I saw a glimpse of it, I was really excited. I am fidgeting from the moment we drive through the Castle roads and enter the parking area. I have been waiting for this for a long time and now I can´t believe that I just had a peek of its towers hidden from the trees. It´s dirty white towering peaks and slender towers looked so graceful against the sun, she looked so fragile, so beautifully hidden in the trees, right up there on top of Säuling mountain, surrounded with beautiful lakes and nestled on top, with twonderful views of the Bavarian Alps. I love everything about Schloss Neuschwanstein, no question about it. First, I even thought that it is not real castle and only a product of multimedia drawing. Now I understand why Walt Disney was inspired to use this castle for his Disneyland fairy tale Castle for Sleeping Beauty. He himself and his wife visited this castle before opening Disneyland in 1955. He also had to see it first and believe!

Neauschwanstein Castle, the Castle that survived 2 World Wars

Just look at it…even from a far its a dream to see!

I still actually can´t believe that finally I have seen it with my own eyes. The rumors were true and photos from Internet didn´t actually do justice. It is real and not just a tell-tale inspiration from a Disney movie.Everything about this Castle is beautiful, majestic, unbelievable, and unique.Thanks to one and only —King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

If you see Neuschwanstein, you will think about King Ludwig II.

I live in Bavaria (or Bayern), the southern part of Germany, the land of Lederhösen and Dirndls, where Beer is gold and home of some of the world´s finest cars, where Castles and Palaces are as many as Sausages.This region is the largest “Bundesland” in Germany so knowing about King Ludwig II came naturally for me.He was so young when he ascended to the throne as a King at the age of 18 and start to build Neuschwanstein at age of 23.Bavaria is full of remembrance of him. Streets, Halls, Restaurants, churces, schools, Libraries,etc…all attributed to him.

One thing; He loves to build over the top, and beautiful things—and Neuschwanstein is his masterpiece.

He has a magnificent taste and vivid artistic imagination. He is not an engineer or an Architect but he had for sure a clear vision. Some called him Märchenkönig ( Fairytale King), and the Swan King, but then yes, He is born to rule Bavaria, he has noble blood, and he surely want a beautiful place to spent the rest of his life.His life did not have a” happily-ever-after” ending, since he died in a tragic way, but then He managed to left his legacy. He allowed us to enter into his dreamworld.the world he created where we can visit now.

Some call hime crazy, lunatic, eccentric King of Bavaria, but imagine if its not for him, then there would be no Neuschwanstein Castle to this day.

Just imagine that...

New Swan Stone Castle ( or Neuschswanstein)

Now I know why this place is definitely the number 1 tourist destination in Germany, (apart from Oktoberfest) and of course to the whole world!Every year, approx. 1,3 million people visited this castle in a year.More than 61 Million people already visited this castle since it was opened after King Ludwig´s death in 1886.We visited this castle in late Summer, so I know how it really looks with all the crowds. Despite the Pandemic, it´s unbelievable that as many as 6,000 thousand tourists a day rushed to see this beauty especially in summer season.

Even Corona virus cannot stop people from seein this beautiful castle!

Enough said, Neuschwanstein offers the majestic views of the German Alps.Perched on the top of lush greens of Säuling hilly landscape, it offers a panoramic views that can make anybody realize how beautiful the nature in this area.It creates an enigma, it can be mesmerizing to just gaze upon.

This photo I took while we are hiking through the Pöllat Gorge ( Pöllat Waterfalls). It was not an easy hike but looking at this castle above me kept me going.

It is crazy that this castle is as big as 65,000 square feet,but then it is built intended to be King Ludwig´s home.He wanted to live here, and make this place as his holy retreat ground, his dreamworld. It is even ironic that it has a Throne Hall inside, but then there is no throne at all.

Majestic views from the Marienbücke, the Höhenschwangau Palace, the Alpsee and the beautiful valley of Schwangau and Füssen, with the Alps in the background.
King Ludwig II certainly chosed an idyllic location for his Fairytale Castle.

I was really thinking why did he choose this location to built Neuschwanstein.But then, I know he has good reasons…just look at the views! and we know that it´s not only because of the views.

Probably this castle is his ultimate realization of his imaginary kingdom…

He was born in Nymphenburg Palace in Münich which is another beautiful Palace, with nice gardens. He spent most of his childhood in Höhenschwangau Palace, in Schwangau, near Füssen, in Southwest Germany. From Höhenschwangau Palace, you can view the Neuschwanstein , and same as the other. This palace serves as his family´s summer residence. It´s no wonder he got fond of the idyllic surroundings of the lush green Alpine foothills, Pöllat Gorge ( Pöllat Waterfalls) and the turquoise waters of the Alpsee, and the large Forgensee Reservoirs.

The Neuschwanstein Castle, the renowned 19th century Romanesque Revival castle, inspired by German Knights and Castle.
A lovelock attached to the historical Bridge over a Waterfall, the Marienbrücke ( Queen Mary´s Bridge)

King Ludwig even built a bridge named after his Mother, Queen Mary of Prussia, the Marienbrücke. This bridge is very important, its like a gateway to enter a dream of fairy tale that He created. Nowadays, this bridge is a place where people like me can see from a far that this castle is a work of man, nestled in a sacred sanctuary of the mountains and surrounded by the glory of Alps.This is one of the best locations to take postcard worthy pictures of the castle.Imagine that in Summer, thousands of people stand in awe in this bridge just to admire this castle.

On our visit last week, we viewed this castle with a mask, we walked through this bridge and forget for a moment about the scare of the virus and just felt thankful that we are still alive, and blessed to see such sights!

Neuschwanstein is on top, literally and figuratively.It´s the Number 1 Tourist Magnet in Bavaria, and in Germany.

If you ever wondered how does it look inside, then here is a sneak peek and more details how the interiors were built.

This place is indeed an escape from reality. It´s a great monument where dreams of one man became to life. It depicts the life story of a one man, a King who became engrossed with musicals, theater, poetry , opera and myths, but then created something that lives up up to this day. You can never avoid thinking about King Ludwig II once you´ve seen Neuschwanstein.It is impossible.

Neuschwanstein made me realized that Fairy tales, knights in shining armor, kings and queen, and horse driven gold carriages are tiny bits of dreams made into reality.During these crazy times of Pandemic, where the scare of Corona virus is larger than life itself, seeing this place made me feel grateful, hopeful and at least reassured, that there´s still more to this life. That the beauty of nature is healing, and one man can do great things. Despite the Corona restrictions, we had the chance to see this beautiful dream...even for one day…

I am sure this won´t be the last time that we will visit this Castle…