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.

It´s no Ordinary year

The photo we entered for this year´s Photo Contest finally made it into 2021´s Calendar

This year is not only all about the tons of masks we bought and wore, or the excessive disinfecting of everything we´ve touched and our hands turning into a resemblance of chicken skin. Aside from all this hygienic crazy mantra that becomes a new norm now, I realized that this year was actually a no ordinary for me, personally.

This year also is the year for the first time that I joined a photography competition here in our local town, hosted by one of our local Bank, the Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Bayern Mitte.I actually mostly forget its name because you know, its long and its kind of twisting my tongue. Well, that´s what German does to me.Anyway, turned out that loved our photo and included it for next year´s Calendar called “ Die schönsten Motive Fotowettbewerbs 2020″.

I was thrilled and excited.I was not expecting that my photo could be chosen considering that there were so many nice landscape photos who were chosen in the whole region.We just got lucky, I guess. We received a prize and donated half of it to another organization.It was a great experience and I think it made our year a certain mark, to remember, to be thankful for the beauty of nature who seemed to be the only one unaffected by depressing situations around us.

The photo that I took is titled “Glacisbrücke im Herbst” ,or the Glacis Bridge in Fall. I love this photo particularly since it caught the mystic beauty of Fall in my neighborhood, plus this bridge is quite fascinating as well since its one of the landmark near to where I lived.

Whenever I crosses this bridge, I am being reminded of this recognition.Who could have thought….?

The “Mushroom” Water Towers of Kuwait

When I was still living in Kuwait, I took pictures of most of the places where I visited. It´s pretty normal since I am an Expat working there and yes, the culture is different and there are so many things that is new to me.My iPhone Gallery was filled with snapshots, candid selfies and landscape portraits which I even used most of the time in my Blog articles.Using these Photos rekindled my memories of being in there and appreciating the unique beauty that Kuwait has, like for example this “Mushroom ” Water Towers .

At first glance you wouldn´t even imagined that it´s a modern water supply system, but then it was.The shape, the color, the size, everything about this symbolic reinforced concrete system is unique.Maybe to local Kuwaitis it´s just a normal water towers but definitely not for me. I am still amazed and perplexed of its function and design.Clever design from VBB , A Swedish engineering company, with Sune Lindström as its chief Architect.No wonder it won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, cycle 1980.

Mr. Antoon Kuhlmann from Hortus Nijmegen in the Netherlands along with Dominique Clement sent an email to me informing me if they can use my photo as a research material to be used in their upcoming manuscript about Mushrooms.What a brilliant idea!

This book really expains what special role Mushrooms played in Arts, Culture and yes, in Nature.I was totally honored to be a part of this book, to think even that Kuwait´s Water Towers was used as an example how Architects used mushroom as a concept for building a modern water system.

Just in time before Christmas I got a copy of this Book and couldn´t feel more proud than ever.It is cleverly done !Unfortunately, it´s only in Dutch language.

This post is not a promotion of the book mentioned above. I just felt grateful that one of my post and photo was used to compile all the amazing information supplied by this book.The Dutch Autors did a wonderful job in coming up to this phenomenal piece. If you are reading up until this part and interested to buy a copy, you can find the link Here.

Thought this year was only staying at home, social distancing and wearing masks…not for us actually.It was a no ordinary year because of this Online Art Project by the International Youth Library in Munich ( International Jugendbibliotehek München) called ” Kinder, malen sich Selbst” or the I-solation, Children ,draw yourselves, an online Exhibition initiative organized by this Library . The exhibition was joined by 800 participating children all over the world!

And my little daughter joined herself into this exhibition and by Spring of 2020, her drawing was submitted to the Library.By around June, we were invited to visit the Exhibition and had a Tour in their Library and see the beautiful grounds of Blutenburg Castle. It was her first, at the age of 5.

But as I wrote before, this year was actually a legendary year for all of us.Came December and we are still under stressed because of Corona infections, in Isolation and wearing Masks in School.Christmas Markets are cancelled and we entered a second Lockdown on Dec 16. Another melodramatic feeling of isolation creeps us, but then home is where we felt the most safe, well I guess, for everybody´s sake it´s the ony way out.

Nothing more to expect, we can´t change the tides.But then, we managed to have a meaningful Christmas season at home, without the frantic craze and glittering lights.

Here in Germany, children and adults are crazy about Adventskalendar. It´s literally a calendar, a coundown from the start of Advent to Christmas Eve.So this time, our local town hosted a drawing competition for children for the Adventskalendar with Winter moments as a theme. Once again, my daughter had her entry and yes, her drawing was chosen to be in the 15th day of Adventskalendar. On that day,she met the Christkind to receive her prize but of course, with a mask and distance!

Little clever Artist being proud of her Artwork.

I guess a Not Ordinary year means that we stopped expecting, and more of appreciating and giving.4 days to go til this year ends and I just want to document it here in my Blog what a meaningful year it was as well.There´s nothing much to tell of what we did, but we did the best of what we can do…

I think we´ll do this again next year if there´s another chance again!

Did you have a no Ordinary moment this year?

Alles gute und Tschüss!

Crazy over Lego in Legoland Deutschland

Legoland Deutschland resort Park in Günzburg, Germany

One of the highlights of our Summer break this year in the midst of Corona Pandemic is our visit in Legoland Resort Park in Günzburg.It was a looonggg wish by my daughter, she often asked that after she turned 6 years old, she wants to see her beloved Ninjago friends in Legoland.

But because of Corona virus, this trip was postponed many times….

But then, Endlich… FINALLY!

Wearing her Lloyd Ninja mask while we hike through the Pöllatschlucht going to Neuschwanstein Castle

We visited the Legoland Discovery Center in Berlin and for her, it is not enough. She even wants to go to Legoland HQ in Billund! She needed to see a much bigger park and that is why we decided to give it a go. As a gift and before she goes to school, I know she deserved to be here. As a child, she has been a great fan and addicted to playing Lego.She has her Papa´s old Lego blocks and toys so I guess this is really special to her.She has been fanatic as early as 2 years old,playing Duplos, and now more on the complicated ones, like Ninjago and all the Ninjas. She knows every character by heart and all the episodes of the series and film. She is no-princess type of girl and only want Legos, trading cards and ninjago things as gift,nothing, nothing else.

She doesn´t want to wear a skirt, dress or any girly things—but give her Lego t-shirt and costume as she will be so happy!

Driving to Günzburg was easy for us.It took us 1,5 hours from Ingolstadt and we were in time for the 10 a.m opening of the park. I knew and anticipated that it would be packed with children ( and crowds!) since it is still “Sommerferien” here in Germany. Most of Germans stayed in the country ( at least from whom I knew…) during this summer, doing staycation and out of town trips, just like we did.

I have asked few of my friends who went here as well how did it go so I am confident that it is safe to visit the park.And I was not indeed dissapointed….

My daughter had a blast! and so are we..:-)

Greens and beautiful landscape inside the Legoland Resort in Günzburg

Visiting Legoland is only possible if you book your tickets ahead of your visit.It follows a very strict Corona restrictions so there are no tickets sold in the entrance. We booked our tickets ahead including parking fee so we are all settled. A great tip, there are many vouchers in the LegoBrochures and Discount offers from Mcdonalds, so make sure to take notice of those to get available discount in your visit to this park.It was quite a pleasure that we got those since entrance fees can be helfty, especially if you go with big groups! There are also available packages including Hotel such as Legoland Feriendorf, and varied Hotels and accomodation within the vicinity so if you want to stay longer exploring the Park, then it could be a great option as well.I knew friends who stayed there for 2 days just for the children to enjoy all rides and taking their time to explore everything!

Don´t forget, this park is so huge…so make sure to dress up depends on the weather, mostly comfortable clothes and shoes. bringing extra clothes for change is also a good idea since some rides involves water and I am sure that you will sweat a lot!

Speaking of Corona control measures, don´t worry. This park has great control measures and I am really impressed by it. Of course you need to wear masks and practice distance of 1,5meters and everything, but the great thing is that they have disinfection station in every play station. Yes, every station is strictly controlled and monitored.Before and after riding the rides or getting into the play areas, visitors are asked to disinfect.You need to wear masks at all areas, even going to restrooms.

Even if it was a day full of visitors, I find it comfortable enough to roam around since most of the times, we are outside. The park is surrounded with shady trees, enough benches and tables to rest and sit for a quick break and most of all—people are disciplined.

With the entrance tickets, you are allowed to ride and explore everthing. So if you really want to try the all, you need to come here early to avoid long lines. Some rides are age restricted and should be accompanied with either 1 parent or adult.

Everwhere we go we see Lego. Built Lego miniatures and play areas are really amazing! As a parent, I find it really awesome that my daughter can enjoy such beautiful things as a child. I am sure that in the end, it will create great memories to her…

There are many highlights of our visit and we ride everything that she fancied.Our favourites so far is the Lego Ninjago World, where we had a close up encounter with the Masters of Spinjitzu and some Ninja tricks. The ride was so awesome that I ended up enjoying it as well.There´s the Lloyd´s Spinjitzu Spinner, Coles Climbing Wall, a playarea for small children, and of course, a Ninja Kitchen!

Fun fact : I have read that even adults play with Lego and it can do miracles on your stress management. My husband always play Lego with my daughter.He grew up with Lego as well and He is basically transferring all his skills and techniques to my daughter. My daughter can now build a big set by herself and its no surprise to me why.

Here in Germany ( prior to Pandemic), Lego is an important piece of Toy and learning tool for toddlers and kids. It is very famous so almost all children recognize it. I only find a place great if it has a small playarea in the corner or a place where children can have time for themselves. In the Doctor´s offices, Libraries, and even public shopping areas, Lego corner is normal.

I am sure that Lego helped my daughter with her motor skills, creativity and problem solving skills, which are all very crucial factors to a developing brains! No doubt, she spends times building and building and everyday, she surprises us with her wonderful, sometimes “weird” fantasy, and whimsical thoughts about Lego. If you asked me, it´s better to be engrossed with Lego, than getting addicted to tablets and videos!

In every ride station, you need to wear your masks while waiting for your turn. We tried the ride where children are taught to ride a small car and earn a Driver´s License.I saw that the operator really disinfects all cars, including seatbelts one by one before another batch of kids takes it again.They are really doing well in taking care of their guests and making sure to avoid contaminations.

This one is a thrilling experience !

Important note is that the atractions are going to close 1Hour before the park closes which is around 7pm. In some days they are closing early so its better to check in the official Legoland website to make sure of your time of visit.If you want to enjoy everything, start from the backside of the park, normally those rides are not so full in the morning since most people flocked near the entrance areas.If you have little children, there is a free “Kinder-finder-Armbänder” so you don´t need to worry that your child will be completely lost if they got away from you.It is very safe inside the park and especially nowdays with Corona, people are more cautious.

What I have learned through the Pandemic is to take care of your family. We may be restricted to travel because of the virus but there are various reasons and ways to enjoy family time.In Legoland, I have families of different nationalities, having fun together with their children, behaving like a child, maybe reliving past childhood experiences as well.

I grew up not having this luxury. As I scan the views before me, I felt just grateful that my child can experience such as these and grow up a happy, healthy and active child. Probably, in most European countries, Lego is 80% part of every child´s fantasy .It becomes a treasured memory for them…

Restaurants and Cafe´s are spread all over the park so no worries about getting hungry.There are plenty of tables and picnic areas where you can eat in peace with your family without the crowds.We enjoyed having lunch with a view of the rides and we really had a great time.

Plenty of playareas and climbing station for kids as well. They have a big payground as well , when children wants to have a break from Lego rides then they can ” rest” here as well. For Mamas & Papas, this is also a perfect place to sit, check their phones and have a drink!

My favourite ride so far was the Pirate ship and Spinjitzu Spinner. Here in the Pirate boat ride, we ride our boats and we spray waters on others. The park was so beautifully designed and even adults enjoyed it so well!

We booked a hotel in the nearby town from Günzburg since we still have to continue or Romantic road trip to Füssen that is why we did not stress on driving back early. But around 4p.m, my daughter is already tired and wanted to check out the lego shop and told us that she had enough of rides.The line for the shop took as about half an hour to enter the store as well. You might consider to set aside an hour here if you plan to do your shopping before departing since most people do their shopping on the time they depart as well.

For me personally, you can enjoy the park the whole day, but not really exhausting yourself and your child. If you came all the way from far places then I am sure, it is worthy to spend couple of days in this place just to make the most of your trip.

Time flies so fast…not a small baby anymore!
Hang over from Lego ?

After seeing giant Dinosaurs in Dinopark, and nature climbing in Beilngries, this girl is totally , and still very in love with her Lego Ninjago friends!

How was your summer vacation in the midst of Pandemic so far?

If you plan on visiting Legoland, then these important and vital Info might help you plan your trip!

Stay safe everyone..until next time, Tschüss!

Sunday Stills : Nymphenburg Palace München

“Pluto”
Another Pacale added on my Chasing Castles and Palaces quest in Germany— the Schloss Nymphenburg in Münich

It was no ordinary day, since its not everyday that we can walk through the Palace grounds of the renowned Summer destinations of the Royalties of Bavarian Kingdom, the former rulers of Bavaria, the Wittelsbach Family.Spending the morning walking through the garden park of Schloss Nymphenburg in Münich is indeed a worthwhile experience especially during this time of Pandemic.

Through A9 Autobahn, we reached this place in schedule, with only manageable traffic due to road repairs. Its still summer vacation (Ferien) here in Bavaria so schools are not yet open until 8th of September.We took this opportunity to do some short daytrips and Munich comes in hand. Here, no large crowds, at least no need for social distancing (although the Palace is strictly adhering to Corona measures as well as everywhere) since the park is really big, approx. 200 hectares, too bad we were not even able to explore all of it. I know that there are far more grand than this place but then the sight of it overwhelms me already. It spans at a frontal width of 632 meters and considered as one of the premiere Royal Palaces in Europe.Maybe not so famous as the Rezidenz palace and not as worldly as the Schloss Neuschwanstein, but then, it´s a beautiful and an elegant palace.

How many people or staff does it takes to clean the whole of this Palace?

How many hours does it takes to even clean it?”

Come to think of it, it was built within 4 centuries timeframe. Anyway, the Royalties and grandeur lifestyles are too much for me to dissect as of this time. I just went on admiring the Palace´s Facades, Architecture and Landscape.I have seen many things that I love about this place. Here looks so peaceful and tranquil. Maybe because of the water element and being surrounded with greens.It is a garden that you can let your worries about Corona virus swayed away. Beautiful flowers and schrubs surround the grand pathwalks . Ducks and swans are swimming gracefully in the calming waters that cascades in rhythmical motion.

Few runners ran past over us and I quite envy them. I know it would be wonderful to run and be lost in the Palace´s gardens.So many little nooks and pathwalks with hidden figures as well.

We wait for the Fountain to start.

The thing about being here early here is that we have the place by ourselves. Only the gardeners and few staffs can be seen at around quarter to 10. I saw the gardener raking the soil and making zen patterns on the ground, busying themselves caring about the plants and watering them.The weather is perfect, not to hot, and not a single sign of rain.Slowly, we are saying Goodbye to sweet but short German summer.

I snap some photos of some of the fine gold details I saw while entering the castle.The lamps and carvings of the doors and windows are quite enticing.We decided not to do the Tour of the interior of the Castle because my daughter gets bored with it and I just dont have the energy to deal with the drama.

I can´t have a good panoramic view of the whole palace but the entrance itself is so large and grand .Just imagine in the ancient times many Royalties driven by their golden horse carriages hop and stop in this entrance many times. I can´t imagine that King Ludwig II was born here as well.his collection of carriages are still displayed here.

This reminds me of the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg. I always love these ancient Greek and Roman God and Goddess sculptures spead all over the entire garden. They are like stone guarding the Palace.Come to think of it, most castles and palaces are heavily accessorized with sculptures and statues. The more, the grandier.Moreover, what´s not to love about statues? If they can talk, I am sure they tell us different stories from what we have read or heard.

The Stone Lion with the Palace´s Seal.What a dominant character that you can see all around Bavaria. Lion´s head is almost everywhere.In Berlin we go crazy looking for Painted Bears, but here, all we see is bunch of Lion´s statues, heads and sculptures.

I have heard that the palace also houses the Naturkundemuseum Mensch und Natur (“Museum of Man and Nature”), the Porzellanmuseum (“Porcelain Museum”) for the on-site porcelain manufacturer Nymphenburg, and the Marstallmuseum in it’s wings.

While roaming around the vast of the gardens, everyone can enjoy and discover numerous other smaller attractions: In addition to the Badenburg, Pagodenburg, and Amalienburg summer residences as well as the Magdalenenklause hermitage.There´s also the picturesque lake and streams and Fountains. Some of the attractions are unfortunately can only be viewed during summer seasons.

This is the Schlosscafe´in Palmenhaus. A green Oasis right inside the Palace garden´s premises. A place where visitors can enjoy warm drinks and cool their senses with ice cream surrounded with Palm trees.Of course, you can´t get in without a mask!

 Today only twelve (12) statues remain on the Nymphenburg Garden and four have been moved to the Grand Cascade. Generally male and female deities take turns. Most of the statues are made from Laaser and Sterzinger marble, the bases are made of Red Tegernsee marble or tuff.

Indeed it was a great day spent here in Nymphenburg Palace. Glad that I saw it in Summer. It looks quite dreary in a freezing Winter!

Interested about Castles? Here are some related Posts:

Chasing Castles and Palaces in Germany

The Fairy Tale castle of Burg Eltz

Kaiserburg Palace, Nürnberg

Chasing Castles and Ruins

A hidden gem, the Burg Eltz in Rhineland Palatinate

Do you love castles?

I grew up dreaming of it and hoping that I see some in my lifetime. The moment that I moved in Germany, this dream have became somewhat reachable, and doable.See, we don´t have much palaces and castles from where I grew up, and in Kuwait where I also short-lived, there´s not much royalty castles to visit, although there is the Bayan Palace, the grand palace and official residence for the Amir of Kuwait. I see it everyday on my commute to work but I never had the chance to explore inside. I remember as a child, I normally build castles out of sands from the beach and for me, those are awesome.

Anyway, in a short period of time that I am living here in Bavaria, I have discovered (some ) castles and ruins that are worth sharing. If you´re in the vicinity, you might try to visit them. Actually, its not easy for me to visit castles and ruins, given that I have a young child with me that easily gots bohred in closed places! With that in consideration,it´s actually not her “ playground” and she cannot run around especially when there are things bound to break . We avoid the long tours and we always take her into consideration whenever we have the chance to visit and explore one.A child easily gets bored and most castles have steep stairs, dark, and somewhat eerie for a child.Nevertheless, the display of Knights and royal mementos can somewhat amaze a young visitor!

Germany is definitely a land of castles, and ruins. There´s plenty of it that its hard to choose which one is the better than the renowned Neuschwanstein and the long list of other beautiful ones! What I found so interesting is that most castles in Germany are built in strategic locations—either on top of a mountain, hill, on a cliff, or to something of a hidden route.In most castles that we´ve seen, we always need to climb up, trek and do some hiking before we where there.It requires an effort but good thing most of them are accessible even to handicapped persons. Mainly because practically, they are built for defensive purposes, and yes, they are a symbol of power during Medieval times!

I can only share a few which we visited but I still have a long list of castles that I really love to see someday. Some castles have been well maintained, but then some are totally left in ruins.Anyway, let´s get acquainted with different German terminologies regarding Castles. You might find this very helpful why they have so many names about it where the rest of the world only refers to it as “castles“.

This view awaits after the hike to explore the ruins of Rabenstein Castle , the oldest of the three castles .Once you reached this far, you will have a magnificent view of the main Danube canal, Altmühl valley and the Prunn Castle from a far.
On top of the ruins of Rabestein Castle in Riedenburg, in the vicinity of Altmühltal valley in Bavaria
Not only Kings and Queen lives in a Palace, also Knights in shining Armor.

In Germany, we have “Burg” (Castle) which means strong, fortified buildings. Then we have” Schloss ” where a certain Royal family lives, a king or Queen have lived here. Schloss can also mean a large Manor House where noble families lives.” Festung” is Fortress, which by the name denotes means a fortified ,large and secured castle.It is normally surrounded with walls and built up on high place.

The first castle that I´ve seen and made me developed this quest is Burg Eltz located in West Germany, in Rhineland-Palatinate. I travelled here with my 1 year old daughter way back then. I love the mystery it holds, right upon the first time I ever saw it. It is well tucked in the middle of the forest and getting there is really something.This castle dates from 12th century.It is very well maintained and the tour inside is impecabble.This castle has been owned by the Eltz family. Location wise, it is a very beautiful castle.It looks so romantic, and really brings you back to Medieval times!I am glad I was able to see its 850 years of history! It´s not surprising that it is considered as a German treasure since it is once featured in a 500 DM note from 1961-1995! Writing this makes me dream again of seeing it once again.Here´s my fairytale trip in Burg Eltz.

Here in Bavaria, southern part of Germany, Schloss Prunn is known to be the jewel of Riedenburg, the heart of Altmühl valley. Prunn Castle is one the best preserved Knight castle in Bavaria.It is located 70 meters above the Altmühl valley so its famous for a wonderful panoramic views.We visited this castle during Corona times , we were the only guest inside the castle since we were early to avoid the crowds.The view from above is amazing!

On top of the mountain sits the ruins of Burg Randeck.
The neighborhood of Knights ( Burg Randeck)
Panoramic views of Altmühltal valley

After Burg Prunn, we drive in the vicinity of Essing to check out the ruins of Burg Randeck.This is another lovey area within the Altmühl valley where we see well preserved bridges.Burg Randeck is a well preserved castle ruins known to be ” Robber Knight´s nest ” which is now owned by Essing Market.Burg Randeck provides us once again with a marvelous views of the nature valley of Altmühltal.The ssuspension bridges against the blue green rivers are sights not to be missed as well as the quaint little town of Essing. Make sure to climb up the ruins up to the Castle dungeon and Hunger tower because it will reward you with breathtaking views especially on a clear sunny day.

My everday view, our very own New Castle here in Ingolstadt, here shown on the background photo from Klenzepark.
Falcon show at Schloss Rosenberg ( Falkenhof)

Another fascinating castle in the vicinity of Altmühltal valley is Schloss Rosenberg also known as Falkenhof.This is another castle situated high ridge of the Altmühl valley.We had a unique experience of seeing the Falcon show where we see amazing art of training Falcons, eagles and owls.There is an outstanding Museum about the history of Falcontry,as well as birds of prey and other local wildlife.

We did another hike and explohre another ruins which really took us by surprise.The ruins of the Rabenstein Castle is located on a mountain slope near Rosenberg.The trek was narrow but then the views are very beautiful, this ruins is from a small medieval castle, probably from the 12th century, and is the oldest of the three castle complexes in Riedenburg. It is believed that the builders were the Rabensteiners, since an Albert von Rabenstein was mentioned in a document in the 13th century.What is amazing is that we saw Burg Prunn and the quaint town of Riedenburg.

On a cycling tour to chase some castles in Neuburg an der Donau with this one!

We did a 23 km cycling tour to Neuburg an der Donau and here we saw “Jagdschloss Grünau“. The Grünau Castle is located about 7 kilometers east of Neuburg an der Donau and is in between the largest forest in Central Europe.This castle is an example of early Renaissance architecture.the Wittelsbach Count Palatine Ottheinrich had it builht as a proof of his love for his wife Susanna.It was originally built as a moated castle, but the trenches have now been silted up.

Grünau´s castle´s impressive Facade

Also in Neuburg an der Donau is another beautiful palace called Residenzschloss Neuburg.Some parts of it were under renovation during our visit but then there are so many highlights to be seen including the inner courtyard.This palace is an important early Renaissance building built by Count Palatine Ottheinrich from 1530 to 1545.The palace chapel is the oldest churh building in Bavaria and the Frescoes were done by Hans Bocksberger.The castle courtyard is equipped with a sgraffiti facade, which shows scenes from the Old Testament by Hans Schroer (after 1555).

Beautiful Frescoes in the Rezidenzschloss Neuburg
The beautiful town of Neuburg an der Donau

We made a daytrip and went to visit the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg. The historical “Kaiserburg” also known as the the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg is the most important symbol of Nuremberg. Though this city was heavily bombed from WW II, the city has restored most of its iconic structures including this castle. Just like any other castle, this castle holds an important part of history. This castle is in fact one of the most important fortresses in the whole of Germany and was first mentioned in 1105. From 1050 to 1571, all holy Roman Emperors resided in this castle. One of the largest and most modern youth hostels in Germany is located in one of the former Imperial stables.

The tower of Nuremberg Imperial Palace against the blue skies in Bayern.

Hiking this palace with a stroller is quite tough.It can be challenging gainst the warm summer so if you want to explore this with children, better to schedule your trip wisely.The views from above is worth the effort.

Nuremberg Castle

Notable things to check on in this Xastle is the Deep Well . The well house is located in the center of the outer Bailey. The shaft of the well was hewn into the rock to a depth of 47 meters. A highlight of the visit is also the round Sinwell Tower (“sinwell” Middle High German = very round), which was built as a keep for the Imperial Castle in the 2nd half of the 13th century; the topmost storey and the interior wooden roof construction were built in the 1560s.More about this Castle will be found on my separate Post about Imperial Castle Nuremberg.

Our very own Neues Schloss in Ingolstadt. Here standing like a magical palace beneath the snow during Winter.

Of course how can I forget about our very own New Castle located here in Ingolstadt.New Castle (Neues Schloss) is propably one of the most important Gothic secular buildings here in Bavaria.Now it is the home of the Armee Museum in Bavaria. One of the worthwhile things to see is the ray of unique Cannons with lion heads.

How about you, when was the last time you´ve been in a castle?As for me, I love castles, but not fairytales. I think we can never be royals, but then we can visit Palaces and Castles

Until next time on our new Expat adventures! Bleib gesund, stay healthy and Tschüss!

Field of Figures in Hessental

Rock Sculptures as memorial for war and violence victims in Figurenfeld in Hessental ~ Eichstätt

May 21 is a special day for Germans because it is Father´s Day (or Vatertag) and also a public holiday commemorating Ascention Day or Christi Himmelfahrt. We have long weekend ahead and the perfect weather gave us again the chance to explore nature and do our routinary Wanderung and spaziergänge. During Corona times, we got used to go to the “greens” instead of wandering in the city. The control measures are more relaxed now here in Germany and since schools and playground were opened,it´s human nature that more and more people go outside, but still with restrictions. That is why we always choose secluded places like this.This time we decided to drive over the hilly landscapes of Hessental in the direction of Eichstätt. We get on early as usual to avoid the crowds and make most of the beautiful weather.


I have never been to Eichstätt so I don´t have any idea what this town offers.Throughout the trip I noticed once again the ample amount of bikers. There are so many motorcycle riders in these area same as in Riedenburg. Probably because of the nice winding road through this vicinity. I have heard that its a Universitätstadt, meaning a home to one prestigious Catholic University here in Bayern. The drive going to Hessental is actually quite smooth, no traffic and the hilly fields amuse us along the way. The Hessental lies in a gentle hollow on the slopes between Eichstätt and Landershofen in Bayern. Finally, we reached the Figurenfeld in time and great thing to know that there is an ample place to park. We saw a small pathwalk that leads us to a vast hilly field, and without any orientation, we just follow the sign of the first Sculpture that we saw and thats it. Just like what my daughter says ; just go with the flow and start an adventure! And so we did..

The first Sculpture in the Figurenfeld in Hessental

The place is really spacious, with every shades of green that you can imagine. It´s ideal to have picnics, and just a quiet walk during these times. If you love hiking, this path between Eichstätt and Landershofen is a great start to explore the beautiful nature in the surrounding areas of Altmühltal. The artist and sculpturer Alois Wünsche-Mitterecker, is a native from Eichstätt, created a captivating memorial against war and violence. I found these solid sculptures really worthwhile to visit and see because it depics the ugly truth of war.For many, it is the ugly version of Art and yet can be emotionally moving. I have watched so many movies about Holocaust and for a moment I´ve perceived one of the figures as a scary visualization of a Holocaust prisoners. There is so much tragedy, sadness and grief, and yet, it is also a depiction of the extent of evil of humanity can do.

I am fond of sculptures and I love researching about them. When I visit any new place, I always look for extraordinary sculptures or any piece of art that represent that place . I have learned that every great art or a statue tells a story. From the unforgettable Holocaust memorial in Berlin to the Trains to death, Trains to Life , the Figurenfeld is no exception.

In this large field, there are 78 larger-than-life sculptures that are unrecognizable from a far. I thought for a minute that they are dinosaur bones, or fossils since this place is the barren Jura landscape. Most of them looks like they crouch, rear up and crawl and on struggling state. Individual figures first point the way into the hollow, where the figures come together to form a bizarrely frozen battlefield. This makes me wonder how this place looks like in Winter. I have read that the Artist, Alois Wunsch-Mitterecker worked on these figures made of Portland cement, granite and basalt grains for over 20 years. He himself never saw the completion of the work, he died before it was finished.The figures were erected according to his plans only after his death (December 1975) in the years 1976-1979. Come to think that the field is still unfinished.

Figurenfeld in Hessental

I guess the artist wanted to create a “Monumentum perpetuum”, a memorial to eternity, a warning of war, in which there are no winners and vanquished and he succesfully achieved that through this. The erection of the figures lasted from 1958 until the artist’s death in 1975.

I saw some children climbing and playing along the figures and it made me wonder how do parents explains to their children the meanings of the figures. I have read in the signs that it is prohibited to climb on it because there has been many damages already on some of the statues.My daughter loved dinosaurs so she thinks that they are dinosaurs, or rather looked like them. But them if you play a closer look, every figure is never the same. Every single one is really different and unique in its own shape.

Walking through the field is quite manageable but I think for elderly people, there are paths that are quite steep and would be challenging. The whole place is green, wild nature and full of overgrown heather grass, hedges and juniper bushes, which is full of hollows and hills, which contributes to the impression of a battlefield. I think that it can be scary at night because of lack of lighting but i think it is actually safe.But anyway, how would you appreciate the figures in the dark?

We explored the whole field in approximately an hour and then we decided to explore the rest of the inner city of Eichstätt.If you happened to be in the nearby vicinity, I highly recommend to check out this place. More information of other fascinating things to see and explore can be found here.

Have you done any walk lately?

See you next time in our next Spaziergang! Stay safe everyone.

Spaziergang– the one with mystical flair

After the rain where mists and dew become one

Let me share with you a really nice German word that I personally love, it´s Spaziergang. For non native German speakers like me, Google provides a simple and easy to digest definition of this word.

Spaziergang means ” a walk, taking a leisure walk ” or a ” stroll”

Etymology : Spazieren ( verb) + gang (spa*zier*gang)

Spaziergang ( M) (genitive –Spaziergangs or Spazierganges, plural – Spaziergänge)

Example when used in sentence : Viele Menschen machen am Sonntag einen Spaziergang mit ihrer Familie. / On Sunday, many people go for a walk with their families./

This morning I gazed outside the window and I saw a familiar face of one old man walking. He really takes a walk everyday, maybe 1-3 times a day and today was no exception. This is probably one of the word where I can perfectly describe my German neighbours and almost general here.They just love to be out, any time of the day, regardless of the season, in quarantine or not, people here loves to go for a walk or ” spazieren” . The other day, I was talking to some relatives in the Philippines and I have learned that they haven´t made a ” walk” for quite some time, all for various reasons. I have no time, I am too busy today, not allowed, too lazy, it´s raining, it´s hot …excuses are there and so on. Sometime its understandable, quite logical in these dire times of Pandemic. I just realized that there is really a huge difference between characters and lifestyle issues here and over there that I would not want to reiterate since its not the call of the hour.

Trying to recall my dreams from the day before today.

Now back to my story about this word .Spaziergang in other places where I lived is quite different, especially when the weather is quite challenging.In Kuwait, I often take long walks along the seaside. When I was pregnant, I walked in the seashore many times just to ease my aching feet . Seaside is very famous that almost everyone knows it, you can never get lost. Its a long strip of beach , the Arabian Gulf, beaming like diamonds in a blistering 48 degrees summer heat. It´s a nice scenery there especially during mild winter days, and also on very early summer mornings as well as when we don´t have dust storms. I missed those days where the only music I hear is the waves…. I have watched the tides being low and high, calm and clear…now going to the beach for me is quite a luxury.We are surrounded now with different kind of bodies of water which is also another paradise.

Here in Germany, people loved to take leisure walks. It is really a lifestyle that stands out everywhere. When people doesn´t cycle , you know they are walking. Sometimes I feel like if you don´t get out at least an hour a day, you are commiting a sin.I watched people of all ages do this, including myself. Germans takes walks for various reasons as well, but mainly, they loved to be out.Walking along the Danube river, in a park or forests can be a daily adventure trip. Walks are used for relaxation, recreation for families, or just simply observing and thoughtful leisure…or killing time, especially on Rühetag Sonntag ( Quiet Sundays).When the sun is out, people go out and take a walk to get under the sun, having a friend beside you walking and chatting is quite extravagant.Breathing fresh air, exercising in a form of ” brisk walking” is like a common changing your ” wallpaper”. You see,walking helps you see a different backdrop from nature especially during the change of seasons. A walk in the city is totally different experience from a walk from a quiet valley or countryside. A walk done through the weekdays is probably feels different when its on weekends.Here in Bayern, its very normal to see people walking with sticks, they say it makes walking easier, although I see it more frequently with old people.

Looking on the bright side side of life
Mornings reminds us to be grateful, to be thankful of life´s simple wonders

All of the above reasons, I did it all, all for the sake of ” walking”. In the early days, I would take a walk with my daughter in the stroller. In this way, I´ve got to know my new city and meet new people. Through “Spaziergang” , I have alearned to appreciate nature more, and made more pauses just to linger more with nature. It´s some kind of therapy as well. It´s a form of relaxing yourself aside from it is naturally healthy. I ´ve took a walk with my family, with friends, with my daughter, and yes, most of the time, I treasured the me-times or alone. There is a great consolation that I get when I took an early morning stroll and having a place all by myself. Most of the photos and inspiration from this Blog are the product of my daily Wandertags ( or strolling).

These photos are the ones I´ve took last week when we took a walk in the nearby town here in Ingolstadt. We were so early ( we always go out early to avoid crowds) that the trees and shrubs still have wet stems and misty. I totally got excited to take many photos and experiment with my camera.

When was the last time you took a walk? Have you enjoyed it?

Until next time friends, Stay safe and have a great week!