Expat wanderings with Art + Forms /PPAC

The Blue Art project which features Blue colored sheeps which I really find so unique and fabulous,plus, they are a big hit for kiddos! If you wanna know more about them, check it out here on my other Post.

Public arts and nature are some of my favourite subject to photograph. Whether I have a proper camera or just my Iphone in my hand, I always made an effort to take a photo that pleases my eye. I dunno, but I really enjoy taking photos of them.Here are some snaps of my random favourites of my expat wanderings .

Who says Beer Gardens should be utterly boring? Not so, in fact, some take us all the way to Middle ages where Knights are having the privilege of having a drink after a bloody fight.

What do you think of this Knight? Probably he loves the Bavarian Biergarten culture so Prost!

Another headturner when did a hike in the area of Riedenburg and Essing is this Mural, a very sassy Ritter (or Knight) with a beer Mug , hugging a Beer barrel .Perfect theme for a Beer garden near a Middle Age castle.

And what about painted cows from 3 different countries?

Of course, we live in Germany so this famous Fraternal Kiss (Bruderkuss) should make it to PPAC Challenge!
my God, help me to survive this deadly Kiss ” located in the East Side Gallery in Berlin, done by Dmitri Vrubel
Meantime, while in Berlin, we did wall bombing with this little rascal which plays my travel Buddy.

And who says Market halls should be boring? I don´t think so. This giant hall “Markthalle” in Rotherdam, Netherlands is super cool. The market hall is painted and is somewhat famous called as the “ Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam“.The artwork shows strongly enlarged fruits, vegetables, seeds, fish, flowers and insects.

Markthalle in Rotterdam, Netherlands

And what about this humungous sculpture in front of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam? This unique sculpture of black mice by New York artist KAWS for the ArtZuid exhibition on Museumplein square, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Black Mice sculpture in Amsterdam, by New York artist , KAWS

And here´s some dramatic statues I have seen in Nürnberg here in Bavaria. The amusing yet pragmatic images of the Bittersweet marriage Carousel (Ehekarussell) —which depicts the happiness, horror , tragedy of Marriage. Quite interesting and well done.It is actually a fountain with these large statues and a famous attraction in the city.

Bittersweet Marriage Carousel in Nürnberg, Bavaria, Deutschland; work by Jürgen Weber
Bittersweet Marriage Carousel in Nürnberg, Bavaria , by Jürgen Weber

While exploring Nürnberg, I stumbled upon this another unique lpublic Art. Das Narrenschiff. A 3.6-meter-high bronze sculpture of a boat with seven people, a skeleton and a dog in it. The sculpture is based on Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut illustrating the 1497 edition of Das Narrenschiff (first edition 1494 ) by Sebastian Brant (1457-1521). It depicts a boat – a nutshell with two fools masks at front and rear – as a metaphor for the threatened world.

La Tour de Schmierage, Ingolstadt
Graffiti Art in Ingolstadt

I took a bike ride last week and spotted this new Grafitti art just a few kilometers from home. Medusa is everlasting, it´s already the 21st century, pandemic times and she´s still soaring? So much respect for the whole project of the Le Grande Schmierage .They really did a great job painting the walls of our city.

Sculpture spotted while I was walking along the beach in Kuwait

Lastly, a tribute from my last visit to Manila, Philippines where I´ve seen this Contour Sculpture done by Filipino American artist Jefre Figueras.This red carabao sculpture stands for hard work and strength.This and other giant animal sculptures of the Philippine Eagle, Tarsier and the Rooster are all located in SM Aura Sky park deck in Manila.

Do you also have a favourite Public Art from where you live?

What kind of Public Art have you viewed lately?

This post is inspired by Cee´s PPAC; Photographing Public Art Challenge with her co-host Marsha Ingrao of Always Write. These two amazing ladies are really worth of praise.Do check their pages to grab some inspiration, perhaps you might tempjted to join this fun challenge…after all, sharing is caring!

Until then, be safe everyone. Tschüss.

The beauty of Wheat Fields in Bavaria /FOTD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What´s your favourite type of Fields?

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

Danke und Tschüss!

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

Wordless Wednesday

Last day of Magic, Tschüss 2020

Year end reflections and slowly saying Tschüss to 2020

For the past months, the ony highlight in my days were my runs, and long nature walks. I am already happy when I am out from the house and did my usual rounds.These are the only things that helped me ( a lot!) to survived each day.I am not complaining, but then it is just the plain truth since there´s nowhere else to go.At least we have this luxury, in some places you either don´t have nature, or you are not allowed to get out, at least without restrictions.At the end of the day, I scroll down in my phone for my photo gallery, looking for scenic nature views I have seen, wondering if I have caught a nice one. I am sure the nice ones landed in this Blog, if not in social media, or sent to encourage a friend.

You see, nowadays, my destinations are quite limited to errands.Short trips to random supermarkets and Drogerie become a norm.Here in Germany, we call a shop for Toiletries and stuff Drogerie, die Drogerie, a place to get toothpaste, bio products, vitamins and other stuff.Well I can get them as well from Supermarkets, but as I said, a little side trip to the shop already makes our day.They are one of the few chosen shops allowed to stay open against the 2nd Lockdown here which will probably lasts until the 10, January. Aside from Bakeries, Pharmacies, Tankstelle ( or Gas Stations), we spend lots of outdoors in small forests, sometimes to parks, and more and morrrreeee walking. We´ve got to use our hiking shoes anyway…

In few hours, this year ends with silence and I guess most of us wants it to end, or we are still in denial that it happened? Hard to believed it, but yes, it´s all coming to an end. It will be a silent goodbye to 2020, more like a long overdue wish.No party celebrations, no fireworks, we could at least settle with few sparklers and a sip of wine, and of course, a bite into one of those Berliners—a beloved, tasty German tradition during New Year.Berliners are also known as Krapfen, or doughnuts.Most of them are stuffed with sweet marmalade inside. I usually prefer the one without, I find it too sweet.Sometimes I really missed some Crispy creme glazed doughnuts or even simple Silvanas. Too bad they don´t exist here in our place.

The last day of magic this year

Talking about supertitious traditions in New Year, back home , we always make sure that we have several round fruits in the table on New Years. Putting some apples, oranges, melons, pears, grapes and more in a round plate is seen in most household. They say it is a sign of good luck, as well as hanging some grapes in the door.We also wear something with dots, or polka dots.Doesn´nt matter even if its your underwear or so…as long as you´re wearing something with dots then you are bound to attract good fortune.

” Es ist nie zu spät, das Gesicht zur Sonne zu heben, Das darf man nie vergessen…”

( It is never too late to raise your face to the sun…you must never forget that…)

Here´s the last sunset that we´ve watch today in Silvester, the day before New Year here in Germany. My neighborhood becomes alive when the weather is good,minus side but sunny, it´s two days in a row now that we have amazing weather which means perfect day to take long walks.So we did that, and most people here did as well.The streets are full of families, runners, walkers, cyclists,passer-bys, and yes, children.Everone is out to enjoy some fresh air, for us, it´s the only thing that we looked forward before staying in to wait for the New Year.

One fine Silvester walk in 2020

I suddenly remember that my mother always told us to put some coins in our pockets and scatter coins in the floor. It should be that our pockets should have some money before the year changes.I really dont know if it works, I just kind of go through with the flow.Also, I never ever imagined that in my life, watching and feeding ducks could be such a therapeutic activity during lockdown.It was really beautiful watching the ducks and doves fight for food, for survival, in a cold winter morning.They both want the same thing,again,nature does its magic.

Just like most of us fighting to stay fit and healthy everyday, trying not to be sick this year was the constant battle we have fought all throughout the year.I think we have managed to surpass big hurdles and moving on and now, we are finally saying Goodbye to this year.It´s just right time to say Tschüss to 2020 now.

I don´t make New Year´s Resolutions but I am keen on making goals, little goals that I believe could make a big difference in my life as I grow older.I think my fellow friend nailed it with her snappy careful moves, wanting 21 Things to look forward in 2021.This made me eager for fresh starts and joyful beginnings.It never hurts to add excitement for every fresh start,don´t you think as well?

It really doens´t matter, a new book to read, a new hobby to start, or even a new painting, or old painting to finish….maybe a new language or sport to learn for next year…I guess its all in the attitude.

People that I´ve met here in my Blog are precious gems that made this journey worthwhile.People who took their time to read and leave their comments, people who were with me through months of no activity and hibernation but then the moment that I write again, they were still there,with a warm welcome.

I am grateful for the nostalgic, joyful family stories from the Rabbitpatch, the soulful,simple yet carefree living with one beautiful soul in snowmeltssomewhere,or travel more like the humble spirit of travelling in two wheels into theaters and Operas, or just enjoying more pretty skies and landscapes!

Those are the moments of the last day of Magic for year 2020…I would be lucky if I see the skies lit and fireworks glam the skies…Happy New Year everyone!

Take care and see you all in 2021…:-)

Flying Soon : Airbus Citybus flight taxi

The Airbus Citybus flight Taxi launched in Ingolstadt, Germany

This is actually a late post but I am glad I had the chance to witness and took some photos from my phone during the incredible show-off or demonstration of the futuristic Airbus “Flugtaxi”or flight taxi happened last month here in Ingolstadt in Bavaria. I am planning to create a series of posts about recent local sightings we have here in our old town of Ingolstadt and what a cool way to start this series with this eye-catching CityAirbus Taxi!

Have you ever imagined riding in a electrically-driven Cityairbus taxi? Take note, it flies without any Pilot with an approximate speed of 120 km/hour.

Flying to the skies soon!

As an Expat here in Germany , I am already happy that we have a great network of high speed trains for long distance travel, the Autobahn, excellent road system and public transportation is amazing compared to other countries. I am saying this because in my home country, traffic is really a headache and public transportation is a nightmare.So when I see something like this, I can’t help but to be curious.

Will it really fly? How safe it is? and the most important thing is that “Is it really for public or only the rich and famous can afford it?

Anyway, I came home from work and I saw in my feed a photo of a gigantic drone parked in front of our local Rathaus (or City or Hall ). It happened to be the public demonstration of Airbus Flugtaxi! I headed quickly to see it by my own eyes and yes,it was really impressive. It looked like the ones I’m seeing in futuristic movies, those drones and sleek automobiles flying in the sky like jet planes.

Airbus “Flugtaxi”launch in Ingolstadt in Bavaria

It looks very modern and something like “toys for the big guys”. I’ve flown twice with Emirates A380, the biggest commercial airplane so far and it already feels huge, but this one, only has 4 seats compared to 853 seats with 8 rotors which takes off and lands vertically !I think that soon, we will really fly soon in the nearest future now that prototypes are being analyzed, tested, and Airbus has now presented its Air taxi and test flights will be done as tests going on further. In the not too distant future, electric air taxis will be operated manually or autonomously in the city.

The pilot project in the Bavarian city is supported by the Ingolstadt Technical University, the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and various companies, including Audi.

Flying soon !

As a press release, the test flights will be announced soon and its just a matter of time. The maiden flight is planned at the airport in the German city of Manching near Ingolstadt – about 60 km away from the development site at Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth. Once this happened, I am sure I will write about it here in my Blog but for now, thinking about the Airbus Flugtaxis is already a step to the futuristic life ahead of us all.

What is your opinion about City Airbus Taxis? Do you think this will solve all traffic dilemmas?

Tschüss !

Berlin secrets : Trains to life ,Trains to death

trains to life-trains to death berlin 2
Kindertransport | Frank Meisler

One station, two destination

October 3 is the German Unification Day or the Tag der Deutschen Einheit , the day that commemorates the unification of East and West Germany. In line of this holiday, I wanted to write something about  Berlin and how it reminds me of a fascinating, and yet sad “secret”I have found from our last trip in Berlin. The story itself is not a secret, it’s not on the top 10 tourist destination in Berlin, but rather, a must-see for anyone who wants to deviate from stereotype Berlin, or dvelve unto something different.

Personally,whenever I am in a new place, I try to discover some off-beaten tracks or beyond the usual-touristy spots, at least if I have the chance.Sometimes, what appears to look  ordinary, plain, and insignificant held quite a mystery, a profound story behind it. But only the keen eyes sees it.

Last time when we were in Berlin, we don’t have an itinerary. We want to make it spontaneous and explore it like a local. Surprisingly,  I don’t feel like a tourist anymore. I felt like I can blend more easily , since I finally got a hold of  my German  and I can understand what’s going on around me. I find it easy now to navigate and read the signs which happened to be all in German, not like a year ago that I basically don’t have an idea what does it mean.I got to ask my friend Google translate for a help!

Trains to life trains to death 2
Berlin’s secrets : Trains to Life, Trains to Death

One of the Berlin secrets that I discovered is found just outside  the busy station of –Friedrichstraße–the known entertainment center in Berlin. It’s located in the Mitte of Berlin and adjacent to the street that crosses the Spree river.  It’s an important station in Berlin because of many reasons. First, this station was the station used during the Nazi regime to transport the Jews to many deportation camps, or to worst, to their death camps. In the same location can be found is the “Tränenpalast” or the Palace of Tears where East Germans said goodbye to family and friends going back to West Germany. From 1962 to 1989 it was the border crossing for travellers by S-bahn, U-bahn and train between East and West Germany.It is a place of tears, and woeful goodbyes!

Secondly, for all visitors in Berlin, this station is known to  tourists to famous destinations such as Unter den Linden, Brandenburg, and the Reichstag or the Deutscher Parliament.During the cold war, Friedrichstraße station belongs to East Germany and the major border crossing between the East and the West.

train des lebens-berlin
One Station , Two destinations

While waiting for my cousins, we get on to Friedrichstraße  and kill our time. I didn’t expect to find some fascinating discovery—The monument of “The Trains to Life, Trains to Death” built by  Israeli Architect and Sculptor Frank Meisler in November 2008. Meisler himself travelled with a 1939  children’s transport from Berlin-Friedrichstraße to England called “Kindertransport” ( Refugee Children’s Movement ). Imagine, out of 1.6 million children murdered during Holocaust, only approx. 10,000 of them had a luck to escape and saved their lives through the help of Great Britain. The children traveled in a sealed trains, sometimes children carried babies as well.After arriving in Great Britain, they were transferred to Foster homes or reception camps and most of them never see their parents again.

 

berlin statue train des lebens
Kindertransport monument by Frank Meisler, Berlin,Germany

It’s  easy to miss this memorial monument especially when you don’t pay attention to details around you. It bears inscriptions both in English and Deutsch and mentions “In gratitude to the people of Great Britain” .When we are out from the station, I was trying to look around to look for landmarks but what I notice is a plain wall with this inscription in the information panels ( Stiftung Denkmal) –” Züge in das Leben, Züge in den Tod ” ( Trains to Life, Trains to Death), upon reading this, I was really struck, moved and my mind fixated on the inscription and was trying to read the rest for me to understand what’s the story behind it. This time, I happened not to look at the Bronze sculpture yet. There was a lady sitting on the side of it, she probably waiting for someone. I noticed that few people were photographing in front of us and I was telling my daughter to clear the spot. I found the story of the Kindertransport very intriguing, it is not your ordinary memorial. This memorial is for children. It’s hard to accept the fact that innocent little children were victims of the horrific Holocaust. Whether you are a parent or not, this piece of story is disturbing.

Then my daughter walked on the other side and decided to climb the statues. It consists of 2 groups, with seven figures of children. On their coats they wear yellow stars. The bronze colored statues , a boy and a girl facing the Spree river symbolise the lucky ones who escaped and were transported to Great Britain. The greyish-bronze group had another destination–they represent the unlucky ones who were transported to the Death camps in the East. What caught my attention was the empty suitcase with a broken doll inside it. The doll has is abandoned and there was a withering violet flower lying beside it. My daughter was saying “Mama, die Puppen ist schon kaputt!” was is passiert?!  ( the doll is already broken, Mama! what happened?!)

berlin 4
Empty suitcase

I couldn’t find words to explain to my daughter…it is hard to explain.

This is probably the most disturbing memorial, and yet the most moving monument that I have ever seen in my whole life. It really touches you,provokes you, unless you are immune to human feelings. I am not born yet on this dark times in Germany but reading about the stories and seeing all the memorial sites for all the victims of Holocaust made me appreciate life even better, and understand it. Never again, it should never happen again.

My visit to Berlin is not only filled with photographs, or busy tourist spots, it was also full of valuable lessons. This is one of the Berlin secrets that is worth to explore and find. Frank Meisler remind us with this monument that life may lead you  in different destinations, some path leading us to life,the route to safety, or sadly some path leads to death.

This experience encouraged me to see the other “Kindertransport”works of Frank Meisler–one in his hometown in Danzig, Poland, “Kindertransport the Arrival” in Liverpool Station in London and the “Channel of Life “at the hook of  Holland , in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

How’s your travelogues lately? Have you discovered anything sort of “secret” ?

Have you heard about the Stolpersteine or stumbling stones?

If you happen to visit Berlin, make sure you drop by in Friedrichstraße Station, you’ll not regret the experience. If you’re interested about Kindertransport story, here’s an interesting read about it.You’ll find as well some of the famous Jews children who told their stories about their experience.

 

 

Bitter- sweet Marriage Carousel Fountain in Nürnberg

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The “Ehekarussell ” fountain in Nuremberg depicts the tyrannical symbolism of the ups and downs of Married Life.

Have you guys been to Nuremberg?

I’m going to share with you with my series of posts about my travel experience in the second largest city in Bavaria, Nuremberg. This city is known for the  home to Europe’s first printing press – and astronomy , Nicolaus Copernicus’s  and his most famous work  that was published  in 1543! I tell you, this city is more than its delicious Lebkucken and Nürnberger sausages. Let’s start from what caught my attention while strolling in the busy, very touristy inner city of Nürnberg.

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The Marriage Carousel created by Prof. Jurgen Weber, according to a poem by Hans Sachs in 1541: “Bitter-Sweet Married Life.

 

Nuremberg city is a very walkable city. Most of the attractions are on walking distance from each other and I noticed immediately that the city is heavily ornamented with intricate details of houses and buildings, statues, monuments, fountains and impressive artwork. So impressive considering that it was heavily bombed from WW II. There’s so much to see, the streets are so alive.

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Giant granite heart containing the lines from the poem by HANS SACHS, 1541 about Ehekarusell.

We start exploring Nürnberg by foot last weekend, and I immediately love its city vibes. No wonder it’s a hub for tourists!  I saw  this fascinating fountain in front of Weisser Turm called the “Ehekarussell”. If you can read German, you can see the engravings in the giant marble heart at the foot of the fountain which tells all about what are these statues  for.The text of the poem can be found within the fountain, it is incised on the granite heart that points towards the tower. HANS SACHS describes the ups and downs of marriage; his wife is sometimes the angel, sometimes the devil to him, just like in movies, but his description are rather lucid, and some find them so vulgar. Anyway, an artwork that makes a lot of noise and controversy has something, that’s why its being talked about!

The streets were full of tourists, crowded, hot and very alive. We were rummaging ourselves through the crowd and then there’s a rally going on in front of the busy shopping area .This fountain is really extraordinary and very vulgar in its sense. At first I was captivated by the great artwork. The artist created a masterpiece with fierce facial expressions and I can see the enormous detail on each statue.

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The woman busy feeding her children depicting one serious stage in married life.

 

The “Marriage-Merry-Go-Round” was erected directly in front of the White Tower in 1984.The work, created by Jürgen Weber, relates to the poem “Bitter-Sweet Married Life” by Hans Sachs, who in bold words described marriage from the first stages of ardent love leading to exhausting marital rows right through to the deathbed. It’s kind of disturbing, especially when I saw the statues with skulls and almost skeleton. I even thought that its morbid at first glance. They say that art should please the viewer, but then a sight like this needs a deeper interpretation.

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The Marriage Carousel created by Prof. Jurgen Weber, according to a poem by Hans Sachs in 1541: “Bitter-Sweet Married Life.

The Marriage Merry-Go-Round (Carousel) fountain is an interesting and controversial work. Situated in a pedestrian shopping area next to the White Tower, it was built-in 1984 at a high cost.The large fountain, a dramatic portrayal of married life from courtship to death, was part of the storm wrought by the design.

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A man was cooling down in the cool  waters of the Ehekarussel fountain in Nuremberg

My daughter was so busy trying to dip her feet in the water while me & my husband study each statue. I saw so many passers-by doing the same, eating ice cream while sitting in front of the fountain, probably trying to cool down because of the heat. In my opinion, this  sculpture attempts to describe the sweetness and tribulations of married life that Sachs describes in his poem. The couple progress through life as beautiful happy young people, change into older people with attitudes, and finally turn into skeletons.

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A close up shot of the tragic end of the horrors of marriage like strangling to death.

Hans Sachs described the various stages of marriage from ardent love through exhausting struggles, ending with the death-bed. The fountain’s sculptures reflect this text in all its beauty and horror, while Hans Sachs is depicted dancing above a goat and a virginal beauty.

It might appear so negative in a sense that the sculptor seems to specialize in the horrors of marriage with couples strangling each other; couples where one is huge and stuffing her face, while the other is starving and skeletal; couples surrounded by demanding children; couples where one wants to be quiet and the other is blowing a trumpet in her face.

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Weber selected six scenes from Sachs’s long list. He designed a roundabout with six carriages, each in the shape of an animal that matches the scene:

– the loving young couple in the swan bed

– the older man holding his wife in chains, tearing off her dress, seemingly ready to take her by force

– eternal fighting of an old, almost skeleton-like couple on a giant lizard

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– the caring mother feeding her children in a pelican who, referring to an ancient Christian legend, tears open her breast to feed her offspring with her blood

– the fat woman devouring cake after cake and her desperate skinny husband, carried by a wolverine (in German: “Vielfraß”)

– the young beauty, rising from a shell-like Aphrodite, and the admiring trumpeter and the billy-goat that represents the lust.

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On top of the sweet corn cob, Hans Sachs the poet is shown dancing. The nymph of the fountain is kneeling in the water basin below. The rose column on the opposite side shows the names of the artist and his second wife.

If you are visiting Nuremberg, this huge fountain won’t miss your eyes. It sits right in the middle of the main road with a tower behind it and it is right before you get to Elisabethkirche and St. Jacob’s Church. Make sure to take a closer look and try not to rush only for selfies.

For me, fountains like these makes strolling even more worthwhile. The story behind each artwork is something to ponder and not just built as a stumbling block.

What can you say about this fountain? Do you like it or not?

 

Stay tuned for more of my stories about our trip to Nürnberg. Happy Monday and wishing you all a great day! If you are planning to visit Nüremberg, you might be interested to check out the Ehekarussell,  Imperial Palace or the Kaiserburg and the wonderful Dolphin show in their Tiergarten.

Hey, If you are in Instagram, make sure to follow my Instagram to follow our Expat life adventures here in Bavaria and have a look at my personal Artworks and Aquarelle paintings HERE.

 

 

 

 

The Heat is ON in Bavaria

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32 degrees today! What Summer feels in Bavaria

This is the real thing now, the heat is ON in Bavaria !

What Summer fun are you engaging now?

Nevermind  the plague of Wasps and bee season, summertime is finally here and in Bavaria, in my old little city, everyone is just feeling ecstatic of the fine summer breeze, or rather, toasty winds since we have 32 degrees now!

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A very inviting Lake where we had picnic and splash. This is just one of our pit-stop from our cycling en-route (35kms) .

Have you seen summer flowers yet? They are blooming, giving us perfect backdrop for outdoors. From our garden to the nearby parks, summer flowers can be so exotic just like the Echinops Ritro!

I came to Germany last Summer, and I’m telling you, this season is probably the best season to enjoy Bavaria. To make the most of beautiful nature, lots of sun and water fun is essential. This week we have temperatures ranging from 18~32 degrees C . With this we have all the reason to spend time outside given the favors of so many holidays. Staying in when the weather  is perfect as this  is  definitely a S-I-N. Generally, Germans, or the typical Bavarians, adore the sun. Soaking up under the sunshine until the last ray of the sun until 9 o’clock at night. You can see them  sunbathing in the banks of the river Danube, lying in the grass in the parks, or just right in their balconies.

With the kick-off of the festival season, the Spring Pfingstenvolkfest,  Die Welt is bunt, Bürgerfest, and strawberry season, it feels like summer arrived early since we have a very sunny spring. I have written countless times that from the moment the day breaks, people here are out, (including US!) and ready to explore— and yes, with their dogs, clad in outdoor clothing, in their bicycles, with their walking sticks, off to the lake, and drinking beer in the bier garten promptly at 10 a.m on weekends!

So here I wanna share with you some of the fascinating things  about ‘Summer Feels ‘ here in our region. Whether you are just visiting tourist or a local, sure thing that you don’t wanna miss out on these activities!

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We do BBQ like the German way!

Grillsaison ( or Grilling season)

Summer is not complete without BBQ and Germans really take their grilling to the highest level! You know its summer when you breathe in the smell of BBQ in almost every house on a fine weekend. Since we have 9pm sunsets, this is a perfect way to bond. Be it in an open park, garden or in the tiny balconies of apartments, German take their grilling time seriously. Months before summer starts, we are flooded with different kinds of grill paraphernalia, from the garden tents, lounging seats, and yes, ‘the meat and wurst‘. About 70% of Germans have BBQ every  weekend and its typical to see a grill machine in every garden. Pack a picnic, a mat and  head to the lake, throw a piece of sausages ( wurst) and meat cuts into the charcoal grill and drink beer. This spells the perfect “Gemutlichkeit “or what the Dutch called “Gezelligheid” .

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The Grillsaison has finally begun!

Poppy fields  and wild flowers everywhere!

When summer time comes, in between wheat fields and every single empty space is filled with this fragile reddish-orange wild Poppy flowers. When I run and cycle, I can’t help but to stop and just be amazed by how  these simple wild bulbs can change the whole neighborhood and the way I feel. Sure, Tulips are my favorite flowers , but then there’s something about a field covered in Summer poppy blooms. It looks so calm, peaceful and so pretty!

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Close up encounter with red Poppy flowers last week when I was cycling.

 Eis Eis Baby! 

Who doesn’t like Ice Cream?

Ice cream parlors and shops are finally open here since late Spring. On warm, sunny days, there’s even a huge line outside. You really need to sweat out first before you enjoy their wide selection of Eis ( ice cream). My daughter is crazy about the richly flavored popsicles and ice pops which comes out in watermelon, kaktus, and yogurt ice cream. One is not enough, eating ice cream is definitely a threat we always enjoy during summer especially after we are all sweaty from cycling around.

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Eis Eis Baby!

Make sure to eat “spaghetti eis”: We promise it’s only a stupid name. This concoction is really just a strawberry ice cream sundae with vanilla “noodles” and strawberry sauce with white chocolate flakes standing in for the cheese. Guten Appetit!

Sunbathing in a make-believe beach!

This is the photo of the Donaustrand, a place made to look like a beach beside the river. It is the platform located in front of the river Danube and facing the New Castle. During summer, this place is a magnet for Germans and all outdoor lovers to enjoy a relaxing time, especially during sunset. This is a place a for  open-air concerts and the ” Live Orchestra Nights” where you can enjoy live music, drinking with friends, and lounging in recliners and sunbathing like you are in the beach .This is such a cozy place.

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A shot I took while lounging in the Donaustrand and enjoying sunset drinks.

Hanging out your clean laundry outside

There is nothing like the smell of clean laundry, hung out to soak up the fresh air. Hang out your sheets before the drying racks take over your apartment for the winter.We have a huge space in the garden and I just love how the sun do wonders on the sheets! I love this since it really saves time from tedious long cycles of drying. Natural is always better!

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Skinny dipping in some lake

Skinny dipping and baring it All !

Oh yes, Germans are very liberal and no-nonsense people when it comes to nudity. In some lakes, there are areas which are particularly allotted for “nudist”. Here, people are no hang-ups in baring it all and soaking up the sun from dawn to dusk.Germans think nothing of stripping to sunbathe. They do it on beaches, by lakes, and in heavily frequented urban parks. It’s very common to see unclothed people on regular park lawns or topless on balconies. Germany is one of the few places in the world where naturism occurs not just in secluded areas, but in the heart of major cities. German-style public nudity, known as Freikörperkultur (or “free body culture,” and usually shortened to FKK), dates back to the 19th century; it’s not just an activity, but a culture intended to reshape behavior.

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Pack a picnic and your mat and head on to the secluded fresh lakes!

For some people who are not into this and for families with children, there are lots of areas in the lakes for them to swim.We love to discover lakes where my daughter loves to play and here, they are just plentiful!

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Running through the Lake with this view.

Fitness everyday

In summer, I see a lot more people getting active and staying fit. People do things “manually” and live more. They love to do things by themselves. Mowing the lawn, tidying up their garden, people here loves to do things—no maids or house helpers! People run and cycle no matter what the time and temperature. They walk more and use the car less as much as possible. With abundant jogging areas, nature can be best enjoyed while getting fit. Germans adore the  “pig”and heavy pork-lovers, but even if they sit in the Biergarten everyday and eat sausages, seems that they don’t get fat! Everyone looks so impeccably fit.

Summer Cocktail Drinks

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PROST!!!

It is very typical to see bunch of people hanging around in the lake, or in the park enjoying a nice picnic and sharing summer cocktails. Of course, the beer is always the easiest way to create a cozy gathering but cool drinks and smoothies are always something pretty special. When it comes to picnics, Germans can be proud of their lifestyle!

What about you, what do you love to do during summer?

There are more on this post so I think I will make a post #2! Stay tuned.

Wasps in Germany , Sweet menace in Summer

 

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Enjoying outdoors last Vater tag ( Father’s Day in Germany) in the Donaustrand, sans the Wasps!

It’s summertime again! ( feels like it already!)

The last few days, it  feels like summer already here in Bavaria. People are all over under the sun , engaging in any outdoor activity you can imagine. Swimming , doing Sports, devouring Eis ( ice cream) sunbathing in their balconies, grilling, children are playing without shirts all day in the playground, BBQ everywhere, cycling til they drop, walking their dogs, lounging in Beer gardens, crazy over running & Triathlons, and yes, sleeping under the sun!

With the long weekend holiday celebrating the Ascension Day  last May 25th, the same date as the ‘Vater tag'(Father’s Day)  here in Germany, we’ve got  the perfect mood and  weather for it. As I always share in most of my posts, Germans love to be outdoors the moment the sun is up. We are having a simmering 25-32 degrees C nowadays and I can tell you, this pool season is also a signal for the Wasp season . This is one thing that I observe to plague Germany, especially here in Bavaria when the temperatures gets warmer.

In summertime, the flowers are blooming and super radiant. Our little garden is already full of roses and colorful flowers, I love this season!  But if you think that Wasps only hover on any pretty flower, then you are mistaken.

 

Two years ago sometime in August, I first met the nasty crazy German wasps. On our trip going to Moselle and Trier, we had a stop over in one of the restaurant and we decided to eat outside since its very warm. My daughter wants to walk around and I already noticed so many critters flying.It’s hard to ignore them especially when they are literally hovering all over you.Also,it is very rare to find a restaurant in Germany that has an air conditioning. This is one of the times where I really missed the all year/all day AC we have back in Kuwait. When summer comes, it can really feel toasty here, added the annoyance you get from the flying wasps. Inside the restaurant, there are ornaments filled with wasps and bugs caught by the sticky fly swatter and nets.

How can you eat when in your sight is a giant plate-full of wasps, flies, and critters?

Wasps love to fly over your food and they can really sting badly. This is why I don’t want to mess up with them. As a kid, I had been stung by a bee and it’s something I  don’t wanna experience again, let alone watch them sticking to my Schnitzel, or to my curry sauce. I am very careful about this because I have a daughter who is crazy about critters, lady bugs and spiders. She thinks they are cute ‘toys’ and she is chasing them!

I know you might wonder, what’s the difference between Wasps and the normal bees?Though both wasps and bees are relatively harmless unless provoked, it is good to know the difference between the two.The German wasps – called yellowjackets – have a nastier sting than the common wasp and are currently at their angriest.

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Wasps are members of the family Vespidae, which includes yellow jackets and hornets. Wasps generally have two pairs of wings and are definitely not fuzzy. Only the females have stingers, but they can sting people repeatedly.German wasps are bigger than normal wasps but smaller than hornets, have three black spots on their face, and can sting repeatedly.

 

Bees are fuzzy pollen collectors that almost always die shortly after stinging people (because the stinger becomes embedded in the skin, which prevents multiple stings). Bees don’t die each time they sting, though; the primary purpose of the stinger is to sting other bees, which doesn’t result in the loss of the stinger.

You might be interested to read on these basic facts ;

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If you see German wasps in your garden the nest is usually less than 500 metres away. The cold kills the wasps, apart from the newly hatched queens in the autumn. They look for a warm dry nook to hibernate over winter. If you are planning to enjoy your coffee and cake in the outdoor cafe, don’t be surprised if you have someone to share it with. They just love to destroy summer picnics and cling on to any sweet fruit or fermented drinks.

I hope the above info could help you be aware of this. 2015 was a terrible year of wasps in Germany and thinking of the rising temperature, they are bound to be hovering everywhere and swarm over your face! So, don’t let the bug carried by these wasps destroy your summer mood.

Have you enjoyed this post?Tell me,  have you ever been stung by a bee? or a wasp?