What I saw in Regensburg, Bavaria

Watching the boats pass by in the Danube river in Regensburg

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

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

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

There were colorful houses along the banks of the Danube River

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

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

There was the finest Gothic Church in Bavaria

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

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

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

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

Great details of the old town City Hall ( Rathaus)

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

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

Take me back to the Roman times in Regensburg

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

It does something to offer…

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

More than 800 years old tradition of Sausage making!

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

Pre Corona, the atmosphere is so much different!

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

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

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

Look at that view…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Souvenirs from Regensburg

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

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

So what have you´ve explored lately?

Until then, stay safe everyone!Tschüss!

A Reflection: The grass is greener in Bavaria

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Reflections at the Baggersee : My Expat Life in Germany  from a year’s perspective.

 

My favorite lake here in Bavaria shows amazing reflections in the water today. I took this photo with my iPhone only at around 5 P.M, no filter needed, only pure beauty. I could stare at these mirror-like reflections for hours and still wonder what did I do in my life that I deserve to see this.

My heart is filled with warmth.I couldn’t help but to reflect into my past  life, realizing that from last year—living here in Germany is actually one of my ( and my family’s )  dream that came true! 

“Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So give goodness.”

Today, I feel so grateful. I want to be grateful because I have many reasons to be thankful for. I can’t help but to appreciate goodness in life.

As we make a pit-stop from cycling and gaze at this view from the lake today, my heart is grateful that I had the chance to see this place, with all these  myriad of beautiful nature, right at my doorstep.

I still remember that at this same time last year (May 2016), we squeezed our lives in 2 cargo boxes , my travelling hand carry bags are tightly packed and ready to leave Kuwait, with 3 luggage on tow and an active toddler on a 20+ hours flight, alone,jet lagged, and yet so excited to cross time zones for a life changing move. From the time our plane landed at Schiphol in the Netherlands and the 6- hour train ride going to Bavaria, my mind can’t rest until I step on to our new home. I was truthfully exhausted,at same time,  I can’t wait to see our new place, our neighborhood and our new home, where we begin a new chapter in our lives.

Everyone dream of becoming rich, well, maybe not all in material terms. For me, I didn’t dare of dreaming about big houses, high-end cars or a grand lifestyle, let alone living in a culture different from where I was born with. I love to travel but I don’t have the luxury for it. The only reason I go abroad was for work purposes. If you must know, so many Filipinos get out of the country mainly for work, especially women and mothers. Leaving your baby across the miles is a huge pain in the heart of any parent, a sacrifice as others call it. A big population of the OFW’s ( Overseas Contract Worker) are women, with small kids & families left behind in Philippines.They work under contract for years and years to earn money and support their families back home.

Back then, I was one of them .

Almost all Expatriates along with their families aspire of a better life in another country. Some move because there is a job opportunity, some with a lucky chance to immigrate naturally. If you got the opportunity, both for a better future and a high quality of living then life abroad becomes bearable…and enjoyable”

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Life echoes through the reflections

“The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence)…”

Staring at the clear waters with the reflections of a blue skies, I still couldn’t believe that I am actually living in here in  Germany. Imagine, for the past months, I  had my first taste of Summer, Fall, Winter  and Spring for the very first time in my life!

If you follow my Blog, you surely know it because I write all about them here.

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Local sightings : Kayaking in the Danube river in Germany

My husband thought of looking for a job in Canada but then life brought us here. I don’t like the cold so much but then the moderate climate helps me to appreciate my new life in seasons. Kuwait was not that bad, the cost of living is high for Expats but the balance between work and family is so bad, you always work for longer hours. In Germany on the other hand, to think that my daughter will have a better future in this amazing country is too much for me.Quality and balance living is achievable.We don’t live in big cities like Berlin, Hamburg or Munich, but we almost have everything here, within reach. My daughter will start in Kindergarten this coming September and she’ll grow up speaking multiple languages, getting better education, and having the opportunity to explore the best of both worlds as a Third culture kid.

Germans in general are very nice, friendly and hospitable people, ( at least from my own experience) the typical and traditional Bavarians who adore  Ruhetag  (Sonntag/Sunday) sincerely, my neighbors who are overly kind and all helpful. Our neighborhood which is just a stones’throw away from the Danube is full of simple wonders everyday. My little town here in Bavaria, Ingolstadt is a quaint, rich, lush city  full of kaleidoscope and charm. I couldn’t ask for more. ( Well, maybe a branch of Krispy Kreme someday…and Ikea! )

Germany is a beautiful country that welcomed us wholeheartedly. A place where Expats are treated not only as ‘Auslander’( or Foreigners)  but giving us a chance  to fully integrate into their culture,we felt at home at first sight. The moment I stepped out from the train, all I could say is that it is so green. I breathe in Life.

They say that people migrate with so many “pull” factors, and where the grass is always greener…

Literally & figuratively speaking, Yes, the grass is greener here in Bavaria.

 

 

This post was inspired by this week’s WPC Photo Challenge | Reflecting

Holland, as I see it!

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Holland, our second home , as I see it!

Even from my countless visits, I am still charmed by Holland. It has its endless enigma that is so unique, so complicated and yet so unforgettable. This country behind its countless dikes, polders, and gazillions of bikes, is enormous. There’s a lot to enjoy and really worthwhile to explore, especially for families and for all ages.

For the first time,we spent our Easter holiday with my parent’s in-laws and my husband’s relatives and as usual, it was  a nice time, always ‘Gezellig‘. Though the sudden drop in temperatures dampen our moods for a while, the crisp winds, hail and rain came as a surprise but not for long, we managed to roll and live like a local.

So, aside from my recent Tulip-coma from the gorgeous Keukenhof gardens, here I share with you some of the things that still caught me by surprise.

This is Holland, the Netherlands, as I see it! Enjoy…

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Spring in Holland : Tulips everywhere, anywhere. I saw these bunch of  red beauty right along my in-laws neighborhood.

Easter egg hunt right in Opa’s garden!

Just like in Germany, Easter in the Netherlands was a blast. My daughter and her cousins had lots of fun hunting for eggs and of course, we had an overload of Osterhase ( Easter bunny) and chocolate eggs.

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Easter dinner with some fancy appetizers

Talking about the wind and Dutch Cloudscapes

The photo below is a typical Dutch cloudscape. I snap this  photo while I was in the attic and opened the window during dusk. You can almost feel the wind in the higher parts of the sky; the strips of clouds they call “wind feathers” . I know I am in Holland when the clouds makes an exhibition of their fluffy, airy, and colorful palette.The ‘cumulus’ type of clouds is as typical as the tulips and used as inspirations by artists in many classic paintings in the Netherlands. If you have time, Google ‘ Solomon Van Ruysdael’ and you will know what I am talking about.

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Phenomenal sky in the Netherlands, April 2017.

The Kissing couple  

I love everything Delft, and this one is far by my favorite second to the Tulip vase that I’ve seen from our visit to the Rijksmuseum. I can’t find any history of this but this little piece of a Dutch farmer kissing his wife in the fields is really something very-Dutch. It come in all sizes but they are typically in the blue and white color which means that they are made of Delft Blue (or Delftware) – a Dutch version of Chinese porcelain.

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Only in Holland, The Kissing Couple

Crystal clear water reflections

I know that I am in The Netherlands when nature is visible in any bodies of water. The water is super clean and clear that you always have a mirror-like reflections. I am obsessed photographing all these reflections. I took this photo  from one of our walks in the city center where the small river lies along the green trees and a castle. It always seems like just a few meters away and I am taken away to another place.

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Crystal clear water reflections

Flower power  spectacle in full colors

Need I say more,when it comes to colors, the Dutch have a reputation to defend. This applies to famous painters like Rembrandt and Van Gogh, two of my favorite painters, whose work can be seen in several Dutch museums. One of my unforgettable experience was seeing the “Night watch” in Dutch –De NachtwachtBut Holland is best known for its spring flowers, especially Tulips. They are gorgeoussssss!!!

My recent trip to the Keukenhof left me with a flower-coma but I’m telling you, by Springtime, a sight of tulips  are seen ordinarily in every Dutch household. Actually the flowers are just a by-product, it’s the bulbs that counts and is exported all over the world.

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Keukenhof Gardens, Easter (April 2017)

The Dutch Tulips, and the season of Spring in the Netherlands is something that you should not miss if you are visiting this country. If you wanna know why these flowers causes the first financial crisis in Holland, you better read it Here.

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Pretty in bright, red tulips, the queen of Spring season.

I have a kid who is obsessed with animals and in Holland, the wild animals are typically seen up close. You can see herds of cows, goats , chickens and sheep as you drive along the highway. There is always a country-farm feel like even in the midst of a busy city. I think I have seen so much horses and stable in my entire life every time I am in Holland. Here, deers are still 100% natural. In the Veluwe, a protected wildlife park, there’s always a chance to run into one. My daughter enjoyed her up close encounter with huge deers that she can feed and with the petting zoo in Keukenhof gardens.

 

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Huize Almelo 

Our lazy walks lead us to this castle, just a few meters away from the city center. Huize Almelo is a castle ( manor)  in Almelo which is owned by the family Van Rechteren Limpurg. It is not open for public access but of course you can view it from a distance.We love walking around here as it has a beautiful greenery and clouded with trees with a nearby lake and ponds.

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Local sighting- a herd of cows lounging in the fields

The taste of Dutch cheese

Need I say more? Gouda is the type of cheese that is known worldwide, but the famous cheese market is held in the town of Alkmaar, north of Amsterdam. I don’t know about my husband why he doesn’t eat cheese, but as for me, I adore cheese and I could eat this everyday!

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Delicious Dutch threats 

My sweet tooth indulgence when I am in Holland is elevated to the max. I can’t resist the delicious goodies like the  stroopwafels, gevuldekoek, kozakken,  Dutch Apple pies and bonbons. Though the Netherlands is famous for its ‘Frites’ and bitterballen, you can never underestimate the Dutch homemade dishes. My parents-in-law always spoiled us with so many home-made cooking that I can’t describe farther than ‘Gezelligheid’. It is always served with lots of love. And yes, even in Holland, it is Spargelzeit!

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Having a Gezellig time inside the Bolletje ” bakery and museum where the Apple pie is as good as their spiced biscuits and the all time Dutch favorite—Kruidnoten!

Our visit to Holland is not  complete until we had coffee and a slice of warm Krentenwegge ( raisin bread) and Dutch apple pie with a window view of  spring violet pansies, for which is truly relaxing. This bakery which dated since 1867, is a home to my husband’s favorite- raisin bread and Kruidnoten.

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If you see bikes  everywhere, then you know you are in the right city and you are definitely in the Netherlands! Either tucked in the central station, if not on a bridge, they are firmly locked over a canal or  in front of Dutch houses.

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Ik voel me zo ( I feel so..) Miffy figurine design created by Artist Mies van Hout. One of the life-size decorated Miffy  we loved during the Art parade on 60th Anniversary (2015) in Amsterdam.The fact that Miffy rarely shows her feelings allow children to project their own feelings on her.The red line that winds its way around Miffy is made up of faces that expresses all kinds of feelings.

Her name is Miffy, and  she’s older than Hello Kitty !

Nijntje, is a shortening of “konijntje,” which means “little rabbit.”Oftenly mistaken as Japanese because of it’s ‘kawaii’ features but actually she’s Dutch. Sanrio even got sued for copying her design; the court ordered them to discontinue their “Cathy the bunny” character.

Dick Bruna released his first bunny book in 1955, followed by over 30 more. This year, Dick Bruna passed away but left a legacy with this white bunny character loved by children all over the world, even adults. We were lucky to witness the Miffy Parade last August 2015 in Amsterdam for its 60th Anniversary where 60 artists decorated a life-size miffy  (1.8 metre high) from creepy goth to rubber ducky. My daughter adores Miffy  since birth, and I am thrilled that we brought home one of the limited edition’s design.

There’s still so much to write about but I don’t want this post to be a novel . But do you wanna know what’s my priced souvenir from this family trip? This…

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Finally, my own Dutch Potato masher!!! I am completely Dutchie-FIED!

You know you are completely Dutchi-fied when you have this in your kitchen!

 

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