Why we love Miffy more than Barbie

Playing with Miffy

Do you know Miffy?

Miffy or in Dutch calledNijntje is a character created by Dick Bruna, a Dutch children´s book author and illustrator .He have written almost 30 books about different adventures of Miffy.His books were translated into 50 languages and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide.In Holland alone, Miffy is a part of every child´s imagination and childhood.

Well,Miffy is a girl white Bunny wearing a little dress. Before I thought it was from Japan or somewhat similar with Sanrio and Hello Kitty but then I was surprised that it is of Dutch origin. Miffy was created in 1955 in Egmond aan See , the place where Dick Bruna painted Miffy for the first time, so that makes it 66 years old now .

My daughter loves Miffy and grow up with it.I love how simple the character, uncomplicated,and perfect for every little minds.Her books tells about children´s daily activities like going to the zoo, Miffy´s birthday, at the playground, in the snow, etc.The layout of the books is also very simple, with primary colors mostly, plus images of Miffy is so sweet.It is really a book for children. My daughter loved it,she is a voracious reader,and when she found a good book, she´s absorbed with it.

Now that she is 6, she is crazy about Ninjago and Lego but then she reads more further, with topics of History and Science. The truth is she never liked Barbie or any other dolls.One time she was given a Mickey mouse stuff toy but then she doesn´t like it and I don´t know why. I find it funny at first but then I realized that her preference was really not on girlie things.The first time that we have met Miffy was 2015 in Amsterdam . Luckily, it was there that they held the Miffy Art Parade to commemorate the 60th years anniversary .Rows of Miffy statues were displayed right in front of the Rijksmuseum and it was wonderful experience to see different Artist´s interpretation.

But then seeing more of Miffy up close and personal in the Miffy Museum in Utrecht is far more than we´ve expected. If you have kids, I am sure you would love to bring them here.We love the Easter Bunny in Easter, but then, we appreciate Miffy in so many ways.

Here are some snaps I took of our visit in the world of Miffy and her friends in the Museum.

The Miffy school , where children learn some new things everyday.
Just as Dick Bruna say ” Each book begins first with a little idea…
After drawing, children can hang their own artwork in here

The whole place is really a miniature world for children. Everything is built as per children ´s ergonomics and function. It´s quite lovely to walk into this place realizing how great the world is, from a child´s view.No worries, no social distancing,everything is beautiful, safe and yes–no fear of virus whatsoever! Mini houses, kitchen,garden, animal fun zoo, art room, play areas and many more are just some of the fun places where children can experience the basic things in life as they grow. It´s a lovely place where they can feel “I belong here” or” this really fits me..”

This is the first time when we have met “Miffy” , aka Mr. Manhattan , Miffy statue here is painted by Selwyn Senatori, depicting his love for a Good Life, or Dolce Vita.

We´ve got ourselves our own Miffy, the one painted by Mies van Out, “Ik voel met zo” or ” I feel so..”. Funny, but according to Chinese and Japanese Astrology, the author Dick Bruna was born actually in the Year of the Rabbit.

” I create a world that children fill with their imagination…” -Dick Bruna

Playing with Puppets with an audience!

Before Corona, taking videos and photos inside the museum is still alowed, but then nowadays to avoid congestion, it is prohibited. I got lucky that I was able to take some snaps of the museum and how does it look inside.We practically spend half of the day roaming around here and exploring the place.My daughter can´t get enough of each room, so she would go back a few more times. It was not particularly crowded that time so we even have the room just for ourselves.Also, I´ve noticed that there were quite a lot of Asian tourists, knowing that Miffy is quite famous, especially in the UK and Japan.

Children unleashed their energy and hop from here to there and just having fun.It was really a day full of fun and creative playing.

In the Netherlands, Miffy is known as Ninjtje,derived from the Dutch word ” Konijntje“, known as well as le Petit Lapin in French.

While waiting for our turn to enter the other side, we roam around the grounds near the museum.The views around Utrecht is pretty amazing and has a very coolSpring vibes. There are lots of trendy shops along the canal and it is not so crowded as in Amsterdam.People sit by the canals ,families eating toegether, drinking, and enjoying some cool spring sun. We busied ourselves admiring the Dutch gable houses and people watching to kill time.

Our favourite so far was the room where children can dressed up as doctors and nurses and play pretend going to the doctor . She had so much fun wearing all those costumes and I just can´t stop smiling how fun it is to let her go by her own imagination. How sad this simple fun cannot be enjoyed by children now because of Corona restrictions….

I wonder when can we go again to such places without the fear of being infected and enjoy the fun while traveling...

Miffy is practically everywhere!

Of course, there is a Miffy souvenir shop and cafe adjacent to the building .The shop offers almost everything from books, to tshirts to pens and mugs. I love their children´s Miffy necklaces and lamps. It´s really a one stop shop and a great place to shop for souvenirs and gifts. The museum restaurant offers a good coffee and Dutch cakes, organic juices and a wide outdoor play area for kids as well while their parents can have a breath of fresh air. A bonus,they even served Miffy pancakes!When you are in Holland, you´ve got to try their Dutch apple pie, it´s really a piece of heaven!

The girl enjoying some fun outside in the Cafe Centraal on a fine Dutch Spring!
One fine day in Utrecht
Miffy even has her own Van selling Ice cream, a Turquoise Miffy Van.

What a better way to end our trip is having some Miffy ice cream!

Do you also have a favourite childhood Book?

Until then, Tschüss!

Suspended Flower Garden in the Netherlands

Those days where we are free to mingle with plants and people..

This is a late post from our last visit in the Netherlands late last year.I am so looking forward already to Spring that I began searching my photos for our last Spring vacation and beautiful fragrant spring bulbs.I´ve bought some bulbs of Hyacinth, Daffodils and Amaryllis and they were all blooming now, their smell inside the house is so fragrant.Few more weeks and I know, Spring is here.

Anyway, yes, back to positive vibes and more Flower love! Last Spring I was really in the mood and wanted to visit a Botanical garden and at the same time to find a place where my daughter can play and not bored ogling plants! Orchideeen Hoeve in Luttelgeest is a perfect place that we´ve found!

When it comesto gardens, botanical ones or not, nothings comes close to the Netherlands .Plants and flowers here are totally of different level. I don´t know but plants grew there on a different level.The species are also so varied.

Beautiful flowers I spotted inside the Orchideen Hoeveee

There are many fascinating things inside the Orchidarium including these sculptured faces and animals out of tree branches and stems.

These crazy Orange Pink Flamingoes are carefree inside the Orchideen Hoeveee

It was freezing cold outside, barren, grey, ugly and most trees are still bare with its leaves long gone withered.But indoor gardens are a different thing. There is a place in the Dutch Lowlands , in Luttelgeest, that can transport you to a plant -paradise destination during winter season! In Orchideeen Hoeve, we had this amazing family experience that really worth the travel and money.

Have you heard about their Suspended Flower Garden?

It´s not yet Spring but I guess just like their Tulips charm, Holland always comes number one for me.I’ve written it many times, and will write once again– their Tulips and Keukenhof Gardens is the most beautiful Spring Garden in the World . It really is, but you need to see it for yourself to judge it. The Suspended Flower Garden in the Netherlands and its Orchid Farm is just extraordinary beautiful.The lay out of the whole farm is great, with lots of things to offer for all ages. No wonder it was really full of visitors during our time of visit.Here you can enjoy a day pass and enjoy all the Amenities.

All blooming plants suspended in the ceiling creates a magical plant paradise

Once we entered the garden, we were all open-mouthed, and drooling at all the hanging beautiful summer blooms. It is huge, vast and overflowing with different kinds of flowers you can imagine! I am sure my German neighbors will be drooling at all the beautiful cascading Geraniums, Fuchsias,Begonias, and Lizzies above our heads!It’s a different world inside in Orchideeen Hoeve.

A great family destination

Inspired by “ Hanami Matsuri” or the Japanese Cherry Blossoms Festival in Japan, the Suspended Flora Garden and it’s greenhouse is as huge as two thousand square meters and seven meters in height. A magical place that creates coziness surrounded with natural living beauties in all colors, flowing oases of fountains, ponds and Gazebos. It looks so summery, and have a mediterranean feel all over the place.Every nook is so picturesque so I can´t really resists to take lots of photos!

There are plenty of areas to sit to enjoy and admire the garden. Whether you come as a couple, family or elderly, the place is huge enough! In case you got hungry, there is the “ Sakura Bistro” that serves snacks and drinks as well.The bathrooms are clean and plenty and there are lots of benches and nooks to rest and wait for your child while they play in the Play areas.Talking about playtime, the Mangrove Forest Play paradise one of the most comprehensive Nature play areas for children that I´ve ever seen.There´s also a Lorraine Garden, Jungle Theater and a Caterpillar Farm.Here I saw their very impressive Citrus Farm as well.

Take a seat and breathe in Nature

I decided to write about this because I really love the concept behind this garden. It is not just a place to admire and relax, but then it’s a place as well to appreciate nature. During Winter, we have limited places to go, especially something fresh as this. I am so glad that I had this experience before the Corona Outbreak happens! We would definitely check out this place once again in our next visit to Holland.

At further end of the Greenhouses, these is a wide place with parrots, birds and animals.Some cute animals that will surely attract your little ones are Meerkats, Ring tailed Lemurs, Ducks, Iguanas, Alpacas, jungle animals, some big fishes and Loris! It´s even like a petting zoo since you are allowed to touch them! I love the Flamingoes and colorful parrots .We enjoyed the butterfly garden and the turtles stretching their legs that looks like they are sunbathing on the banks of the river.In here I have seen as well thousands of swimming colorful Koi Carps in the grand river and waterfalls.

I bought a nice from here as a souvenir and until now, it still thrives!

Thinking of exploring the Dutch Lowlands? these Unique family destinations will surely not hurt your budget but will leave you exhausted, but happy. Have a great week everyone.Tschüss!

The Bicycle capital of the World

Exploring Utrecht with a Toddler

Out and about in the land of Windmills

The Cube Yellow Houses in Rotterdam

Cruising along the Danube

IMG_0106
Sittin’ on the dock of the bay…

I guess everyone dreamed of  cruising along a river…I’m one of them.

The chance came and I just did! and it was a wonderful ! I remembered how I was enchanted by the beautiful Moselle river and by far, the Danube river has its own charm.This post is really special to me because this is something that I really enjoyed from our last trip. It was also the most exhausting one, but then, as the saying goes “when the going gets tough, the tough get going…”

IMG_0117

IMG_0109

I wrote many things about the mighty river “Danube” (or Donau) in this Blog. How can’t I?, the river is just 10 minutes away from where I live, I see it everyday, it has become my daily backdrop and a favorite subject for photos. Seeing its different faces through all seasons becomes so normal for me. But  then we discovered something else about its charm. We’ve seen another phase of this mighty river in Regensburg. Cruising through its magical waters is different, especially if you are traveling with a hyperactive toddler. Yes, she loved the boat idea, but to keep her calm through the whole boat ride is another innuendo!

IMG_0103
The boat is turning around…

IMG_0096
And off we go…! Germans adore the sun , lots and lots of sunshine, so they prefer to sit in the open deck for better views and winds, but my daughter wants to jump off the water!

So anyway, last Tuesday, while we are in Regensburg, we decided to take a cruising along the Danube trip to visit one of the most notable off -the-beaten path destination——- the German Parthenon, a replica of the one in Athens, Greece, the Walhalla Temple. Another hidden gem in Bavaria and I think it deserves more recognition because this place is both educational and not for the faint-hearted. It takes guts to be up there, but the views are totally worth it.  Bavarian King Ludwig I (reigned 1825-1848) ordered his great Architect Leo von Klenze to build this place to dedicate to all great German speakers and notable persons. Quite extraordinary tribute, right? Aren’t you curious whose on the list?

Walhalla is a temple built high above the mountains, I thought, how are we going to make it there with a 3-year old plus a bulky stroller? Can we climb the hilly terrain plus  the 358 steps ?

From the cruising to hiking? Possible? YES!

But first, we relaxed and enjoyed the comfortable cruise ride to go to our main destination.

IMG_0075
We have some company in the river, so many ships and barges crossing over.

The Charm of the Danube

The river Danube seen from the Old Stone Bridge (Steinerne Brücke) in Regensburg looks so calm, graceful and deep. I spent quite sometime just admiring the view in front of me, with all the boats,  ships, museum, and cruise ships passing by me, and of course, a mass of people. Everyone just love to lounge in the banks of the river.

IMG_0044 (1)
Took this photo from above the Walhalla, the route where the ships go crossing the Danube.

Napoleon once referred to the Danube River as the “Queen of Europe’s Rivers,” a fitting title for Europe’s second-longest river. It measures 1,775 miles long and up to nearly 1 mile wide and touches 10 countries — Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, GermanyHungary, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine — and four capitals. That alone has made the Danube a vital transportation route for more than 2,000 years. The Danube cycling path is also well-known for cycling enthusiasts and wanderers. It is my dream also to cycle on one of its paths, maybe someday when  my toddler can also join this type of adventure.

IMG_0053

Today, ships can navigate 87 percent of the waterway’s length, meaning Danube River cruises can sail from the North Sea to the Black Sea. The Main-Danube Canal, which got its major start in the 18th century, was completed in 2002 when the final piece was put in place for the 106 mile, 16-lock waterway.

IMG_0065

The cruise experience from Regensburg to Walhalla

We got our ticket from the Regensburger Schifffahrt ( Klinger) and by 10:30 a.m, the boat docked in front of us and off we go.There was quite a crowd already but I am impressed that even strollers, pets, and persons with wheelchair can join this trip. The staffs are both helpful and mindful.

We found a place near the window but we often go to the open deck to have better views and took photos. There is an audio tour both in German and English so that was very handy for me. At the beginning, my daughter was so excited but then after 10 minutes or so, she started to get whiny and cranky. It was time for her midday nap.She crashed into her nap and woke up when we are already in the foot of the temple.

IMG_0072
Beautiful nature sights during the trip.

Cruising along the Danube is wonderful , especially for families. If you want to explore from what is beyond the norm then it’s a great break from the claustrophobic and touristy streets in Regensburg . The views along the river is very scenic, enough to put you in a trance. We passed by  some notable arches, bridges, and castle ruins in the hills surrounding the Danube. The atmosphere inside the boat is very cozy, the bathrooms are clean and you can order food & drinks as you like.

The trip lasts for more than 45 mins, from which my daughter just sleep through out the whole time. The drop off was easy and the guests are allowed to wander &  explore Walhalla for 75 minutes, after this, the boat comes back for the trip going back to Regensburg.

IMG_0048
The striking Walhalla Temple

Finally, we’ve reached our destination.We stood on this spot for quite sometime trying to figure out how to navigate this place, pushing the stroller, I thought, how are we going to be on top?

I’ll tell you more about the rest of our adventure in my post about this mighty Walhalla temple.Until then, thank you for reading my friends.

If you are visiting Regensburg, make sure not to miss this. The information about this trip is available in the Tourist Information in the Old Town of Regensburg and the ticket booth is just beside the Old Stone Bridge and the Wurstkuchl. It’s a hotspot location and you won’t miss it!

 

 

 

 

 

One for the kiddo : Tiergarten (Nürnberg Zoo)

IMG_0195
My daughter is mesmerized by the azure blue waters and swimming seals inside the Blue Salon 

Do you like going to the zoo?

I didn’t know that once you have a child, you will appreciate the Zoo! Second to  playgrounds, the zoo is a place that we have learned to enjoy with my daughter.

IMG_0188
Entrance to the Blue Salon where you can see face to face the graceful swimming Sea cows or Manatee!

I think I’ve only been to a zoo a few times, I can count them, nothing special, more like an educational trip for school, or when I visited the Kuwait Zoo to kill time . The fondest memory maybe is  when my husband is visiting the Philippines and I decided to take a quick look at the nearby  Manila zoo ( because it’s on our way ) but then, while I was busy with my phone, a bird suddenly drop a bomb on my head. Oh yes, I was completely covered with bird poop! What an amazing zoo experience indeed!

IMG_0220
It was nice to meet you Bears!

Anyway, we finally made it to Tiergarten Nürnberg last weekend. This is the first zoological Park that I’ve seen here in Germany.  Last Spring, my daughter had a blast in the Petting zoo inside the Keukenhof Gardens and she can’t wait to see much more. She’s very into animals and she knows each of them by heart, both in English  and Deutsch! From the central station in Nürnberg, we took the Tram # 5 going to Tiergarten and within 10 minutes, we are at the gate of the zoo.It was only 9:30 in the morning and yet the zoo started to get crowded. We decided to come early since she will have her  midday nap and I know she can be a handful when she is cranky.

IMG_0388
Tropical flowers adorn the tropical Manatee house inside the zoo

 

Nothing but nature 

The moment we stepped inside the zoo, I was amazed by how green it is. So many trees and its like walking in a wild jungle park. We had lots of walking to do inside so shades from trees are a heaven! I love that the park has a natural lay out inspired by nature and the animals are kept as in their natural habitat as possible. The zoo was well-kept, maintained, clean, and easy to navigate.

I love walking into their Tropical forest  ( Manatee House) where its a replica of a tropical jungle where you can observe the Manatees  ( Sea Cows ) swimming under your feet.They are sooo huge and seeing them under your feet is a bit creepy. It’s a first time for me to see such animal. I even saw some plants that only grows in tropical climate like what the Philippines have. So many mature stock of trees, idyllic mixed woods and natural landscapes make this zoo one of the most beautiful zoos in Europe, at least from my own impression. Exotic animals live in harmony right next to a range of local bird species and mammals, and the craggy sandstone rock formations make generous natural enclosures for many animals where they can climb and relax.

IMG_0428
Watching the Giraffes having their breakfast

IMG_0389
A camera-shy Zebras

Now I understand why they say that whoever has experienced the wide variety and idylls of Nuremberg Zoo will come back again. The elegant movements of the dolphins and sea lions in the dolphin lagoon, the tropical atmosphere in the manatee house and the feeding of the polar bears in the Aqua Park provide an unforgettable experience.Compared to the Sea Life in Munich where we see more varieties of sea life animals but then it was  in a close area and a bit claustrophobic for me.

As expected, my daughter enjoyed watching all the animals. Too bad that we didn’t have the chance to see all the others and the rest of the zoo. It is a spacious zoo, built on top of a hill, with lots of areas to wander,  so it means lots of climbing. We went to each animal’s places but they seemed to be hiding in their cribs. Maybe its the heat? or napping? I don’t really know why but I find it rather disappointing especially when we are all excited to see the Lion’s den. All we found in the cages are the meat. On the other hand, the Zoo was so large that I don’t have the energy anymore to explore it and see it all. My daughter starts to get cranky and needed to recharge.

IMG_0381
A bird sitting on its nest

 

A lovely Surprise : The Aqua Park and the Manatee House

We chose to go to Nürnberg zoo because we wanted to see the Dolphin and Sea Lion show, and that is something that we really enjoyed. The show runs simulatenously with   feeding times at 11 a.m , 2 p.m and 3:30 p.m . .The open area has wooden benches where viewers can have a full-vista of the show. I must say that the training for the dolphins & seals are incredible and that was one great show! Nuremberg Zoo is very well-known for its sea cows, the manatees and the Dolphin show.  In the Manatee House, these gentle giants can be observed under water. The generous dimensions of the tropical house provide a colourful and diverse environment for sloths, turtles, butterflies, monkeys and numerous tropical plants. Beavers, otters, penguins, sea lions and polar bears are also at home in the Aqua Park, an extensive water landscape interrupted by a variety of small islands.

IMG_0380
A very lively Dolphin show !

You need an ample amount of time to explore and see all 3,295 animals from 292 species that can be seen at the Zoo. Yes, that is a LOT. I read that the zoo moved from the Dutzendteich to Schmausenbuck to make way for the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and during World War II, more than 90 % of the facility was damaged, actually Nuremberg was heavily bombed during the war. I am glad that we were able to see the  Dolphin lagoon and show which is actually the first outdoor lagoon for dolphins and sea lions in Germany. Good thing to know as well that the Nuremberg Zoo participates in 46 international breeding programs and is a partner zoo of the Species Conservation Foundation.

IMG_0372
Dolphin Show

 

IMG_0379
Amazing Dolphin performance!

IMG_0223
Beer garden inside the Zoo

We took our break and had lunch in one of the Beer garden up in the hill. It has a play area beside it so while waiting for our food, my daughter was running up and down again. I find the food simple, nothing special but its a great place to have a breather from walking.

 

IMG_0400
Souvenir shop for the little ones.

There are many souvenir shops, restaurants and adequate bathrooms inside the zoo so I find it really convenient. We got a cute camel souvenir with engravings since it reminds us of the stuff toy we’ve got in the Scientific Center in Kuwait.

If you have an active kids like I do, I highly recommend to check out this place. It’s for all members of the family and a great way to spend the weekend, but like I said, just be prepared to walk and walk.

 

For Admission Fees, you can find more information Here .

Other highlights of a day trip in  Nürnberg :

The Ehekarussell or the Bitter Sweet Marriage Fountain

Kaiserburg ( Imperial Palace)