Which Way? My off-the beaten paths

Here I gathered some of my favourite “Which Way” photos which sums up my walkings, hiking adventures and yes, running.

my favourite way to run every morning, taken sometime in Fall
Another way I love to do my morning Run, this time on a foggy day
Up to the mountain rooms, somewhere in the Tropical side
Somewhere in the Tropical roads and pathways
Cross over wooden bridge to the swamps
Route on a foggy and Endless rough roads
A very busy road going to Kuwait City heading to the Liberation Tower
My favourite cycling path with the view of the Danube river
Going up to the mountains with the Jenner Bahn Gondola
A curvy path going up to the mountains
Road view, but this time with a view of a rainbow

This post was inspired by Alive and Trekking´s “Which way photo Challenge“.Many thanks to San for hosting this and giving us the chance to participate.

If you wanna join this challenge, head on to San´s page and explore her wonderful world of trekking and discover the different world of ways…!

Until then , Wishing you all a happy start of the week.Tschüss!

Hiking through Burg Randeck Ruins

View of the Essing old Town in early Spring with Burg Randeck Ruins on top

This is the first hike we did this year, I mean out from Ingolstadt. We visited Essing before a couple of times in early Summer, during the peak of Corona Lockdown. Now we are back again, still in Lockdown ; but for another reason than sightseeing.With strict Corona measures and restrictions, the places we´ve been through are all outdoors, where we did almost hiking and walking.

Good thing about Lockdowns,we adapted to slowing down, staying outdoors as a family.Apart from cycling together,we opt to go to nature parks and go hiking, exploring the old cities since there is no other places actually to go. Museums are closed, play grounds are open but only the one outdoors.Nothing else to do.

In this hike, we aim for four things ; hiking with a view, seeing Ruins and Castle, and doing some exercise, lastly, and most important–having fun!

Driving to Essing from Ingolstadt takes about 45 mins. We parked and started our hike that assumed to be good for families with children. It´s about 7,7km and is doable with small children from 5 yrs old up. It can´t be done with strollers so it´s not suitable for very small children as there were steep stones and cliffs. During our hike, the temperatures were mild and most of the paths are in shaded trees so we really enjoyed it.

Some Ritter ( Knight) wood engravings we found inside the ruins of Burg Randeck ( Essing)

The first 2 km we walk on flat grounds and going steep. The paths are well marked and plenty of tree views to enjoy.As soon as we reached the vast field, we took a break since the Little Miss already starts to whine. She kept on insisting to look for a playground but there isn´t. Good thing we opt to tell stories and do quizzes once again to entertain here.

Below is the photo of the wooden bridge that we visited from last year. From here, you can have a beautiful view of the Altmühl river

Typical and very Bavarian landscape, Jura cliffstones, quiet and serene flow of the River Danube and a row of quaint houses along the banks of the river.Cycling through this path is really one of the best outdoor activity that locals and visitors loved to do.

There´s so much to explore in this wilderness. We took our time to spot early spring flowers, counting and checking out Bunnies and even had a glimpse on a garden with pools. I actually don´t know if it´s part of the river but it is quite beautiful.

The crackling of leaves on every steps makes the rhythm. We feel exhausted but we kept on. Holding on to branches of trees and rocks saves us always from slides and fall. In the end, we just smiled and laughed at our own sillyness.

I saw many families are also doing the same hike like we did and it just made me smile. I hear the same tantrums of the kids same as what my daughter did and I just smiled.Looks and feel familiar in every way. One practical tip, engaging your child to participate in a quest, like looking for Knight and swords signs, or who could be the first one to spot a Knight sign then receives a reward is a great motivator. It always works and effective.

What a view…finally!

There are many activities that can be combined in this area. Here´s a sample of our itinerary and the places we´ve explored that is tailored to be family-friendly.Altmühltal offers a variety of activities for all ages but below are some of our personal favourites!

Getting up close and personal with Tyrannosauros Rex in Dinopark in Bavaria and some fun times digging out Fossils!

Combating Vertigo and Climbing into the green forests in Beilngries

Watching the mighty Falcons fly high and a beautiful view of the Rosenburg Castle in Riedenburg

Cruising into the Donaubruch and having a sip of Beer in the old Weltenburg Monastery

or simply admiring the biggest Crystal in Bavaria in Crystal Museum in Riedenburg

There´s still so much to explore and to see…until next time, stay safe and have a happy week to you all.

Tschüss!

Wordless Wednesday

Silent Sunday

Wordless Wednesday

Mushroom Passion in Autumn

Passion in Autumn, Hunting for Mushrooms in Bavaria

Did you know that another Autumn highlights that many Germans loved to do in Autumn is Mushroom picking,hunting ( also known as Foraging)!

Autumn or Herbst is the perfect time to look for Mushrooms (in German it´s called Pilz).Mushroom is at its peak growth from September up to November, just before when it starts to frost, and the temperatures drop around 10 to 15 degrees. Mushrooms needs a combination of air, moist and light and the overnight air to become misty and moist.This season is the time of the year where you can see them in abundance! They just sprout everywhere! I haven´t really had this experience before, not until I lived here in Germany. I guess I just goes along with the fad. I know for sure that many Germans loved to enjoy themselves going into wilderness, soaking the Golden October, going for long walks and “Spaziergang” in Autumn, at the same time looking, ( some picks!) for Mushrooms!

I said to myself that I would try to look for mushrooms this year.Now I finally did it. Whenever I take a walk nowadays and do my routine running, I saw beautiful foliage , colorful nature, and it´s more like I am walking in a yellow arcades full of yellow, orange burnt brown leaves.The Foliage as well are bursting with colors of red and golden rust.

Crazy over Mushrooms!

Also, do you love to eat Mushroom?

Did you know that Germans love and adore Mushrooms? All year round, edible mushrooms are available in supermarkets.I´ve read that an average German eats at least 2.9kgs of Pilz ( Mushroom) per year more than any other countries in Europe! Come to think of it, last Sunday, I just devoured a giant Schnitzel with Champignonrahmsauce ( Mushroom sauce) and it was really delicious!

Sorry but I don´t know their names in particular order so I cannot educate you about their species. I just took notice of their size and key features. I noticed that in our area in Southern Germany, we don´t have much of the other varieties or the colorful ones. I guess they grow in other region. But then I found some interesting ones and I took a photo to make a journal of them, of course to share here in my Blog!

Mushroom Passion in Autumn season

I love to use fresh edible mushrooms when I cooked Pasta or as an an added ingredients in gravy sauces with meat. I love to sautee it together with vegetables because the flavour is really good and it is simply delicious.I never have tried eating a wild mushroom because I heard they can be poisonous.Rule of the thumb is that it´s better to really be careful handling them and leave it to experts. If you don´t know it, then it´s better to stay away from it.I found a very informative site about mushroom but it´s in German. I saw that some of the mushroom that I saw from my leisure walks are listed in this site, and it seems that 2021´s year´s Mushroom is the Grünling or Green compact Greenling.

I found the information stated in this site very useful since deaths caused by mushroom poisoning is really scary and tragic.

Autumn weather means more rain, moisture, and damp weather which paves way to their growth.Many days it is very foggy over here in Southern Bavaria so I think it adds more to the moist weather. I even see sometime a tiny mushroom in my indoor plants!They are like tiny creatures who pops up beneath the fallen leaves and trees.It is such a delight to see them in different sizes and shapes.

Generally speaking, colorful mushrooms are very toxic.They are nice and cute to look at but it´s better to take precautions handling them to avoid intoxication. Make sure not to touch them with your bare hands or for little children to play with.Never let your child pick it with bare hands if you are not really sure if its ok to touch.Remember that these Fungi are scary if its toxic.If you are in an area with lots of growing mushrooms and you wanna gather them, then it´s better to gather up some knowledge about what to do and what to get.

Autumn won´t be complete without Mushrooms
A Tiny mushroom buried in the bed of fallen leaves
This is literally a Mushroom Cloud!

Some are actually hard to spot since they are almost buried with the rest of the fallen leaves, but the cream, white caps are quite easy to see.

I really had a great time doing this and I´m sure I´ll be doing this every fall.I think this is also another reason to go out more into the woods and just enjoy the simple pleasures in life.Autumn is actually a beautiful season to reflect and meditate.

How about some more quiet readings ?

Blue and White Mushroom Towers in Kuwait

My Nature Walks in Autumn

Glacisbrücke in Autumn

Stay safe everyone. Wear your masks please! Tschüss!

Is The Art of Rock stacking really Rocks?

Some rock Cairns, or rock balancing I have seen in the Pöllat Gorge (Pöllatschlucht) in
Höhenschwangau near Füssen

Have you ever tried doing rock stacking?

Stones, stones, and more stones… somewhere in the banks of the Pöllat Waterfalls

I have always been interested about rock balancing and balanced stone formations. It´s an image of Zen to me.It´s peaceful, stable and balanced in an artistic way.I find it such amazing skill to be able to stack rocks in balance, like a therapheutic hobby.

My Little adventurer trying to make her own rock stacking exercise!

This is a great exercise both for the young and the adult.Since it requires patience and flexibility, it can be good to manage stress as well.I guess this activity requires concentration, a skill that children needs to master just like sitting in the chair for a long period of time.

Try it with your kids and you will know definitely if they are impatient or not…If they tried Jenga then maybe it will be familiar for them to try…

On our hike goingto Neuschwanstein Castle, we followed the trail following the Pöllat waterfalls, and suddenly, we spotted so many rock stack formations on the bank of the waterfalls. It was so many that it is really impossible to miss it.I know it´s not a surprise anymore considering that this place is one of the most visited place in Germany.We are talking about millions of people visited Neuschwasntein Castle every year, so imagine the number of hikers going on to this trail as well! This spot is where you can see clearly the Marienbrücke from above and gasping in agony because it´s still a long hike to go….

And actually, the waterfalls is very beautiful!

On the banks of the calm splashing waters, there is it…. the field of stone stacks…small, medium, high, low, large, and proud.

A beautiful stone we found in Partnachklamm, in Garmisch Partenkirchen

Every single corner of this area was covered with stone stacking.Of course we didn´t let this chance go by, we also made our own.I have seen quite the same when we visit the Partnachklamm (Partnach Gorge) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. People stops by to admire them, but only those wild at heart build them.

Most hikers loved to do this, having a pit stop to rest on the banks of a river or waterfalls, and leave a memory, an imprint of art. Once you see it, its an automatic invitation to participate and make your own.

While on my morning run, I spotted the same rock stacks , this time on the banks of the River Danube. I couldn´t resist but to stop by and admire it.It was beautiful.

Whether people do this just to kill time or to be “in” , it doesn´t matter. The thing is, it is okay as long as you don´t take anything from nature and respect it.A time well spent stacking the stones is never a wasted time…well that is only my opinion.

I have read that in other parts of the world, this issue is not so welcomed and not favored by nature observers.To think that there is even a global competition about stone stacking is really crazy!

What do you think about this, a tourist trap or not? Are you one of those tourists dared to do stone stacking as well?

How about a painted Stone Art Project ? or what about A Field full of rock figures?

Wordless Wednesday : Bird Houses

Chasing Castles and Ruins

A hidden gem, the Burg Eltz in Rhineland Palatinate

Do you love castles?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grünau´s castle´s impressive Facade

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

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

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

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

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

Nuremberg Castle

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

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

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

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

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

The Flaming mountains, dirty shoes and edelweiss flowers

Waking up in a room with a view like this.

As Goethe quoted “A picture book come alive “ is the the best way I can describe this little town in the Bavarian Alps. I had no idea what is this place all about and I was totally clueless. All I know is that we’re going somewhere near Garmisch-Partenkirchen . While on the road,the element of suprise was there for sure and as the days went by, I am just glad that we visited this place. We spent 4 days in Mittenwald and Garmisch-Partenkirchen area and there are bunch of things that really stayed in my memory.

Someone asked me “Why do you always go to the mountains?” I thought, why not?

For me, mountains are so special as beaches are gems in my life, they have such magic to them that nothing substitute. I think ,nature absorbs boredom and everything. It’s another world up there. I wrote here in my Blog how many times nature provides solitude and peace for me personally. I always love a great adventure but somehow I am always guilty that I am scared of heights and altitude. It really takes time to get used to all the deadly curves in the high Alpine roads and the crazy mountain culture. Maybe it is the fact that mountains are can be so dangerous or maybe it is because they make me feel so small, both figuratively and physically speaking.

I was even bewildered seeing myself that finally now I have proper mountain shoes! This is really what expat life does to me.

Tired feet and dirty mountain shoes

I felt that even if I don’t normally climb the mountains so to speak, the mountains really has a way to call you, its like wanderlust.

Beautiful small villages and towns with ornate walls are tucked in at the foot of the Alps

As a parent of an active toddler, we visited many playgrounds that are way up in the mountains and I really find that super exciting. The views pays it all plus the children really have unforgettable experience as well as eating in restaurants with the panoramic views of Glaciers and mountains covered with snow! I have this feeling that all my problems in my life dissolve when I am around them or that life slows down a bit . All that I can tell you is that after spending time surrounded by them, my views about everyday routines were changed. For me, its priceless just to drink my cup of coffee surrounded by these gigantic peaks. It’s pure luxury for me because I don’t have them everyday.

A charming find from the valleys

The mountain views we have from our balcony everyday and the richly ornamented houses especially in Mittenwald’s inner city (or Obermarkt) are really worth the effort. I really wonder if the people living there know how lucky they are.

View of the mountains from our balcony, not a bad birthday threat, right?

In Mittenwald, we rented an apartment with a direct view of the mountains (Karwendel) in our balcony. I think its definitely better than a penthouse view! It’s like having a giant wallpaper changing non- stop. I can’t forget how it looks in any time of the day. At one time covered with clouds, on a rainy day, dawn and dusk and one time with the full moon hovering over it! In the surrounding countryside, the scenery of the Wetterstein and Karwendel peaks constantly changes and one lovely afternoon, it looks like flaming and turns to burning orange! The feeling can be surreal that I can watch it nonstop.

Whenever I see these mountain peaks it directs me to a goal.I wanted to see and explore more but I always wondered how it is to be on top. I can still remember the time we are sitting on a cold winter day on New Year’s day in Fulpmes in Schlick 2000 where we have the snow capped mountain views for hours while I watched my daughter playing with all the skis. It’s becoming a habit now that we celebrate special occasions with mountain views! This summer, my five- year old daughter had her first walking stick when we trek up to view the Krimml Waterfalls where we reached up to 1,390 m (Bergerblick Platform) and wandering and playing through the Mooserboden at 1,200 meters. I think we are getting used to these altitudes more often. What is even fascinating is that mountains nowadays are not intimidating because of the high technology lifts that brings you up in minutes!

The mountains are calling and I must go…
Watching the clouds dissapear from the peaks is magical, like a time relapse!
The elusive mountain flower –the Edelweiss ( Leontopodium nivale)

It’s a surreal feeling when I finally got to see the Edelweiss flowers which are totally highly treasured and valued. The Edelweiss flower symbolizes the Alps and prefers rocky limestone places of about 1,800–3,000 metres (5,900–9,800 ft) altitude. Now I understand why its called the cliffhanger’s flower!

Don’t look at the whole mountain take it one piece at a time…This is something you will come to understand. You will learn to never give up; to know that the reward will be worth the work it takes .
Mountains that teach me to value the small luxuries in life. It taught me how to treasure a great jacket to protect me from cold winds and chill.
I’m sure, every mountain that I see now in my life taught me a lesson.

At the end of the day, its only the good things that we cherish that matters. Flaming mountains, dirty mountain shoes, loaded backpacks, 200+ photos in my camera and empty water bottles meant only one thing : FUN.

Until next time , Tchüss and Have a happy week!