My First Trip of 2014: Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

We’ve been used to making new year’s resolutions, I guess for some. I remember when I was still a kid we used to list down our new year’s resolutions as a seatwork in school but I don’t recall any which I have successfuly fulfilled.

This year I’m making one.. It’s not actually a resolution but a plan. Long before I have realized that I’m in a country which is home to fascinating, historical, magnificent and I don’t know what other else can describe the places here. And living here gave me easy access to other European countries which are as well gorgeous! So my plan is to go to as many places/countries as I want to, of course given the opportunity and money. Another one is buy a postcard from the place. (Because I don’t normally buy one and just take pictures.)

The postcards I got. ­čÖé

Thankfully we opened the new year with a trip. We drove to Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. When the place was mentioned to us by our friend I really had no idea what to see there. I didn’t research or anything. I just looked for a place where we could stay. ­čśŤ

Cesky Krumlov is an almost 5-hour drive from our home. Cesky Krumlov is known for their state castle. It is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage and why shouldn’t, all its building development from the 14 to the 19th century is well-preserved in the┬áoriginal groundplan layout, material structure, interior installation and architectural detail.

We chose to book at Penzion Gardena. There are actually many hotels in Cesky Krumlov and strategically located in the town center. I was even a bit disappointed at first when we’re not able to book a hotel near the castle. But eventually we realized we made the right decision. Only few of the hotels in the center have their own parking spaces. Penzion Gardena has private parking which is monitored and locked so you’ll feel secured while you are out walking around the town. Besides our place was just less than 10 minutes walk to the ┬ácenter.

We arrived at Penzion Gardena around 4:30 in the afternoon and first took some time to rest before eating dinner. We were really surprised with the place. We didn’t expect it to be that simple and elegant. It may be ordinary for some but it’s our first time to stay in such a place.

Penzion Gardena, Cesky Krumlov
Our room at Penzion Gardena

After settling and unpacking our things we already went out to meet my friend and her family for dinner. Cesky Krumlov at night is just amazing. The little town was well-lit up for the tourists to enjoy the view of the castle.┬áWe found a restaurant just as classic as the town itself. When we entered we were immediately awed by its decoration. We saw different stuff hanging on the ceiling which obviously date back to I don’t know when. ­čśŤ They created that old atmosphere and gave the guests the feel of its rich history.

Cesky Krumlov

Like Germany, Czech Republic has also any breweries and of course, many beers. One of them is this. It has a sweet taste unlike the beer that I got used to drink. They say beers are supposed to be sweet to say it is “delicious”.

Kruzovice beer, czech republic beer
The food were served in big plates as usual so we ended the night with a stroll and enjoyed the sight of the lit-up castle.

Cesky Krumlov at night

Cesky Krumlov Castle

This was only the first day er… the first night of our trip and I would say coming here is worth the travel.

Christmas is in the Air

On the day we left our car in the workshop we had no choice but to go to the city center on foot. Although it was only a less than 15-minute walk I still “enjoyed” that moment. The comfort of having our own car sometimes make me forget to appreciate simple things. Looking at my kids and their dad playing around while walking was a pleasant sight. Just a thought, walking TO the city center is different from walking IN the city center while there are not much you can see along our main road.

No car…

We went to our mall here and passing through the center I saw that preparations for the annual Weinachtsmarkt or Christmas market is ongoing.

weinachtsmarkt2012, weinachtsmarkt Aalen

weinachtsmarkt2012, weinachtsmarkt Aalen

I can’t wait to see this at night when glittering lights lit up the place and see people enjoying the taste of gluhwein to keep their bodies warm.

Anyway, we went to the mall to shop around for clothes for the season. Hay… The change of seasons just kills our budgets! ­čÖü

Aside from the preps in the city center, our mall already have their Christmas decors. You could really feel that Christmas is in the air.

mercatura weinachts2012

Apologies for the photo, I only used my phone on this shot. ­čÖé

As it was almost getting dark (at 4pm) we started to head back home. We checked on the schedule of the bus but unfortunately 3:35pm was the last trip. With no choice we had to go home on foot. Nevertheless, we passed by a supermarket and went for our groceries good for just a day or two. With the shopping bags we had, we can not add more weight with our groceries.

Heading home was a drag especially for the kids. Poor them, they had to walk uphill. I could still remember Ryz’s sleepy eyes, tired body and dragging her feet to walk. I just hope this will not happen to us again.

German Traditions on “Pfingsten”

Pfingsten or the Feast of Pentecost was celebrated last Sunday here in Germany and in other Christian countries. It is the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles according to the New Testament. The apostles were able to speak different languages meant to spread the Gospel and this was said to be the birth of the Church.

Yesterday was Pentecost Monday and was a holiday here and certain customs are observed in some areas. In Bavaria, people dress in the national costumes of their region, walk in processions to church and pray for a good harvest. In Franconia, horsemen perform the annual Pentecostal ride. Led by priests, they carry church banners and crosses to church.

Our Maibaum here in Aalen

Here in Baden another practice is called the Birkenstecken. Bachelors put up a birch tree outside of his loved one’s housewall on the night of the Pentecost. This symbolizes his love for her. In some parts though, birch trees are decorated and erected on the 1st of May. It is called Maibaum or Maypole and is seen at the city center.

The sights I miss this Christmas

This Christmas I missed how we celebrate this joyous season in the Philippines. The Kris Kringle, the midnight sales from malls, the bazaars, Christmas songs playing, the traffic jams (hmm… having second thoughts on this one), the smiles everywhere, the (extra)kindness of the people, the Christmas parties and happenings in the workplace (especially the Christmas bonus! hehe..), the gift giving and how the people appreciate what you gave no matter how small it is, and a lot more. And with lights, music and these sights you could really feel the Christmas spirit all around you.┬á That’s why when I went there last November I was happy to see all these (except the traffic, of course).

The lights display along Ayala Ave. in Makati.
The Symphony of Lights Show in Ayala Triangle
The Giant Christmas tree in Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City
The long cues of restaurants.

These were just a few. Most of all I miss those people whom I’m with while watching those, having the parties with, I eat with and I was just thankful that I was given this chance to come home even for a short time.

Gl├╝hwein

I had my first taste of Gl├╝hwein when we went to the Weihnachtsmarkt last Saturday. Gl├╝hwein or mulled wine is a traditional drink during Christmas holidays here in Germany and is made usually of red wine heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar.

The wine's so hot but just right for the cold weather.

It was good. Hubby and I shared a glass of it. I couldn’t finish one since I’m not really a wine person and I fear I might be walking like a drunk. Haha! But they say alcohol content of the Gl├╝hwein was gone during the heating process so I have nothing to worry.

See? I think hubby's already drunk! ­čśÇ

Just another first for me here in Deutschland. ­čÖé

Weinachtsmarkt

Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas market is a street market done within the four weeks of advent in celebration of Christmas. It is said to originate in Germany, Austria, South Tyrol (an autonomous province in northern Italy) and Alsace (a small region in France). But now these street markets are already done around the world. Who haven’t gone to a street market in the Philippines?

Last Saturday we went to the city center to checkout our city’s Weihnachtsmarkt. Check these out!

At the entrance

Stalls are set up and mostly food are sold. Sausages (of course!) and tea and goodies for kids, too.

Ryz doesn't want her picture taken.

There was also a merry-go-round and of course the kids enjoyed it.

Rides for the kids!

┬áIt was nice to see a “Belen” here. A reminder that Christmas is the birth of Jesus and a time for the family to be together as one.

The "Belen" or Nativity scene with live sheeps. ­čÖé
The family minus me!

Many say that Weihnachtsmarkt here in our city is such a bore compared to other cities. They say Stuttgart and N├╝rnberg are great. These Weihnachtsm├Ąrkte are tourist attractions during the holiday season.

 

N├Ârdlingen

Last Sunday we went to N├Ârdlingen, a town in the state of Bavaria, 40kms from our place. Hubby took an aerial shot of it when he had a plane ride with his officemate several weeks ago. He was fascinated by its structure that’s why we decided to have a tour of the city.

N├Ârdlingen's aerial view

N├Ârdlingen is one of the three remaining towns in Germany with still established city walls. City walls or defense walls which were built to protect a city from its aggressors. The city was a place of two battles during the Thirty Years War, the Battle of N├Ârdlingen in 1634 and 1645.

The Reimlinger Tor (Reimlinger Gate)

The map of N├Ârdlingen mounted on Reimlinger Tor where we entered. Notice that the city is circular in shape? That’s because N├Ârdlingen is located in the center of a meteorite crater called the N├Ârdlinger Ries.

The start of our long walk.
War enthusiasts would know what this is...

The City Wall Museum was closed. We could have seen a glimpse of the city’s history, the uniforms, probably some images of the battles, and a view of the crater from the Daniel’s tower.

The St. Georg’s Church known for its Daniel Tower which is 90m tall. Built in 1505, the church was made of an impact breccia called suevite.

We’ll be back next time to this place. I want to climb up that tower to see the town’s beauty, top view!

Two trees

This was taken early last month when it was still summer. It’s a park just behind the playground where the kids usually play. When I saw this I was instantly awed. I thought of it as a perfect place to spend with your special someone, very romantic.

And now it’s autumn, one of these days I’ll be back to check out how it looks like. Will it still be as beautiful as it is during summer?

Sharing for

Open Sunday at Heidenheim

It was Verkaufsoffener Sonntag or Open Sunday yesterday at Heidenheim. Stores were open for business and since we have nothing to do and I heard that there’s a mall in Heidenheim, we took this chance to check it out. When I entered the mall I suddenly missed Glorietta or some parts of it anyway. I even remembered Market! Market! with the mall’s design.

Mall entrance
Market! Market! ?
Glorietta?

I wasn’t able to buy anything. Haha! But it’s ok, I just really want to see how the mall looks like because I’ve been hearing about this from my classmates and some acquaintances.

After the window shopping, we just went out for a stroll at the city center.

We had to bring Ryz's scooter so she won't make her daddy carry her:)

A portion of the Hellenstein castle I captured.

We weren’t able to explore the whole city and its main attraction which is the Hellenstein Castle but for sure we’ll be back for it.

3500ft above

Last Monday was a national holiday here in Germany. It was Tag der Deutschen Einheit or Day of German Unity. It commemorates the day when East Germany or the German Democratic Republic joined West Germany or Federal Republic of Germany and Berlin became a single city again, thus the unification of Germany. I won’t delve much on this historical background since I’m not an expert in history much so of German history. I might end up looking information in Wikipedia as well. Maybe you can just search on the Wikipedia what Day of German Unity is. Hehe… ­čÖé

Anyway, it was a bonding time for us since we just stayed at home and found things to tinker on and then cleaned up the house. Later that morning hubby received a call from his officemate (the husband of our Filipina friend) inviting him to have a “joyride” around 4:30pm. He said ok and we headed to an airfield or flugplatz around 4pm.

Yup, they had a joyride for an hour above some cities.

Another co-worker owns the plane
Hubby on board. The plane can only carry 4 people.
Nordlingen
Aalen, our city

Some views from the top…

We checked how much it is to have a ride and here it is:

We hope next time he can take the kids with him. I’m sure they’ll love it!

 

For