Apples in Belgium and Pumpkins in Germany – we celebrate the harvest season European style
Apples in Belgium and Pumpkins in Germany – we celebrate the harvest season European style
Spring in Germany is a glorious time of year. The well-tended gardens are beginning to blossom, the trees are beginning to flower and the window boxes are beginning to bloom. The entire countryside is awash in color. One of our favorite things on earth is exploring the German countryside in the Spring. In Germany the paths are well-marked and well-groomed, and a perfect place to spend a beautiful spring day, basking in the warmth and beauty of the earth.
“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” Henry David Thoreau
This week WordPress is taking a look at Earth you can find other interpretations here.
“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
― Henry David Thoreau
Much like Thoreau, I crave moments of solitude. I look forward to the times I can spend alone with my thoughts observing my surroundings. Rather than feeling lonely, this periods of solitude leave my soul refreshed. I find this especially true living in Rome, where it can be difficult to find a moment of calm and quiet amid the daily cacophony and frenzied pace of life you find in a city.
Outside of the city, it is easy to find a quiet place. A silent path in the woods, an early morning walk through the empty streets of a small town, a fragrant garden all provide a place of solitude.
Within Rome, there are pockets of stillness, although sometimes you have to look a little harder to find them.
“I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books.”
― C.S. Lewis
Visit the Daily Post for more examples of Solitude.
In my dreams, I can repurpose anything. I believe that I am going to have the time, material, and creativity to transform trash into treasure. In reality, I move far to frequently to hold on to all the treasures I’d like to restore and repurpose. Instead, I wistfully pass along my pieces of inspiration to those with larger storage areas and fewer potential moves.
I do love to see repurposed items, and one of my favorite was the Kunstwald – the art wood in the forest not far from my home in Burglengenfeld, Germany. This hiking trail was truly unique. Much of the art was carved from wood blending seamlessly into the woods along the trail. They added the unexpected to the trail – repurposing a solitary walk in the woods into a reflection on nature and art.
Occasionally, though, you’d encounter something unexpected. Something truly magical – something repurposed.
Head over to the Daily Post to see more examples of Repurpose.
This week, the WordPress Photo Challenge takes a look at Ambience.
I took a look at some of the photos I’ve taken during the month of January over the years. The dark chill of the month is captured in many of the photos I’ve taken, regardless of the location. But what is it about a place that creates the Ambience?
Sometimes Ambience comes from the color of a scene:
Sometimes Ambience results from the atmosphere of a place:
Other times the texture:
And sometimes it’s all of those:
If you’d like to see more examples of Ambience, head over the Daily Post.
August marked the one year anniversary of our move from Germany to Italy. The first year was a good year, but it was not a great year. I frequently found myself feeling lost, overwhelmed, and incompetent. I should really read my own blog more. It wasn’t until someone left a comment on a post I …
This week the travel theme at Where’s My Backpack? takes a look at slowing down and remembering to breathe.
In my ideal, dream world, when I need to breathe I’d simply head off to the mountains. It is in the mountains where I find a calmness and peace unlike anywhere else. As a mother of two young children with a spouse who travels a lot, this is often times just that. A dream. So it’s those places closer to home that I turn to most often.
Moving every few years leaves you a perpetual newcomer, always trying to locate something. For me, it’s important to add finding a space to breathe into my explorations of a new area. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a place close by that allows you to get away from it all – a place that gives you a sense of inner peace. That is one of my great joys when I explore. Finding a place that is still and quiet that allows me to simply be, to simply breath. Solitary paths in the woods exhilarate me, but it’s not always a possibility. I try to find some space in each day to breathe simply by taking time to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee in the quiet stillness of the early morning.
Some days though, I need to get out. I need to explore. I need to shake up the routine and rhythm of everyday life. I need to find someplace wild, someplace calm, someplace new to hear the myself think over the day-to-day necessities.
Living in Germany is a great place if you’re looking for breathing space. Both of the towns I lived in were small towns in a rural setting, offering a multitude of beautiful green spaces to explore. You were guaranteed to find someplace quiet. Someplace where you were the only one around. I loved exploring the trails and the woods. Even though I have a terrible sense of direction, I rarely got lost. The trails in Germany are usually well-marked.
When we moved to Rome, one of the things I feared was that in this giant city, I would never find a quiet place to breath. I was wrong. You may not think of green spaces and quiet places, but they are there. If you know where to look. I don’t begin to think I’ve unlocked all of the secrets of the quiet places of Rome in just 9 months, but I have found a few places where I can breathe.
Here are just a few of the many breathing spaces I found in Germany:
And here are a few of the breathing spaces I’ve found in Rome. So far.
If you’d like to explore the way others view this topic, visit Where’s My Backpack? Travel Theme Breathe
This week, the WordPress photo challenge takes a look at getting to know people as an artist by studying their Face. This week for the photo challenge, I thought I’d take a look back at some of the faces I’ve come across in my travels.
Many works of art masterfully depict faces to convey a message, an emotion, a brief snapshot of a period in time. I love to stroll through the galleries and piece together the past through the work of the great artists, marveling at their ability to capture so much within their canvas. But for this challenge, I decided to look at some of the faces of folk art and art in public spaces I encountered in Germany.
For me, the great art provides a glimpse of the epoch, the themes that prevail on the larger scale. I find that the art people make, the art that they keep in their homes and erect in their communal spaces, allows you to see the individuals. It shows you how they choose to honor what is most important to them.
As George Bernard Shaw famously wrote, “you use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”
In Pfullendorf, a small town in southern Baden Württemberg we see the faces of the past in the local cemetery.
And in the water park, we see the faces of the future.
In Burglengenfeld, a small town in Bavaria, we find the faces of the people in the local folk art.
And the faces of the community in the public spaces.
And a glimpse into the soul as we view the faces in the Kunstwald.
To find more Faces, head over to The Daily Post challenge – Face
Let me take you back in time to a cold midwinter’s eve early in 2011. It is early in our second calendar year living in a small German town in Southern Baden-Württemberg, and we are in the midst of our first pre-Lenten celebration in Germany. It is the last night of Fasching and the witches are jumping over a bonfire. …
Most people consider the long winter months after Christmas to be dull, grey and dreary. While I have always loved the cold winter months, it was living in Germany that made this my favorite time of year.
Even though the days are short and often grey it is the most vibrant time of year in Germany. From unexpected schnapps drinking visitors, to colorful decorations throughout the streets, to parties, costumes and revelries, the deepest winter days mean one thing – its Fasching Season. Fasching, known as the fifth season, officially begins on November 11 but the biggest events are on the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. This pre-Lenten celebration is unequaled in vibrant displays of costumes, colors and music. It will always be one of the things I miss most from years in Germany.
In my former German hometown of Pfullendorf, the festivities have already begun. On Schmotziger Donnerstag, the day begins at 5:00 am – with whips cracking outside your window. Today, everyone wears a costume. You will run into clowns, cowboys, fairies and pirates everywhere you go. Early in the morning members of the various Fasching Clubs will free the children from the schools and kindergartens, take over the town hall and raise the Narrenbaum in the town square. The festivities have begun.
Over the course of the weekend, there will be balls and parties and on Rosenmontag (the Monday before Ash Wednesday) is the giant parade – a highlight of the festivities, where the schnapps flows freely and spectators and participants alike are fully costumed. Tuesday you’ll find the Preisschnellen in the Marktplatz – a whip cracking competition in the main square, and that evening you’ll find the hemdglonkerumzug mit hexenverbrennen – the nightgown parade with a witch burning.
The burning of the witch signifies the end of the celebrations, the next day is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten period. But the vibrant memories of the Fasching celebrations are enough to last you through the remainder of the dark winter days.
Here are a few pictures from Fasnet in Pfullendorf.
The first thing you notice are the Vibrant decorations throughout the town. Brightening the darkest of winter days.
Head over to WordPress to find more examples of Vibrant