europe · travel

Following the Trail in Hamelin

I realized that I voluntarily brought my two small kids to a town famous for losing all of their kids mysteriously overnight — have I lost my mind?!

Hamelin’s golden rat guarding over the bridge

Before our trip, my curiosity was piqued while listening to this Hamelin podcast episode from Stuff You Should Know, which claims that the legend of the Pied Piper is one of the few fairy tales which might actually be based on truth. Strange circumstances, like a very specific date in the tale itself, to numerous artifacts referring to the sad day when the town “lost its children”, made historians take a closer look — and made me want to take a peek at the town as well.

To be honest, I was in for a surprise when I first caught glimpse of Hamelin. Perhaps I was expecting something, well, more like a hamlet? A small, almost theme-park-ey town devoted to a fairy tale? What we met was actually a bustling, sprawled-out city — not exactly as busy as Hamburg, but Hamelin was bigger than I thought and had more to offer than simply rat-themed tourist traps.

Continue reading “Following the Trail in Hamelin”
europe · travel

Discovering Ochsenhausen

It’s been already a year since we moved to here to the south of Germany, but I feel like it’s only until now that I’ve been able to really sink my teeth into exploring our new home. In between settling into the new apartment, and then giving birth just a few months later, now I’m finally able to catch my breath, loosen up, and open my eyes to all the wonders that are barely 3 kilometers away from where we live. Sure, I’ve been to Ochsenhausen a thousand times before, visiting my in-laws every other weekend, but a few sights that I’ve just visited with my kiddos only recently had simply made my brain go, “What? This glorious thing was here the whole time?!” And the best thing is, all of the places below are accessible for free! Country life does have its perks.

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europe · the mom life · travel

Raritätenzoo Ebbs: What New Thing Will You See Today?

To be honest, visiting a zoo for exotic animals was not the first thing I thought of when I was planning a short visit to Austria, but here we are.

Before seeing it with my own eyes, I had no idea that this animal existed.
(Coati or Nasenbär, native to South America)

I was simply looking for a good place to stay overnight as we made our way back to Germany from Kärnten, and I stumbled on a few sights in Inntal, grazing the border of Austria and Germany.

Continue reading “Raritätenzoo Ebbs: What New Thing Will You See Today?”
europe · the mom life · travel

How Stuttgart Airport Made Time Fly By While Waiting with Kids

After two years of not flying anywhere, I found myself positively giddy on my first time back at an airport — even if I wasn’t the one getting on a flight at all. We were bringing my sister to board her flight, and we had the whole gang in tow: me, my husband, my 3-year old and my 6-month old.

I barely remembered how small Stuttgart Airport was — you could probably walk from one end to the other in about 15 minutes (maybe 5 minutes if you’re late for a flight and are running). We arrived at the airport with a lot of time to spare before boarding time, so we roamed around trying to find a decent restaurant where we could settle down with the kids while we wait.

Aside from the McDonald’s and a rather well-stocked Edeka supermarket, there wasn’t much going for options (the big buffet restaurant is now unfortunately closed). What we did stumble upon had no food, but was actually a better option for keeping the little ones entertained.

Continue reading “How Stuttgart Airport Made Time Fly By While Waiting with Kids”
europe · the mom life · travel

Insel Mainau: Come for the Flowers, Be Awed by the Playground

Visiting beloved flower gardens during spring is always a good idea; it’s time for Mother Nature to show off her vibrant hues and delicate silhouettes.

The last time we went to Insel Mainau, though, we did not have two kids in tow yet. Now that I’ve seen the park through the eyes of an ever-alert parent, I just realized how much of a refuge it can be for families with small children.

Continue reading “Insel Mainau: Come for the Flowers, Be Awed by the Playground”
europe · the mom life · travel

It’s Wild in Pairi Daiza

I never really thought of visiting zoos as a children’s activity; I’ve always enjoyed meandering in zoos as an adult whenever I travelled. Now that I have a toddler who is thoroughly fascinated with making monkey and lion sounds all day, now I see the appeal of taking along your kids to see living, breathing, amazing animals.

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europe · travel

Wackenwald: The “WOBBLING” Forest

I was today years old when I found out that in Germany, there’s a forest where the ground is so soft, that the trees shake when you jump. Talk about wacky!

When my in-laws told me about a forest with “natural trampolines”, I just thought that they meant that the ground was just mushy. I foolishly just brushed it off, until on an extremely sunny weekend, we checked it out on a whim. It was so cool in real life! See the video below:

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europe · the mom life · travel

Ribe: A lesson on Vikings and Hygge

Since we were gluttons for punishment, we set off for another long road trip, barely a week after we had our first international excursion with our 7-month old son. This time, we were off to the north to Ribe, the oldest existing town in Denmark, founded in the early 8th century.

To be honest, I wouldn’t know the difference between 8th century history from 18th century history, but I do know a charming old town when I see one. The drive through the fields was utterly soothing, although my husband didn’t really appreciate the very low speed limit (As for me — yay, somewhere I could drive!).

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travel · europe

Spotlight on Dresden

In terms of tourism, Germany is much like its treasured National Mannschaft — you can’t pinpoint just one star football player, exactly because the greatness lies instead on each individually high-functioning member (or cities, in this case). Berlin has its Film Festival, Munich its Oktoberfest, Hamburg its Elbphilharmonie, and so on.

Dresden is probably one of the most-underrated European cities. I would boldly say its the prettiest German city I’ve ever seen so far. During my maiden visit to the East, Dresden’s elaborately-decked palace grounds, wistful Altstadt (Old Town) and ever-graceful Elbe did not fail to make the cross-country drive oh-so-worth it.  Continue reading “Spotlight on Dresden”

asia · europe · gibberish · philippines · singapore · travel

What a year! Top 12 Highlights from the Rollercoaster Ride of 2016

Love it or hate it, 2016 is definitely a year to remember. It was when I felt the wind getting knocked out of myself, as it seemed that one by one, the world seemed to veto the principles I thought were universal. It was the year when I realized, more than ever, that there is much to the world that I have yet to know, more perspectives that I have yet to comprehend, more life experiences that I have yet to open my heart to.  Continue reading “What a year! Top 12 Highlights from the Rollercoaster Ride of 2016”

europe · travel

Lavender Fields Forever

It takes a lot of adulting to prepare for a trip, from planning to booking, from packing to repacking. Once I’m out there on the road though, the big kid in me suddenly wakes up and takes over, gasping aloud at every marvel I come come across, and giddily rushing to see what’s in store on the next corner.

And certainly, the big kid in me broke free, frolicked and lost her mind in the vast purple playgrounds during lavender season in Provence.  Continue reading “Lavender Fields Forever”