Category: Travel

BUGA Heilbronn

BUGA Heilbronn

Right now Heilbronn is hosting the BUGA (the federal garden exhibit, which happens every other year in a German city) and I got a ticket from my grandparents for my birthday. It was so great I went twice in one week and I have so many pictures, so it deserves it’s own post … here comes the flower overload:

My parents have a year pass so my dad and I went exploring on a Sunday afternoon for 5 hours and 17.000 steps. The area is huge with all sorts of plants, educational exhibits, 2 lakes with water fountains, food and wine and cocktail booths, 2 stages for concerts and performances and of course lots of pretty flowers.

I love the mascot they have – Karl, a garden gnome. I went on a mission to take pictures with all the different Karls I saw πŸ™‚

On my last night at home we returned to the BUGA with a mission: to see the water show. In the middle of the area they have a man made lake with lots of fountains on it and every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, there is a half-hour water and light show with music. They had some special guests the day we went, so we got lucky and saw 2 shows in a row, “Der kleine Wassertropfen” (the little water drop) and “Deutsche Schlager” (German Hits). It was awesome!

Birthday celebrations part 2, 3 and 4

Birthday celebrations part 2, 3 and 4

Besides a fantastic birthday weekend, there were many more fun activities I haven’t posted pictures from, so here we go!

Afternoon tea at the Peninsula

Boramy and Tim took me to afternoon tea at the Peninsula a week after my birthday. I’ve been wanting to go so it was the perfect present. Savory snacks, little desserts, scones with clotted cream and unlimited tea – what more can you want? The food was really good and we hung out for almost 4 hours.

Girls only birthday party

A weekend after that, I had 8 girls over for pastries, cake, games and mimosas … and later pizza rolls, wine and gossip πŸ˜‰ They helped me finish the rest of the eclairs and cream puffs from the baking extravaganza, so now there’s space in the freezer for another round!

Birthday celebrations in Germany

I just got back from a business trip to Germany, where I also got to spend a weekend with my family. I sent them a birthday wish list which included a family breakfast, dinner with the grandparents and a strawberry cake πŸ™‚ All my wishes were fulfilled, yay to getting special birthday treatment!

Julia and Frank’s present was food related as well. First, they had me over at their place for ice cream, we visited Dieter the Donkey at the park and finally we had dinner together. With that dinner I got to check “Must have dish no. 3” off the list: KΓ€sespΓ€tzle! (No. 1 and 2 are Butterbrezel and Maultaschen).

Up next: A tour ofΒ  the Zotter chocolate factory I got from friends and then celebrating with my sister in Singapore in September – she’s also taking me to an afternoon tea. Food gifts are the best πŸ™‚

Kuching: Orang Utans, Sights and Beach

Kuching: Orang Utans, Sights and Beach

Besides celebrating Eid and eating lots of yummy Malay food, we also had a little bit of time left to explore more of Kuching.

Kuching Waterfront

Our hotel for the first 2 nights was located right at the Kuching waterfront and after the first day of eating, we took a walk along along the water. Syuke and Thorben quickly became an attraction for Chinese tourists, who wanted a picture of them πŸ™‚

Semenggoh Nature Reserve

On our second morning we headed out of town to go looking for some monkeys, Orang Utans to be exact. In the past, the Semenggoh Nature Reserve rescued orphaned, injured or captive orang utans and trained them to live in the wild. Now, it’s a habitat where they live semi-wild.

There is a feeding twice a day where the caretakers put out some food, in case the orang utans couldn’t find enough in the forest. Depending on the season, some of them come to pick some up. We saw 2 male and 2 female orang utans and one of them even had a baby πŸ™‚

Orang Utan Mural

After getting back from the real life Orang Utans, we stumbled across the Orang Utan Mural downtown. It’s a corner with some really cool street art.

More Food

Even during and after 2 1/2 days of open houses, we still had room for some more food πŸ™‚ Below are pictures from some yummy cake we had at a cute cafe inside the old courthouse, and of a seafood dinner we went to with Syuke and some of his friends.

Beach time

Our last 2 days in Kuching were spent relaxing. We stayed at a cool little hotel, where each room is basically a cement roll. It was super cozy and also had access to the beach. The sign “Beware of crocodiles” kept us out of the water πŸ˜‰


Celebrating Eid in Kuching

Celebrating Eid in Kuching

Last week, it was Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, the fasting month many Muslims observe. Syuke, a friend of ours, invited us to celebrate the holiday with him in his hometown Kuching. We’d been talking about going to Kuching for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity to visit.

Dressing in style

Syuke explained to us that typically you buy something new to wear for the first day of Eid. He mostly wears the traditional clothes during festivities like Eid and weddings. His family chose to wear green for the first day. During our visit, we saw that many families were wearing matching colors.

He lent some clothes to Thorben to wear as well, see the efforts it took to properly put them on below and the final result πŸ™‚ I didn’t have any special outfit, I just tried to dress modestly and cover up to be respectful.

Open Houses

Over the course of 2 1/2 days, Syuke took us to 7 open houses hosted by various family members and friends. At each open house, people come together to enjoy lots of good food and cakes. Our first open house was right after getting off the plane. Everyone was super friendly and welcoming, it was really a pleasure to meet so many nice people and enjoy this special holiday with them.

One of Syuke’s friends is a baker and has been baking non-stop for the past 2 months to make all the beautiful cakes for Eid. They looked too pretty to eat but she insisted, so what could we do? πŸ™‚ Understandably, all cakes were completely sold out, so I couldn’t bring any back.

Here is a little selection of pictures from 6 of the open houses and all the amazing Malay food and cakes.

Our first Eid was so much fun and it was so interesting to try all the food and talk to so many of Syuke’s relatives and friends. We’re very lucky to have such a diverse group of friends and be able to make these experiences with them!

In case anyone was wondering, I have not stepped on the scale since coming back – but whatever it says, it was worth it πŸ˜‰

Birthday Surprise Trip

Birthday Surprise Trip

My mom turned 60 on March 20, so I flew to Germany for a week to surprise her. I arrived the morning of her birthday and she was definitely surprised, just ask our neighbor, who heard her scream πŸ˜‰

We had a great day together with – in this order – champagne, breakfast, an afternoon at the spa, more champagne and dinner with my sister and Frank. Of course it also included my traditional first food of every Germany trip – a Butterbrezel. Besides celebrating my mom, I spent some quality family time with everyone and we went to Rebengluehen, a cool wine event from our local wineries, where we hiked through the vineyards while sipping wine.

Here are some pictures from the trip, including pretty German buildings and churches and beautiful German food. The pink dwarf is Karl, the mascot of BUGA, the Federal German Garden Show, which is happening 20 minutes away from our village this year! Hopefully I can visit it during my next trip.