Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Colmar - my adventure as Belle

While we were roaming around near the southern German boarder we went a short trip over the boarder to France. Because of the massive interest about Beauty and the Beast now that the new Disney Original movie came out this year, we have seen some articles talking about this small old village that might have been the inspiration for Belles village in the original Disney cartoon back in the days. The small village is of course Colmar.
Mostly known is the Schwendi Fountain that should be the one Belle is seen sitting at and reading out laud for some sheeps.

Colmar is also known as "little Venice" as the river Lauch goes through the town in small channels and you are able to buy a small sailing trip around the town. There was a lot of people in line for the boats even though the weather wasn't the best, so it may be a good idea to get there in early if you want to see Colmar from the water.

One thing that was a little annoying was that the restaurants around the channels only serves flammkuchen; A pizza like dish with creme fraiche instead of tomato sauce. They told us to leave at the first restaurant because we said we just wanted something to drink if we couldn't get anything else but flammkuchen because i'm allergic to milk products. But we gave up trying to find a restaurants near the water that had anything else, so i had to eat it anyway.

As i said before there is a rumour that Colmar may have been the inspiration for Disney's Beauty and the Beast cartoon movie, so i thought i wanted to have a little fun with it.
Some years back i auditioned to be a Disney Princess at Disneyland Paris (didn't get the part) and back then i sewed my own Belle costume and slowly became a cosplayer (costume player) and did many more costumes after this. So why not bring my Belle costume to Colmar and have a little photoshoot and make some people happy?

So i packed my costume and got dresses on a parkinglot near the center of Colmar and wandered around the old part of the town near the channels. People glared at me and smiled while taking pictures as discreet they could. Other asked me for pictures, selfies and group pictures. Some children even started to scream Belle's name! It was such a fun experience! I have only ever cosplayed at conferences before so going out in public was nerve wrecking! I had my mom and dad walking along way behind me taking pictures of it all.
Schwendi Fountain

Monday, 24 July 2017

St. Gallen Cathedral and library

On out roadtrip around the area near the Bodensee we went to Schwitzerland for the first time. We had read that St. Gallen has a really pretty Roman Catholic Cathedral, also referred to as Abbey of Saint Gall. It was pretty easy accessible and there are a lot of different parking houses underground near the center of St. Gallen. When we got there they were builing up some kind of stage just outside the end of the Cathedral, so we couldn't get a proper picture of the it.
Luckly for us we could still get inside!

I felt bad right away because I usually always show respect before going into a Catholic Church and covering up down to my knees as I once was instructed by my grandma and i actually do own a piece of fabric that has the purpose of that, but i simply forgot it and it was 35 degree outside so i was in a small dress. Non of the people working there didn't seem to mind though but I still felt bad about it. But the inside of the Cathedral was amazing! The painting in the ceiling was my favorite. They were kind of gloomy and dramatic even though it should show the goodness of god, but the detailing was incredible.

In the area around the Cathadral is also a monastery we couldn't figure out if it was public and we could go in there. There weren't any natural front door that looked inviting anywhere, that's for sure. But on the other side of the Cathadral was one of my favorite things on this vacation; Abbey library of Saint Gall.

I didn't know much about the library but when i searched and found it on a top 10 list of the most beautiful libraries in the world i just had to see it.
Like everything else in Schwitzerland the ticket price was quite high. It's 12€ for adults but i used my ISIC student card and got a discount. A student ticket is 9€.
You get asked to leave all your belongings outside in small cabinet and you can't take pictures in there, because the blitz can make the ink fade. Therefore the pictures used here is from the internet or a scan of the postcards i got.
When you get to the entrence of the library you are asked to put on some giant slippers to protect the old wooden floors from 1767. All the books in there is protected with grids so you can't touch them but they are all beautful and leather-bound. The overall theme of the books are religion and the middle ages. Some of the books are more tham 1000 years old and a few of them is on display so you can have a little look inside them through the glass.

Though one of the first things you see is a huge globe. It's over two meters tall and really detailed. It's also the only object in the room that doesn't have an english translated sign near it, so i could see what it was. I asked a nice lady that worked there about it and she told me it was a earth and sky globe from 1600 century. It was a copy of the original though because they had the original and borrowed it to the national museum in Zürich and they forgot to give it back. The lady looked so angry while saying it. But she said the copy was much brighter in the colours, so it was easier to see all the details.

Another one that i personally found interesting was a sarcophagus and i mummy. It didn't really fit in the Rococo style of the library and it didn't fit into the theme of the books either. The lady told me it was actually just a random gift that was given to a rich family living in St. Gallen in 1800 century. They later donated it to the library. They don't really know who it is, only that she was a daughter of a priest in the Ancient egypt.

All in all, if you are a bookworm like me and loves libraries, then it's definitely worth a visit.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Neuschwanstein Castle - A childhood dream

Ever since i was little i have dreamed about seeing this castle in real life. I loved making jigsaw puzzle when i was little and one of my favorites was the one with the huge pretty castle on it. I loved it because my mom loved it too and we always made it together between christmas and new years eve. I was much older when i started to actually research the castle and found out that it was actually not that far away, because it was only in Germany.
Me back in 2004
So when my mom said that this year we would finally see something else than Rüdesheim and my dad's family in France (not that there is anything wrong with that) AND see Neuschwanstein, i didn't believe it at all. But when we finally went to the southest of Germany i could be more excited!

I know it is a very popular place to visit but i didn't know it was THAT popular. When we arrived at the parking lot it was a whole lot bigger than we expected. There were tourists everywhere in big busses and people were running around in the middle of the streets trying to find there guides and everything was a bit chaotic. The place was filled with souvenir shops and small quick stop restaurants that served fries. It wasn't really what i expected. Our GPS also told us that we could drive all the way there, but forgot to tell us that there were only private roads up to the castle. So beware of that!
It's a long walk up but there are small busses that drives you from the parking lot and all the way up there for a few euros, which we did and walked down afterwards. It's also a possbility to take a horse-drawn carriage, but i took one look at the poor horses and instantly felt bad for them. The veins on their legs were popping! It looked so painful!! One of the horses also had to be replaced while we were there because it was so exhausted.  

I found this really great page that helped you to find the best photospots for the castle. The most popular photospot is Marienbrücke; A little wodden bridge in a cleft. And i just have to tell you... I'm not afraid of heights... but F*** that bridge! There were SO many people on it that you have to squeeze yourself our onto it and the bridge is made out of very thin wood panels that sinks 5cm when you step on the middle of it. I swear, it's only a matter of time before that thing falls down!!
Marienbrücke with all the crazy tourists
Even though it was kind of a dead trap.. It was really the most beautiful view i have seen. So i got my very famous photo of the Castle even though i feared for my life while doing it. It was really worth it all and i got to see my castle!
After taking pictures of it from afar we walked to the castle. Even though it looks like it's far away we were surprised to find it (almost) around the corner. My dad gave up just looking at the view and took the bus down from Marienbrücke again.

And here comes the most important tip! If you want to see the castle from the inside, book a ticket a few days before! Or else you have to wait hours! HERE is the page for booking.
News flash!! We didn't book a ticket. So when we got to the castle at 2pm we were wondering why people were laying around and sitting everywhere in the shadows and slept. So we went to the information and asked for tickets and they said the next guided tour available was at 5.30pm and we couldn't go in there unless you were with a guide. So all the people that slept outside were the people that was waiting to get a guided tour.
So we didn't see the castle from the inside but i did get some brochures with picutres and the history behind the decoration inside inspired be old Germanic and Nordic sagas.
My own picture from Marienbrücke
The walk down from the Castle to the parking lot was very wonderful though. I can only recommend taking the walk down through the forest. It's the road the horse carriages takes as well but it's really pretty. There is more than one place to buy ice cream on the way down, which we gladly took advantage off even though we could walk in the shadow all the way down. Did i mention that there was 32 degrees that day?

One last thing that I think is worth mention is that there is a "rumor" going around that Neuschwanstein is the Castle that inspired Disney's Cinderella Castle. Maybe not from the angle on the picture i took at the bridge, but here in the end i'll throw in a picture i found online and you can judge yourself. I love the theory but sadly we can't ask Mr. Disney about it.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Graduation and my mini European road trip

Quick update!
Long time no see.
I have been very busy with my studies the last half year because it was the end of it. I can now say that i have an academy degree in service and tourism management!
The vacation this year was well deserved in my opinion and was a lot different than my summer vacations usually are.
Every summer we use to go to my dad's family in Frence and stay at a camp site on the German side of the boader, but this year we actually went to 5 different countries in just 2½ week.
Germany, Austra, Schwitzerland, Liechtenstein and France.

We visited the area near the Bodensee and camped on the german side of the lake in a city called Lindau, while driving around from there. Bodensee is a lake shared between Germany, Austria and Schwitzerland, so we didn't have to drive very far to get to another country. We actually got lost a few times and accidentally ended up in Austria.

We visited the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, St. Gallen and Rheinfall in Schwitzerland, Bregnz in Austria, took a short trip to Vaduz in Liechtenstein and did a photoshoot in Colmar in Frence. I will talk about all these things in differnt posts that will come out soon.

Of course we ended up in Rüdesheim again afterwards and stayed there for a week and justed relaxed and tried to do as little as possible which we deserved at that point! It was really awesome to have a full vacation without thinking too much about the academy stuff like last year where we had to hurry home so i could start my internship in the middle of July.