königswinter

photo 1 (4)

When you read a name such as “Königswinter” you might think darkness and coldness… Well, although darkness is definitely part of the charm of this resort town one can also describe it as medieval architecture at its best.

The town itself circles a beautiful castle made by an archbishop of Cologne in the early 12th century called Steigenberger. Midway between this lavish castle and street level, we discovered a cave. Ok ok, we followed the rest of the German tourists to see what the fuss was all about. Here comes the darkness part: apparently they believed a dragon was living in this area at that time and that’s where it lived; in this cave. Once the dragon was killed everyone lived happily ever after. What I find most interesting about this town is after 1267 this cave supplied most of the stone for the building of the Cologne Cathedral! This stone was also responsible for the building of Schloss Drachenburg in 1882, which I visited and loved.

First of all, in order to get to Schloss Drachenburg one must take an ancient train climbing quite slowly to the summit point where this Schloss is located (by the way, Schloss means Castle). Why can you only ride in this ancient train? Because this town back, back in the day had its very own railway system, which closed in 1958. However, the ancient train carts you ride in today were the actual train carts that people used when the railway was fully operational! I find that so cool! (of course, one can also walk up, but it’s way more fun to do it in these little train carts, I think…). The Schloss itself has a sad story: it was built by a broker and a banker for them to live in it, but they never did. Now the State Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia owns it.

The Schloss itself is engorged in luxury. Everything from the location, to the car waiting to be driven, to the decor in each room, to the bell tower, to the lavish garden grounds! Honestly, I wouldn’t mind this little jewel! See tons of pictures below all representative of the entire area. One question though, who is allowed to drive the sheepishly gorgeous car? No one knows… Maybe I need to join a club whose main purpose is to drive lavish cars belonging to different Castles around Germany. That would be so good!

photo SAM_0948 photo 3 (2) photo 5 (3) photo 4 (3) photo 3 (4) photo 2 (2) photo 1 (3) photo 2 (4)

bad herrenalb

Who said a trip to the Black Forest can’t be rustically posh? Located in the southwestern part of Germany and surrounded by the Black Forest you can find Bad Herrenalb. As a little girl I remember going here with my family and enjoying the beauty of this place, and I wanted to go back here to explore it as a grown up. I loved it!

flowerfly

It’s all about the outdoors here. Hiking and hunting I would say are the top two activities specific to this area. I went on a couple of hikes which were about 4 hours of intense German wild life extravaganza. See below!

A quick walk around the town and I quickly noticed many people were actually tourists. Where were the locals? The locals were busy running restaurants, hotels, shops and galleries. What I love most about this little town nestled in the Black Forest is night time. All the tiny houses are non-invasively lit up, and people’s chimneys give off a warm crackly fresh wood kind of smoke and smell. I felt instantly warm just looking at this sight and a wave of relaxation surrounded me.

clocks

So back to the hiking part… after a four hour hike it totally helps to hole up in a warm comfy room with a spectacular panoramic view at the Schwarzwald Panorama. The hotel is super warm and inviting. The staff members are extremely well trained to provide you with whatever it is you may need. These guys also have a spa and a yoga studio, although while we were there not too many people were using these facilities… The best thing about this hotel is the view from your own private room (see picture), where you can take a nice glass of red and enjoy all the wonderfully organic smells of the Black Forest.

balcony view

The next best thing about this hotel is after you are done enjoying your very own balcony in the wilderness you sink your body into the comfortable bed and instantly you are deep asleep. So, I definitely recommend this hotel and Bad Herrenalb as a whole!

Between the nature walks, fresh air, no light pollution and an amazing view for the hotel balcony I can safely say we will be back one day…

black forest yoga

metamorphosis

Today marks my blog’s one year anniversary with over 65 posts, and so I present to you my metamorphosis blog mentioned in my previous post. It is now more focused on two major categories: travel and food!

Hopefully you will feel inspired to share my blog, subscribe and check back regularly for fresh exciting new content!

Please feel free to drop me a line or two with your thoughts and/or suggestions, as they are always appreciated and welcome.

Lots of love xo

metamorph

 

oh toronto

Growing up in Toronto I have my personal likes and dislikes about the city, however when I am away and I come back to visit Toronto it’s an entirely different feeling. I can describe it as a nostalgic panicked feeling that somehow, somewhere in me, lives a great realization that we are all working against time. Why does this feeling only arise in Toronto? Not sure, but here are some highlights from my last visit.

People will always draw me in and keep me locked into Toronto forever, I think. My good friends, this little cat below and my mother are some examples.

arleen the cat

This trip was all about personal bonding for me. I missed my people and mostly I missed people speaking English. So it was vital for me to get my fill of both! “Coincidentally,” it so happened to be Thanksgiving weekend where people get stuffed with a huge turkey and sides that make one go immediately into a food coma for a about two hours!

Back to the bonding topic: why is it that we as humans need to bond? Maybe it’s because our ancestors have developed over many centuries in communities and not as lonely individuals. I think a sense of community, and I can easily braid in the term friendship here because it works hand in hand, are important and sacred in many ways. For me personally, it is in my community/friendships that I truly find myself sharing and talking about delicate subjects that otherwise I wouldn’t feel comfortable expressing. I guess for me personally the notion of community stems from a deep-rooted personal belonging to a group that provides brief moments of isolation where expressing your vulnerability isn’t bad or scary, it’s just part of living. Although, with expressing my vulnerability comes a sense of, time is passing so get your shit together! Which is scary and gives me a weird sense of a never-ending struggle and sadness that one day this community, my community will no longer be there…

But there is hope, I call it metamorphosis. I am using this term quite lightly now, because I just realized how heavy-handed this post is becoming. I am choosing to associate my personal blog with the term metamorphosis, because from my last visit in Toronto and speaking truthfully within my community I realized that my blog needs a fresh cover and a focus. The focus will be travelling and food using of course a great visual tool, called photography.

Side note: my older posts will not be deleted. You will be able to find them under the ‘about’ section, because after all, they are part of me!

If there is one thing for me to be thankful for this year is my community/friendships!

Stay tuned for my metamorphosis blog! xo

yyz