Lichterserenade

Currently we’re drowning in packing boxes, much like when we moved overseas a year ago. However, we are trying to take breaks from all the madness whenever possible to enjoy our last days in Bavaria.

Last night we were able to attend the Lichterserenade (Serenade of Lights) on the Danube. After learning that the event happens at nightfall, we assumed our kids would never make it. But it was too hot to sleep in our sweltering apartment, so we decided to give it a go and joined the masses of people collecting along the riverbanks.

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It was exciting to see the lit riverboats begin to approach.

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Each of these traditional Ulm vessels was loaded with people traveling upstream. Unfortunately, after that it was a looooong wait for darkness to come. Sam and I found a seat atop a wall near the river path. But, despite Lucy’s late nap that day, she was unable to sit still and demanded that Joe walk her up and down the trail to look at all of the activity. At about 10:30, we finally were rewarded for our patience with some fireworks.

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The fireworks show lasted a couple of minutes, before the barge traveled further down the river and performed again downstream. So we were able to see the show twice as it happened on either side of where we sat.

At the same time, small red and orange lanterns began floating towards us. They were very pretty, but hard to photograph due to their dimness.

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That was the best I could manage. We didn’t last much longer before the kids were too hungry and tired to stay out anymore. But we were grateful to have been able to witness this beautiful ceremony before we travel back home next week.

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ein Spaziergang an der Donau – A walk along the Danube

Here’s some more shots of our favorite place to stroll — the banks of the Danube.

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Portions of the old city walls still exist and are a nice raised walkway.

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From the ramparts, you can see one of the tributaries, called the Blau (Blue) which flows directly through central Ulm. The Danube cuts between Ulm and Neu-Ulm (where we live). The winding path of the Blau is another nice walk, and it is the site of the best historic buildings surviving in the city. I’ll show some more of those journeys in a later blog post.

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Or you can walk on the paved pathways right next to the river. This is where the joggers prefer to roam, although there are separate paths for bikes and pedestrians, which is a nice way to help traffic flow more smoothly.

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Above is a view from the lower path. You can see the wall, with the city buildings behind.

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There are bridges at almost every major intersection. So, we can cross back over the Danube whenever we are ready to return to Neu-Ulm. This is often how we roll…piggyback style. Sam has become a fairly good long-distance walker, but at times he needs to be carried a little.

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This is a small island that’s formed by an off-shoot of the Danube named die Kleine Donau (“the Little Danube”). There’s a nice park with picnic tables to watch the boats and birds float by. We frequently observe kayaks and crew teams, but not very many larger, motored river boats.

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We can see the Münster from almost anywhere. And there are often men fishing at intervals along the river. I’m not sure how much they actually manage to catch. But we like how there are often stairs leading down any steep banks to access the river easily. It seems in America that any steep riverbanks would be heavily barricaded and blocked by guardrails to prevent accidents. It’s evident of the differing attitudes towards safety that we’ve observed here in Germany.

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Lucy likes to spot all the dogs that out walking with their owners.

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Here’s a shot of me, walking with the stroller among the fall leaves.

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Sam’s always good at spotting wildflowers.

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We’re grateful for any clear days where we can get out for a stroll and some fresh air. Our old neighborhood was not very good for walking. It’s a treat to have so many pedestrian-only paths with such a beautiful river view.

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Did you know that there are wild swans swimming in the Danube?

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We often see them on our walks along the riverfront. It’s a pretty neat sight for me, since swans were a rare sight in my childhood. These swans don’t seem to be migratory, because they’re happily swimming and flying around even in the sub-freezing temperatures we’re currently experiencing. Perhaps they are well fed by the Ulm citizens and don’t wish to travel.  Our kids do certainly love to try calling out to the swans and ducks and trying to converse with them in “quacks”.

The cold makes it harder to venture out of our cozy apartment. I’m much less inclined to bring Lucy out for a little exploratory wander when her nose turns red from cold and her hands turn into stiff white icicles. That combined with the school syndrome — Sam in his first year of public school is bringing home every illness that crosses his path and then sharing them with Lucy. It’s going to be a long cold & flu season for our family.

This all affects the blog because it means less photo opportunities. But I’m still running way behind on some posts, so in the upcoming days and weeks I hope to publish some of our photos from the last few months. And perhaps a video, if I can figure out how! So stay tuned…