A weekend in Aarhus, a pride parade, and some thoughts on impermanence

It’s been four years since I lived in Aarhus. In June of 2014, I packed up my dorm room, tied my suitcase to my bike, and started the next chapter of my life in Hamburg. Since then I’ve only been back twice, primarily to visit the few remaining friends I have in Denmark, but also to take a trip down memory lane.

Selfie in front of the art museum Aros in Aarhus, Denmark, topped by the interactive exhibit "Your Rainbow Panorama."

Sandwiched between a canceled train journey and a grueling 7-hour bus ride, I spent just over 24 hours in Aarhus last weekend. It was Pride Weekend, and my Danish friends who have since moved away from Aarhus were back in town to see the parade. I jumped at the opportunity to see them again in one place and booked a train north.

Continue reading “A weekend in Aarhus, a pride parade, and some thoughts on impermanence”

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The Legal Guarian of a Patch of Dirt

Today I did what is possibly the most German thing ever: I applied to be the legal guardian of a patch of dirt.

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The word is Gartenpaten, which roughly translates to “garden godparent.” It means someone in a neighborhood who has agreed to look after a “garden” – or in this case, a small patch of dirt around a street tree in the middle of a sidewalk. Continue reading “The Legal Guarian of a Patch of Dirt”

If You Go to Prague

If you go to Prague, be sure to get off the beaten path.

Cross the river, take the underground, go to the other side of town, and explore.

Selfie in front of Prague Old Town
Downtown Prague is a fairy-tale land, full of inauthentic but beautiful stuff to impress tourists.

Sure, you should see the tourist attractions, too. See the astronomical clock, go to the castle, walk along the King Charles Bridge. But sooner or later, you’ll realize this isn’t the real Prague – those tour guides with their yellow umbrellas, the waiters standing outside restaurants, waving for you to come in, the museums and gift shops and street artists are just predators, preying on tourists, milking them of the money which keeps the city alive. It’s a sort of Disneyland, enthralling visitors with its fairy tale towers and cobblestone streets. The historical buildings, the colorful winding streets, the costumed performers, they all do such a good job re-enacting Prague in the middle ages (or 19th century, or 20th century, or take your pick), that many visitors never get to see what Prague in the 21st century is like.

The first time I went to Prague, I checked the tourist stuff off the list. The Old Town Square with its highly-overrated anematronic clock, the castle, the restaurants. I returned nearly seven years later (has it been that long?) with a different purpose to the trip: to visit friends – or, more specifically, a former lover. I wound up seeing a new side of the city, and gaining a new appreciation for it. Continue reading “If You Go to Prague”

My first German sauna experience

Saunas are a popular winter pasttime in northern Europe. The steam and heat are the perfect antidote to the darkness and the cold, which sap your energy and leave you tense and shivering all the time. Though many of my friends spoke fondly of their sauna experiences, I had somehow never been invited to one, and I was too nervous to go on my own. But when a dear friend from the U.S., Kel, came to visit me in Hamburg in November, it was the perfect opportunity to try.

Holthusenbad_Eppendorfer_Stube
The sauna called “Kaffeestube” (coffee shop) at Holthusenbad.

Continue reading “My first German sauna experience”