Something magical happens in this botanical garden in Germany every night

Planten und Blomen. The name is low German, or Plattdeutsch, for “plants and flowers.” This beautiful botanical garden is located right in the Hamburg city center, easily reachable by public transit.

Every evening in summer around dusk, an incredible performance takes place here: the Wasserlichtspiel, or water light show.

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Geography lessons, gentrification and unexploded ordinances: a weekend in Aarhus

After more than a year away from Denmark, I took a weekend trip away from Hamburg to visit my friends in Aarhus.

Aarhus has changed, and it hasn’t. After a 4-and-a-half hour train ride due north, I found myself downtown in a city which I had once called my home. It was a surreal feeling, with everything at once so strange and so familiar.

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Downtown Aarhus. The gray clock tower in the middle is City Hall.

The EU has designated Aarhus the European Capital of Culture for the calendar year 2017, which means the city will be organizing a series of cultural events in order to draw visitors and make a name for itself.

According to Wikipedia, Preparing a European Capital of Culture can be an opportunity for the city to generate considerable cultural, social and economic benefits and it can help foster urban regeneration, change the city’s image and raise its visibility and profile on an international scale.

You know what another word for “urban regeneration” is? Gentrification. And the gentrification was hard to miss.

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Exploring Hamburg’s harbor

I signed up for a mailing list last semester to get updates on university-sponsored excursions throughout the city. I didn’t really expect anything to come of it, but one week an advertisement for an Alternative Harbor Tour caught my eye.

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Experience one of the largest harbors in the world – the Port of Hamburg, also known as the “Gates to the World.” This is no ordinary harbor tour. It will lead you through canals with rusty wharfs and along the state of the art, powerful container facilities, where the warehouse walls and steel scaffolding store the harbor’s treasures: Oriental carpets, southern fruits, coffee and cocoa beans. They are the treasures of the old colonial powers as well as the modern globalization. The containers hide their contents, making the movement of goods invisible. It’s a tour that reveals a new side of the harbor – who wins and who loses in this period of globalization. We look forward to your participation! Continue reading “Exploring Hamburg’s harbor”

Lübeck: the City of Seven Spires

Move over, Lüneburg – I’ve got a new favorite medieval city in northern Germany, and it goes by the name of Lübeck.

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The city’s most iconic building, the Holstentor, is the gate through which all visitors had to pass before entering the city walls. No, my photography isn’t that bad – the towers are actually leaning (which is forgivable seeing as it was first built in 1464). The city’s tourism office claims this building is one of the most iconic images in Germany, up there with the Brandenburg Gate and the Cologne Cathedral.

Like Lüneburg, Lübeck is a picturesque, old-fashioned small town that was once the capital of the Hanseatic League. Both are full of sagging, 500-year-old brick buildings lining curvy cobblestone streets. Both are a short train ride away from Hamburg and make an excellent day trip if you’re staying in Hamburg. Continue reading “Lübeck: the City of Seven Spires”

Story of my summer

I got into a bit of a blogging slump this summer, so here’s a catch-all post of some of the highlights I’ve neglected to write about: Hamburg Pride, a Germany reunion with my dear friend Edwin, a brief weekend in Berlin, and a visit to Brighton, U.K.

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Trying to make the most of the short-lived sunny weather – paddle boating on the Alster with friends. (See below.)

Continue reading “Story of my summer”