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”

Stadtrallye – a different kind of new-student orientation

One of the most memorable university orientation events was the Stadtrallye. It turns out “rally” has a completely different meaning in German than in English, and rather than a pep assembly or political demonstration, this was more of a scavenger hunt/team challenge.

The challenges mostly involved a lot of alcohol.
The challenges mostly involved a lot of alcohol.

Continue reading “Stadtrallye – a different kind of new-student orientation”

Kapsejlads: The craziest Danish tradition I’ve seen yet

Move over, Friday bars and freshman initiation rituals. You can have your Christmas dinners (julefrokost) and licorice-flavored ice cream. Without a doubt, the most insane Danish tradition I’ve come across yet is Kapsejlads, the annual Aarhus university boat race at the university park.

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I’ve never seen the university park this crowded in my entire life. (Sorry for the poor quality – until I buy a new camera, you’ll have to deal with my crappy phone pics.)

In its most basic definition, Kapsejlads is a regatta, a boat race in which the different academic faculties compete against each other. In reality, it’s an excuse to drink. All. Day. Long.

Continue reading “Kapsejlads: The craziest Danish tradition I’ve seen yet”

Hamburg, hard drives, and assorted observations

By now I’m settled into a pretty steady routine of studying, socializing, and living. I go to class four times a week – twice to Danish lessons and twice to lecture. I go out on Friday, and sometimes Saturday too, and do all the normal cooking/cleaning/grocery shopping things in between.

Last week there was a break in the routine as the lovely Edwin came to visit me for five days.

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The lovely Edwin as we walked through Godsbanen. I promise I’ll write about Godsbanen soon, okay???

Continue reading “Hamburg, hard drives, and assorted observations”