The Dutch city that was the summer capital of Europe

Nijmegen. This small but vibrant city, located in the eastern part of the Netherlands close to the German border, has a couple of uncommon claims to fame.

It is the oldest city in the Netherlands and is more than 2,000 years old.

It was carpet bombed during World War II, meaning relatively few buildings more than 50 years old still remain.

And it is the self-described “summer capital of Europe.”

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Nijmegen is located at the bend of the river Waal. As with most Dutch cities, cycling is a popular mode of transportation.

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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.)

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Barcelona y Cadaqués

My first impression of Spain was the warmth. At the end of February it wasn’t hot, just a comfortable 15-16 degrees C (60 F).

I got to go outside with bare arms, got to lay on a beach all day, and got to use F-stop 22 on my camera. No complaints here.
I got to go outside with bare arms, got to lay on a beach all day, and got to use F-stop 22 on my camera. No complaints here.

My second impression was the mopeds. They darted through traffic like a person with a deathwish. They drove on the lines between lanes when traffic was slow, dodging cars and narrowly avoiding rearview mirrors and swerving bumpers.

Mopeds in Spain are like bicycles in Denmark - they're everywhere (though they don't obey the traffic laws half as well as Danish cyclists). I'm told this is true of Italy as well.
Mopeds in Spain are like bicycles in Denmark – they’re everywhere (though they don’t obey the traffic laws half as well as Danish cyclists). I’m told this is true of Italy as well.

My third impression was the palm trees. I’d seen palm trees before in California and Florida, but somehow it didn’t occur to me that they’d grow in Spain as well.

Palm trees were street trees, and cacti instead of shrubs.
Palm trees were street trees, and cacti instead of shrubs.

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