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.

Continue reading “Something magical happens in this botanical garden in Germany every night”

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Barmbek knife attack: when a terrorist attack happens in your neighborhood

On an uneventful, drizzly Friday afternoon, a young man wielding a kitchen knife walked into a Hamburg supermarket and started stabbing people.

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Police stand in front of the Edeka supermarket where a man murdered one and injured six people using a kitchen knife in a possible act of Islamist terror July 28. Photo: DPA

He killed one person and, as he fled, injured six others. Bystanders apprehended him in the street and held him until police arrived and made the arrest.

According to an eyewitness, before he struck, he shouted “Allahu Akbar” – the Muslim call to prayer, meaning “God is great” in Arabic. Although police have yet to confirm if the attack was motivated by radical Islam, in the court of public opinion, it was an act of Islamist terror. Continue reading “Barmbek knife attack: when a terrorist attack happens in your neighborhood”

The view from the ivory tower

Towering above the city at 52 meters (170 ft), the Philosophy Tower is the tallest building on the University of Hamburg campus.

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The view from the 14th floor of the Philosophy Tower overlooking Hamburg. As you can see pictured, Hamburg has a TV Tower as well, though it’s not as famous as the one in Berlin.

Officially called the Philosophenturm, it is colloquially known as the Phil-Turm. The building houses a cafeteria, no fewer than three libraries, a handful of auditoriums, and dozens of classrooms and offices.

And it’s my new place of work. Continue reading “The view from the ivory tower”

Ferry rides across the Elbe, or the poor man’s harbor boat tour

One of Hamburg’s most popular tourist attractions is the array of boat tours exploring the city’s various waterways. Between the Alster, a large lake in the middle of the city, the Elbe, one of Germany’s three major rivers, and the various canals criss-crossing the city center, there is certainly plenty of water to explore.

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Looking across the river Elbe towards downtown Hamburg, as seen from the “Theater am Hafen” (Theater in the Harbor).

Instead of booking a formal boat tour, which can set you behind €15-21, there is another option to get in a boat out on the water, and it’s basically free: ride a ferry. Continue reading “Ferry rides across the Elbe, or the poor man’s harbor boat tour”