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”

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The little town of Lüneburg: Hamburg’s best day trip

Just 20km south of Hamburg’s bustling downtown and industrial river ports lies the little town of Lüneburg, a city frozen in time.

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The Lüneburg harbor.

It’s easy to forget the city of Hamburg is much older than the second world war, because outside of a few restored churches, not many buildings from the pre-war era remain. Lüneburg, on the other hand, escaped the brunt of the bombs in both wars, and periods of affluence followed by poverty in the city’s history lead to beautiful houses being constructed, then preserved, as there was no money to tear them down and build anew. The result is like a step back into the middle ages. Continue reading “The little town of Lüneburg: Hamburg’s best day trip”

Living in the shadow of World War II

For most Americans, World War II is nothing but a distant history lesson. As the people who lived through it slowly die out, it doesn’t really seem to exist outside of textbooks, tombstones, and the occasional war movie.

But for Germans, memories of the war are a daily reality and cannot be escaped.

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Square of the Deported Jews – your daily reminder that the Holocaust happened. This is located near Dammtor Station in Hamburg, where thousands of Jews were packed into trains and were sent to camps which almost inevitably lead to their deaths.

Continue reading “Living in the shadow of World War II”

Remembering Helmut Schmidt: Hamburg mourns a legend

On November 10, 2015, just three days before the infamous Paris attacks, Hamburg lost a legend.

Helmut Schmidt, one of Germany’s most loved politicians and a Hamburg native, died.

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News of Schmidt’s death dominated the German newspapers on Nov. 11. Photo: Alison Haywood / Instagram.

Continue reading “Remembering Helmut Schmidt: Hamburg mourns a legend”

Copenhagen, as it’s meant to be seen

Last weekend I saw Copenhagen as it’s meant to be seen: from a bicycle.

Sadly, this is not the bicycle I was on. But I wish it were.
Sadly, this is not the bicycle I was on. But I wish it were.

An excursion to the German embassy to apply for a residence permit turned into a weekend-long trip to Denmark’s capital city. Instead of my usual diary-style narrative, I’m going to write you a “listicle” (list + article) around a topic: Copenhagen on a budget. Continue reading “Copenhagen, as it’s meant to be seen”