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Germany

Paddling in the City

Family Weekend: Fun times trying out new things together!

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There are these things people do in my home town Hamburg, which I constantly put on my “Want-To-Do-List”. Paddling on the big river Alster is one of them. Very often, when I cycle through town, I see people enjoying themselves on the water. For two years, the summer just passed by and I did not go.

This year I tried to engage my friends – but somehow… it was not on their “Want-To-Do-List”. This weekend, when my parents came over visiting, I proposed going paddling together and I was almost sure, they’d not be interested at all. Too exhausting, too dangerous, too much of a hassle, too … But no. My parents simply said: “Sounds really great! Why not!”

So the next day, we cycled to the boat rental place, got a boat for the three of us and had an amazing afternoon paddling through town on the river. It has been an inspiring experience to all of us to do something together, we had never ever done before. Everyone played a different role in this boat. I had never expected my dad to be such a talented steerer and paddler in the back of the boat. My mum, who is usually very engaged in whatever goes on, refused to touch a paddle and simply relaxed on the boat – after she finally trusted my Dad’s and my paddling abilities. We had so much fin together and came back home rejuvenated and very hungry.

Note to self: Never forget to play – especially with your parents.
Exploring things and places with parents is an unforgettable and wonderful experience.

For anyone living or visiting Hamburg, don’t miss this experience on a sunny day!

Rent your boat at Bootsvermietung Dornheim
(You can only make a reservations if you are more than 2o people. So just go there and worst case enjoy an ice cream or coffee while waiting for a boat).

They will provide you with a map to find your way.

Make sure you plan a stop at the Cafe Canale in the Mühlenkampkanal and spoil yourself with a delicious home made Vanilla Ice Cream with Rhubarb and an Ice coffee delivered directly into your boat.

Bike Tour Hamburg

Discover Bikemap! Find the best tours out of town!

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Bike Tour 2

I love biking, but I don’t know any nice tours out of town. Checking it out on a map of the internet does not really work, as you never know, what the roads look like.

This is probably what the founders of bike map figured. They launched an amazing community based app for bike tours around the world – with 2,8 million tours. You can choose the length of the tour and your kind of bike to find the perfect tour for you in your city. This way someone with a city-bike will be proposed a different tour form a race-biker or mountain-biker.

The tours are created and by shared in the community and the ratings help to find the most popular ones easily.

It’s been an amazing race bike ride on calm great paved roads to beautiful places I never went to before. I cycled along the greenest field with beautiful houses and a lot of outer city fresh air!

So download the app, find your perfect tour and get your bike ready for the next weekend tour!

Enjoy the ride!

Bike Tour Hamburg

Late Summer Walk

Inhaling the beauty of late summer nature

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We all know life is not about the big things. It is about the everyday beauty and the precious things at reach, which come at hardly any costs. But often I find myself forgetting about it, getting stuck in “to-do-lists” instead of taking a break to treat myself with some purity and nature.

Finally, this weekend I put on some walking shoes, got in the car with some friends and did a short 2h walk in an area 3o minutes outside Hamburg. It did not take any effort, just a quick research on the web to find a destination and a proper map. I believe, there are many of those places outside most of the big cities. But somehow, we seldom go for a half day vacation.

So get out there! Inhale the green, admire the beauty of late summer weekends! Get your feet dirty, admire the deep blue sky and enjoy the tranquility outside the big cities. Be surprised and inspired of the precious nature just a few footsteps aways. Although I only walked for a couple of hours, it felt as though I was traveling France, Sweden, Tanzania and Ireland all together.

For anyone living in Hamburg, we drove to the “Boberger Dünen”, parking at Boberger Furt. From there you can basically go anywhere you want. We kind of stuck to this route.

Happy weekend everyone!

Refugees 190

Refugees in Europe: Doing good & spreading humanity!

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Refugees

We all are aware of the cruelty around the globe which makes people leave their most beloved behind to ensure a living for themselves and their families.

I have seen documentaries and read news, yet I still did not do anything apart from being compassionate with those who dared to leave their countries at the risk of their lives. And I again became aware of my own luxurious life with a place to stay, a job I like, lovely friends and family … not to forget – social security and freedom.

A couple of days ago I decided to actually do something good and donate clothes and things I felt I could give away. I have traveled many countries and met people all over the globe, who cared about me although they did not know me at all. I was given presents by those who had literally nothing and experienced hospitality wherever I went. Thinking about this, I felt ashamed, I had not packed anything earlier. I guess I felt too busy doing other things.

For sure, there is not only good in this world, but also cruelty, greediness, inhumanity, corruption and many more, which I have also experienced, with people taking advantage of me being a tourist with a backpack full of desirable things including a German passport.

But I am sure, those are not the people who left their homes to find a safe place to live.

So this is a post to inspire all of you to free some time in your calendars for one of the upcoming weekends to do something good for those in need. For the refugees in Europe or for those in need anywhere else in the world, despite the fact, that our calendar is packed with “important” things.

When I went to the refugee camp in Hamburg at the Hamburg Trade Center, I was touched by the kindness of the people who dedicated their time to support the refugees, by organizing donations and coordinating the center. While Hall B6 is set up for the refugees to stay, Hall B5 is solely for people to bring clothes, bags, suitcases etc. to be then sorted by gender, type and size. Find further information here.

So if you live in Hamburg get through your closet to find things you have not been wearing in the last two years. Clothes, blankets, bags, suitcases but also hygiene products, pencils, books to learn German or toys and games for the kids. Sort them by type and gender in different bags and simply write on the bags whatever you have in there. You can also donate some extra time in the center to directly sort whatever you brought to the piles of things there.

Directions: Walk to Hamburg Trade Center Hall B6 (Glacischaussee opposite the prison). At the little booth you will 24/7 find people to welcome you and guide you in.

When I arrived there, I could see and hear kids and teens playing football through the covered fence – I wished I had also brought some of the Tennis balls lying around back home. Next time.

It is so easy and comforting to do good. Especially, when you have the chance to bring your donation directly to the place where people are in need. Pack some bags or do something else to spread humanity, wherever you are!

Sehr sehenswert! ARD Mediathek: Flüchtlinge - Aufnehmen oder Abschieben?

Juist Preview 003

Juist: Rejuvenating & grounding short trip

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Spending time at the coast or islands of Northern Germany, I always feel extremely grounded and taken care of.

It is for the freedom of the endless beaches and dunes, which I could look at for hours, while the wind is blowing through it as if it was the little prince’s hair. It is for wind, which embraces me and lets me truly feel the nature around me. It also is for me being reminded of my childhood, when I spend a weekend every summer with my dad’s family at the northern coasts.

For the first time since I was born, I spent an extended weekend on the island Juist, which is amongst the most tranquil German islands, as there are no cars on the Island. Instead, once you arrive at the island with the ferry, you will be picked up by a horse-drawn carriage. Or … guess what… you walk.

I felt entirely set back to old times or as if I was walking through a movie set for an ancient movie production. When my parents picked me up from the station, their 5-days-stay seemed to have rejuvenated them by 10 years.

There is really not much to do on the island but walk, relax at home or spend some time at the beach. A true gift to anyone with a busy everyday life!

Getting to remote places always takes some efforts… however it ensures, that there won’t be too many others. The island’s webpage provides a good overview of the area. There is one or two ferries and tiny planes every day leaving from Norddeich Mole. There are many apartment houses on the island, which are recommendable. We stayed at Uns zu Hus and loved it.
If you look for a nice and charming place to eat, I recommend you try the Restaurant and Tea House Loogster Stuv.

Vitra House 1

VitraHouse: Designed for a better living

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Basel, I only knew from passing by on the motorway from Germany to skiing vacations in Switzerland. Next to Basel you find Weil am Rhein and you might not even expect, that this is a town of design. In 2006 Herzog & de Meuron designed an amazing place – well known amongst  interior design fans across Europe. A showroom of Vitra interior design – the VitraHouse.

I did not feel too fancy seeing it at first. But once I saw the overwhelming design of the place, it felt like a little extra vacation. Things are put together in such a beautiful and inspirational way. It is not comparable to any other place you can go to, to buy furniture. It feels as if you step into someones house. You can truly feel a soul in this place. It is not about furniture – it is about living.

So if ever any of you pass by Weil am Rhein like I did so many times, make sure you spoil yourself with a quick stop of about an hour to see this inspirational place dedicated to artful living. And next time I will make sure I go see the world famous Vitra Design Museum right next to it.

Ohlsdorf Cemetry

Ohlsdorf Cemetry: The world’s largest, most beautiful and most awkward

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Ohlsdorf Cemetry surprised me most of all the cemetries I have seen around the world. Until recently I did not know, that the world’s largest cemetery is just a bike ride away from my place in the north of Hamburg, Germany. When my friend asked me one day ,if I would like to join her, riding there with our bikes and I felt it was a really akward idea, since I felt I’d rather go to a park or the sea on a sunny day instead of a cemetery.

Yet, what I experienced, once I was there, was overwhelming. Not only due to the size of the park (391 hectares with 12 chapels over 1.5 million burials in more than 280,000 burial sites and streets with a length of 17 km) but also since I had never seen a cemetery with public transportation (two bus lines with 25 bus stops). Ohlsdorf Cemetry is not only used as a burial ground, but also as a recreational area, so we met people riding on their bikes or even jogging through the park. The atmosphere was absolutely unique, since somehow it connected life and death in a very respectful and natural way.

It has got many impressive mausoleums, huge rhododendron bushes, ponds and birds, sculptures and although about two million people from all over the world visit the cemetery every year it was a quiet recreational place.

So if you live in Hamburg, it’s a must see and if you ever happen to travel to Hamburg, make sure, you put this experience on your list. You will be touched, inspired and very fulfilled afterwards – I promise.

Hamburg Harbour

Port of Hamburg: 24/7 discovery

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Overlooking the Port of Hamburg at night, has always been a treat to me. It’s as if I had thrown a coin in a miniature toy machine where all of a sudden everything starts to move. The closer you look at it, the more things you will discover. A huge restless area, following it’s own rules and rhythm – hypnotizing anyone looking at it.

Watching the sun set from one of the beach bars across the river, as the sun colors the sky and then the lights color the port mirrored in the river Elbe is simply precious.

The Port of Hamburg is the third biggest port in Europe (after Antwerp and Rotterdam) and the ninth biggest in the world with 10.000 ships steering in per year. With a turnover of 139 Million goods in 2013 it is connecting 950 harbors in 178 countries, providing work for 156 000 people. The 7200 hectare of the harbor include 140 km of street, 304 km of railway tracks, 130 bridges and 12 km of beach along the river. It’s Europe’s biggest port of importation for coffee, the world’s biggest trading and storing center for rugs and amongst the world’s leading trans-shipment centers for tea, cacao, coffee and spices. Founded on 7 May 1189 for its strategic location, it’s almost as old as Hamburg itself.

 

Hamburg Harbour in Winter

Hamburg: Gorgeous winter day

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Many people, who do not live in Hamburg say: “It’s a beautiful city, but it’s always cold and rainy there.”

Most people, who live in Hamburg usually say: “Sure we have more rainy and cloudy days than other German cities, yet when the sun shines, it makes up for everything.”

Today was one of these days, which just makes up for any cold, rainy or cloudy day. Icy river, blue sky, fresh air and a picture perfect sunset at my beloved harbor. Just lovin’ it.

Lighthouse

Lighthouses: A childish romance

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Still today, lighthouses somehow give me the same smile and energy like they did when I was a child. I am excited, I am loving it and …. I feel tiny. I love lighthouses, since there is a special romance to them… in the morning, in the daytime and at night. Any Season. Always.