Our family had a reunion this past holiday season in Europe. My parents flew from Beijing, my aunt from New Jersey, and I from Hamburg, with our arrival times all within one hour, we met up at the airport in Munich and started our journey right there. We went from Munich to Ulm, made a day trip to Tübingen, and drove down to Innsbruck for Christmas. After Christmas we wound our way up north, made a stop in Bamberg for two nights, then continued straight to Hamburg. Right before the New Year, we took the train and the ferry to Copenhagen, where we spend the New Year and parted ways days after. Here are some pictures I took along the way:
The Ulmer Münster. I lost count of how many pictures I took at this spot. It needs to be perfectly straight, centered, symmetrical… (stop). We stayed in Ulm for four nights, right next to the Rathaus. The Ulmer Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) is still by far my favourite, it’s got so many things that are unique and irreplaceable. A week prior to this trip, I was actually in Augsburg (between Ulm and Munich) for a business trip. There the wine was not as tasty and food could not even compare.
My second time in Tübingen. The idea was to pick a place where my aunt hasn’t been during our trip earlier last year. That rules out all the nice little towns on the German side of the Bodensee (lake Constance). And I was not going to take them to Stuttgart. So Tübingen it was! It is a charming, hilly town with lots of timber framed houses and narrow cobblestone paths. I found those Christmas decorations quite interesting, like some kind of spiky parasitic monsters!
Shortly after arriving in Innsbruck in the blue hours – on the observation deck of the city tower (used for fire lookout in the past).
It was amazing to look down to those long, warmly lit alleys. The building on the right had falling snow projected onto its front – you can see a little of it in the picture.
When I arrange a trip, the Alps are a must. Taken shortly before sunset on the Hafelekarspitze.
One of the chandeliers in the old town of Innsbruck. Gold and green is a good match.
I picked a residence hotel for our four nights in Innsbruck, which is the green building on the left. Our windows were facing directly the town square and the giant Christmas tree. Every evening during Advent there are musicians playing brass music under the golden roof (pictured right to the tree). On Christmas eve though, there was a special music arrangement from three sides of the buildings – the main one under the golden roof, one facing our windows, and one in the room next to ours. We really enjoyed this one standing in front the windows.
Then comes Bamberg. A traveller in style (and my aunt in the background).
It was my second visit in Bamberg. I really had a wow moment when I was here for the first time last year. The town, which extends over seven hills survived the WWII and is an UNESCO world heritage site. The old and the new Rathaus sit on their own island connected by four (I think?) bridges to both of the river banks. The famous local beer is a Rauchbier (smoked beer) which tasted like bacon to me. Well I ordered a Weizen, only my father had to finish it.
Next stop, Hamburg. I booked two rooms on the Feuerschiff LV13 (lightship) which was used to serve the purpose of a lighthouse in deep waters. My parents and aunt stayed there while I stayed in my apartment. This photo was taken when I was meeting them up on the ship one early morning. We then took a walk to the Elbphilharmonie and from there to Speicherstadt. Had lunch near one of the daughter companies of my work place where the most delicious Thai food exists, and spent the first evening photographing holiday lights in the city center (see my previous blog entry).
We visited the St. Michaelis church during our second day in Hamburg. The renaissance styled building with teal roofs is the Hamburger Rathaus. That evening we went to Laeszhalle for a chamber concert by the Prague Philharmonia. They played Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and some Bach and Haydn.
Copenhagen on the 1st of January, 2017.
This city surely has its charms, but my family seemed to be more impressed by the German towns during our trip. I was particularly interested in the differences between Danish and German cultures. Truth to be told, I had almost no expectations or in other words expected not much of a difference between the two. And while I was in Copenhagen, I kept noticing differences between the people of the two countries, waitresses, baristas, guy at the car rental store… There are light hearted, smiling people everywhere in Copenhagen. I can’t wait for my next trip to Denmark, most likely I will visit a rural area and explore the local things a little better.
This is a photo I took a week after I came back to Hamburg. Don’t be confused by the Danish/Norwegian letter! If you are in Hamburg and are looking for that perfect cuppa, give TØRNQVIST a try. This is where the Scandinavian ways of coffee making are appreciated and executed. If the cream for your cup doesn’t have that right condensed texture yet, they simply would not hand you the glass. The store pictured here is their pop-up in St. Pauli till the end of February, 2017. You will have to follow their latest whereabouts on instagram, twitter or facebook (ugh fb). I have read that the founder, Linus, often drives a VW bus, which also serves as a coffee truck, around various places in Hamburg.
Phew. That was more writing than I planed to do. Now I am going to tuck in before Monday comes. Good night!