Located in the northern part of Hamburg, bordered by the river Elbe, the harbor, a number of parks and the city center, Altona stands tall as one of Hamburg's most diverse districts. Once an independent city – with an own harbor, Altona became part of Hamburg in 1938. It's historical development characterized by social and religious tolerance, as well it's open policy towards economically less privileged were of great influence for today's Altona. The district holds an eclectic mix of styles: industrial factory architecture meets chic coffeshop facades, and organicbakeries find their place near pretty parcs.
Once in a while, everyone is longing for a short vacation, a dose of inspiration or a sightseeing stroll in a yet undiscovered city. German Bavaria and its lovely cities have a certain autumny charm. Because of their many parks, lakes and nature spots, Nürnberg, München, and Würzburg turn golden-green during autumn, and their city trails and outdoor sights are ideal for every city-trip and nature-lover. München and Nürnberg have international airports and Würzburg is only a short car ride away. Therefore, the golden Bavarian triangle is easily accessible.
Münchens central position and infrastructure make the southern German metropolis the perfect starting spot for the Bavarian city-hopping trip. The best time to go is after the Oktoberfest bustle comes to an end, when München and its sights shine again in a golden autumnal light.
Leipzig – a booming Saxonian city located 185km southwest of Berlin, a city that embraces change and welcomes students, artists, and travelers into an alternative-chic atmosphere.
The first time I visited Leipzig I didn't know what to expect. Many people said that the city is struggling, that one can still apprehend the precarious past, that its inhabitants are outlandish and have a strange dialect understood only by a few. I wondered why they're stereotyping? After all, everything is evolving today. I gave myself three days to discover Leipzig, to see for myself what the fuss is all about. After three days roaming around the city, I left with a strong desire of wanting to return, of wanting to get myself a chic old apartment with high ceilings, with a terrace and live the bohemian life, filling up my flat with books, art and passing my time with inspiring people.
Traveling isn't always only about sightseeing, old monuments, pretty streets and sunbathing; it's also about never ending car rides and flights, about daydreaming and letting your imagination take unexplored paths. So what better way to unwind and to forget about time, than reading a good book?
One of my travel reading took me on the top of a hill in Genova, Italy. A wonderful baroque palazzo, with a large balcony with view on the marina, was my personal accommodation. I spent the weekend there and observed an elderly couple handling the daily routine, welcoming guests and taking long walks along the alley. At the end, I felt wistful – after all, it was not only the end of my trip, but also the last page of my book.
Books can have the same power as travels; they take you far away, make you forget about time and about ballast. Therefore, one of my personal 'musts' while traveling are bookstores: hidden, ugly, overstocked, small, big, antique – I like them all and I could spend days flicking through their books. While on the French Riviera, in Nice, the bookstore fever got me again.
A la Sorbonne
Once you step into this small antique bookshop you’ll automatically travel back in time. Collector copies of Flaubert, Zola, Sartre are carefully piled up along old issues of French lifestyle & travel magazines, such as Le journal de plage, Désir de voyages or Paris Match. Leafing through those old copies – pure joy!
Growing up in Transylvania, I was used to celebrating Easter two times a year: following the Catholic, Orthodox and the Protestant religion. Combining two Easter holidays was normal to me. It was the best a child could get from a public holiday. Maybe some will say "ahh, the same thing all over again", for what I'm concerned, Easter suprized me every year with another highlight.
There are a couple of things that bring the Catholic and Orthodox Easter to a remarkable celebration level. Starting with the great fasting period, the longest and challenging of them all, continuing with breaking the feasting time while preparing and tasting traditional lamb dishes such as the lamb tribe, going to the mess at midnight, surrounding the church a dozen of times to finally receive the "divine light from Jerusalem", bumping eggs – and hoping that yours won't get cracked – saying "Christ is risen" and responding with "He is truly risen", to finally ending the holiday fullfilled and with a more than replete tummy.
While those traditions are rather conventional, there are two that stand out.