I know I’m a wee bit late on this reviewing 2013 business, but I didn’t think that should keep me from sharing with you some of my favourite photo moments of the past year. It might get a bit more quiet around the blog in the future due to massive work commitments, so revelling in the travel joys past might be all I get to do for a while (except the next weekend get-away is booked already and I cannot wait to write about it – but more on that when I get there!). So without much further ado I give you my travels of 2013!
1. Gdansk, Poland I love Gdansk. I love it in ways that have my heart jubilate and my soul sing and my mind dance. I went there twice last year and it was not nearly close to being enough. I have written about my feelings for the city before, and I will write about it again, because it is unfathomable that I should ever run out of words to declare my deep love for this place. I took the picture in February from a viewpoint on Gora Gradowa, a hill in the city crowned by a large red cross that you cannot miss when you come to town – for its spectacular views!
2. Stuttgart, Germany I never thought much of Stuttgart. Mainly I was annoyed that it was so hard to reach by train from Tübingen inspite of only being 30km away. But when I went there in March, and the Castle Square was covered in powdery snow, it was really quite pretty – and hanging out with a local friend really helped me to get a better sense of what the city has to offer.
3. Tübingen, Germany
Now the thing about Tübingen is – it is just so cute. It is so picturesque and gorgeous that you cannot dislike it. The longer I have not been living there, the more I like it – I still meet acquaintances in the streets on accident, everything is in walking distance, and everyone hangs at the same pub because, let’s face it, it’s the only acceptable one. I am glad I still have to keep coming back there every now and then for work.
4. Cologne, Germany
I passed through Cologne twice last year and the most beautiful thing about it, in my humble opinion, is the fact that even if you only have a 90 minute break between trains, you can always make a stop at the cathedral because it is literally right next to the main train station. Seriously, even if you just have half an hour until your next connection leaves, do step into the cathedral for a quick glimpse. It is magnificent. And it allows for a bit of quiet contemplation even if there is a lot of tourists around.
5. Düsseldorf, GermanySome people may consider it blasphemy to even mention Cologne and Düsseldorf in one post, let alone one right after the other – those two places have the greatest city rivalry in the country. But I did happen to visit them on the same trip in March, and I won’t hold back on either one. I have to admit I was quite surprised at the many pretty corners that Düsseledorf had to offer. We did a guided tour in what felt like minus 20 degrees which led to us cutting the walk a little short, but it seems there is much more to Düsseldorf than carnival.
6. Munich, Germany
Being a Northern German (and patriotically so!), I don’t have all too much of a thing for Bavaria. But the more I get to know Munich, the more I like it. This view off of Alter Peter, a church tower right by the famous Marienplatz, is something every tourist should do. Everything looks a bit like a miniature wonderland from up there.
7. Grudziądz, Poland
To my admitted surprise, my post on Grudziądz was one of the most sucessful ones this year. It was a city that hadn’t been on my radar much, but one of my friends from Gdansk grew up there and made the generous offer of taking me and another friend there on a day trip. This view of the cityscape should make you fall in love already – what’s not to like in a town with a majestic river and lots of buildings made from red brick stone?
8. Nottingham, England
While Nottingham is probably not the English city on top of anyone’s bucket list, I was happy to get to know it this summer. I was in a good place, I was happy, and in that state it was much easier to discover the hidden beauty Nottingham had to offer. I perceived it as a down to earth, honest and unpretentious place – yet very English in a way that is hard for me to explain.
9. Spreewald, Germany
A weekend getaway to the Spreewald was just what I needed during a hot Berlin summer. If it hadn’t been for the mosquitos, it couldn’t have been more perfect – the water, the greenery, and the many many little bridges were truly idyllic. I hope to go back and explore some more.
10. Chicago, Illinois, United States
The big journey in 2013 took me back to the first country outside of Germany I ever called home – and a home I had in staying with one of my oldest friends. Chicago swept me away with its architecture, nature and cultural offers. I spent entire days lazing at the beach of Lake Michigan, marvelling at the fact that it felt like a sea much more than a lake and getting a nice tan which I didn’t expect from this trip at all. And with the Chicago River running through, I also saw my fair share of bridges. I think I am most thankful for the appreciation of modern urban architecture that I developped in the much two short 17 days I spent there.
11. Rügen, Germany
The Baltic is my favourite sea, and Rügen is not only Germany’s biggest island, it is also my favourite. The views you have from the large chalk cliffs on its shores are infinite and eternal, and the September weekend there was sunny and breezy and beautiful.
Funnily it seems that I did most of my abroad time in 2013 in the second half of the year. Porto was a very spontaneous getaway with an old college friend. I had wanted to go to Portugal for forever, and after having loved Porto for the food, the port wine, the bridges, the people and the history (to name a few), I seriously cannot wait to finally get to know Lisbon sometime in the hopefully near future.
12. Brussels, Belgium I had thought for the longest time that it was a shame I had never been to Belgium, Luxembourg or the Netherlands, them being Germany’s neighbouring countries. All the happier was I to attend a conference in Brussels in December. The time of year was not unwisely chosen: the first day was very cold, but other than that the weather was perfect, it wasn’t overcrowded, and I had a chanced to be truly surprised at the immense beauty I found there in so many places. I can only recommend the Belgian capital!
That was 2013 for me – may 2014 bring me, you and everyone at least as much travel joy and beauty, as many discoveries and random findings that put smiles on all our faces!