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Vondelpark Bridge in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Bridges are awesome not least because you can come across them virtually anywhere – as majestic architectural masterpieces in large cities or as randomly strewn about planks across a creek somewhere in the middle of nowhere.  Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands

This small bridge in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark combines the aesthetic striving for perfection of culture with the beautiful surroundings of nature. Of course it’s not entirely natural, it’s still part of a park and as such quite domesticated. Nonetheless places like these are really important for a big city. They are green little retreat spaces that make you forget about urban noise and agitation.

When I was small I had a children’s book about Claude Monet called „Linnea in Monet’s Garden“. If you have children (or just love children’s books…) look it up, it’s really cute. When I came across this bridge, I felt instantly reminded of Monet’s pictures as I remembered them from the book. It’s really almost as if it was taken out of an impressionist painting.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

Bridge in Berlin (Lübars), Germany

Berlin is huge. I know, not by, what, American standards, but it is the biggest city in Germany, and even being from the second biggest in the country, it took me quite a while to get a grip on it. But the beauty of it is: There is so much to discover.

Alt Lübars (Berlin), GermanyA few weeks ago I took a metro, met a friend, took another metro and a bus to reach a rather remote area of Berlin called Lübars, a part of Reinickendorf. It is very close to the border to Brandenburg. That means that the border between the GDR and West Berlin used to be just here. Nothing to be noticed about that. It is just beautiful nature now. Fields and marsh.

The runway in the picture crosses the creek called Tegeler Fließ. Tegel is South of here, you might be familiar with the name because of the airport. It wasn’t a particularly pretty day, but I enjoyed it all the more because there weren’t many people out and about. One wouldn’t believe that you were in the capital, in this huge urban mass of skyscrapers and monuments and malls. It was peaceful.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

My Happy Place – Tempelhof Airport

It is the week of the Berlin Tourism Fair ITB again, and just like last year, I felt like I should share some valuable information on things to see in my home of choice. A lot of travel bloggers will come to town for this, and I do hope that some of the visitors will make time to see Berlin – ideally beyond Brandenburg Gate and the (admittedly amazing) East Side Gallery.

Last year I indulged in the history that this city has to offer. The place I am bringing to you today, the airfield of the closed down Tempelhof airport, is one that I have wanted to write about for a long time. Only I never quite knew how, because it is special to me in a way that probably no other place in Berlin is.

Grass and Sky, Tempelhof, Berlin, GermanyWhen I was in Berlin apartment hunting just before I moved here, I got of the metro at what is now my stop, and made a turn to the left from the big street. It was February, and bitter cold had a lock on Berlin. At the end of the street I had turned on, I saw – nothing. Not a house, not a tree, it was as thought the street led right up to a hole. I had no idea what that might be and I was early for the meeting with the property manager who was supposed to show me what is now my flat. So I went down the street and to see what the great nothing was. This is approximately what I found.

View of airport building, Tempelhof, Berlin, GermanyWidth. Air. Freshness. A horizon that wasn’t limited by the nearest skyscarper or even just three storey building. In the distance the old airport terminals can be seen – built under the Nazis, they are impressive, functional, and of their own estranging fascist aesthetics that one is compelled to dislike, but can’t help finding impressive. I looked across the great barren field and  knew that I desperately wanted the flat that was so close to it. And I got it. The field is now basically my backyard.

View, Tempelhof, Berlin, GermanyWhen you walk either one of the two airstrips and you look North, you have a beautiful view that includes the old radio tower with its funny looking white ball on top, you see the TV tower in the distance, church towers, and one of my personal favourites, the two minarettes of the mosque that is close by at Columbiadamm (and that has a beautiful small cemetery worth checking out!). Maybe it is the Northern German gal inside of me that feels drawn to this place. I am just in love with being able to see that far while no mountain, not even a hill disrupts the view.

Kites, Tempelhof, Berlin, GermanyOn a clear summer’s day, when there is wind on the field, you can see people doing all kind of kite sports. Not just the kite skaters in this picture – there are people on windsurfing  skateboards, or just people flying stuntkites. The sky is completely bestrewn with kites of all colours, shapes and sizes, and there is wooshing noises as you walk past. I especially love the skaters with the traction kites. They make amazing stunts and fly several meters high, pulling themselves up in the air with their skates attached to their feet, only to land on the airstrip again and be drawn by windpower with amazing speed across the concrete desert.

Kite Skater, Tempelhof, Berlin, GermanyI love to come to the field on weekends for a walk or just to sit somewhere, in some remote corner, or even inmidst of everything, and think. It is amazing that even on a day when the field is packed with people, you will always find a way to feel as though you were the only person there, because people scatter. When there is only wind and the wide sky, my thoughts can run free and I can find peace.

View of airport building, Tempelhof, Berlin, GermanyOn the East Side, there is a Guerilla Gardening Project. On the North Side there is a minigolf course made out of trash and a baseball field. On the South and West Sides there is virtually nothing. The airstrips stretch out betwen the West and the East, and walking them always feels a bit like that slow motion scene in Armageddon.

The most indescribable thing is the field in winter, just before they close it for the night (because you cannot enter at night as to prevent vandalism). If you walk on there just before closing time, you will be completely alone on a 355 hectar area before long. The moon will hide behind clouds, and the air will be pregnant with humidity. It will set on your clothes like a cover. You will feel cold and damp and very alone. And alive like you have hardly ever felt before. At least that is how I experience it. I usually start singing. Loudly, desperately against the noises of the wind and the emptiness. The city is glowing at the margins of the field, and I am all by myself, fighting the demons of my thoughts, bowing to the good spirits inside of me. No picture can bring across the atmosphere of those moments.

My favourite time of the day on the field though is, without a doubt, dusk. There aren’t just the special weekend walks or the long reading sessions, not just the people watching or all the funny little interim arrangements that can be found there. The most intimate moments on the field are the ones I have every day when I come home from work from early Spring through late fall. I used to have a cigarette on the field before I went home. Now I just sit and watch the sun set. The sky is so wide, the colours so intense, and I feel so at home in this big, crazy moloch of a city.

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No, I never quite knew how to write all of this down so far. I always figured that I needed to go there just one more time to get that one special anecdote, or take that one beautiful picture. But then again there will always be another perfect moment, another extraordinary experience on the field, and yet I will never be able to describe it sufficiently in all its width, greatness and beauty.

Footbridges in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

This may be more of a crossing than an actual bridge. But since it gets people drily across a body of water I’ll count it. Plus, I love the picture. Footbridge, Plitvice Lakes, CroatiaThis is what the footbridges look like in Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia – that fairytale place of waterfalls and water of greenish blue colours you didn’t yet know existed. You walk barely just above the water surface on planks, and plants in different shades of green entwine around the planks and seem to reach out to you, wanting to draw you towards them and underwater. The water is gushing underneath your feet. It feels like you could actually walk on water.

One of the best travel decisions in my life was most definitely coming to Plitvice Lakes in April – off-season. Even in the cool Spring weather it was already fairly well visited, and I cannot even begin to imagine what it must look like in summer. Or maybe I just don’t want to imagine. The only thing that saves the place from a complete tourist overload is probably the fact that you are not allowed to swim in the turquoise – no, emerald – no, myrtle – pine – shamrock – good lord, I just cannot decide on a good word to describe the incredible colour of the water. The footbridges blend in so well that they are hardly noticeable – and yet they allow for the visitor to get to the points where the view will be most amazing. Plitvice might not be a secret anymore – but it doesn’t matter, it is a must see for anyone who goes to Croatia.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

Another Bridge in Spreewald, Germany

I have written a post on Spreewald Bridges before, but I found another one that I quite like for today’s post. Bridge, Spreewald, GermanyThis was taken in July, but the foliage on the ground already foreshadows autumn. I felt like this about many of the bridges on our little Spreewald excursion – they had a touch of morbidity, unkemptness. That took away none of their charms. In fact I am a huge fan of slighty run down edifices of any kind. They remind me that anything manmade is but object of nature’s grace. This bridge, leading across a dull, viscid little creek, under the rich and luscious green of the summer trees, felt like a place that wanted to be romanticised. It answered to the nostalgia that, again and again, I find inherent to my soul.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

Serpentine Bridge in London, England

Today’s bridge on a Sunday could almost fall under the street art category too. But just almost.

Serpentine Bridge, London, EnglandThis is Serpentine Bridge, the bridge that marks the border between Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park in London. While the bridge in itself is really pretty with its many arches, what I liked best was the sign in which someone had switched the word „Danger“ to „Angel“. It put stories in my head, and images of falling angels, and of soaring angels who would come to save their falling companions. Maybe it was because I had just walked by the Peter Pan statue and decided that I never wanted to grow up, like Peter, that I felt transported into a fairytale world by this sign. I think being reminded of unearthly creatures, of angels and fairies and pixie dust, never hurts.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may separate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

Five Reasons Chicago Became My Favourite US City

As of lately, if you don’t have a great interest in Chicago, you haven’t had much to read on my blog. Now I still have many posts to write about the „Second City“ of the US, but I don’t want to bore you and instead keep diversion on my blog. Because of this, I am going to mix it up a little again in the future. I have some great posts in store. Nonetheless, I feel like my Chicago-adventures deserve an all-embracing post that rounds it all up for now. So today I will tell you the five reasons why Chicago quickly stole my heart and became my favourite city of all the ones that I have visited in the US.

1. Walkability and Public Transport

The L, Chicago, IllinoisMy most influential US experience, as I have mentioned, has been in El Paso, Texas. In El Paso it is virtually impossible to walk anywhere at all, and I was never allowed to use public transport for my hostmum’s fear of someone mugging me or the likes. In Chicago, not only are the sidewalks, but with the cta, Chicago Transit Authority, there is a magnificent system of metros (called the L, short for ELevated) and busses that will make every part of the city easily accessible. Convenient day-, three-day- and seven-day-passes make it a joy to move about the city. Apart from that, a lot of the stations on the L show the charms of days long past with their wooden platforms and cast-iron banisters.

Banisters at L stop Western (Blue Line), Chicago, Illinois Chicago is easily accessible in the most convenient, healthy and environment friendly ways. What’s not to love.

2. Architecture

Skyline, Chicago, IllinoisMy readers know that I am a fan of the medieval red brick beauty of Northern European Hanseatic cities. But Chicago has shown to me what urban beauty in a large metropolis can truly mean. Skyscrapers don’t have to be glass boxes without creative form or shape. They come in neo gothic, neo classicist, and in round, triangular, and square shapes in all creative combinations. I might not want to live on the 57th floor of any given building, but those skyscrapers are sure impressive. And they can be, I think I have mentioned it before, funnily reminiscent of social realist architecture in Eastern Europe.

Magnificent Mile, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago has opened my eyes to a new artform – modern architecture. Thank you!

3. The Greenery

Lincoln Park Lily Pond, Chicago, IllinoisChicago has a seemingly infinite number of parks. It starts by the great ones downtown, Grant Park and Lincoln Park, that stretch along the entire coastline of Lake Michigan, and continues in uncountable small neighbourhood parks in every part of town. A lot of them have lagoons that add a freshness and wideness to the urbanity you find downtown. They are lively places where people from different communities seem to come together to have a good time, and people watching is a wonderful pastime here.

Humboldt Park, Chicago, IllinoisChicago is not only loud and crazy in its urbanity, but it provides spaces of retreat in its midst.

4. Shopping

Coffee and Tea Exchange, Chicago, IllinoisDon’t get me wrong, I am definitely not the girl who goes abroad to shop. In all honesty, I don’t even like shopping very much at home, and it is beyond me why someone would spend precious time in a foreign place with an activity as tedious as running through shops that look the same in all the Western world anyway. But… when there’s shops like in Chicago, it is different. There are unique places like the above Coffee and Tea Exchange that feels like what in German would be called a Kolonialwarenladen – one of the general shops of yore that would mainly sell items from the colonies. And there is an amazing vintage shop culture for ANYthing – clothes, records, and of course, books!

Myopic Bookstore, Chicago, IllinoisChicago puts the atmosphere, the individuality and the fun back into shopping for me. I haven’t had this much fun browsing through items in a long time.

5. The Lake

Lake Michigan Marina, Wilmette, IllinoisFinally, Chicago’s biggest selling point to a water girl like me is bound to be Lake Michigan. Being from Hamburg, I appreciate water in a city more than anything. Being at the shore of a river, a lake or an ocean clears my head and makes me happy. Usually I wouldn’t have thought that a lake would really do it for me – too static. But Lake Michigan is different because it feels like the sea. Its colours change between a Baltic grey and a Mediterranean bright blue, it has angry big waves and quiet glassy clear days. If you get out of the immediate city, you will come across beaches that are well worth a holiday.

Lake Michigan, Wilmette, IllinoisI appreciate Chicago’s urbanity, its excitement and all the convenience that it has to offer. But the beauty of it is that it doesn’t only offer that, but also the opportunity to easily get away from it all and feel yourself in nature. It seems that the city has it all.

What about you? Have you ever been to Chicago? Does it seem like somewhere you would want to go? Have you got a favourite city in the US?

An Afternoon’s Meditation – Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery

I have already written about my love of cemeteries as a place of rest, meditation and a new perspective on life. When Jesse suggests that I go to Graceland Cemetery on the Northside of the city, I am making a note of it immediately. One of the more humid and overcast days of my stay in Chicago, I take the bus to the red line of the L and go up to Sheridan to discover the large cemetery that has been the final resting place for many a Chicagoan since after the Great Fire in 1871.

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The L stop at Sheridan already puts me in a slightly pensive mood, because it is of the run-down morbidity that I love about cities in Eastern Europe. The platform is made from hard wood planks, and the stairwells are narrow and have rusty bannisters painted in red. You can see through the grid onto the mezzanines and there’s a lot of old rubbish and flaked off paint. I think it is pretty. I am not sure why.

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The entrance to the cemetery is on the far side coming from the L, so that I have walk along the high brick wall for quite a while. On the Southern side there is a piece of cemetery that is seperated from the street by just a mesh wire fence, and I catch a glimpse of the first tombstones. I see many German names, a foreshadowing of what I am about to see later.

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After I have found the gate and entered, I immediately feel that this place is very different from all the cemeteries I have been to in Europe. Wide asphalt streets run between large patches of grass on which the tombstones are spread out as if desultorily, aimlessly planted just anywhere. I see no system, no plan.


You can stumble upon one family, and then rush right into the next one without noticing. As I contemplate that, I like it a lot. Because what system is there to death? In the beginning I am even unsure as to whether I would be allowed to leave the asphalt street, but then I notice that most graves cannot be reached unless you walk across the lawn. So I start venturing.


I come across many sites that have massive pillars crowned with sculptures, or sumptuous sarcophagi. Most of the people have been dead for a long time, a hundred years or more. Only occasionally will I come across a grave that is adorned with fresh flowers – I read somewhere about this cemetery that its eerieness stems from the fact that most children of the dead lying here are also dead. I don’t find it that eerie, though. Probably because it is so wide and light and so little overgrown. Some of the mausoleums are almost cold and sterile – very clean.


I start thinking about wealth. What would lead someone to ask for a final resting place that had something so pompous about it? I don’t feel like I could grieve properly in any of those cold stone halls, however impressive they might be. I do like all the stones that are just laid out on the grass, shone upon by a burning sun in the sweltering heat of the day. They feel integrated into the nature of the place.


As I walk from passed life to passed life, I come to the peak of one of the soft hills. There is a bush, and a tombstone hiding away underneath it, a bit aside from all the others. It does not seem to belong to any of the families around, and it is small and simple. Unobtrusive, like the bridge I will discover half an hour later and that I have written about here. I come closer and study the stone. Across the top it says EDWARD, and on the stone it reads „Died Feb 2, 1868, Aged 19 yrs. 6 months“. I sit down.


I wonder if anyone still knows about this grave and who this boy was. I wonder if he died because he was ill, or if he had an accident, or if he was poor. I think about how he has lived to see the Civil War, and wonder if he lost his family in it. I wonder if he ever was in love, and if he ever had a first kiss or if he ever got to lose his virginity. I ask Edward all these questions, but there is no answer from the small stone. As I get up again to explore more of the cemetery, I think that for what it is worth, someone took note today of this life that once was and said a little prayer for a boy who lived a life that was too short 150 years ago.

Bridge at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois, US

This week’s bridge is of the unobtrusive, yet inviting kind. It promises calm and peace. And it delivers.

Graceland Bridge

This is a bridge that leads to an island in a lagoon at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. You know from this post that I love cemeteries, and I am sure to write more about this one with all its impressive mausoleums and the wide stretches of grassy hills with tombstones in all shapes and sizes. I do no recall having been to a cemetery with a lagoon before, and the way the weeping willows were reflected in the albeit a bit too green and dull water added to the medidative character of the experience.

The Bridge leads to the Daniel Burnham burial Island. Burnham was an architect who is largely responsible for the looks of Chicago today. He and his Family are resting on the Island in the shade of trees, their graves marked with simple stones that carry plaquettes with the names, rather than fancy relief art or sculpture. While the cemetery was already quiet, the Bridge took me to its quietest and most peaceful spot. I could come to myself in this place.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

Introduction to Chicago – Urban Beauty

My first few days in Chicago have exposed me to a myriad of impressions, even though I have taken it rather easy. I have about ten pieces outlined in my head that I could write, and I’m not sure where to start. Because it seems most natural, I will try and take you by the hand to walk you through my own first impressions of this exciting and beautiful city – because this much is sure: I like Chicago very much.

Avondale, Chicago

When I get to Avondale where my friend Jesse lives, I am surprised at the suburban, peaceful character of the streets and the low-rise buildings. It doesn’t feel like the third-biggest city in this huge country. I get my first taste of overstrain when we go grocery shopping. So many products, and so many brands, and so many choices, and everything is so unfamiliar. Later, in Jesse’s kitchen, I remark how both the stove and the fridge are much bigger than I am used to them being, and he says: „Everything is bigger in America.“ I remember that that is what they say. But I had forgotten about it.

City Hall, Loop, Chicago

It is my first full day, and I take the L, which is the local metro, downtown. I get off the Blue Line at Washington, and as I ascend the narrow stairs from the subway into daylight, high street canyons open up above me and I know immediately that this will be more what I envisioned Chicago to be like. On the plaza I land on, there is a large modern sculpture that I find out is an original Picasso and depicts a sphinx.

Picasso's Sphinx, Loop, Chicago

The buildings around are of eclectic shapes and forms, just one thing they have in common: They are all very high. Steel and metal are used as much as different stones, and there is modernism as well as neo-versions of architectural styles of centuries long gone. In this square alone I could linger for a long time. But I move on, on toward the elevated rails on which the silver L trains shoot along, past shops and stores, on to Michigan Avenue.

As I step out of the shade of Washington Street and before me the busy avenue opens up to show the greenery of Millenium Park on ist other side, my heart grows wide. I enter the park to find Lourie Garden where I dangle my feet in the water of the small creek and enjoy the relative quiet in the midst of the big city.

Lourie Garden, Millenium Park, Loop, Chicago

I can still hear Michigan Avenue with ist cars and buses, the occasional sirens of a police car or fire brigade, and the general hustle and bustle of urban business. But the noise is faint, the wooden planks I am sitting on are warm with sunlight, and when I turn around to see the impressive skyscrapers, I feel that this is as good as urbanity gets. It is still a little overwhelming to me, but then again this is my first day i Chicago, and already I have experienced true beauty. What a blessing.

Trump Tower, Loop, Chicago

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