Those Small Little Moments!

This rainbow in the Alster fountain! (Sunday, November 4). All pics by Franzi.

It’s time for a look back – those last four weeks were full of big and small events. In those tumultuous times, the small moments are those one has to enjoy the most and give back the power to go on.

I wish you a wonderful new week! Treasure those small pretty moments :)!

A surprise from Stephan: My very first time INSIDE the Elbphilharmonie – to listen to the singer songwriter Lisa Hannigan (Friday, October 20)

Those fall colors in my courtyard fascinated me (Saturday, October 21)

Hamburg’s television tower and the fairground lightened my way back home from my creative writing course (Monday, October 30)

My ‘little’ brother married (Friday, November 3)

Shiny ‘medals’ for junior scientists at the Nacht des Wissens (Night of the Sciences – Saturday, November 4)

The November light on the Isebekkanal (Saturday, November 11)

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Frankfurt Book Fair 2017: New Novels & Authors Quotes! #FBM17

The best thing of the Frankfurt Book Fair? For me, it’s that you see and meet all those inspiring authors. I am always impressed by everything they have to say – about their books, life, society or politics. Here are some authors and their books I saw, plus some remarkable quotes.

I wish you an inspiring start into the new week!

Sasha Marianna Salzmann (left) talking about her first novel Außer Sich // Beside Yourself, which made it into the short-list of the German Book Prize. All pics by Franzi.

Summary:

Since the beginning there’s the two of them, twins Alissa and Anton: In the small two-bedroom apartment in Moscow during the post-Soviet years and later, in Western Germany, where they roam the hallways of the asylum home. When Alissa has already dropped out of university, Anton disappears without a trace. Eventually, a postcard arrives from Istanbul – no text, no return address. Alissa sets out on a search in the torn city by the Bosporus and within her own family history – looking for her missing brother, but most of all, searching for the feeling of belonging that isn’t connected to one’s native country, mother tongue, or gender.

Sasha Marianna Salzmann regarding the dealing with the “underground” topic of gender fluidity in her book:

“Ovid und Shakespeare sind keine Underground-Schriftsteller gewesen. Queer war auch damals schon Thema und kam in deren Werken vor.” // “Ovid and Shakespeare were no underground authors. Queer  was  a topic already back then and present in their works.”

Sven Regener talking about his latest book Wiener Straße (made it to the long-list of the German Book Prize).

Summary:

This fourth “Frank Lehmann”-novel narrates what happened before the first three books: Kreuzberg, Berlin, early 1980s – a surreal world of artists, squatters, freaks, punks and newly arrived Berliners. Anyone could be a hero. Anything could become the next big thing. Frank Lehmann, slacker by nature, together with two artist friends has to move house because their landlord and flatmate, Erwin, wants them out of the way now that he is to become a father. Chaotic times… and things finally escalate completely when a rival artist collective decides to copying Erwin’s new business idea of  a “bar plus gallery”, sparking an art war that may lead to ruin for everyone.

Sven Regener on why he wrote again about Frank Lehman:

“Man muss Romane schreiben, wie sie einem einfallen. {…} Bei mir ging das mit dem Schreiben los, als mir eine Figur zugelaufen ist, nämlich dieser Frank.” // “Novels appear as an idea to you. {…} I started writing when a character appeared in my mind – and this character was Frank Lehmann.”

Richard David Precht in an interview about his book Erkenne Dich Selbst // Know Yourself (the second book of a trilogy about the history of philosophy).

Summary:

In the second volume of his three-part history of philosophy, Richard David Precht explores the development of Western thinking from the Renaissance to the end of the Age of Enlightenment.

Richard David Precht about Jean-Jacques Rousseau:

“Ein Arschloch deluxe. {…} Diese Schizophrenie, dass er Frauen ausnutzte und seine Kinder ins Findelheim steckte, aber die romantischsten Romane und einfühlsamsten Erziehungsromane seiner Zeit geschrieben hat.” // “An asshole deluxe. {…} This schizophrenia that he used women and sent his children into a foundling hospital, but wrote the most romantic novels and the most insightful Erziehungsromane (educational novels) of his time.”

Paula Hawkings (left) talking about her latest thriller Into the Water.

Summary:

In the last days before her death, Nel called her sister. Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help. Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind. But Jules is afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped. And most of all she’s afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool…

Paula Hawkings about reading while working on a new book project:

“I do love to read non-fiction. As a novel author, reading non-fiction is a relaxed way of reading – without the risk of adopting foreign ideas.”

Ulla Hahn (right) talking about her book Wir werden erwartet // They Are Expecting Us .

Summary:

This is the fourth (and last) novel of an autobiographic-inspired series by Ulla Hahn. It narrates the story of a young, gullible woman in the tumultuous years after 1968: Hilla Palm has the world at her feet. After a long search, the girl of humble origins has at last found where she belongs: to the world of literature and with Hugo, the man who accepts Hilla as she is, with all her bitter experiences. They discover love together and witness the 1968 upheavals, when everything seemed possible. But then fate puts a spoke in the wheel of her plans, and in desperation Hilla looks for support with people fighting for a more peaceful and fairer world. The philosophy of Marxism becomes her new spiritual home. She resolutely follows her convictions and in the end has to painfully realize that freedom without freedom of words is not possible.

Ulla Hahn about finally finishing her four-part series:

“Ich glaube mit dieser Erleichterung und Freude bin ich noch nie über eine Buchmesse gelaufen.” // “I believe I never walked along a book fair with this relief and happiness.”

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Late-Summer / Early-Fall Vacation 2017: At the Darss!

A small artwork I found at the “Weststrand” (west beach) near Ahrenshoop. All pics by Franzi.

It’s already one long week ago since we came back from our vacation at the Bay of Barth at the Darss. It was such a relaxing time: With lots of books, ice-cream, delicious meals, day trips – and even a bath in the (cold) Baltic Sea. Here are some impressions of those two fantastic weeks for you.

I wish you a wonderful new week! Have a wonderful time :)!

We made two hiking trips near Barth:

At Barth’s harbor we observed stunning sunsets:

Both of us adore the “Weststrand” (west beach) between Ahrenshoop and Prerow:

We also made a day trip to the city Greifswald, which we both really liked:

The old harbor in Greifswald.

The old wooden bridge in Wieck.

The stunning ruins of the monastery Eldena – famous because artist Casper David Friedrich painted them.

The Bay of Greifswald.

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Those Small Pretty Moments!

Sunset on the Alster (Friday, August 4). All pics by Franzi.

The last four weeks felt like a rollercoaster ride. There were extremely emotional moments and I was always on the run. Looking back, I first remember those big events that were incredibly important for me and my pals. But then there were also those pretty little moments: The ones that lasted only some hours or even minutes and came unexpected. Those moments are what makes life worth living and the happy power boosters that always give me fresh energy.

I wish you a wonderful new week! Enjoy those small pretty moments :)!

Stunning view on the Dove Elbe in Vierlande (Friday, July 21)

A relaxed afternoon in the allotment garden of my pal Annika (Friday, July 21)

A tour through the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine with its impressive library (Thursday, July 27)

A walk from my dad’s house in Chemnitz to the Adelsbergturm – the same walk I did with my grandpa every time when I visited him as a kid (Saturday, July 29)

Home-made meringues and fresh roses from the Isemarkt (Friday, August 4)

On the CSD pre-party at the Jungfernstieg (Friday, August 4)

Sunset in Planten un Blomen (Saturday, August 5)

A relaxed evening on the couch: Just me, Stephan and a bottle of wine. Perfect (Tuesday, August 8)!

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New Hamburg Spots!

Schanzenturm“. Pic by Franzi.

After Hamburg was the G20 spot last week and everyday in the media, it’s time to calm down a bit in the city. Since I realized that many of my old Hamburg recommendations are not existing anymore (I promise to update those posts soon), it’s time to share with you some new favorite Hamburg spots of mine. Here they are…

Restaurants (Book a table in all of these, if you plan to eat there!):

Brüdigams… My all-time favorite in Hamburg! Classic cuisine with a modern twist. Always delicious!

Ti Breizh… Breton! Incredible tasty galettes and crepes!

Zum Spätzle… Cute little space that serves Swabian dishes.

Kleine Brunnenstraße 1… Little restaurant that’s perfect for special occasions (e.g. Valentine’s Day, Birthday dinners,…).

Bars

Vineyard… Perfect for having a glass of wine with good friends on the end of a stressful week.

Le Lion… The most sophisticated bar in Hamburg.

Coffee

Less Political… Located in the Sternschanze, this place is always crowded with young and hip people.

Black Delight… Small place that makes delicious coffee.

Ice-Cream

Luicella’s… An incredible variety of flavors!

Eisliebe… Always a good reason for a bike tour to Ottensen.

Eisprinzessinnen… Again: An incredible variety of flavors!

I wish you a wonderful July week! Enjoy the warm days :)!

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What Are You Looking Forward To This Summer?

Pic by Franzi.

I asked my pals: “What are you looking forward to this summer?” Surprisingly, their answers turned out quite variable – from gardening, hiking tours, mild nights or going to festivals. What would I answer? Spending time with those wonderful people, of course (and enjoying the brightness of warm lazy summer days). Here are all the inspirational answers I got (this time I also wrote their original German answers as well)…

Events & Actions:

Stephan: “I am looking forward to the summer vacations and all those upcoming concerts.” // “Auf den Sommerurlaub und die ganzen Konzerte.”

Markus: “Open Airs.” // “Open Airs.”

Claudi (my mum): “I am looking forward to the brightness of the days (because one gets more things done), to wearing summer dresses and to ride the bicycle.” // “Ich freue mich über die längere Helligkeit, weil man mehr schaffen kann, über das Tragen von Sommerkleidchen und über das Fahrradfahren.”

Dania: “I am looking forward to Jacobs and Sevs wedding in France amd the accompanying vacations.”// “Auf Jacobs and Sevs Hochzeit und den das Ereignis begleitenden Urlaub.”

Gerald (my dad): “I am looking forward to a reunion and to nice weather. And that hopefully all that I will build or repair will work out in the end.” // “Auf ein Wiedersehen, schönes Wetter und darauf, dass alles was ich baue und repariere danach auch funktioniert.”

Sophie (pregnant): “Mostly I am looking forward to put on my shoes by myself again.” // “Am meisten freue ich mich darauf, meine Schuhe wieder selbst anziehen zu können.”

Jessica (just started a new job): “I am looking forward to finally wear skirts at work. There is no aircon anymore, that will hinder me doing it.” // “Ich freue mich darauf, endlich Röcke bei der Arbeit anziehen zu können. Es gibt keine Klimaanlage mehr, die mich daran hindern kann.”

Meline (student): “Since for me summer means that I have no exams or lectures, I am mostly looking forward to the free time during which I can do spontaneous things with my pals and my boyfriend.” // “Da ich Sommer mit klausuren- und vorlesungsfreier Zeit verbinde, freue ich mich am meisten auf die Zeit, in der ich spontan Dinge mit Freunden und meinem Freund unternehmen kann.”

Steffi: “Sailing.” // “Segeln.”

Vivien: “I am looking forward to not freezing anymore, to warm evenings on the balcony, to BBQs, to staying outside with friends, to Open Airs, to the vacations and the Lollapalooza festival.” // “Darauf, nicht mehr frieren zu müssen, auf warme Abende auf dem Balkon, auf das Grillen, das Draußen sein mit Freunden, auf Open Airs, den Urlaub und das Lollapalooza.”

Sunshine, long days & warm nights:

Claudi Ö.: “I am looking forward to being outside and to enjoy the sun.” // “Auf das Draußensein und darauf, die Sonne zu genießen.”

Conny: “I am looking forward to ice-cream and long evenings.” // “Auf Eiscreme und lange Abende.”

Anna: “I am looking forward to the mild summer nights.” // “Auf die lauen Sommerabende.”

Liesbeth: “Mostly I am looking forward to the long bright days and the relaxed warm evenings with friends and family. Moreover, the tiredness and boredom from the winter will be gone.” // “Am meisten freue ich mich auf die langen hellen Tage, die entspannten warmen Abende mit Freunden und Familie und darauf, dass die Müdigkeit und Langeweile aus dem Winter verschwindet.”

Jacky:  “I am looking forward to nice weather and to spend time with family and friends.” // “Auf gutes Wetter und darauf, Zeit mit Familie und Freunden zu verbringen.”

Janina: “Mostly I am looking forward to mild summer nights (as far as this is possible in Hamburg) and to relaxed sitting and talking with friends in the park.” // “Ich freue mich am meisten auf laue Sommernächte (soweit man in Hamburg davon reden kann) und auf entspanntes Sitzen und Quatschen mit Freunden im Park.”

Birte: “I am looking forward to sitting outside for many hours in the evenings, talking and drinking something with ‘spritz'”. //  “Auf abends lange draußen sitzen, quatschen und irgendwas mit ‘Spritz’ trinken.”

Vacations:

Sabrina: “I am looking forward to my exciting vacations.” // “Auf meinen abwechslungsreichen Urlaub.”

Hartmut: “I am looking forward to the warmth and to water for bathing – like in the Baltic Sea.” // “Ich freue mich auf Wärme und auf Wasser zum Baden – zum Beispiel in der Ostsee.”

Yvonne: “I am looking forward to my vacations/maternity leave.” // “Auf meinen Urlaub/Mutterschutz.”

Eva: “I am looking forward to the summer vacations and the beeeeeach!!!” // “Auf den Sommerurlaub und den Straaaand!!!”

Katrin: “I am looking forward to my favorite spot at the Lake Constance, where I can put my feet into the water and read calmly.” // “Auf meinen Lieblingsplatz am Bodensee, an dem ich meine Füße ins Wasser strecken und in Ruhe lesen kann.”

Marie: “I am looking forward to the beach and the sun.” // “Auf Strand und Sonne.”

Annika: “I am looking forward to our hiking tour in Slovenia.” // “Auf unsere Slowenien-Wandertour.”

Garden Activities:

Simone: “I am looking forward to our raised bed that we are currently building and plan to farm. In a bigger context: To try out more new things like this.” // “Auf unseren Hochgarten, den wir gerade bauen und bewirtschaften wollen. Größer gefasst: Neues in der Art zu probieren.”

Suse: “I am looking forward to BBQs, to evenings on the terrace and to play and dig in the sand with the kids.” // “Auf das Grillen, darauf abends auf der Terrasse zu sitzen und dass wir mit den Kindern draußen buddeln und spielen können.”

Claudi R.: “I am looking forward to romp with the kids in the garden.” // “Darauf mit den Kindern im Garten herumzutoben.”

Jan: “I am looking forward to my new giant garden and to build a terrace there, where I will enjoy cool drinks and sling a hammock.” // “Auf meinen neuen Riesengarten, da eine Terrasse hinzuzimmern, dort kühle Getränke zu zischen und eine Hängematte aufzuhängen.”

Inka: “I am looking forward to sit in the garden, to the sun and to have BBQs together.” // “Darauf im Garten zu sitzen, auf die Sonne und das gemeinsame Grillen.”

I wish you a wonderful June week! Enjoy all the happy moments :)!

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Essay: Fear of Flying…

Pic by Franzi. See more on Instagram.

This week is a special one: My two pals Isa and André will marry. Life writes the most incredible, wonderful stories!

Both decided for getting married abroad. To be more precise: In Portugal (Algarve), at the Sea. When Isa asked me and Stephan to join them there, I said yes immediately. No matter if I am afraid of flying or not – I will be there, when those two special friends of mine tie the knot.

While I am writing those lines the two of them are already up in the air. Stephan and me will follow them soon and I am starting to get nervous.

My fear of flying started after a – let’s call it not so nice – flight to Cuba when I was still an adolescent. I never loved flying, but I was not really afraid of it. Then I didn’t fly for some years. It just didn’t happen. When I finally sat in a plane, 18 years old, on my way to Turkey to celebrate the end of school with friends (André was one of them) I only realized I was getting a panic attack when the plane started to move. Unfortunately, at this point it was a bit late to exit. My seatmate was an elderly lady who gave her very best to calm me down until we finally arrived. I don’t know how I get back from Turkey but afterwards I avoided flying – I was too afraid of my own fear.

Nevertheless, I still loved to travel: I went to Rome, Paris, London and Vienna by train. Also to Brussels and Prague and Amsterdam.

Then, 7 years after my last flight, my doctoral supervisor decided I had to fly to Nice for a conference. Luckily my friend and colleague Lars accompanied me. It was a remarkable journey: We lost our luggage and missed our connecting flight in Paris. In between all the chaos, Lars calmed me down by talking and holding my sweaty hands. Somehow we made it to Nice and back. It was totally worth all the drama!

Nice was a turning point: Together with Isa, I booked a flight to Barcelona. She was the perfect travel companion and soon realized, that the way to get me on board (and to cry only a little bit) was to talk to me and distract me. After Barcelona, we also flew to London and back. With every flight, I was slowly getting better in confronting my fear.

But then life went busy and time and money were tight. So, my last flight is already four years ago and my fear returned.

Lately, a friend of mine told me the most remarkable thing:

“I love the take-off. At this point you have no more control about what is happening. You just have to go with the flow and feel free.”

This sentence reminds me on the yogi-way of thinking. I am practicing yoga for years now but I am still not able to give up the control. Still it’s a daring thought and I will have it in mind when the plane will finally start to move on its way to Portugal.

Just in case this will not help, I bought an herbal calmative and Stephan resolved to tell me lots of interesting stories to distract me and to hold my sweaty hands.

Now I cannot await the journey to begin – as well as to be with Isa and André on this very special day.

I wish you a wonderful May week! Dare something :)!

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Spring Activities!

Pic by Franzi.

Those last few days were incredible sunny in Hamburg! I love the clear blue sky above my head as well as the intensive warmth of the bright spring-sun on my skin. The singing of the birds, the bloomy smell in the air. (Oh, and hello hay-fever… Nobody missed YOU.)
What do you plan to do during this new season? Here comes my list with ideas to enjoy springtime even a bit more:

Go to the farmers market and buy a fresh bouquet of flowers for your flat.

Create your own herb garden by planting basil, thyme and parsley on your windowsill.

Make a stroll through your city and get to know the old streets new (we love to walk through Hamburg using this guide).

Make plans for you summer vacations.

Eat more colorful salads.

Have the first BBQ this year.

Make your bicycle fit for the new season.

Take out your spring & summer wardrobe and store away all those thick sweaters, coats and heavy boots.

Create your personal spring playlist 2017 on Spotify and listen to it in the morning while enjoying your first cup of coffee.

(Re-) start a new or old sport. Running, anybody?

Eat ice-cream!

I wish you a wonderful spring week! Enjoy the sun and all those crazy-happy feelings coming with it :)!

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Essay: Looking at Night into Foreign Windows!

Pics by Franzi.

I love walking, even when it’s dark outside. It frees my mind, I finally end the day with the recommended 10,000 steps and some fresh air, smelling distinctively like the current season – filled with the thick scent of blooms in spring, sunny and dry in summer, humid and spicy on fall nights, clear and icy in the winter.

Strolling through the night

When it’s dark, only a few people are still outside. Everything is a lot quieter than during the day. Fewer passers-by, less chitchat, fewer cars. Life is going on inside the houses, not on the dark sidewalks outside. Strolling through the night is meditative. A good moment to recapitulate the day’s events or simply to let flow the thoughts.

A glimpse of life

Illuminated windows are like doors to other worlds. They show glimpses of the life  inside all those foreign houses: The family at their dinner table, the book shelves stacked with hundreds of thick volumes, the kitchen counter with a basket of fruits, the flicker of a TV. Passing all those light boxes, watching them for maybe two seconds, moving along, it’s easy to invent a very own story  about the just seen scenario: The family on the table maybe just speaks about an adventure the kid experienced the day, the bowl of fruits was maybe shopped on the farmers market this morning, the men in front of the TV is maybe enjoying his leisure time after a hard day at work.

Every window tells another story

I love those little insights into foreign worlds. It gives my own world another perspective. I am here, walking outside, those people are inside, having a great or maybe bad evening together or alone, living their life until tomorrow. Then everyone will leave his or her home again, a new day starts with all those new stories to experience.

As a kid I was living in Berlin, in a block of apartment houses. My bedroom window had a free view onto the 12-floor building opposite. There were around 100 windows. During a sleepless night I would sit on the window-sill and imagine a story for every illuminated window I saw. Those dream journeys into foreign lives made me calm and sleepy, until I was ready to go to bed again.

Today, coming home from those evening walks, I am also a lot more relaxed then when I left only half an hour ago. Here I am, letting the world outside. Closing the curtains. Switching on the light. There are a lot of stories out there. Now it’s time for my very own.

I wish you a wonderful week! Have one full of little stories :)!

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Those Days Between the Years… Quedlinburg/Harz!

A look onto Quedlinburg from the top of the Münzenberg. All pics by Franzi.

Wow, this was my first total blog-free week since five years. I have to admit that I missed it a bit, but then I also finished (two!) books. …Now let’s have a look back to my days between the years 2016 and 2017. Those I celebrated again with a bunch of great people (plus two little guys, who were born in 2016). We rented three apartments in a big, old timber frame building in Quedlinburg/Harz. It was a wonderful time, that was fun and also a bit emotional. A good start into a new year. Here are a few impressions.

P.S. There were three engagements during the last weeks and I am extremely happy about every single one of them: Congrats I & A, C & T and last but not least Little Bro & C!

Have a wonderful start into the fresh week :)! …Have an inspiring one!

Blue sky!

The market square!

I love those old timber frame buildings!

The castle!

Funny street names (Hölle = hell).

Cobblestones everywhere!

We all wrote a wish on a Flying Wish Paper and let it burn (& fly).

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