Osterfeuer in Blankenese, Hamburg

Have you ever celebrated Easter / the Vernal (Spring) Equinox with a gigantic bonfire on the beach?

I certainly hadn’t, until I visited Blankenese for the first time over the Easter weekend in 2014. This year we went back to Hamburg to celebrate Easter with family, driving up from Frankfurt on Thursday (6 hours on the road!) with the Osterfeuer celebration on Saturday night and an Easter-egg hunt for my nephews on Easter Sunday. Blankenese is about 30 minutes outside of Hamburg city centre – it’s part of the Hamburg-Altona district – and it’s famous for its beautiful historic houses perched on the hills overlooking the Elbe River. Altona was once governed by the Danish monarchy, and you can see a lot of Danish influence in the architecture of the houses. It’s one of my favourite places in Germany!

Continue reading “Osterfeuer in Blankenese, Hamburg”

German Christmas Markets

Christmas in Germany is nothing short of magical, especially to someone whose Decembers have always been hot and sunny. I never quite understood the whole “festive Christmas spirit” until I visited a real Christmas market for the first time, wrapped up in a huge calf-length winter jacket, thermal hat and gloves, and a cup of Glühwein in hand. I actually got excited, whereas back home our plastic Christmas tree, carols about snowmen, and steaming hot Christmas meals simply made no sense in the 30° C beach weather. I still adore summer Christmases back home, with chilled rosé wine, family, and a lekker fish braai by the pool, but European Christmases are extra-special to me due to their novelty.

Continue reading “German Christmas Markets”

Top 3 Hannover Highlights

Hannover was the first city I called home in Germany, and it remains one of my favourite cities in the country. Situated in Northern Germany, about 1.5 hours away from Hamburg by car or high-speed train, Hannover is a small and laid-back city that is often overlooked by travellers. Known as the “City of Gardens” in Germany, Hannover is full of beautiful green spaces – public parks, the grand and breathtaking Herrenhauser Royal Gardens, plenty of wide, tree-lined avenues, the Maschsee Lake, and countless beautiful gardens both public and private.

Continue reading “Top 3 Hannover Highlights”