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!
Go thou to Rome,—at once the Paradise,
The grave, the city, and the wilderness;
And where its wrecks like shattered mountains rise,
And flowering weeds, and fragrant copses dress
The bones of Desolation’s nakedness
Pass, till the spirit of the spot shall lead
Thy footsteps to a slope of green access
Where, like an infant’s smile, over the dead
A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread;
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Adonais 49-52
I haven’t seen every city in the world, but in my heart, I know that Rome will always be my favourite city of all time. My first visit to Rome was with my family, in the summer of 2003. I was 13, a full-on self-conscious teenager, and it was my very first time in Europe! (I exclude the 3 months when I was a baby, because I don’t remember that!). Rome simply left me breathless.