Saturday, 27 April 2013

Venusberg in Hamburg

Right behind the Landungsbrücken - one of THE major touristic spots in Hamburg - you enter an oasis called Venusberg. Actually it's the name of the road: Venusberg. All the trouble and hectic magically disappear and make way for plain (=good thing!) co-operative housing buildings of the 1950's and their original, dispassionate flair. The ground-floor shops/apartment are mostly owned by creative industries, designers and - Café Johanna!
Old school telephone (left corner) and nice company at Café Johanna
They serve delicious coffee and also vegan dishes.
No need to worry if you are on your own: you will easily fit in!
What you can't see is how quiet it  is. All you hear are birds chirping and bicycles running down the hill.
btw: Cycling on the pavement is hardly ever forbidden in Hamburg. Most bicycle lanes are marked on the pavement. The Venusberg is a calm place close to the hectic Landungsbrücken.
Numerous offices/shops/ateliers in line on top of the Venusberg
Thanks to belated spring the trees were still transparent to sun light.
Don't forget your sunscreen and take your time. You won't regret it!
Now I will go and look for a Café Johanna in Vienna, might ie tricky thoughm because in Vienna those cafés are seldom as calm and relaxed as Café Johanna when you go there on a sunny Saturday morning.

If you were born with a genuine interest in architecture and peculiar corners, go and spend some time on the Venusberg behind the Landungsbrücken. Luckily the place has not changed for the worse since 2008!

Have a nice weekend!

PS: You might have noticed the pictures grew over the past days. Now you don't need to click on them to see them in a proper size. Is this an improvement or are the photos now too large for your screen?

Friday, 26 April 2013

Signs And Characters

One thing I like about going abroad are the details that can be found in a foreign environment. At home we don't pay attention but when being abroad, the magic happens and those usually peripheral details become special. 

I have a weakness for typographies and signs. I love to listen to the stories those signs tell me about the foreign city. Unvisible things turn visible. Most of the photos were taken with my old camera.

Hamburg is "the" city in Germany when it comes to film productions.

Did you notice, there are also nice letters on the lefthand buidling.
Are there absolutely no cultural events that would be worth being announced? ;-)
Cool Letters. What I like about this station: old things may remain old. Not everything needs to be polished.

The Thalia Theater has a quite unique mix of various graphic designs. New meets old.
Navyblue and White - a combo you simply can't beat!
Inside the Thalia Theater. Beautiful, beautiful ...

Probably the most useful signs during my stay: showing me the way
Another pleasant graphic design. The appearance is a bit rough. But the letters are lovely
Black and white - a classic. Seen on the ferryline 62 on the Elbe.
I had no idea garbage bags would be pink!
I like how tse painted the comapany's name in old letters. Details like that make me melt away ....

In Hamburg lebten zwei Ameisen,
Die wollten nach Australien reisen.
Bei Altona auf der Chaussee
Da taten ihnen die Beine weh,
Und da verzichteten sie weise
Dann auf den letzten Teil der Reise.

(Ringelnatz on the Elbchaussee)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Catching Light in Hamburg

The days in Hamburg came with more sun than anyone would have expected. Very unusual and very gratifying in terms of catching light on my camera's sensor. Isn't this what taking photos is all about: light. Focussing on the light around us, in all colours.
 The first bush was crowded with bumblebees, a humming bush so to say.
 I did not expect to find Shibuya two hours away from Vienna, right behind the Gänsemarkt!
Container-ships, sailing eastwards, towards the harbour of Hamburg are very rewarding, especially in the late afternoon.
 The view westwards aint too bad, either!
 My dear friend, the Hamburg Stadrad. 
Thanks to the bad ergonomics my triceps improved over the past days.
 View from St. Pauli westwards. A view I never get tired of.
 I light momentum on site of the Elbphilharmonie. More pictures to come soon!
 Cherry blossoms out of focus. The blurry appearance somehow suits them them, right?

When I planned the trip back in October, I had expected Hamburg to be in a early stage of spring, which means tiny hints of green, during my stay in late April. The blossoms I found on every second corner surprised me and pleased me so much. Hanami in Hamburg, how nice is that!This is probably the most poetic Hamburg-posting that is going to happen.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Sunshine On The Alster

I referred to David Gray's song "Shine" when I was looking forward to going to Hamburg. I had no idea, how much bright, shining light there would be. Very untypical and absolutely pleasant it was.

Here is a tiny glimpse, the suitcase needs to be unpacked, gifts arranged and sleep needs to be caught up on ...

I can highly recommend the Alster canal-cruise. I did not fall asleep during the 2 hours on the boat. Usually half of the guests on the boat fall asleep as soon as the excitement makes way for relaxation, while listening to the captain's anecdotes, watching the birds and the waves ... zzzzzz zzzz zzzz

I was not on my own, dodo, who lives in Hamburg, had organised the trip and enjoyed it as much as I did. We were busy taking photos, on time to fall asleep. The next day we went on another excursion, we visited the Elbphilharmonie-site. dodo already posted beaufiful photos. A lot of work needs to be done until the opening of the concert hall is going to take place. But first things first, here come some crisp and clear impressions from our Alster canal cruise. The Alster was quite rought that day. Choppy water on the open water, not so much in the canals. Of course you knew that you would more bridges in Hamburg than in Venice.

Enjoy the scenic views:
Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in the back, oldtimer steam-boat St. Georg in the front
Alster Pavillon
All photos were taken with my brand new camera, DP2 Merrill. They have the camera on stock in Hamburg. Lucky me! The camera is able to captures details in a crisp and clear way like no other pocket camera or my Nikon D90 ever could. Take a second look at the wire above the bridge where the train is crossing, or the twigs of the tree to the right in the photo with the 2 villas. No chromatic aberrations at all. No purple shades of contures. The pictures are so large since the sensor is larger than the D90 sensor, I could crop any part of the picture and still have a decent poster in my hands. All pictures are JPGs straigt out of cam, no RAW files, no post-processing, fill light, what-so-ever. I can't recall what made me visit the SIGMA. Now I can say I am glad I did so! This time I take a pass on the watermarks. There is plenty of water on the pictures anyway. ;-)

Good night!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Northern Soul

20 years ago David Gray released his debut studio album "A Century Ends".20 years later - today . I am listening to his song "Shine". David Gray actually made me go and buy music after a very long abscence if mine. The music started a process.

Over the past year I have gone through some transformations that lead my closer to my true self. Over the past 12 months, I've revived my love for music. For my 40th birthday my sister invited me to a concert in Hamburg. What we both did not know back then: It seems that Hamburg as a place, a vibe, an atmosphere ... is like a perfect match to me.

nono from Lubeck, did you take a close look at the pile? I am getting ready!

I did not fully trust the overall positive feelings I had after my first stay. So I went back, expected some disappointments. The opposite happened: The excitement grew even bigger. Now, that I am going there for the third time within 12 months, I feel the need to "test" the city anymore. I will go there on my own.

My parents don't understand why I go there on my own. Why I would do this, go without company? I answered "Well, you know, of course I could stay here, sit and wait for someone to accompany me. Or, I could just go" (Not that I had not asked a few friends, if they would like to join me).

For all that we struggle
For all we pretend
It don't come down to nothing
Except love in the end
And ours is a road
That is strewn with goodbyes
But as it unfolds
As it all unwinds
Remember your soul is the one thing
You can't compromise
Take my hand
We're gonna go where we can shine*

I know, I will shine.
I already glow.
I guess I can call myself lucky, being able to feel joy and happiness even when being on my own. Well, I won't be all alone. Two amazingly welcoming people await my arrival.
dodo from Hamburg will meet me for dinner on my first night in Hamburg. We share the love for photography. Together we will conquer the 12 platforms of the Elbphilharmonie-construction-site. :-)

Have you ever meet a place (or country, people, language) where you immediately felt at home? Where you could be just "you" and felt akwardly alive, more alive than anywhere else? Please share your thoughts and experiences, I would love to hear from you!

Now I only need to decide whether the trench coat is a good or bad idea for this trip. The black nylon sports jacket would be the smarter option. But the trench coat has way more style.

I try to fit in. That's why I am going to see Abercrombie & Fitch from the inside. I need pink or green sweat pants for my upcoming stay at the Black Sea in May! Grey and navy is a No-go down there. Does this suffice to label this posting with "Shallowness"? Hmm. And please forgive me the typing errors, I need to get going, ironing waits for me. But I did not want to leave without leaving you a note!

Good night!
Paula, definitely a northern soul

Lyrics: David Gray: 'Shine'

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Quiet Morning

This morning the sunlight creeped around the corner and entered our bedroom in the wee hours. All of a sudden, the light is back in our apartment. So bright, so light! We haven't got used to the bright sunlight yet. It feels strange. We move like cavemen who have been locked in for too long and can't believe their eyes. Those who live in Europe know what I am referring to: the permanently overcast sky, absolutely no sunrays hitting your skin for weeks ... It was tough.

We embrace the new bright season. Even though it comes with sleep-deprivation. The sound of your camera's shutter as the very first sound that touches your ears on a new day, bestows a otherwise blunt morning with magic. Of course it need the right light, too.

One hour later a freshly made bananabread left the oven. In case you see poor brown bananas on the shelf in the supermarket, on their way to the waste-bin, be a good person and save them, by transforming them into a loaf of banana bread, that will make everybody happy. Otherwise a lot would be totally pointless: Workers, probably working under difficult conditions, harvesting those bananas, shipping them around the globe, only so they end in the waste bin? Because everyone prefers to pick those bananas, that come without freckles? This recipe is fantastic. And you need very ripe bananas. Not just freckled, but awfully brown bananas. The recipe is so docile, when I run out of soy-milk I just replace the milk with water, no problem at all. I once bake a loaf for a good friend, meant as a treat for his trip to Berlin the next day. Well, the loaf did not even make to the municipal boundary of Vienna. It was just too good. And you don't need to live vegan to enjoy the taste. And last but not least: it's done without any effort, you can bake it in the morning before you leave for work (what I did today) or before bedtime, in your PJ's (what I did last week).

Monday, 8 April 2013

Past Winter

Watering dead plants in the morning sun brings out my other side, so Morticia Addams, so peaceful!