Art Weekend in Milan

An art weekend in Milan? How so?

After all, of all Italian cities, Milan probably deems the least Italian. No jolly groups sipping Aperol Spritz while playing boccia. Instead, executives rushing from their stately apartment houses to offices in glittering business centers. Hardly a narrow cobblestone alley. Rather big cars on broad avenues. Few statues around. No renaissance. No baroque.

Piazza del Duomo - with the iconic cathedral.
Piazza del Duomo – with the iconic cathedral.

Nevertheless, if you are prepared for what to expect, Milan will not disappoint you. Therefore, let me guide you to the city’s most important art venues – and beyond.

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ATHENS for First-Timers – Beyond the Acropolis

Yes, I’ve travelled the seven seas – at least metaphorically – yet never made it to Greece. This is ironic since basically all of Greece is located on the seaside. With 13,676 kilometers of coastline – that’s roughly the little something of 8,498 miles – and 3054 islands and islets, Poseidon definitely is boss.

Not the only amazing facts. Next to Golgota and the Capitol, the Acropolis is one of the hills on which Europe was founded. So there is no excuse that I haven’t visited the cradle of our civilization before.

Cat at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
Although Greece is basically sea-girt, besides lots of water, there are many rocks. As well as cats.

So as we got nearer to Christmas and the holy days became holidays, the question of where I would spend them was quickly answered. Athens – for the first time.

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LUBECK – a guide to Germany’s most ravishing city

Somehow Lübeck, Germany’s most ravishing city, has always reminded me of Venice. An innocently cute and relatively small city that used to possess such a political influence and economic power – reaching all over Europe and beyond.

Holstentor at Lübeck
There are quite a few lions in Lübeck – honoring Henry the Lion, the Bavarian King who after Munich founded also Lübeck in 1159. In the Backdrop the iconic Holstentor and right next to it the ancient salt warehouses.

Although Lübeck has incredibly beautiful buildings and alleys, seven church towers, three Nobel prize winners and world-famous marzipan, it does not suffer from destructive over-tourism. I don’t want to change that, however, I’d like to show you around one of Germany’s most ravishing cities.

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TALLINN – a small city with a great spirit

Estonia’s capital Tallinn cannot be described with a handful of corny attributes and some stock catchphrases.

Tallinn - Estonia: St. Michaels Church
Besides many lovely and alluring things, there is also a bit of creepy to see in Tallinn – which makes the city even more intriguing.

Overall, by the standard categories, this city is far too diverse, its past too changeful, its faith too inconsistent, its present too dynamic, and its future definitely too promising. In conclusion, a hub between the poles of history and creativity.

Estonia is the northernmost of the three Baltic States. Hence, culturally and language-wise, there are close relations with Finland, historically there are multiple cultural ties to Germany through the German Baltic states.

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RIGA – a guide to Latvia’s entrancing capital

So here comes an updated guide to Riga, Latvia’s entrancing capital.

At this moment, the Baltic states are in some sort of touristy limbo: Certainly not an insider tip anymore, Latvia is still far from being overrun by large tourist groups.

Music Group at the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Riga, to Latvia's entrancing capital. A Guide.
After having been ethnically oppressed for the longest time, the Latvians happily and proudly rediscover their cultural heritage.

Although Riga is a modern and forward-looking metropolis, Latvia’s capital preserves proudly its cultural identity, traditions, and a melancholic charm.

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Comprehensive Guide to HAMBURG, the “Gateway to the World”

(Updated April 2020)

Hamburg, Germany’s second-largest city, prides itself to be the “most beautiful city in the world”. Obviously, this catchphrase is highly exaggerated.

Sailors at the Port of Hamburg, illustrating a Comprehensive Guide to Hamburg
For ages, sailors from all over the world anchored at the Port of Hamburg.

However, there definitely are alluring views that make you yearn for undiscovered shores. Germans call it Fernweh – loosely translated to aching for distance.

I’m sure the maritime charm and traditional openness to the entire world will amaze you.

Hence, this Comprehensive Guide to Hamburg will take you to the city’s most beautiful corners.

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BUENOS AIRES – from the must-sees to the hidden gems

Buenos Aires and me – it was love at first sight. The stately baroque architecture like in Madrid, the elegant cafés – even a bit more charming than those in Paris. Old fashioned gelato parlors like in Rome. The powerful street art of Bogotá next to the picturesque decay of old Havana.

This city simply has it all.

Couple dancing Tango at the Cafe Tortoni in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tango – that’s what Buenos Aires stands for. But it’s only a fraction of what Argentina’s capital has to offer.

The beauty and energy of Buenos Aires took me by storm – and was definitely the highlight of my first trip to Argentina.

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TOKYO – introduction to 10 extraordinary neighborhoods

Tokyo – my first encounter with Japanese everyday life and culture – left a good impression and prepared me for more to come.

Students at Tokyo in Japan
A warm and fun welcome to Tokyo by these sweet ambassadors.

Tokyo – the first cut is the deepest. However, this one didn’t hurt at all. So let me introduce you to 10 extraordinary neighborhoods.

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BRUSSELS is for everyone. A Guide.

(Updated January 2020)

If it hadn’t been for my daughter studying in Brussels, it probably wouldn’t have come to my mind to visit Belgium’s capital. Or Belgium at all, for that matter.

Chocolaterie Manneken Pis
Different strokes for different folks: World’s most famous wee-er made of chocolate. Bon appetit.

But Christmas came and families and loved ones were expected to get together. So I packed a couple of warm sweaters, threw in some fun presents and hopped on the late flight to Brussels’ airport.
Just to find out that this European capital with all its old architecture and new street art, its pralines and beers, surrealist art and political reality is not only for me, but for everyone.

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LJUBLJANA mon amour

Ljubljana mon amour: In fact, already the city’s name sounds like a tender song…and derives from ljubljena – beloved.

 Ljubljana Dragon Bridge
Like in every decent fairy tale, you have to make it past the dragon to get to the beautiful princess. Ljubljana is no exception.

Albeit the city is not hidden anymore, it has kept its sleeping beauty charm and is still a sparkling gem.

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