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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BOOMTOWN BREMERHAVEN. A complete guide.

Last week, I’ve guided you through Bremen, Germany’s smallest Federal State that actually consists of two cities. Besides Bremen there is Bremerhaven, an exclave with an exciting present – and past.

Seute Deern
The Seute Deern (which in Low German means Sweet Girl) was the world’s last cargo sailing ship made entirely of wood.
In March 2020, one of Bremerhaven’s most iconic landmarks had to be scrapped. However, they are planning on building a copy.

After a changeful history, today the city is almost secretly evolving into a Boomtown.

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BREMEN – BIG and small. A complete city guide.

(Updated Mai 2020)

Bremen, located in the northwest, is definitely not Germany’s most famous city. However, visitors who find their way here will certainly be surprised. And even rewarded since the historic old town – partly a UNESCO world heritage site – deems like the capital of a fairyland. And you’ll run into some fabulous creatures and fairy tale figures, indeed.

The Roland in front of the City Hall of Bremen
Mr. Roland in front of the town hall: As long as he stands tall, Bremen remains free and independent.

But there is far more to discover in this Free Hanseatic City.

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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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OSAKA – the commercial metropole; and a side trip to HIMEJI

Osaka has always been Japan’s economic hub – and keeps its status as the country’s major commercial center to this date. Major players like Sharp, Sanyo, and Panasonic have their headquarters in Osaka.

View of Osaka from the Umeda Building
One of the many options to see Osaka from above: At the gift shop of the Umeda Sky Building.

This busy metropole was not only briefly the imperial capital in the 7th and 8th centuries, it even outnumbered Tokyo in being Japan’s largest city in the 1930s.

Therefore, a visit to Osaka is rather about the cool’n’contemporary than the ancient’n’inherited and pulls its visitors into a whirlwind of skyscrapers, shopping malls, art exhibitions, and food….lots of food.

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HIROSHIMA – risen up from the ashes; and a side trip to MIYAJIMA

Hiroshima – one of the names inextricably connected to the first atomic attack in human history.

Dove in front of the Atomic Dome in Hiroshima Japan
A Dove of Peace spreading its wings in front of the Atom Bomb Dome.

Visiting Hiroshima, I wasn’t able to imagine an average Japanese city with a little over a million inhabitants plying their trades as if their city never had been practically erased and went down in history as one of the biggest humanitarian disasters.

What I found was a charming city – risen up from the atomic ashes of 1945.

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city break in COPENHAGEN – cozy and crazy

Copenhagen has many sides that can be explored even in a short city break: Romantic castles and crazy neighborhoods, the oldest amusement parks and modern art. And the Copenhagen Card allows exploring at a very reasonable price.

Christiansborg castle Copenhagen, Denmark
Danish as can be: The iconic Christiansborg castle with its highlight, the royal reception rooms.
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