Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

SOTM World Tour – Germany

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

10277739_10154060419590241_7878184959117140364_nOnce upon a time I was stood on a platform on the London Underground, looking at a poster advertising Germany as a holiday destination.

“Hmm,” I thought. “Not really bothered about going there. Rest of Europe is far more interesting.”

Years later, having eventually visited Germany several times, I’m now a firm fan of the place and list it as one of my favourite countries. It’s a crisp-looking country, has bombastic but impressive architecture, a suitably swish transport system (although the trains are frequently a bit late) and the friendly people widely speak English.

So I was very pleased to be invited back there to speak at the Social Travel Summit in Leipzig in April. This was a conference for top travel bloggers and I was asked to speak about how bloggers can introduce a bit of the same robustness that journalists employ in their work. It was a great event and I enjoyed it very much.

While in town, I came across Cafe Cantona, which excited me greatly as ex-footballer Eric Cantona is my all-time hero of all time. It was started by a few football fans in the city as a venue to watch televised football matches and then grew into a full bar.

Well worth a visit, even if you’re not into football, and aside from this poster it looks like a cute bar with tasty food.

10258858_10154060507820241_2344094764292259520_nJust before I left Leipzig I spotted this street scene, which responded wonderfully to the receding light.

1398_10154060666065241_2399875087192641495_nAfter Leipzig I went on a short trip to the remarkable Völklingen Hütte Ironworks in Saarbrücken, right next to the French border. It was a post-conference trip and I went with Matt, an American chap better known as the Expert Vagabond and Simon, who’s an Italian blogger who writes at Wild About Travel.

10172778_10154067818045241_5491935785216144979_n This former industrial behemoth closed in the mid-1980s after nearly a century of melting down iron ore and is now a gently rusting monument to hard, searingly hot but essential work. It’s also a Unesco World Heritage Site.

10257113_10154080453110241_7009583069189400754_n

10245281_10154080458285241_3187196577066848813_nAll its many pipes and tubes make it look like a giant, gutted monster with its entrails spilled out.

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10295701_10154080471765241_7007538660572448863_nHere I am with the excellent Simon and Matt. We called ourselves #TeamIron.

10155333_10154067192740241_7477261486545691994_nAfter that I moved on to Hamburg, which was a cracking city to hang out in for a while. One part of the town centre was quite reminiscent of Venice.

1911890_10154084038345241_7369723408690065822_nSpeaking of Venice, Hamburg has more bridges than London, Amsterdam and Venice combined, and more canals than Amsterdam and Venice. They are quite lovely to look at, also.

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10177937_10154084005795241_2906061209921530629_nIt’s not all beautiful brick in Hamburg, though. This is an eye-catching glass and steel contraption.

10153827_10154084038530241_445904242664083692_nThis is a model of Hamburg, to be seen in the city’s main square next to the town hall. Is it me, or does it look like the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars?

1979712_10154084048825241_6039500707344710101_nThen it was on to Berlin for my third trip to the German capital, and the occasion when I really began to fall in love with the place. I’d always liked it, but am now firmly under its spell. Here’s a shot of the Reichstag, the German parliament building. If those walls could talk…

10313430_10154096795165241_3595285417464828359_nAnd here’s the Brandenburg Gate.

10150678_10154096792465241_3421786651580850536_nFinally  we came across this chap taking part in some sort of product promotion. Not sure what it was all about, but it might be the only time I’m able to photograph a man inside a giant egg timer.

10310112_10154096793455241_4530964957756648354_n While in Berlin I grabbed a couple of SOTMs. Here’s Sofia with something she was told by nuns. Click on both images to see their page on SOTM.

14062014And here’s Victoria with the story of a random encounter at a street parade.

16062014After my Germany escapades, I headed for the final destination on the SOTM World Tour – back to Malta. More on that next time.