Sunday, 16 July 2017


Hamburg Tweed Ride 2017. Photo by Julia Schwendner

Riding a bike has been my favorite means of transportation for a long time now and has eventually become not just of my everyday life but also part of me. While you won't see me clad in Lycra huffing and puffing up a mountain, cycling is inseparable with city life and quintessential urban for me.
Besides the obvious benefits of being faster, more active, more sustainable and almost emission free, I love how it lets me experience my surroundings in a much more engaged way. With more options of getting from A to B, it is a very sensual experience: The temperature of the air, the wind, warmth, cold, humidity, rain, sun, the texture of the ground beneath, inclinations, declines, the smell of freshly baked croissants from a bakery, of trees in bloom, the icy smell of cold air coming from the North, the smell of summer. All these are sensations I get to experience on my bike commute and I would not want to miss them.

With Hamburg being notorious for its miserable weather, the combination of vintage style and cycle-friendly-weather-sturdy apparel is not always an easy one, but later more on this topic.

After having enviously followed Tweed Rides in London or Vienna via social media, I burst into Hallelujas when I heard about Hamburg's own Tweed Ride. Hosted by charitable organization Clubkinder,  there was more to it than just dressing up. See the Manifesto manifest in this beautiful clip, unfortunately only available on Facebook:
Manifesting at Hamburg Tweed Ride 2017. Photo by Julia Schwendner

The ride started out at Le Velo in Eimsbüttel, a bike repair shop dedicated to period bikes, some of them near 100 years old. The place doubles as a café as well, so it was a perfect starting point. If you see me in the video applauding somewhat reluctantly it is only because I am holding my coffee cup and there was no room to set it down.

Hamburg Tweed Ride 2017. Photo by Julia Schwendner

A group of about 100 cyclists most of them clad in vintage and Tweed then headed down through Eimsbüttel and Altona to Jenisch Park, where there was a nice picnic. Thre was of course also music and we could not help but dance a little.

Hamburg Tweed Ride picnic 2017. Photo by Julia Schwendner

Hamburg Tweed Ride Picnic in Jenisch Park 2017. Photo by Julia Schwendner
All photos were taken by talented Julia Schwedner and were featured in one of Germany's largest online newspaper, Spiegel Online.  

Sunday, 9 July 2017


I wake up again to the sound of helicopters. For almost a week they have been circulating the skies above Hamburg this last weekend three or more at a time. I take my immediate response “this has got to be the last day” as a refusal to accept this as normality, but my dystopian imagination spreads like a bitter taste in my mouth immediately. What do we here in Germany know about states of emergencies? Is this a glimpse of how it feels like when paradigms change? The shock of violence at the brink of my comfort zone? 

the smoke of burning cars on Friday morning in Altona

I shrug off my goose bumps and turn over to reach for my device to check what happened last night. Again outbreaks of violence in Schanzenviertel, but no one died. At least that.
The Schanze is a quirky area with a leftist cultural center that has been under scrutiny before as it’s a squat for over 30 years now and the investor who bought the building wanted to make use of his property. The protests ended in a state of emergency for a couple of days in 2014. While usually those protests are met with support from the local agents of gentrification, the violence there this time may change the attitude and lead to more polarization and discredit those who legitimately resist the sell-out of alternative places.
And while the black block spared the inner city shopping district with all its global corporations as well as the villa-lined affluent areas, they demolished their very own strong-hold.

Time will tell where this is going. 
"black block" seen at Große Bergstraße, Altona

The helicopter noise has ebbed. The president drops by today to sweep up the shards.  

Wednesday, 3 May 2017


It took a while to get back in. to the flow of things after the time in the US but I finally settled in Hamburg Germany.
The North comes with cool weather, rain and winds, with fresh air and drama skies.