Phone stories: Indian summer hikes, Bangkok nights & Nordic sunsets

Hurray, it’s summer! Berlin feels like it’s skipped spring and went straight to shorts-and-sunscreen-weather. And what a difference that vitamin D makes! The sun got me itching to change everything! Which would explain why my apartment is an absolute mess of stuff I want to get rid of and new wooden bits that are waiting to be built. Yes, in proper DIY style…

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Hamburg in analog

The great thing about photographing with analog cameras is that the excitement when looking at the results stays the same over the years. Did the photos turn out sharp? Was the lightning correct? Does the picture convey the atmosphere that I wanted?

The photos below were taken in Hamburg. We visited the legendary Elbchaussee in late August, a street that is said to feature some of Germany’s most beautiful and posh houses, just off the riverside.

But the ones that caught my eye weren’t huge villas in the traditional west London style, they look more like country houses tucked away in Wales. When walking up and down the hill, I couldn’t stop imagining what it would be like to wake up to that view every morning…

There’ll be a smile on my face and the kettle on / And it will be just like you were never gone

Surprisingly, the third bit of photos I’ll show you from that great little place in the North, Hamburg, do not picture dimly lit streets or enthusiastically screaming football fans. I spent the first few hours – after jumping off that hopelessly crowded train – at a friend’s house, where we spent a lovely evening with pasta, sparkling wine and a bunch of amusing midnight confessions on the large beautiful balcony. In the palms of a late summer night’s sky, accompanied only by a few stars… Ouch. I should quit photography and write melancholic poets instead.

However, have you ever seen such a beautifully decorated flat? I fell in love with every of these many details. Carefully selected watches, books, flowers… what better way to make yourself feel at home?! I wouldn’t mind swapping my current living-out-of-a-suitcase-mess with that paradise!

Hamburg: Schanzenviertel by night

This is part two of my little series on Hamburg’s Schanzenviertel. The shots have obviously been taken on a night, a Saturday night, from around 11pm to midnight. People were starting to get ready for their well-deserved nights out, hanging in front of bars or already queuing in front of clubs.

Admittedly, I wasn’t prepared to take any serious photos apart from the usual girly party kind of thing, but when we came there I soon realized how perfect the setting was for some vivid street life snaps. Hamburg seems to be a great place for these anyway. Can you see the people sitting on the streets on the second photo? There were piled up mattresses and a bunch of lost souls just in the middle of Hamburg’s top bar scene.

A bit later at night, we paid the legendary Reeperbahn a visit. As my friends have already been there a couple of times, they didn’t get overly shocked by women begging passing men to join them for whatever they were willing to pay for. I’ve never seen that many sex shops in one street, I’ve never seen that degree of psychological poverty at one place and yet the contrast might well have been the most shocking: That posh and snobby city showcases its deprived side that obvious? How can this be legal? I’ve neither seen such scenes in Montmartre, Paris, nor in particular streets in and around Soho, London. But to be quite honest, maybe I just didn’t want to see smaller versions of Reeperbahn, in other cities they are just carefully hidden away.

Hamburg: Schanzenviertel by day

When I visited Hamburg in Hamburg, the place that has just been given the title of Germany‘s happiest city, it has also been my very first time. A friend of mine just moved there, so we both explored the area around Eppendorf as well as the inner city. The borough where we spent most time in was the Schanzenviertel. It struck me because that part of town is still mostly untouched by consumerism and that much discussed Hamburg snobbyness.

We enjoyed a flea market on Saturday, strolled around numerous stands with old vinyls, photo frames, beautiful old cameras (which I couldn’t afford, the seller almost pitied me …) and came across a public viewing of a football match with the Hamburg-based club St. Pauli. That place is where my favourite two photos were shot – the guys were so very passionate and once “they” made a goal, everyone just screamed and was so happy. I was also astonished by how many different stories that little square produced: There wasn’t only vintage shopping or football watching, there were also large stairs for people to hang out (or sleep!) and cheap furniture that you can try out.

That part of Hamburg both surprised and captivated me, although it might have just been its similarity to Friedrichshain or Shoreditch. There is a series of Schanzenviertel by night just waiting to see the daylight among more elements and snaps from that beautiful city near the harbour.

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