The summer holiday began with a lovely stay at the Baltic Sea with my wife and her family. The German coast near to the Danish border offers a great combination of sandy beaches, dunes and great bike trails through the lush country side.
My wife and I spent a long weekend in Hamburg. A couple of friends from Hannover joined us and it was good fun. What I liked in particular about Hamburg is its mix of modern buildings and old brickwork constructions. And the water. It's river and canals everywhere. A great place to visit. The city has the third largest harbor of Europe. Pro tip: book a visit of the harbor with a bus. The tour is given in German only, but you will have the unique chance of entering the container harbor and watch the gigantic cranes load a super container ship. Impressive.
Believe it or not, in Sweden they have a carnival parade in May. Probably because it's too cold to go around (often half naked) in February/March. It's in Hammarkulle, in the outskirts of Gothenburg. According to Wikipedia, the carnival started in 1974 and soon got "adopted" by the Latin-American community. Today, they say it's the biggest carnival of Sweden... but don't get too excited. Expressions like "largest of Scandinavia" or "biggest of Sweden" are slightly over-used in Gothenburg as, allegedly, we have the biggest amusement park, the largest botanic garden, the biggest exhibition centre, the largest wedding fair, the biggest horse fair... I discovered the carnival in Hammarkulle thanks to a good photo friend who took me there (thx Gunnar!). Most of the latino communities are well represented and put up a great show with music, dances and fantastic costumes (there are no carriages, just a few Cuba-style old-timer cars). And the local samba school shows up in forces. From a photo perspective, the funniest part has been the "getting ready". Everybody was very relaxed and more then willing to pose for the may photographers (professional and amateurs). Also the police were very relaxed and let me stay in front of the fences without much trouble.