Friday, October 2, 2015

...and through the Woods

A favorite feature of a local park down the street--
the tree that looks like a waterfall

Sixteen percent of Hamburg is made up of parks, rec areas, and woodlands. That’s an area approximately the size of the city of San Francisco(!).

In my wanderings I’d been through several small local parks but finally decided to check out the Altonaer Volkspark, the largest park in Hamburg (507 acres) and only a 10-minute walk from me.

Larry and I had unwittingly discovered one gem of the park a couple of weeks ago, the Dahliengarten, a beautiful flower oasis created in the 1920s with more than 100,000 flowers representing 800 different varieties of Dahlias.
Entrance to the Dahliengarten

The anemones were my favorite variety
The wooded pathway marking
my entry into the Volkspark
It turns out there really is something for everyone in the rest of the “people’s park”—racing track, arena, large playing fields, more gardens, children’s outdoor education, an amphitheater, and a mini golf course. 

One of the park's many gardens
After consulting the maps and trail signs I wandered a bit before climbing the stairs to the Birkenhöhe, the highest point in the park. Aside from the occasional jogger coming up one set of stairs and heading down the other, it was me alone with the birds and my thoughts.

The outdoor amphitheatre

It was heartening for me, having lived so close at one time to Golden Gate Park, to find a similarly rejuvenating retreat here. Considering its immense comparable area (although its percentage of park and open space doesn’t come close to San Francisco) and 1,000-year head start as a city, Hamburg could have easily been built up so that it took over its natural green spaces.

Thankfully there were people about a century ago, around the same time as planning for the Elbe tunnel, who wanted to maintain the beauty of simple pleasures. 

To them, I say, Danke schön.

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