Weekend Diary: Hannover Parks & Gardens

I thought I'd pull together a little weekend diary for you - which is really two weekends worth of photos, but they are all really inspiring and beautiful so you will like it! I disappeared last week, though I blogged this past weekend to make up for my absence like a good little blogger... But I was away last week because I was hired to work for Canon Europe to work on a major advertising campaign for them that will run here in Europe, the UK, Russia and the Middle East - so obviously I had to be pretty focused on that. They needed an interiors expert to represent Canon and so they contacted me and I had so much fun working with them! I will tell you more in May once the ads are released - and I'll show you a few of them, too. Weekend Diary

Today, I thought I would share some photos that I've been taking over the past two weekends because everything suddenly bloomed here and I didn't want to miss the first blossoms of spring like I did last year. I find this time of year so inspirational, colorful and the light is usually beautiful so I keep my batteries charged and my camera bag ready to go so that the second the gray clouds float away, I can seize the moment. Yesterday was gorgeous and so was last Sunday, so I've been busy out and about photographing the natural beauty to be found in Hannover. I'll tell you where I went - and if you are from the region, or coming by Hannover anytime soon, definitely spend a day here and explore the parks and gardens I'm listing below because you will be amazed at what you find. Here is my weekend diary...

Weekend Diary

Weekend Diary

Weekend Diary

Weekend Diary

Weekend Diary

Weekend Diary

Weekend Diary

Weekend Diary

Weekend Diary

Weekend Diary

Weekend Diary

How was that for a delicious explosion of color, shape, texture and natural beauty? I really loved my outings and hope that if you come to Hannover, you will enjoy the parks and gardens below that I've listed for you to explore with your camera, too. There is SO MUCH to photograph in this city, I didn't even visit ALL of the parks and gardens, the shots above are only from 4 locations - there are dozens and dozens more.

Definitely visit: Herrenhäuser Gärten - And see the restored palace! The original palace was the former summer residence of the royal House of Guelph and was destroyed during WWII (though the Royal Air Force was asked by the British Royal Family not to destroy it but it was still bombed in 1943), and now the city of Hannover just rebuilt it. I think this was the best idea ever and long overdue. Herrenhausen is a 5 minute drive from my house, and I have an annual pass to enter anytime I'd like, so I take full advantage of this gorgeous park and garden all year round. It has four main green spaces, the Berggarten, which was made to look like typical English gardens (so pretty and natural) and is outdoors, though they have several greenhouses you can roam with everything from gorgeous dessert plants, to orchids and everything exotic that you can imagine and there is a conservatory from 1686 to visit. It's an amazing place to take photographs - especially during the week when few people are there. Georgengarten is another garden where you can bike ride, jog, have picnics in the grass and relax. There is a big cafe for ice cream, too and a pretty gift shop. Großer Garten is the main garden, it's directly in front of the palace, and is so special to this city and to England, as well. Sophia of Hanover of the former British House of Hanover (which once consisted of Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Hanover), commissioned French gardener Martin Charbonnier to create 50 hectares of lawns, walkways, statues and hedges, "Arranged in strict geometrical patterns", says Wikipedia. It's also where, in the summer, the city hosts festivals and huge firework displays that are just amazing to see. You also have to eat outdoors at the Schlossküche too, the cake is out of this world. I'd LOVE to design the interior space of the Schlossküche, I don't like eating in there because I find it very dated and tacky and the design doesn't fit the beautiful property and gardens that it is on, so a redesign is definitely in order indoors. I'd love to design it -- every time I go in there I have this vision - I'd make it light and bright and very market-style, a cross between ABC Kitchen in NYC, Rosendals Trädgård (like this style) in Stockholm and Ottolenghi in London. If you want to eat inside, make a reservation, but I definitely prefer the outdoor space. Finally, there is the Welfengarten, which is where Leibniz University, one of the oldest and largest science and technology universities in Germany, is located. The university uses a former castle called Welfenschloss as its main building. I love the idea of a castle being used as a learning Institute. Don't miss the Wilhelm Busch Museum on the grounds there too, very pretty and a nice spot to have some coffee in the back on a lazy summer's day. I really love Herrenhäuser Gärten, it's stunning and worth a trip to Hannover just to see it.

Eilenriede Forest - This is one of the largest natural city forest in Europe boasting over 1,600 acres of parks, a zoo, cafes, mini golf, hiking, trails, paved walkways, etc. Part of it is behind my house, so I get to enjoy it whenever I want. It's also a gorgeous place to take photos!

Von Alten Garten - This is a park in Hannover in the district of Linden and is a really nice space to relax and is especially crowded (and fun) on the weekends when the sun is out and they have cute festivals in there from time-to-time, too.

Tiergarten - Oh this is such a sweet place because you can go into the big green space and spend the day with beautiful deer all around you - none of them in cages - running free - you can take beautiful photos. The wild boars are in a fenced-in area, but other than that, the deer roam free.

Erlebnis Zoo Hannover - I don't even like zoos, I mean at all, but this one is an exception. I love this zoo - it's amazing! There are so many beautiful animals and places to relax, eat, drink, and photograph. I love taking photos in this zoo - so much to explore. It's THE best zoo in Europe and people come here with their families from all over. It also borders the Eilenreide, so you can take the family bike riding in there while you're at it, too.

Maschsee - While not a garden or park, it is a gorgeous lake in the middle of the city next to the art museum, natural history museum and the stunning town hall. Each year, the Maschseefest takes over for three weeks and it's the best thing ever. Bands, concerts, nightclubs, restaurants -- all are built and placed around the lake and you can go and eat and dance all night long. I did a lot of that last summer and plan to do it even more this year because summer is just too short to stay inside. If you go to the town hall, definitely take the curved elevator ride to the top to see the city views - it's amazing. I did it for the first time last summer and fell in love and you can see the best view of the Maschsee there, too and the grounds of the Hannover town hall are worth a stroll (so pretty) and the town hall has a nice restaurant with great food, too.

Stadtpark - Lots of beautiful flowers to photograph, very pretty, I went yesterday too. I have to admit almost everyone who is in this park is over 65. I call it the senior's park (sorry). But on a sunny afternoon, it's wonderful to relax there and grab a scoop of ice cream from the cafe.

There are many other great places to stroll,