Hamburg is one of the places which I can visit again and again. The first time I saw its Rathaus, Town Hall, the Elbe River and Alster Lake, I was charmed forever. When we came to Hamburg for the New Year, we walked around, enjoying the warm weather, looking at the festive lights and decorations, stopping by at the numerous Christmas markets. Everybody smiled, it was nice and peaceful. Hamburg has plenty of parks, gardens and alleys, with evergreen bushes including holly with its bright red berries. Anywhere you go, anywhere you look, you see beautiful buildings, amazing designs, and clean streets. You may be lucky and catch the TV tower in a weird early morning glow, or see some nice buildings right from your hotel window. This time however there was an important difference. Since it was very warm, we decided to see the festivities outside and to celebrate the coming of 2016 with the whole city. We walked a few steps to the center where we have been a few hours ago, and suddenly saw many young men, clearly migrants, running to the center from the direction of the main train station. They ran in large packs of 15-20, carrying large bottles of vodka. We returned to the hotel and watched the fireworks from the window, celebrating the New Year inside. In a few days, we read the news about the attacks and assaults on women in many German cities…

Now when I look at the photographs of this lovely city, I get a feeling of poignancy, a strong emotion. Will this beauty survive the new challenges?

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