I was never very excited about visiting Germany.
But then we went to Hamburg. Hamburg is definitely a city I could visit again. Seafood, salt air and the chance to see the Lion King… winning!
The city just gave out a good vibe, even on the train as we chatted with strangers (imagine… people being social on the train!) – and even more encouraging was the fact that I could actually half understand them. Who would have thought? Maybe I wasn’t a complete language idiot after all, and half the problem with my German skills was that I was dealing with crazy Austrian dialects most of the time.
It helped that the hotel we were staying in was quite luxurious – we picked it for its amazing breakfast… which was, I have to say, as amazing as the bed! It included pancakes with vanilla sauce and all the usual trimmings. The first day, after we rolled out from the breakfast room, was, as it usually is, filled with walking, eating and drinking. A cider and noodles with the swans down on the water? Tick. Watching the boats as they motored out to sea? Tick. Stopping at the ‘beach’ (actually a bar with sand) for a drink? Tick. The weather was perfect – sunny with light winds. We toyed briefly with going to the Hamburg Dungeon, but decided against it, given the beautiful day. We even went into Miniature Wonderland, but after being overtaken by a school class of about a billion kids, we turned around.
Then it was off to the Lion King! Or, should I say: Der Konig der Lӧwen. I love musicals… Thomas does not. So this was his treat for me. Luckily the Lion King is all about the puppetry and the costumes, and I already know the songs and story line – so it didn’t matter that it was all in German!
The second day we hired bikes from the hotel and set off in the blossoming heat, round the lakes and up the river, then on into the botanical gardens, where I spent 30 minutes looking for the toilet (that place was a maze, and the signs pointed nowhere) before Thomas found me and showed me the way. We enjoyed some excellent mini golf (with wine), before having a Hamburger for dinner. A hamburger in Hamburg! I know, right???
The following day I enjoyed a morning run while Thomas relaxed with a book. Breakfast was available until 1pm on Saturdays, so we wanted to take advantage of it. Then we basically just ate our way around the city. We found a basic but authentic seafood shack on the port for a prawn toast, happened upon a food market and feasted on some Indian, and then ended up dining in a casual Turkish restaurant that served us up a tasty amount of meat, salad and bread.
Sadly, the following morning was an early one (we still made it for a speedy breakfast), as we headed back to the land of garbled-speaking Austrians. Sadly we missed the famous fish markets, but what a beautiful city Hamburg is – clean, friendly, salt-smelling and full of good food and funny signs. I’m now looking forward to experiencing some other German towns in the future!