Oh, and we were in Hamburg last weekend

Posted on 12.03.2011

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René and I took a weekend trip to Hamburg last weekend for a friend’s birthday party and to check it out. René really likes it and I’ve never been, but friends of mine have said that I’d like it. That it would remind me of Baltimore.

And they were right, it did. It reminded me of a mix between Baltimore and Chicago, which under normal circumstances would mean that I love it more than any other city, EVAR. The only reason I can’t say that immediately is that we only really had ONE day of sightseeing, since in Germany everything but the restaurants (and maybe strip clubs/brothels) is closed on Sundays.

So we walked around all day on Saturday, got to see Tobias and his gf on Saturday night, and drove home (5 hours approximately with a stop for dinner) on Sunday afternoon.

Hamburg was beautiful, but there wasn’t a lot to do. I kind of feel like we missed the real Hamburg, based on my experience from Baltimore: we hung around at the harbor with all of the other tourists. Yeah, it was pretty and the food was pheNOM, but we didn’t get to see what I am sure is REAL Hamburg. So I’ll (we’ll) have to go back for a few days during the week to see it through the eyes of our friends. When they’re not working. I want to see the Charles Street and Federal Hill of Hamburg, you know what I mean? I want to see the hidden local corners.

What we did see was awesome. Hamburg is really flat. In that sense it reminded me more of Chi than Baltimore, and I realized that I do LIKE the hills in Baltimore and Wü. There were also NO skyscrapers, because it’s flat. There’s a saying, that you can see on Saturday who is going to visit you on Sunday. haha.

It was also odd, this being the first place I’ve visited without a public Claes sculpture, to be walking a city NOT looking for the giant works. Like something was missing. Or something. We hit an art gallery that looked promising, but the show wasn’t so exciting so we didn’t go in, and the museum for photography across the street was closed. Lame sauce. So, no art except for some public works and what we made.

The city on the water was lovely on its own and we walked 10km on Saturday alone, but by Sunday we had seen just about everything the tourism websites tell you to see.

Interesting things that I learned in Hamburg:

There is an entire street in the red light district here that women are forbidden from walking. René said it is because there are women in the windows. I said, what if I’m a lesbian? He said, you still can’t go. Odd. More researh is necessary on this.

I was not at all impressed with the Zara store in Hamburg: this was my first experience with a store that many people in my region RAVE about, because the clothes are fashionable and affordable. And a bit better than H+M, although I couldn’t tell you how. I’m not overly impressed with this season’s ‘fashions’ overall, so that might have had something to do with it. But I’m not sure.

The Lion King musical ONLY plays in Hamburg, in Germany. It is not a traveling show like Cirque, which I was unaware of. Apparently it ONLY shows there. I find this interesting because it means that all of the commercials I’ve seen on our regional TV have been for the show in Hamburg. I asked my students about this, and they reminded me that from anywhere in Germany, it only takes a maximum of 6 hours to get to Hamburg. A lot of families will make a weekend out of it.

The cool side is that the theater for the show is on its own island in the harbor, and you have to take a water taxi to get to it. That’s pretty awesome, I think.

If a show that I really wanted to see was ONLY playing in, say, Boston, I might cut my losses and not go. But that’s because in American we drive for 10 hours and are still in the same country, which is not the case here in Germany. So there’s a whole other mentality over here to ‘going to see a show’. Apparently it’s like how people in the US go to NY to see a show on Broadway. Just like that.

Hamburg was a winning weekend overall. It was nice to get away and live out of a suitcase, and to see this city that everyone says I’ll love. I’m pretty sure I will love it, after getting to know it.

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