Before you start to think this will be a short blog post because I’m writing about 3 days, you’re wrong. Each day was a great day and deserves its own blog post, I’m just too lazy and already behind to separate the 3.
So here’s the deal, Day 7 was my last day in Hamburg… But boy was it amazing. On Day 6 Kristina (hostel mate from Lepzig, Germany) and I decided we would go to one more museum before we both left. It was a museum of photography included in my museum pass so why not. I wasn’t expecting to be impressed and Kristina and I had already mentioned how we both don’t like traveling with people.. So we both woke up on Day 7 and headed off.
The museum was actually great. It was small but filled just enough of the teamed up photos from a couple. Both were takng pictures of East Germany throughout the 70s 80s and 90s. Although I’m sure I didn’t understand the significance of a lot of it compared to Kristina, I definitely got the feeling from the photos. My favorite of all the photos was a series on coal miners because you could clearly see the danger and the discomfort as they were stripped naked, covered in coal dust, sweating profusely and scrunched up. Also there was a series following 10 different university students through time with a picture every 5-7 years. That series isn’t completed because it continues until all of the subjects pass away or the photographers. So far there were about 6 or 7 photos of the people that wee traceable and alive.
After the museum Kristina was supposed to go out with a for coffee. Fortunately for me, her friend was too busy and had to cancel. So Kristina and I decided to grab lunch. We wandered for quite a while looking for something delicious to eat and even though I like trying local cuisine I wasn’t too concerned that we ended up at a Vietnamese restaurant…. Which was SOOO GOOD. It’s just crazy to me that my meal was 6,50€ (menu prices include taxes) and tipping although normal isn’t nearly as much as the US, usually just rounding up to the nearest dollar up to 10% in high quality situations.
After the lunch I was going to wander and perhaps look around myself and Kristin had planned on biking around a large lake in the middle of Hamburg. I’m not too keen on biking because it hurts my butt and I had already told Krisinta that she could go alone several times. After lunch however my mood changed and I said what the hell, let me hop on a bike it would only be 9€ for 3 hours (which took nearly all my remaining cash until I got to Berlin and my card arrives on Day 10).
The bike ride was amazing. There was no way I would have seen so much of hamburg if I weren’t on a bike. First, we biked over to the gay district and ate apfelstrudel (Apple strudel, very German) at a place recommended by the bike shop. This literally sucked my dry of cash, I had 1,03€ left to last me 4 days. Once we felt content with our coffee and German dessert, we were off on our bikes to the lake. This lake is BEAUTIFUL. It was a very expensive place to live with huge single family homes and some very posh apartment buildings. While we were biking we rode by a couple guys biking and Kristina freaked out yelling out some German actors name that I didn’t know, claiming it was him. Well, low and behold I later started talking about my favorite German movie (a gay German coming of age film called Sommersturm or Summer Storm) which I had watched a lot when I was about 14/15. Well, this actor was the lead star! Now I was excited haha.
We also biked by the US Consulate which looked like they built another White House. It made me roll my eyes and think about how much America loves itself. And of course it would be located in the most expensive area of Hamburg and not easily accessible to an American traveler who might need them.
While we were biking through Hamburg, we were turning onto a sidewalk that other bikers and pedestrians were on. One biked in particular came quite close to me so I simply moved closer to my side…. Hysterically, my right pedal caught on a bar sticking up and I slid forward as Kristina kept biking. Apparently she heard me and knew that the noise could only have been me… So she stopped a few meters ahead. I know that the guys sitting at the café were quite amused by my biking skills.
We returned our bikes after the quick 3 hours and went to find a Haufbrauhaus (no idea the translation). It’s like a German watering hole for authentic German food and large beers. (They accepted American credit cards thank god). My beer was 1 liter in size…. Gigantic. For some reason Kristina thinks that beer is bitter on the top layer and that’s why many women don’t like beer… They take sips and only get the bitter… So Kristina chugs to get the taste… In good ole theory practice… I decided to chug my large ass beer too… Tasted the same. Theory not proven, beer gone. So our beers we’re gone and we order a smaller version since we knew that we would be drinking that night.
We got back to the hostel to change and Kristina bought a 6 shot pack of some German liqueur. With our other hostel friends we took shots… In an unusual fashion. First you tip the little shot upside down and bang it on the table to shake it up, then take of the cap put it on the table and stick your nose into the cap to get it to stick. While the cap is still on your nose, you hold the shot with your teeth and drain every ounce into your mouth. The alcohol wasn’t even taste able (it was 20% alcohol)… So Kristina and I took the other two shots.
This was all in preparation to go the the reeperbahn which is the red light district of Hamburg. Mind you Kristina and I had been up since 8:30 and it was about 9pm at this time. My other two hamburg friends were MIA so Krisitna and I headed off! We first ended up as a bar, grabbed a drink, took a couple of selfies and bam we were moving on. We next found some falafel at a stand. (Kristina paid cash for me all night since I was out, but it only ended up being 10,50€ for everything we got). We were in the mood to dance… So be found a club called Quer something or other… And it wasn’t a gay club but it was popular pop music from the 90s and 2000s, which Germany love and they threw in a couple of German songs. It was great (and we had another beer). After being there for a while (and another friend showing up) we went across the square to a bar with live music. This one was a cover band with music that wasn’t very danceable, but we needed the break from dancing anyway. And we moved…. Just like good club hoppers. We ended up at our last club of the night called Pooca… I LOVED THIS CLUB. I’m not much of a dancer to pop and music with lyrics because you essentially act out the lyrics and sing. Pooca was electronica/house music which I love to dance to because you get to just feel the beat and dance. Oh and there are usually flashing lights which make everything look crazy.
We closed out the night outside of the club as some guys found a wasted chap on a couch next to us and started to put cigarettes in his mouth and other stupid funny stuff while taking pictures… Poor guy shouldn’t have gotten so drunk. And then we started taking a bunch of selfies.
The night was over at 5am… We hopped on the train and ended up home and in our beds around 5:30 am… And I had to be up at 8:30 to catch a 10am train….
That was an exciting day.
On Day 8 I was nervous about catching my train to Berlin because was the first time was riding the train without a reservation. It was actually really easy, I just hopped on with my train pass for travel and found an open seat. No issues with the conductor when he came around.
I arrived in Berlin at 11:48…. I proceeded to try to buy a bus pass for an hour. I asked the info desk twice how to buy it and never once did the lady tell me that I could buy it in person at a whole station of ticket people upstairs…. No instead I had to ask a stranger who spoke English during my 5th try at a ticket machine. Apparently not only did the machine not sell the ticket I needed, it also wouldn’t have accepted my credit card. (Have not been impressed by any customer service in Germany)
I then went back to the bus stop I had previously found and saw that my bus would arrive in 10 minutes. Wellllll, 15 minutes later I look at the sign and it says my bus will arrive in 16 minutes. No doubt I was confused. I got on the bus, flashed my ticket (didn’t know where to validate it so I used it again later), and finally made it to Pooja and Stian’s place. Pooja is a friend of mine from college who moved to Berlin for her Masters. I was vey excited to catch up because Pooja always has so much energy and excitement. That is exactly what I did for the first few hours. Then I hit the pavement exploring with some of Pooja’s suggestions.
I’m going to be honest that I’m writing this on day 12 so I’m going to give highlights of Berlin.
The city is crazy under construction. It’s almost like it’s an unfinished city. I don’t like that part of to but seeing so much history was amazing. Specifically, we went to see the East Side Gallery which is the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still in existence. To be able to touch the wall was touching (pun intended). However, I couldn’t get over the fact that some women were making sexy faces and poses in front of it…. Not exactly the occasion. The museums are also GORGEOUS, but under construction. When I was exploring the museum area I ran across (I’m assuming) two famous actors. They were filming a scene on a bridge overlooking the channel with roses in his hand and here casually walking towards him as he stared off.
Spending a day with Pooja and Stian was great. We even found a street performer by the water that we enjoyed while drinking beers.
My last day in Berlin was actually spent in Potsdam. I was lucky to have gotten out of Berlin because I was quite frustrated that my debit card had the address and wasn’t delivered. I had to go pick it up at Fedex after 4pm, which meant I had plenty of time to see the Sansoucci Palace and the artificial ruins behind the palace. The ruins are a little off the beaten path requiring you to walk up a windy path through the woods. I was the only tourist interested in doing so. I walked the path and sat shirtless among the ruins.
I returned to Berlin, picked up my card, and made it to an Ethiopian restaurant that Pooja and Stian visit regularly so we could watch the World Cup. We ended up staying for 2 of the 3 games that night until we got invited up to some random guys apartment to hang out. He was Australian and loved to talk. We made it home quite late but with enough time to see the second half of the USA game.
I had planned on taking the 8:30am train to Dresden but there was no way that was going to happen!!
Photossssss: Instagram – jlwright12
I promise I’ll try to be better!