Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This weekend has been sprinkled with exploring Hamburg. Friday I walked around the parks and river, you can walk from park to park all over Hamburg, it is said to be the largest green space city in Europe and it is spectacular. Well kept parks that are filled with people strolling, children, joggers, dogs and huge trees of all sorts and botanical gardens. Since it is the great German freeze, everything is covered in snow and ice, steps and walk ways are treacherous. A word here about the weather, there hadn’t been this much snow when I arrived in 20 years and it has pretty much snowed every day since I landed almost two weeks ago. You can imagine what it is like. German’s are a hardy folk. I had read before leaving that when packing for a trip, unpack half your clothes and double the money. I would think again about the taking out half the clothing next time. Perhaps I am a seasoned packer because this was a bit of a mistake. I under packed on warm comfy clothing. Being with my sister I have nice warm options for tops but she is much thinner than I. Note to self: just pack yoga style pants when hanging out with a three year old. You need the flexibility those pants offer.

The river Elbe is huge and busy with cargo barges, river boats, commuter ferries and offers a lovely path and beach all the way along it for walkers and runners.

Saturday after dark was a quick run to the city. Vladimir, my sister’s husband, accompanied me to show me a few things. We went to the microbrew pub, Groeninger cellar, that has been around since the 1800’s, they serve their pilsner brew made on the premises in beautiful copper vats. I had my first brotworst with spicy mustard on the street and checked out the Reeperbahn, the original red light district and sin city. It was pretty seedy but becoming trendy with fancy restaurants and bars as well as all the sex shows. There was a bakery that had some body part cakes….it is amazing the accurate detail one can achieve with fondant and air brushing these days…. The beer is not my favorite so far (blasphemous statement I know), I prefer the dark, heavy, chewy English styles. Pilsner and lagers (although much tastier here than most stateside pilsners) are not my preference so I have been enjoying the wines.

This morning held getting to the St. Pauli Fischmarkt at 6am in the blizzard snow (German’s blizzard conditions that is and snowing with earnest). This was a blast. The market started in 1703 and opens at 3:30am until 10am. Many folks have been up all night. The market is only open on Sundays and is filled with not only fish vendors but a full market, loads of fruit. ”Buy ins” are the norm it seems at this market. Everyone was set up in this snow, some vendors drinking champagne. There was an indoor place with a live band that was part of the market, we went in to the band playing Johnny Cash’s Burning Ring of Fire. People were sleeping on the tables, most still drinking and dancing. There was a beer tent and few hot food vendors. Outside and at the subway, folks were walking around with plastic jugs of beer, backpack of plastic cups and platters of snacks, a party on foot. The subway trains were incredibly clean.

Tuesday on my walk into town I will take more pictures since it will be day time. Hoping to be able to figure out posting photos here in the morning…..

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