Well, today started off like a herd of turtles. I needed a sleep-in and didn’t really get going until about 11:00. I was meeting my cousin Andrea back at my hotel for 4:00, so that gave me just enough time to head downtown and get a bit of a feel for Hamburg. The U Bahn is so user friendly here. My hotel is just ½ a block from the station and I’m downtown in 10 minutes.
The very first thing I noticed in Hamburg is that it is MUCH cheaper than Copenhagen! I had lunch today for 3.80 euro. Soup, a bun and an apple. Joy, JOY! I had a gelato later on that was .90 for a single scoop. That is the best price I’ve seen anywhere for gelato, and it was delicious! I was mentally prepared for how expensive Scandinavia was, and I really did love it there but I like getting value for my money, so that part of it was just a little painful. From here on though, I’m going to pretty cheap and cheerful locales, so hopefully I’ll start eating some more interesting things again!
My wardrobe is seriously lacking. I can’t take the monotony of it anymore. I’ve been wanted to freshen it up for a while now so I headed to Jungfernstieg, THE shopping street in Hamburg. The name translates to ”maiden’s way” because back in the day local families would present their unmarried daughters here on the Sunday walk. Now the unmarried daughters just take daddy’s credit card and SHOP, SHOP, SHOP! So I went to H&M. I never, ever find anything in that store, so I headed to the Esprit store across the street. I’m happy to report that they had a huge sale going on, so I got a dress for 18.90 euro and a pair of linen pants for 28 euro! It really is the little things that are making me happy right now. Happy sigh.
I made my way over to Hamburg’s Rathaus. They have this amazing food and wine garden in front of it for the duration of summer so I had to stop and partake in a little refreshment. Oh, and a pretzel. And guess what? They had little packets of mustard right beside them so I said to the woman with delight “Oh, you have mustard for your pretzels!” And she replied, “Are you American? They like mustard with their pretzels.” To which I replied, “Canadians like them that way too.” I keep thinking there has to be a German somewhere that likes mustard with their pretzel… I WILL find one, oh yes I will…
I came across this great storethat kind of reminded me of Lee Valley Tools back at home, only way bigger and better! I know people probably think I’m loopy with my love of the garden gnome, but it is what it is so it’s best to just accept it! When I was at the garden gnome shop with Manfred and Karin I said I just wish I could buy a really little garden gnome that I could take home with me, and see? Dreams do come true! I got three! I really only wanted one, but they came in a set, so they will find a place in my fig trees pot when I return home.
My cousin Andrea (who I hadn’t met before) came to pick me up and took me out for some sightseeing and dinner. First we went to St. Michaelis church. This is the largest church in Hamburg and has the largest clock tower in all of Germany. We walked down to the harbour after that to enjoy a little bit of the sun that was trying to poke its way through the clouds. What a harbour! It reminds me of Vancouvers a little bit, just so much bigger. We made our way down to the Old Elbe Tunnel. This is an interesting landmark in Hamburg. You take an elevator down to the tunnel and can walk or bike through it to the other side of the Elbe River. For a small fee cars can also come through the tunnel and take the car elevator up to the surface as well. The 448.5 metre long white tiled tunnel has been open since 1911. Because of those light coloured tiles it was remarkably bright down there!
Andrea took me to one of her favourite restaurants in the harbour called Carl’s. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long while! I haven’t had a good piece of salmon for months, so I really, really enjoyed my meal. See my Food & Bevi section for pics.
When I started off on this adventure I had a make-up bag and hair products. I almost immediately got rid of all of my make-up (except for the mascara) because it was so warm that I was just sweating it off, plus having to apply and reapply sunscreen was making it a moot point. Then I got rid of the hair spray. All I had left was the mascara and nail polish for my toes and last month they went in the bin as well. My only vice I had left was hair dye… I couldn’t find what I use at home in Europe, not to mention trying to follow instructions in another language so I had my sister buy it and have Paul bring it to me when he came in June. I’ve been waiting and waiting for the right time to do it, and Hamburg was the perfect place. The towels were not white (important for that first hair dry after the dying), I had my own bathroom and the shower has GREAT water pressure, so once again my hair is soft and smooth and a little less “sparkly” than it was yesterday.
***”Sparkly” being the way my friends daughter described her mom’s grey hairs once. I like it, sounds so much better than grey. Bleh.