Friday, 1 February 2013

Hamburg

I'm playing catch up on all my blog posts. I've written everything in my diary, I just haven't had time (or internet access) to share them yet, so sorry for the bombardment!

I went to Hamburg because Louise had heard it was a really beautiful place and it was on the way to Amsterdam. My friends had left for Italy earlier so I had no hope of catching them up. Well, Hamburg was a near disaster. I had no internet access, apart from on my Polish sim in my phone. I arrived after using my Eurail pass for the first time, no worries! I had directions to the Meininger Hotel, where I had booked to stay, but they went from Altona Hbf (main station). The train stopped at Hamburg Hbf, and a man came on the overspeaker, barking in German. Everyone got off the train, I had no idea what was going on. Eventually I asked a man with long white hair who was leisurely reading a paper what was going on. He said there were railworks happening, we had to take the subway. He was going to Altona too, so he escorted me the entire way, I am truely grateful to him. He also asked if I was danish at one point, slightly odd!
I arrived in the hostel and the room was really nice. There was a bathmat outside the shower. I cannot express to you how luxurious this was to me, a bathmat to dry your feet on! I hadn't seen one since NZ, in November. After my shower I decided to go look at the waterfront which seemed close on the map. Well, I walked North West, thinking I was going South East. I ended up in a redlight district and freaked out. Fun fact - Hamburg has the biggest redlight district in Europe. I took a train out of there, because it was dark and seedy to the main station again. Once again I walked down a brightly lit street, only to find it was also a redlight district. Totally freaked out I bought a slice of pizza to go and went back to the hostel a bit depressed. I had no one to talk too, everyone in my room was really quiet and unfriendly. I went to bed early.

The next day I got up a walked the correct way to town. I first thing I saw was the ice covered river and the industrial shipping port. This made me absolutely hysterical. What am I doing here??? I walked around with a huge grin for several hours.
I walked into the fischmarket, then up to Reeperbahn, the famous red light district to see what all the fuss was about, but I made sure it was the midday of the day. It was seedy with lots of neon lights and posters. I went back to the water just as it started sleeting like crazy. Looking for shelter I paid to do a tour bus of the city. It was awesome, the town houses north of Hamburg were truly beautiful. There were also canals with huge stone buildings lining them... Leo and Tatiana might be in Venice, but I'm in Hamburg! The rivers and waterfront were interesting... also interesting was the fact that everyone else on this tour was a middle aged couple.

The evening was worse weather wise. I had checked out of the hostel and my train wasn't until midnight. I went to Currypapa to buy dinner, a currywurst, like a frankfurter with tomato sauce and curry powder covering it.  It was a Sunday so literally everything else was shut. Including the mall. This was perhaps one of the low points of travelling alone, feeling like a homeless person with no place to be and no one to talk too. Then I eventually found a cinema. All the films were in German, but Life of Pi was about to play and as I had already seen it I thought dialogue was less important. So I watched a film, understanding very little. After I went back to the hostel, grabbed my bags and went to the train station to wait. I was glad to get out that place. A random decision to go somewhere strange didn't really pay off.

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