Our last week of Indie Germany was certainly more relaxed than previous ones — but that doesn’t mean we enjoyed Hamburg any less than the other cities we’ve visited. We just took it more slowly.
Monday 24/6: The week started with a work day: we recorded two podcasts and Craig got caught up with some things he needed to do. In the afternoon I went for a walk to the Reeperbahn, which seemed quite sad and dingy in the light, and we spent the evening in.Tuesday 25/6: After a fantastic breakfast, we met Jörn, the manager of the hostel where we were staying, Superbude. He showed us around, told us about his philosophy, and pointed out some of the cool details of the hostel, like the bottle wall and the wheelbarrow chairs. We’d had a great stay but unfortunately it was time to leave, so we hopped on the S-Bahn and dropped our bags at our next hostel, the A&O City Süd. Since we left late and there was only one receptionist on duty, this took longer than we would have liked and we arrived a little late for our Eat the World food tour. Luckily there were only four of us on the tour, so it wasn’t a huge problem.
The tour was great; we visited seven shops and restaurants and tried all sorts of interesting foods while the guide, Peter, told us about the area. My favourite stop was an imbiss cafe, where we had homemade meatballs and fried potatoes, though the spice and cheese shops both get an honourable mention.
We spent the afternoon back at the hostel working, and braved the wind to find kebabs for dinner.
Wednesday 26/6: It seems like THE thing to do in Hamburg is to visit Miniatur Wunderland, so we made sure to include it in our itinerary. Plus, I knew that it would make my brother jealous!
Although models aren’t really my thing, the Miniatur Wunderland is something special. Stretching over two floors, the different areas are crafted in amazing detail, and there are hundreds of trains, boats, and other vehicles moving around. I liked how the lighting in the room changes from bright to dark, so you get a night as well as a day view of the scenes.
We spent about two hours in the Wunderland, then wandered around the city a little. In the evening we met our ex-Couchsurfing host Holger for dinner in a local restaurant, then went for a windy walk alongside the Alster lake.
Thursday 27/6: The weather wasn’t wonderful for our last day in Hamburg, but at least it wasn’t raining (much). Holger had recommended we walk alongside the Elbe as far as Blankenese, so we set off in the late morning with that in mind. As we passed through the central city, we stopped in at the Michaeliskirche, which is one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen — baroque, but not over the top. It probably helped that there was an organ practice going on while we were there, it really added to the atmosphere.
We took a lunch break at Strandperle a small restaurant on one of the river beaches, which serves truly delicious fischbrotchen — we went for the matje (herring) one and were not disappointed. By this time, though, it was starting to spot and we were still 6km from Blankenese; we decided to just go as far as Teufelsbruck and then make our way home by boat and S-Bahn.
Friday 28/6: With our German Rail passes from ACP Rail, we can make any detour we like on our travel days, and today we decided to visit Rostock on our way to Berlin. My friend Anna met us in the Neumarkt and showed us around a little before lunch, and afterwards we climbed the 200 or so steps of the Petrikirche tower for a great view of the city. We hadn’t seen Anna since we spent Christmas with her and her family in 2008, so it was great to have a bit of time with her. After a coffee and another wander through the town centre, it was time to head back to the station and on to Berlin.
We’re going to be spending the next three months in Berlin, and are renting our friend Frankie’s apartment while she and her boyfriend Mark are in South America. Frankie’s already there, but Mark wasn’t leaving until Saturday; we spent the evening on the balcony with him and two of his friends, drinking beer and eating pizza.
Saturday 29/6: Although it was his last morning in Berlin, Mark kindly took us for a walk around the area, pointing out the best shops and showing us where everything is. He headed off at around 3pm and we spent the rest of the day settling in and going grocery shopping.
Sunday 30/6: I would have liked to run some errands, but since everything is closed on Sundays it wasn’t possible — I should be used to it by now! Instead, we had lazy morning and reorganised the flat a little, then spent the afternoon working.