Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Arriving in Hamburg, Germany

After the long flight over to Germany, and the months of looking forward to this trip, I waited for my luggage at the baggage claim in the Hamburg airport, while watching a BMW commercial on the TV. I thought my four friends were probably waiting for me just on the other side of the doors, and I was excited to leave the airport. I was visiting friends I'd met years ago, some who I hadn't seen in 5 years. I grabbed my suitcase and headed out the exit, where I was greeted by the 4 girls. I had shown many of them the sites in Minnesota and a few other places in the U.S. when they lived and studied in the U.S. Now I was visiting them, and they were going to show me around their city!

After I was settled at one of the girl's apartments, we all took the train into Hamburg to see a few sights. We walked along the old harbor, past old brick warehouse buildings, new modern apartment buildings, and historic buildings, walking across canals, down by the harbor, to the beach, over to the Alster lake, through some street stands. It only seemed appropriate (since I was in Germany) to stop at the sausage stand and get a bratwurst with sauerkraut, and a beer (mixed with lemonade) to go with it.

Later we took a ferry along the harbor, past some of the large ships and also past some cruise ships. We stopped to walk along a beach, but then it got cold, rainy and windy. It didn't stop the many groups of people all along the beach from continuing their picnics and BBQs. I saw many of them stay seated on their blankets on the sand, put on their jackets, and pull out their umbrellas, and continue their grill-out. Then it started pouring so we hurried back to the ferry, soaked. That day I learned to always have my umbrella, just in case. My German friends were all prepared with umbrellas and jackets.

The next day we walked around downtown Hamburg some more, walking down by the lake, seeing more sites, and stopping to have coffee at a cafe along the way. All of the coffee shops had nice outdoor seating areas, with many chairs, couches and umbrellas. I was glad to find so many coffee shops and cafes (I love good coffee!).

Later, we went to a park filled with people having BBQs and picnics, playing soccer, or just hanging out. The park had many pretty gardens, roses, ponds, and lakes, and it was just relaxing to walk around and enjoy the afternoon and look at all the pretty flowers. We ate at an outdoor cafe in the park, and watched a water show with fountains and music on the lake. What a nice afternoon! We stopped at one of the "eis" stands and had ice cream, a popular snack in Germany. Yum!

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