Germany - Hamburg, the city with a bit of a taste of the world
We have both been to Hamburg before. I, Nina, have been many times here, already as a child with my parents (my dad went to university here) and later on business travels. Hamburg is a wonderful city. A city we could live in - if only it has some mountains nearby ;-). People are different here. Often, they are said to be arrogant (mainly south germans and swiss say this) which might be true for some. But if you get to know them, they are very friendly and funny and not arrogant at all.
Well, we were happy to be back in Hamburg. And lucky enough we arrived early and had a full day to discover the city again after some time (I think it is about 9 years ago we last came here). We had a strange hostel. We stayed in Hammerbrook Hostel which is conveniently located for the city. We had a double room ensuite with a kitchen to a fair price. But the atmosphere was really strange. People were friendly, it was clean but it was lacking atmosphere. It did not help that downstairs there was a gym (boxing only). So mainly boxers were staying in the hostel - friendly dudes but somehow we felt strange. Anyway, we could close the door of the room and were in our own world. And we were in walking distance to town and could park our car for free, a big advantage in this expensive city. After checkin, that is what we did. We walked for about 15 minutes to the area close by, St. Georg. This is where my dad had lived when he went to university. We found a vegan restaurant, Fränzis , where we had some delicious vegan burgers. We were sitting outside watching life going by in St. Georg with many funny people and artists around. A great start in Hamburg.
We continued our city walk to the Aussenalster, the wonderful and big lake in the middle of the city. Wow, the fresh air and the ever blowing wind in Hamburg reminded us of the North Sea. What a wonderful stroll along the lakeside in the sunshine. Oh yes, we had sunshine in Hamburg! We walked further in the directions of the city center, passed by the Binnenalster with its many cafés and restaurants till we reached Jungfernstieg, the shopping area (mainly for the rich and famous). It is a beautiful area including the stunning town hall. We just took in the atmosphere and observed the boats on the fleets (the waterways in Hamburg). From year we walked passed smaller and bigger streets in the direction of the harbour. By chance, we found ourselves in the Deichstrasse. This is a heritage little street of old commercial houses from the colonial times. It has great a atmosphere even though it is full of tourists. On the front side of the houses it is a cobblestone street. When you go through one of the houses or pass by a little alley to the back of the houses you will be directly at a Fleet. In former times, boats came here to directly deliver goods to these houses. Now there are restaurants in the Fleet. We loved it. For whatever reason, these colonial times are always fascinating. Gives you a taste of the "big world" out there. It opens up the horizone. Further on, we went to the Speicherstadt. For the first time we could admire the huge building of the super expensive Elbphilharmonie. Well, the building indeed is impressive. After a short visit to the Deichtorhallen we slowly made our way back to the hotel. We stopped by a supermarket to stock up with some food. Having our own little kitchen we took the chance to get some fruits and some nice cereals and soy yoghurt for breakfast. A nice and healthy break which safes us some money.
Anyway, for dinner we felt like eating out. We were lazy and took the car to the Aussenalster where we found a free parking lot. We walked through St. Georg. It has such a lovely and lively atmosphere with all the artists and "crazy" people around. And there are so many restaurants. We finally went to a vietnamese restaurant offering a good share of vegi options. It was relatively cheap and delicious. Happily we went back for a much needed snooze.
Next morning it was wonderful to have our own breakfast before heading to the harbour. We love it there, especially Markus who loves to observe the big ships. We just walked on the new promenade. Unfortunately we could not walk there till the Landungsbrücken as some big construction is still going on. But it was nice and impressive anyway. It was chilly that morning and a bit rainy. That is why we decided to go back to the Deichstrasse to enjoy a hot "colonial" style coffee. It was warming us up and we really enjoyed our time in this city.
Then it was time to go back to our accomodation and prepare for the evening. Our spiritual master was giving his 4 Darshan on his Northern Germany Tour that evening in an Afghan-Hindu-Temple in Hamburg. As we were both helping with the event (Markus doing Crowd Management and me filming), we had to be at the temple early enough to be ready and prepared. Again it was a big and wonderful event. It is such a grace that we can travel with our spiritual master on such a tour! Although it is not always easy (especially not the moments you must work on yourself - and he gives you these moments) - it is simply the most wonderful thing and a huge gift we receive from him. We cannot really immagine how big this gift is. It is also very nice to obeserve how the swiss devotees and the german devotees have grown together to one team during the last 3 darshans. We now work hand in hand like a big family and it is a lot of fun as well. What a blissful night!
Exhausted of all the impressions (and the inner work we go through as well) we went to bed for a short night only. The next morning, we enjoyed another self made breakfast in bed before we packed again our stuff and off we went to our next destination....... Bye bye Hamburg!