We spent a lovely two weeks in Vermont enjoying Burlington and our friends while on vacation, but eventually we had to say goodbye. We arrived in Hamburg yesterday, but were exhausted by our flight (which arrived in the morning) and spent most of the day sleeping in our hotel.
We are staying at the Adina, a surprisingly Australian-themed place located in the New City area of Hamburg. Although we were out of commission yesterday, we tried to make up for it and spent today exploring. I got to try out my German with some patient waiters (my German is awful), and drank some coffee (it was good).
From our hotel we headed east, wandering through mostly empty cobblestone streets. It being Sunday, most shops were either closed or open later. Until then, it felt as though we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Passing a large, ornate building we later learned was city hall, we walked through a ‘weisser zauber‘ (translated literally to ‘white magic’ in English). Weisser Zauber are outdoor Christmas-time markets whose vendors sell games, gifts and food. We also headed south towards the HafenCity and Elbe River islands, which contain the Warehouse district. The buildings of the city are a profusion of copper, stone and brick, and many are adorned with gothic flourishes and statuary.
Exhausted by the walking, cold and increasing crowds, we regrouped at the hotel before going out to get some pizza for dinner. It’s interesting to note how stressful even ordering food is when you don’t speak the primary language. Sure, everyone knows that you are American as soon as you open your mouth, but no one wants to look foolish and I found myself feeling slight trepidation before each interaction. I’m sure it will lessen over time as I get used to the language and social norms.