So, onto Hamburg. Let me just say that I wasn't necessarily super excited about coming to Hamburg. I was excited. I thought it would be good. But, my first choice was to do an internship in Africa somewhere and once I knew it would be Hamburg I was so busy that I barely had time to think about it. Plus, I think I just saw it as one more move. I'm almost glad that I didn't over-psych myself out for it, because it has made it all the more enjoyable now that I'm here and it's great.
Both Tom and I work in very nice areas of the city. Tom's firm is downtown. It's right next all the pretty things I took pictures of in the last post. Plus, there are lots of European-looking cobblestone streets and toooons of shops. His walk to and from work thus far has been quite pleasant.
My work is by the U. of Hamburg and is in an area with lots of very nice, posh looking houses and shops. It kind of reminds me a bit of the area of D.C. with all the embassies. In fact, there are a few embassies there. So far I've seen the French, Venezuelan and U.S. embassies. On thursdays there is a big food, grocery, flower market right under the auspices of this church:
There is a pretty large lake at the center of Hamburg and after work, I often walk down to it. On my walk I pass the church above, many nice houses, such as this one, which always has intense classical music flowing out of it:
|Little cobblestone street that leads to the park that's on the lake.|
|Walkway to the lake.|
|Park on the lake, looking to the North.|
|Park on the lake, looking to the South.|
As you can see, the lake is wonderful. The park right next to it is quite large and has beautiful and varied foliage, lots of walking paths and even pretty white chairs on the lawn. People are there jogging, cycling, walking dogs, picnicking, etc. On the lake there are sailboats, rowboats and tourboats. There are lots of benches too. I often walk there, read a chapter or two of my current book, then walk to the subway. The best part is that there are also little ducklings waddling and swimming around everywhere with their mommas.
I really have lots of thoughts on Hamburg so far, but here are the things that stand out:
- THE FOOD. I love it. There are pastry shops everywhere with all kinds of delicious creations for relatively cheap. There's a lot of icecream, lots of Indian food, and lots of kebabs and falafel. We went to the grocery store for the first time the other day and I was so excited about what we bought that I took a picture of it:
|Just a few highlights: the milk was 0.45 euro per carton, the Vitalis is a cereal I ate all the time and love in Romania and I've overjoyed to have it back, the oranges were juicy and tasty, and the yogurt is in a JAR.|
Right after getting home I made bruschetta, but cutting (literally, with scissors because we have no knife) the French bread (which was still warm btw) in half, spreading it with olive oil, frying it (no oven), spreading a creamy basil pesto sauce we bought on it, then topping it with mozzarella (the ball cost only 0.55 euros!) and tomatoes. Oh my. It was one of the best things I've ever eaten.
I also love grabbing a pastry at the train station each morning on my way to work. A different kind every day! I could go on and on and on, but I guess I'll stop here. I love food.
- Cyclists. Hamburg is filled with them. The sidewalks have a side for pedestrians and a side for cyclists and you better make sure you're on the right side if you want to live! One time I inadvertently stepped through the bike lane as I went to cross the street and before I was able to take another step a cyclist whipped past me followed by about 3 more before I could even move! It makes me really want to have a bike here though. Fortunately, there are bikes for tourists scattered throughout the city. They're free for the first 30 min and the stations are close enough to each other that you can just ride from station to station and keep going for free all day! Haven't done it yet, but looking forward to it.
- There are flower shops EVERYWHERE and flowers are much cheaper.
- The lake + the River Elbe. Work is close to the lake and home is close to the river. I'll introduce it to you in another post.
- The area we live in is the richest/nicest area of Hamburg. The houses are large and pretty and sometimes they're on hills with little cobblestone walking paths that wind from house to house and the River below.
- The parks/gardens. I feel like I come across these everywhere and they are all stunning. The one we went to the other day had to be one of the most gorgeous parks I've ever had the pleasure of walking through. For another post. I have a list of about 10 that I want to explore.
Well, I'm sure there's much more to say, but Tom wants the computer, so I better save it for another time. Until then, auf wiedersehen!