So, this post is just so that Tom and I can remember what our home looked like in Hamburg. I use the term "home" lightly here. As it worked out, we were able to stay in the basement of Tom's boss' house. It was incredibly fortunate, because it was free and we were broke. That said, it wasn't exactly the most comfortable accommodations. Since it was the basement and we were in Hamburg and Hamburg is cold, we were freeeeezing anytime we were home. We were even freezing when we were in bed, because the covers were pretty thin. Every morning I would wake up, pick out my clothes, put them in the sauna that they had down there, get ready to go, then get dressed in the warm sauna.
Another negative was that it was utterly infested with spiders. If you know me, you know that I'm not scared of much, but I'm terrified of spiders. I paralyze whenever I see them. Luckily, they were just daddy long legs (which are lower on the spider creepiness scale) and I had a heroic husband who would (nearly) constantly kill them for me.
The kitchen was also a negative. We didn't have a microwave, our oven didn't work and our stovetop basically had no regulation - it just got hotter the longer you had it on. Oh, and we had no knives so we used some scissors we had brought to cut everything. Tomatoes and onions tend to be rather tricky little buggers.
The last negative was the trash system. See, Germany (like most highly developed nations besides the US) is serious about recycling. According to the boss' wife, every house has 5 or so trash bins, each designated for a different type of waste, such as packaging, glass and paper. This cause a few problems for us. First, we did not have 5 different trash cans in our house, making it difficult to adequately separate the trash. In fact, we only had 1, which was in the bathroom and was tiny. For the kitchen we reused the bags we paid for each week when we got our groceries, along with the free bags used for bagging fruits and veggies. Truth be told, we made sure we snatch a few extra of those each week and just stuffed them in our pockets. Thievery at the highest level, I know. The second problem was that we had no idea which of the trash bins outside the house were for which types of trash. You would think we could have figured that out by peering inside, but no. Somehow, they were always empty or their contents always defied categorization. So, what did we do? Well, we took our trash to the metro station with us because the trash at the station is labeled!
|Take note of the trash can in the foreground of this pic. Although, this was not the same station, the trash can is the same.|
I just want you to imagine us on our last night together in Hamburg, after we have cleaned out our fridge and discarded everything not absolutely necessary to be packed. Both of us have arms loaded with grocery bags full of smelly trash and we have excess trash held in our hands. As we take the long trek to the train station, feeling like our arms are about to fall off from the weight, we look around us nervously to make sure Tom's boss doesn't happen upon us in our bizarre, sneaky activity. We are laughing because it is absurd and somehow we feel like fugitives. Then, we get to the station and people are staring at us as we repeatedly cram boxes and jars through the tiny holes in the train station trash cans. But you know what? You do what you have to do!!!
For all the negatives though, there were so many great things about that place. By our standards, it was HUGE. The living room along was the size of our former apartment. Added to that was the sauna room, the kitchen, the dining room, the bathroom, the bedroom and the laundry room! Also, there was a ping pong table down there which we played almost every night for a while. Such bliss. It was also in the nicest, most posh part of Hamburg. So, all the houses around were lovely. Plus, within walking distance was the metro, the botanical garden, a couple fabulous parks, the river and the grocery store. I also got really used to sleeping in my hoodie at night to stay warm and I actually missed doing so when I came back to the states.
So, these are the things Tom and I will remember that place by. I took these photos the night before Tom left and after he'd already left the next day. So long boss' basement!