Sofia in Hamburg

After five months in Germany, we were finally prepared to host our first visitor – my sister came to visit May 12 for a week. She arrived the weekend of Hamburg’s annual harbor festival which meant we had lots to do and see while she was in town. Saturday morning, after a long flight on Aerlingus, we treated Sofia to some breakfast Franzbrotchen, which are basically cinnamon butter rolls baked to perfection and a traditional north German treat. She told us all about her first solo transcontinental flight, chatted about how her anxious excitement led to her arriving at the airport five hours early, and enlightened us about the lovely priest who chatted with her the entire journey across the Atlantic, then she promptly passed out on our air mattress for a few hours. It was a good thing, as we decided to brave the crowds at Landungsbrucken to show Sofia Hamburg’s famous harbor.

Throngs of people were swarming the boardwalk as we tried to squeeze our way to the front in order to see the Tugboat Ballet! It was actually quite entertaining as the boats somehow managed to sway back and forth as they were weaving past each other while seasick passengers were clutching the rails. The boats were creating such huge swells that they were spraying each other, and us, with water. Unfortunately getting wet was unavoidable as it began to rain towards the end of our entertainment, forcing us to retreat towards the small rows of stands selling German treats. We had our share of some sort of fresh hand-held pizza, latkes with apple sauce and German beer. Then, we retreated to a bar to warm up and dry our feet before returning to the harbor for the evening fireworks.

As we approached the harbor, we walked through St. Pauli and some German punk concert where the number of people with tattoos and piercings was as plentiful as the amount of dudes pissing on the sides of the street. It was definitely interesting, but for some reason seemed appropriate. So, unfazed, we proceeded towards the harbor. As we approached the amount of people selling beer on the streets exponentially grew the closer our proximity to the harbor until we were eventually surrounded by beer. We bought some half liter Astras and tried to find a place that would provide some shelter or warmth from the cold, which led us in the direction of a Pro-Immigration Rally where we danced to dub-step techno.

Finally, Ken and I were able to witness organized fireworks – unlike our New Years Eve experience – which were really an incredible display of pyrotechnics, and then the three of us ventured home to take a five hour nap so we could rise early to go to the infamous Fischmarkt.

The Fischmarkt is a market next to the harbor where fishmongers sell their wares from 5am to 9am every Sunday, and where drunk party-goers go to continue drinking beer in the enclosed warehouse while listening to live music and eating Belgian Waffles. There is a huge variety of different people there, whether for Sunday morning entertainment, or serious bulk shopping! We wandered around, ate some breakfast krabben and fish sandwiches and marveled at the smoked fish shops.

The rest of the day was for rest and relaxation because Sofia and I were going to Berlin on Monday so Ken could go to a symposium in northern north Germany.



One Comment

  1. carol wrote:

    more tell more–
    what happens next?