553 words on Travel
Spent the weekend in Hamburg with a bunch of ex-flatmates. Those yearly excursions are a rather fun way of catching up. Year after year they present the remarkable inability of a crowd of grown-ups to even sort-of plan such an excursion. Actually we (I) did rather well last year, but generally it’s rather difficult to move a bunch of people first out of bed, then away from the breakfast table and then into the cold and rainy outsides.
Once you arrived there, you’re in for more trouble like people absolutely needing a caramel-chai-latte-frappucino right away, people getting lost or a weak understanding of the public transport maps and fare schemes of a city you don’t know. This year we failed on everything except the public transport thing as our hosts knew the way and Hamburg has a surprisingly affordable five person day pass for nine Euros. Needless to say that every time we do these trips our respect for kindergarden staff rises!
We didn’t visit a single exhibition or museum but spent most of Saturday walking through the hip Schanzenviertel, taking a peek at a flea market as well as the Gängeviertel. It was cold and rainy and very little of excitement happened in any of those places. Shortly afterwards we sat down to warm up with coffee and cakes at a corporatish café with surprisingly reasonable prices and stayed there long enough to go straight to the restaurant we had a reservation for dinner at.
Said restaurant was a Portuguese restaurant near the Landungsbrücken where many Portuguese places can be found. The food matched my memory of Portuguese food: not overly ‘creative’ or ‘nouvelle cuisine’ but pleasant if they serve you a nice bit of fish or meat. The sardines we had as a starter were great, the tuna after them a bit overcooked. Finally, the Portuguese coffee - nice and strong with a slightly ‘muddy’ taste - was lovely to have.
Afterwards we went on to excel in spending a night along the Reeperbahn which institutionalises the whole range of low brow entertainment all the way from music theatres to whores. After starting with a Glühwein at the local christmas market, we improved considerably and thanks to the guidance of a friend ended up in a few places which were at least one of nice and interesting [Meanie Bar, just above the Molotov; Clochard, presumably the cheapest place around; Rosie’s bar, somehow we even won a game of table football there…]. Remarkably those exist as well on that big entertainment strip.
What can I say, it was a lot of fun and left us rather exhausted the next morning. I also need to remark that even though Hamburg is a very rich and expensive city, the prices we paid were surprisingly resonable everywhere. When buying drinks for nine people on a night out and getting change for a twenty Euro bill, one smells the sweet danger of becoming an alcoholic…
To better survive the next morning we went to a local Portuguese deli (Seu Café) in Wilhelmsburg. Very nice place. Order the ‘Prego’ for breakfast, it’s a bread roll with a rump steak in it. And the toasted ‘croissants’ with cheese and ham as well as the pastel del nata can be recommended as well.
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