My first two days in Germany were spent in Hamburg, which turned out to be a gorgeous, wildly unpredictable city with wonderfully polite people, quaint cafes and thousands of bicycles. Being from Portland, I felt like I’d stepped into a sort of alternate PDX universe, just with German as the language and better architecture.
As you’ll see from the photos, it was cold and snowy. In fact, it was the coldest it’s been there in nearly two decades. As a result, the city’s Outer Alster Lake froze over, providing an awesome surface for winter festivities, such as skating, playing hockey and, well, just plain old sliding about.
Reeperbahn Street is home to Hamburg’s infamous red light district. Neon lights illuminate the street at night, making it possible for drunken pub crawlers to make their way around. Twice while strolling along the street my first night there I was solicited for sexual favors (I politely declined each time). While searching for the apartment where I would couch surf (see the white and orange concrete building in the right of the photo), I passed a gorgeous transvestite, who was leading a group of young partiers into a night club. Dressed as a drum major, she led them with a whistle and baton.
Peeps shows are everywhere on Reeperbahn. Pay for a peek.
I spent my first morning in Hamburg aimlessly wandering the city. Walking along the riverbank proved to be a nice view. Small ice-breaking ships motored alongside harbor cranes.
Walking along the river led me eventually to Outer Alster Lake, which had completely frozen over. Thousands of Hamburgers (Yes, it’s unfortunate, but people from Hamburg are called Hamburgers. And yes, they’ve heard that joke before.) came out to skate, slide and just be atop the lake. Kiosks setup along the shore sold gluvein, crepes and bratwurst. It was a perfect winter wonderland.
Bikes! We think we’ve got a lot in Portland. In Germany bicycles are everywhere, and people ride them all year round – rain, sleet or snow.
Being the massive Beatles fan that I am, I set off to find the first venues the band played together as The Quarrymen. The Indra was the location of the guys’ first gig.
The Quarrymen also regularly played at Grosse Freiheit.