Last weekend, Brian and I tagged along with two of Brian’s coworkers – one American and one Dane – for a 2 day trip to Hamburg, Germany, our first trip beyond the borders of Denmark.
We left early Sunday morning in a rented car that Brian and I are not allowed to drive. If you’re strictly a tourist, your native driver’s license is good for 6 months. If you’re in Denmark with a resident permit and have gotten a Danish CPR number, like Brian and I have, then your license is good for only 2 weeks. You have 90 to turn your license into a Danish driver’s license the “easy” way, which for people from some countries just means some paperwork but for US citizens means taking a Danish driver’s test, which is very expensive and time consuming. So Brian and I have opted to not get a Danish driver’s license, which means we’re dependent on others if we ever need to drive somewhere.
Anyway, Hamburg is a 3.5 hour drive directly South from Aarhus. Just after the border, there’s a well-known rest stop called, well I can’t remember what it’s called right now, something in German. But we stopped there and bought some snacks, including a German pretzel which I quickly devoured (see picture above, nom nom nom).
On arriving in Hamburg, we went directly to our hotel. We happened to be staying in what appeared to be the ethnically diverse neighborhood in downtown Hamburg, which I was actually pretty excited about, even if it wasn’t the *best* neighborhood. The atmosphere made quit a change from Denmark.
Hamburg is so much bigger than Aarhus, with 1.8 million residents compared to Aarhus’ 300,000. It also *feels* like a much larger city. After being in cozy Aarhus for so long, it was kind of a shock to my system to find myself in one of the top 4 biggest cities in Germany. (There was some discussion on the trip of exactly where Hamburg ranks in this list. Some, including Wikipedia, say it’s the second largest city, while others disagreed.)
We stopped to eat lunch and ended up all getting something called a currywurst, which is just a super long German sausage with curry ketchup on it, but oh my god it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
That evening, we went to a concert to see Boy Sets Fire and one of Brian’s favorite heavy metal bands, Neaera. (He’s so happy to be in Scandinavia, the home of heavy metal.) This concert was the reason we went to Hamburg. One of Brian’s coworkers who’s here from the US for 3 months knows the guitarist in Boy Sets Fire. How cool is that?! So we got in for free and enjoyed some sweet sweet heavy metal music. Brian and I got down on the floor and moshed for a bit during Neaera’s set.
Boy Sets Fire is a band from Delaware whose first CD came out in the early 2000’s, but for some reason their big fan base is in Germany. It was amazing to see the crowd’s response to Boy Sets Fire. Everyone was so happy just to be there, soaking up the tunes. Even though I didn’t know much of their music – I recognized two songs from my childhood – it was still great fun to be a part of this:
So Sunday was a late night, and we didn’t really make it to bed until 2am!
We slept in Monday morning and then set out for a few more hours of exploring the city. We stumbled upon a church that had been destroyed during WWII when Hamburg was bombed. It was never rebuilt as a tribute to those killed during the firefight.
Hamburg is a harbor city built around a big river coming in from the West. It has this really cool part of town called Harbor City with all these old brick buildings. But if you walk through that out towards the shore line, you come upon a more modern, recently developed part of the city. (See the first picture at the top of the post.) It looks like a really hip part of town, and we are all hoping that the harbor renovation in Aarhus looks that cool when it’s finished.
And that’s about it. We left Hamburg on Monday afternoon, stopped in a discount store right on the Denmark/Germany border to buy some cheap chocolate and beer, and got back to our house about 7pm Monday evening.
Oh! I almost forgot about one of the coolest parts of the trip. The hotel had a huuuuge bathtub, so I got to take a bath! I’ve been living with only a shower for almost 3 months now. I’ve never been really into baths, but it was always nice to have the option.
For the family, here’s a gallery of all our pics from Hamburg so you can see them all normal sized if you’d like: