Having made your way around Scandinavia, you begin your journey south as you switch to the much more adaptable Euro and the German language. Your hostel seems more like a hotel with multiple levels and a buffet breakfast, so the chance to mingle with scraggly travellers such as yourself is much lower. Feeling completely shattered after days of minimal sleep, you spend your first night in Hamburg tucked away in your bed eating a bag of cherry Haribo and watching the slow-motion car crash that is Breaking Bad. (i)
(i) It’s taken over my life…I somehow knew it would.
The next day you feel wonderfully refreshed as you head off to take advantage of another free walking tour of Hamburg. Although interesting and informative, this particular tour is a lot more dull than your last one, with the tour guide looking bored as he takes you to historical spots of the town that hold grim stories. Of course, you meet yet another Aussie, and being grateful to chat with someone who can speak fluent English, the tour turns out to be more fun. With the tour finishing relatively early, you take a walk to yet another old church and pay 3 Euros to look over the city at the highest point. Considering the amount of complex carbs you’ve been eating lately, you decide that it’s a sound idea to climb up the tower, rather than take the lazy-man’s lift. After a mere 5 minutes you’re sweating profusely as you continue to look up into a never-ending spiral of stairs. You finally reach the top and are greeted with a fantastic view, coupled with a harsh wind that, mixed with your damp body, only makes you freeze a little. On top of the church your heart beat girlishly races a trifle when you notice a funfair just down the road. After debating with yourself whether or not it would be completely sad to go to a winter fair by yourself, you decide to go anyway.
The Winterdom fair is like entering the final scene of Grease, there are so many rides and games that are eerily old-fashioned and look out of place with Katy Perry blasting in the background. Having a quiet stroll you get some snack food and try to take in the lights and general wonderment of the place. Seeing as you’re by yourself, you feel it would be a new level of pathetic if you went on some rides yourself, so you instead decide to walk around the park a few times, sampling different kinds of food along the way. (ii)
(ii) Because that is what lonely people do – they eat.
That night you head into town with a couple of dorm buddies, an odd mixture of people with one from Japan and the other from Lithuania. You take the tube to a pub district and have a traditional German dinner – potatoes with vegies.
The following day you head into the town centre with a serious craving for modern art. You find yourself in a comfortable gallery where you walk around for hours listening to Elliott Smith and looking at bizarre paintings and sculptures from various ages around the world. In the evening, you walk around the Hamburg Christmas markets, where you purchase a bag of Nutella-covered donuty-bites, and your first mug of Gluhwein.
That night you meet a uni student from London in your dorm, who invites you to a dingy pub to drink beer and play poker. You gladly accept, and spend the night with a great group of people who teach you the art of bullshitting with poker, and some useful German. After 8 or 9 beers and half a pack of ciggies later, it’s time to stumble back to your hostel where you fall asleep at 5 in the morning, then wake up again at 8 to eat brekkie and check out for Berlin. You feel that your body may start adapting to the pissed-travellers way of life, if only you’d eat vegetables every now and then. Your body aches all over as you take the tube to the main station and spend the next worrying hour trying to figure out where the hell you’re meant to go. By the time you do find your platform and hop on the train, the staff make it impossible to rest your weary bones, as apparently you are unable to read clear signs showing the carriage number and reservation seats. First class doesn’t even look all that posh – the people are much cleaner though. You finally get to sit down, and instead of getting some much needed sleep, you watch more Breaking Bad instead.