Monday, August 17, 2015

Hamburg

Anyone notice how I decided to post this following my last blog entry about my long-standing vegetarianism? 

No? 

I'll just show myself out.


Hannes and I went to visit his good friend Lars for a couple of days in January, and as with the other places in Germany we ended up seeing, I didn't Google a damn thing in advance so I'd have no idea of what to expect. Usually I have a list of potential places and things to see as well as vegetarian-friendly restaurants in different areas, all within reach of each other but flexibly-spaced enough to accommodate changes in plans, weather, and other things. 
But this was my boyfriend's home country and all of his friends treated me like a family member, so for the first time it wasn't up to me to plan everything and figure out how to get everywhere. It was great.

Lars has lived in the northeastern part of the city for years, and took us around to see some of the most famous sights of one of Europe's biggest port cities. 

First was Rote Flora in Schanzenviertel, this big-ass derelict building in the most hipstery district of town. It's interesting because it's the remnants of the Rote Flora Theatre, built in 1888, that's been occupied by squatters and gutter punks since 1989. There are events - especially of the anti-fascist variety - and a skatepark, among other things, though I still don't really get how people were allowed to occupy the space for so long. It's a famous cultural landmark now, and I took probably the exact same pictures of it you'll find a thousand times over on Google:





There was also an archetypal old homeless guy wandering around back here, 
but taking a picture of him didn't seem very politically correct.




Kodama spotted


It's not a hipster town until you literally have an entire store dedicated to
 mustache care products...








This girl was one of my favourites, especially with all the interesting and 
conflicting things going on in the background


Do you wanna build a snowmaaaaan?


... it could also be skeptical one with catfish mouth parts?



After walking around Schanzenviertel, Lars took us to his favourite place, the Old Elbe Tunnel. He said he felt like favouriting such a well-known spot was kind of trite, but it's so interesting, the view on the other side is great, and it's so different from old governmental edifices, statues, and whatever else cities usually have on offer in the way of architectural achievements. It's over 100 years old and connects the city with the docks and shipping yards on the other side of the Elbe River.


These are for cars and still run, though it's mostly just tourists and people out for a stroll now.


Woooo, another awesome place for my hard plastic-bottomed combat boots that
are slippery on hard, flat surfaces such as metal staircases and icy streets that were kind of 
a terrible winter buy!


so views. such cool. many crossbeams. wow.


I couldn't get a good picture of them in the weird lighting, but those rectangles on the wall are decorative glazed terra cotta plates that have sturgeon, flat fish, and other Elbe-related things on them.


And on the other side waiting for us: hot chocolate with rum in it, or "Lumumba". 
WHY DIDN'T I EVER THINK OF THIS?
Also, how fucking awesomely progressive and well-informed is a place that names its alcoholic hot chocolate after an anti-imperialist Congolese leader? 






It's hard to respect a photogenic person's unstated but clear dislike of having their picture taken. Sorry. Not sorry.





So after drinking delicious alcoholic winter beverages with profound names, smoking, and enjoying the view, we headed back through the tunnel and then back across town to Lars' place to chill before going on drinking on the Reeperbahn that night.












This looks pretty cool when you view it in full size and can see the foggy skyline a bit better.

But wait, there was another delicious thing I can't believe I never thought of waiting for us: kumpir!


Pretty cute for a tiny Turkish fast food place, right?

Kumpir is a baked potato bar. Omfg. Why are these not everywhere, right?

Now, our finished potatoes totally look like barf because of the sauce on top and because of some very yellow lighting, but what you can see above is the making of my completely obscene potato that was almost too big for the box to be closed even without toppings. I think I got spinach, feta, mushrooms, tomatoes, and... curry sauce? Something like that. Fuck it was delicious.

We were pretty beat, though. Hannes is like a baby and tends to pass out after eating and sitting down to relax, and I had some really mean cramps that Lars brought me hot gluhwein for (we were seriously sober for maybe 20 minutes of that weekend); so we put on a movie in the background and made fun of Hannes while he slept. 
And then Lars' girlfriend came over, and we went out to meet their friends and get drunk.











Insert clever caption about achieving drunken singularity

... Aaaand next day!


The view across the street from where we stayed


And the station, which I think is really cool both outside and in.



We were in Hamburg once more for the week-long roadtrip we took around the country, but that wasn't enough. I'd really like to go back; it's basically like a giant German Brooklyn.