Thursday, 24 July 2008

hating Hamburg with a passion.


Arrive and find my hotel. It is 100m from the station which is excellent for navigating, but unfortunately it's a dodgy area. Heard of the Reeperbahn? Yeah, well, it's not that dodgy, but this city sustains some serious grime and some of it is out my front door. Drug dealers and prostitutes, ahoy there! Find my room is a smoking room and smells. Ask to be shifted and they move me to another smoking room, only with the scent masked by super strong air freshener. Hmmm. Pay E10 for 3 hours of internet. I have no ensuite and have to share a toilet and bathroom with the floor. This is more annoying than it otherwise would be, since for a lower price i could be staying in a youth hostel with the same (or more) facilities. Oy vey.

Decide to get out of the hotel. Go to the post office and thankfully get served by an American and don't have to butcher the German language for postage stamps. Go for a walk up the street on the other side of the train station - the main shopping street I think. Ponder some shoes, play in the lego shop. Have a bagel for dinner. Contemplate whether I'd rather stay outside or go back to the hotel. I'd rather stay outside, but don't fancy walking back to the hotel after dark. Go back to the hotel. Learn how to play all the games on my computer until sleep time.

Sleep badly. Get up at 7am. Decide the risk of running into my dodgy neighbour whilst wearing a towel is not worth the trade off of walking around in my own filth all day, so skip shower. Have a look on the internet and ask at the tourist office about what is fun to do in Hamburg - not a lot of promising information. Visit the Rathaus - it's impressive but not in an interesting square like they usually are. I decide to go to the botanic gardens and the art gallery, and hope that the (large amount of) walking in between will turn up something cool, as it usually does. It doesn't. Hamburg has the most homeless people I've seen since San Francisco, and the saddest beggars since China. On my walk I'm pretty sure I see a leper, picking his scabby feet. Shudder. Big respect for Jesus.

The gardens are nice, and have a good Japanese garden. In hindsight i should've taken a book and stayed there all day since the weather was nice. The art gallery is not terrible but not that interesting either, especially considering how many art galleries i've seen now. The floorplan is totally useless and I wander round completely aimlessly, occasionally butting like pong into attendants who tell me I can't go this way because it's a special exhibition, for which I have not paid. I find the Chilehaus which is apparently the most famous building in Hamburg. It is rather unimpressive. Try to find a nice spot for a good coffee and people watching. This proves impossible, so i settle for a bad but large coffee and view of a wall and stretch it for an hour. Go to a department store and put on my new favourite perfume in an attempt to drown out the smell of the hotel room I'm heading back to. Arrive at hotel. Realise how (relatively) few photos I've taken of Hamburg, and note that this is an indicator of how much this city sucks. Kill time until sleep time. Get up, get on train to Berlin.


Hannah said...

Gorgeous photos Emily, the first two would look great framed next to each other..

Sorry to hear about the grotty Hamburg-ers.

What is your new favourite perfume?

m∃ said...

Thanks Hannah! I'm thinking I'll put my favourites in a book when I get home, but maybe I could frame a couple too! Nice for memories...

My new favourite perfume is Hermes' 'Un Jardin Apres la Mousson'. It smells like a mojito to me - all fresh and lemony. It has a nice memory with it too: I was in the Bon Marche (fancy pants department store in Paris) and in the foyer a suited man was handing out testers of it on ribbons which he was suavely tying around women's wrists. I skipped it, but made sure to come back out the same way. He was gone unfortunately, but the smell lingered and the room smelled so delicious I remember it exactly.