H is for Hamburg

Fountain at the Town Hall in Hamburg

After a 24 hour flight from Sydney to Frankfurt, one stop over in Abu Dhabi, one security pat down, and a 4 hour train trip, we finally arrived in Hamburg.

I confess, I knew little about the second largest city of Germany before turning up on its doorstep. I arrived jet lagged, tired, and very keen to find the nearest comfy bed to lay on for an uninterrupted, oh say, four days. Five?

But what prevailed was my excitement at seeing my little brother, Harry. Following in his older sister’s footsteps (me!), he took part in a student exchange program to Germany when he was 16. Ever since, he has gone back and forth between Australia and Germany to visit his host family, friends, and for study. In 2010 he decided that he would like to make his stay in Germany a little more permanent, and moved there to find a job, which he did.

Consequently, it had been a while since I had seen him and I was excited.

Sibling reunion on New Years Eve

I arrived at Hamburg station to see Harry waiting on the platform, waving a nicely sized German flag in one hand and in the other, holding a Hawaiin-style wreath of flowers to put around my neck on my arrival. I don’t know about your little siblings, but this is typical Harry behaviour and it was well-received.

It was then that I noticed it. The noise.

You see, what I have not yet mentioned is that we just so happened to arrive on New Years Eve. In Germany they have decided that fireworks are illegal, except for on New Years Eve. The result is many drunken people lighting fireworks pretty much EVERYWHERE, and not really knowing what they’re doing.

Naturally, we had to have a go.

So, after dropping off the suitcases, having a quick shower and promising the very enticing bed that I would be reuniting with it very soon, we set off. This was when Harry gave me a demonstration in the art of setting off fireworks.

He held that rocket high above his head and we admired from afar as it shot in the air and burst beautiful colours into the sky. Wow.

My turn.

“What do I need to do?” I asked.

“Hold it straight up in the air and don’t look at it,” Harry replied as he passed me the stick with the rocket on the end, lit it for me and ran back to watch from afar with the others.

Now, I’m very good at following instructions. I held that thing so bloody straight in the air, and by jove did I not look at it.

What Harry forgot to mention was that when the firework starts to pull, um, apparently you have to let go.

I was concentrating so hard on holding that thing straight that by the time I heard the screams “LET GO!”, it was almost too late. At the last second I let go and it banged frighteningly close to my head.

Okay, so that is why fireworks are illegal. Because people, like me, have no idea what they’re doing and little brothers, like Harry, don’t know how to give a detailed instruction.

Canals of Hamburg

Thankfully I lived to tell the tale. I now know that the stick is part of the rocket (and actually meant to be stuck in the ground or in a bottle when setting them off) and while I was always told as a child not to play with fire, I probably should have learned instead not to play with fireworks.

I met my bed that night with welcome arms and missed the midnight fireworks by a couple of hours.

But to be honest, I think I’d had quite enough of fireworks for one evening.

The next day was spent sleeping and the following spent walking around the beautiful city, with Harry as our tour guide (While he may be a pretty average firework instructor, he’s a pretty damn good tour guide).

I admired the canals, which I had no idea existed beyond Venice and also went to the Miniatur Wunderland Modelleisenbahn, the largest (and most impressive) model train exhibition in the world.

The city itself is spacious, elegant and clean, lit at night by the Christmas lights and decorations that still remained post festive season. There were some impressive buildings, such as the Town Hall, as well as many beautiful statues and monuments dotted around the place.

Harry’s host family treated us to a traditional German meal and gave us a warm welcome to their country.

It was a quick stop over in Hamburg, and a slightly hazy one at that, what with the jet lag and the near death experience. But I had a glimpse of the sparkle that attracts people to the city, and can see exactly why Harry is so keen to stay.

Tolkien themed boats on the canals in Hamburg

A scene at the Miniatur Wunderland Modelleisenbahn (check out the iron man lifting the car, and what's going on in the bushes!)


At the Model Train Exhibition


Santa being pulled up the hill by cows

The Alster Lake by night

19 comments on “H is for Hamburg

    • Thoroughly intact, though my jacket is slightly singed. My friend got the whole thing on video; I must get her to send it to me. It’s quite frightening to watch though, especially when it goes from lots of laughing to LET GOOOOOO!!! ha!

  1. This blog post had me laughing out loud!! This is most definitely a compliment to your writing and the ability to make what sounds like an awful situation something to giggle about! Glad your ok … but my goodness did you make me laugh :)

    • Just you wait til you hear about how long it took me to get home…ugh! Such is the price of living in Australia though. It really does help when someone speaks the language.

  2. Funny! I stay away from firecrackers, just because. I’m glad you didn’t get hurt.

    I never heard of the largest train exhibition before. It looks fun, plus hilarious!

    As usual, nice pictures and a nice post:)

    • It could have…and my oh my it was this close to being a terrible start to a wonderful trip. But I’ve learnt my lesson! I’ll stick to books and pen chewing from now on. :P

  3. This looks like a pretty amazing trip except for the fireworks bit. :) I’ve had my share of close calls on the whole fireworks front as well. Not fun. It’s great though that you were able to spend some time with your brother. My brother and I are pretty close as well so I know how awesome it is to just hang-out. :D

  4. Sounds like you had an interesting time to say the least! Lol. I would love to travel to some European countries someday (maybe that will be my honeymoon idea).
    This was a very enjoyable read and it’s a real testament to your talent as a writer that you can make your recap of a vacation come off as so exciting and humourous.

    I also wanted to share a bit of good news with you. I’m going to write a blog entry on it later, but I wanted you to be the first to know that I’ve written my first piece for submission into a literary journal. I have it all ready to mail out and I have a good feeling about its chances of getting published. Hopefully, this will be the first step of my flourishing freelance writing career!!! And then it’s on to writing a book!!!

    • Fantastic news! Big applause for you! It’s often the hardest part of writing, I find, being gutsy enough to share it with the world. Keep us updated on its progress! I’ll keep my eye out for your blog entry.

      And thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you guys are enjoying the journey! :)

  5. Pingback: XYZ is for the End of a Journey | storytelling nomad

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