Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Short Weekend in Denmark (Part 1)


I worked like usual and left at about 2:30 PM. I went directly to the train station since I brought my bag with me, actually I was scoffed at when I showed Katharina what I was taking with me, I only took my school backpack full of clothes and the things I was wearing which is more than fine with only visiting for the weekend if you ask me but people travel differently I suppose.

When I got to the train station, I took a direct train to Hannover Hbf where I changed to a train to Hamburg Hbf. I was a bit earlier than planned since I left work earlier than planned so I waited in the station and sent a message to Jana my host that I was there. The train station is huge and she told me to meet her by the Burger King but I couldn't find it. Later I found out it was at the other end of the tracks. Jana came to me and we walked back to her apartment where we had some tea and relaxed while talking about nearly everything.

We were both quite hungry and decided to go out for dinner. We walked along The Reeperbahn, Hamburg's Red Light District and at the end of the street stopped in Schweinske a very American TGI Friday's-esque restaurant.

Jana and I both had a plain schnitzel and a Alster, a typical beer for the area. When we were finished we had to wait a long time for the waiter to return but we finally paid our bill and left to head back to Jana's house.

On the way back, we took a detour to see the Harbor and there were women everywhere. I mean, not just on the corners, all along the street. They were scantly clad and rather than waiting for men to come to them, they were pushy and would throw themselves at men or chase them down the road until they had their attention. I mean, a girl's gotta make money but... Hmmm...

I've heard prostitution and I've seen it in movies, read about it int books even but I have never seen such blatant sex trade in person. At the very least, in Amsterdam they were behind glass. Maybe this whole sex trade thing is a port town thing? For when the lonely sailors come in and haven't seen a woman in so long. Actually that makes a lot of sense. Even Seattle, Washington has a long history of prostitution as a port town.

When we got back to Jana's apartment we had another beer and just talked a while before we went to bed.


I got up at 7:00 AM and showered and then Jana got up and showered as well. She had to go to the store for supplies but then we had breakfast together. After some coffee and food we went into the city.

We began our tour with a trip to the church of St. Michaelis where we paid 3,50 € each and went to the top of the tower by elevator to see the city from above. When we were finished we went back down and walked to the harbor and the new area of the city and just wandered a lot.

We then went to the lake in the center of the city, the Alster, and bought coffee from a Starbucks and sat in the sun and relaxed some and talked. Some of the places we wandered through were the Historic Warehouse District and the Hafencity.

Historic Warehouse District -- Adjacent to the harbor, you find Hamburg’s historical warehouse district, the largest warehouse complex in the word. Narrow cobble stone streets and small waterways are lined by 100-year old warehouses, which store cocoa, silk, and oriental carpets.

Hafencity -- Hamburg's future in can be seen in the "Hafencity", the largest urban building project in Europe in the 21st century. The 155 hectares, of this harbor city-within-a-city is expected to double the population of downtown Hamburg with thousands of new waterfront apartments, gleaming high-rises, stores, restaurants and a new symphony hall. The project is projected to be finished in 2025, but you can already enjoy some of Europe’s most visionary architecture here.-- Sadly because of high pricing, many of the buildings are empty

Jana had to work at 1:00 PM and I was going to leave at 1:30 PM so we went back to her flat and gathered our things before we walked to the city park and walked around a bit with all my stuff and her ready for work. We said our goodbyes and I took the U-Bahn to the Hauptbahnhof and went to my platform.

Knowing my luck with travels, my train was 35 minutes late so I wasn't sure about making my connections but I later found out that while usually we'd have a direct train from Hamburg to Copenhagen, this train had three changes but everyone on the train needed to make the change.

I got on the train and there were no open places so I stood in the cafe and met some really cool people which is one of the best reasons for traveling on a train! I met a German woman who works in a library but she travels a lot via library exchanges and has gone to Ghana and South America and all over and she even has a six-year-old daughter.

After a while on the train, it went onto a ferry. Yeah, like the train just no big deal drove onto a ferry and we all had to get off the train and go to the top of the boat. I was expecting to cross the water on a bridge but not to take a 45 minute boat ride!

When I went to the top, I bought a water and met some Irish guys who were studying in Denmark and just coming back from a vacation in Germany. We all had to go back downstairs and get on the train then and we were off toward Copenhagen.

We had to make a change, of trains at some point and I got off to board the train across the track from me. I got on and went to the top level where I found an open seat and sat with Christian, a Danish guy who is from Copenhagen. We talked about my life, my studies, and why I was visiting Europe and I learned some about him too. He's studying to be a mechanic in the print industry. We talked about my love of beer and of course, he insisted I try some while in Copenhagen.

We had another change but we had to wait 20 minutes for the next train to come so Christian went in search of beer so I could try it but while I was waiting, I talked to a German guy who was in the service and going to have a meeting in Sweden. He talked a lot to me and winked at me a few times even. He had a very nice digital camera and began photographing the people waiting to board the train and even focused the camera directly on me for a bit. I have no problem with him photographing me but I still felt a bit weird.

Eventually, Christian returned and had bought a six pack of cans. He handed me one and offered one to the German as well. We all toasted and drank the beer. When we were on this train we all sat and began talking and the German guy started talking to the guy next to him and, get this, he went to Michigan State and grew up near the Toledo, Ohio border with Michigan!

When we finally arrived in Copenhagen I had to take another S-Bahn to Noerreport St. and I sent a message to my host. She said she would meet me at the train station. I arrived at Noerreport St. and waited for Lotte. She arrived by bus to take me home where her boyfriend and friend were waiting and we had dinner together and drank quite a bit.

It was a ton of fun to hear their thoughts on America and interesting to also hear about their fears that I was going to support Romney and not drink alcohol. They obviously didn't read too far into my blog. We finished two bottles of wine and a bunch of beer and then went to find a club, when we got into the city though nearly everything was closed so we went to McDonalds and had some more food then went back home, we went to bed at about 4 AM.

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