Moin Moin liebe Kinder!
I hope you all managed to survive Orkan Xaver! In my last post I told you that my friend Charlotte’s flight here had been cancelled because of the storm (Hamburg airport shut down completely), but thankfully they managed to find a little slot on Friday morning from Luton to Hamburg, so she came over for her first ever trip to Deutschland!
Now, this leads me to half of the title of this post: Charlotte’s surname is Horne, which meant that she was sometimes given the nickname Horney at school. So, if you clicked on this link in hopeful anticipation of a rather more risqué post, then I’m afraid you’re in the wrong place. But by all means, please do make yourself at home here at my blog, help yourself to what’s in the fridge and read on if you wish!
So, once Charlotte was eventually allowed off the plane (they were stuck on there for a good 45 minutes because it was too windy here to put the air bridge thing out) I met her at arrivals.
Here she is!
I was running a little late to meet her, so tried to shut the door to my flat, and then noticed that something was stopping it from shutting. As it turns out, someone had attached a little bar of Milka chocolate to my door with a label saying, ‘fuer eine nette Nachbarin’ (for a nice neighbour)
This is of course a lovely act of kindness, but not as random as you might think. Friday was 6th December, which in Germany is St. Nikolaus, and to celebrate, people leave their boots out and when they wake up, their shoes are full of little gifts or sweets. I absolutely hadn’t expected to get anything, so I was quite touched by this, but equally quite frightened, because there are really only a few people I have spoken to in this building: the lovely elderly couple upstairs, and the people’s favourite, creepy neighbour next door. More about him a little later.
Anyway, in terms of other traditional German things, I took Charlotte to have a look at the markets by the Rathaus. We weren’t sure what the situation would be as the weather was still grim, and not all of the partially-dismantled stalls had been rebuilt. But, in spite of the rain we had a lovely wander around there before venturing across to the harbour.
We’d been told to expect a 6 metre rise in the water level, and it probably wasn’t far off. Some of the bridges across to Speicherstadt only had about half a metre down to the water, which is usually a really busy area where tour-boats also go down. While we were over there we had a look in one of the tourist shops down at Landungsbruecken, which was when the blizzard started.
It had snowed lightly before, but this one came out of nowhere, and so we hurried back to the station and decided that we needed to do something indoors, before heading back to Speicherstadt, to the Hamburg Dungeons!
I’d been a little curious about it, having been to the London equivalent about 10 years ago, and this one was interesting, if a little long. I also tried to translate as much as possible for Charlotte as we were going round, as not very much of the tour and graphics were in English. She said that most of it being in German, plus the atmosphere being generally quite frightening, just added to the effect, so I’ll take her word for it!
Anyway, we had one of those horrific photos as you go in, here is the result:
Charlotte looks a little too happy to be wielding that axe!
We headed straight from the dungeons to the o2 arena to see my beloved Hamburg Freezers! They had a phenomenal 3:0 win against Eisbaeren Berlin, and we were fortunate enough to have some brilliant seats in an almost sold-out crowd.
They’re stretching here, apparently.
I wore my ‘Der Norden Sind Wir’ scarf to the match, and was surprised on our way home when at least three people made some sort of comment about it, two of whom asking if we won, and I was very happy to tell them that we did! The Freezers are on quite the roll currently.
Saturday was the only full day Charlotte had here, so we did much of the same with walking around all the various Christmas markets in the city centre. I taught her some phrases she might find useful, such as ‘ich spreche kein Deutsch/I don’t speak any German’, which came in handy when someone started blabbering at her and I’d gone off in the other direction!
That afternoon we decided to do a bus tour round the city, and had the same brilliant guide, Ronald, who I had when I did the tour with my parents when they were here for my birthday; we knew he’d be able to do the translation work into English this time!
A bus tour is definitely a good idea to get a broader look at the city, especially if you fancy a quick peek at the Reeperbahn, but don’t actually want to walk down it yourself! As we went past Herbertstrasse (the one which is barricaded at both ends which only men are allowed down) both Charlotte and I stood up a little to have a look over the top and into the street, only for Ronald to announce over the speaker system that ‘not even girls from England are allowed down there.’ Challenge accepted.
That evening we went for dinner at Blockhouse before heading to Sternschanze to celebrate Ed’s 21st. We arrived at GoldFischGlas where Ed had booked a table or two, only to find that the bar had actually lost his reservation. What followed was a tray of 20 apologetic shots of vodka from the bar, carried down the road to another place, Die Herren Simpel, which thankfully had some space for our huge group.
We couldn’t have looked more negatively stereotypically British if we tried, what with 20 of us following the person carrying the tray of shots down the road.
We had a lovely evening, and Ed made a speech when he turned 21 at midnight. It didn’t feature any ‘toilet humour’ like Sarah’s from the previous weekend, but he did say that all of the Hamburg bunch were some of his ‘most favourite’ people. So thank you Ed for a wonderful evening, and Happy Birthday!
Our trip back to my flat was an interesting one. The train was packed and there was a huge group of guys, one of whom bellowed, ‘I CAME IN LIKE A WREEEEEECKING BAAAALL’ every 30 seconds. This journey also included one girl throwing up and her boyfriend then hastily rushing her off at the next stop. Enough said about that one though, really.
We had a couple of hours on Sunday before Charlotte’s flight and did the markets by the Alster, as well as having a quick walk through some of Planten un Blomen, which had definitely been underwater during the floods, so wasn’t as picturesque as usual!
Then it was about time to head to the airport, where we said a sad goodbye (not that sad though- we’re seeing each other in less than 2 weeks!) and I waved Charlotte off through security, in the hope that she would have a much less hectic flight back home!
Then, dear Reader, I had anticipated a quiet-ish evening here. I was wrong.
I went into my bathroom and heard the same sort of noises from not long after I moved here. If you’ve been with me since the beginning, dear Reader, you will know that back in September I had to leave the flat one evening because creepy neighbour was having very loud sex and playing some flute music at the same time. This time it was only the former.
So, once I was out of the shower, I went into my kitchen, which is right next to his wall, got my speakers, and played my entire One Direction playlist at his wall for about 45 minutes. Some may have called me a psycho for this (Adam), but it worked.
I was feeling so triumphant, I really was, until I got a note from the postman through the door earlier today to say I’d missed a package and that it had been left with him next door. Hm.
I eventually mustered the courage to ring the bell and a 10 second conversation ensued, during which he wished me a merry Christmas, accompanied by a wink. I then threw up a little in my mouth and walked to 2 steps back into my flat.
To be honest, even if by some stroke of bad luck I am stranded here for Christmas and New Year, I will tip-toe around so he doesn’t know. I had actually thought about buying some mistletoe and putting it above my door just for decorative purposes, but since that wink I have definitely changed my mind.
I hope all of you have less of a grim evening than I did!