Dream Girl, Hamburg.

posted in: Luv, Travel 9
On the world's longest escalator. That's Claus, who is almost pathologically averse to having his picture taken. (He's very handsome, so this makes no sense.) Photo: Me.
At the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. That’s Claus, who is almost pathologically averse to having his picture taken. (He’s very handsome, so this makes no sense.) Photo: Me.


Most of the time, if you ask someone, “Hey, what were you up to Sunday afternoon?”, the answer is not going to be, “I was in Hamburg, Germany.” That would be my answer, though, if someone were to ask me. It’s a very specific thing to ask — “What were you up to Sunday afternoon?” — but it could happen.

The entirety of my trip to his country, Claus was a superb tour director; this cannot be denied. He asked me a month ago if I was interested in leaving Berlin for a day to visit Hamburg. The decision was not to be made lightly. With only a week’s worth of time, leaving Berlin explore another city might be best saved for another trip. “Next time,” right? There’s always “next time.”

It’s true that I wanted to focus my energies and get deep impression of Berlin. But when I thought about a train ride through the German countryside and how heaven on Earth is snuggling on a train; when I thought about seeing another city in Germany that would then give me perspective on Berlin; when I thought about adventure, ultimately, my answer could only be yes. “Let’s do Hamburg,” I said to Claus. So we did. Claus bought train tickets and we were out the door early, greeting the cold.

You know how you go to certain places and you’re instantly like, “Wow, get me outta here!” The place could be a party, a neighborhood, a city — even a whole country. But then there are other places that just zap you and you go, “Okay, well, I’m moving here.” That was Hamburg for me.

The aesthetic harmony. The harbor. The jaw-droppingly gorgeous new symphony center that has only been open two weeks, which made it extra exciting to see. Hamburg is called “the Venice of Germany” for its canals and channels, but I think it beats Venice with an oar; the winding streets and bridges were downright seductive.

The food was incredible (e.g., pumpkin soup, fresh fish, chocolate from the chocolate shop, micro-brewed beer.) I didn’t buy anything — hello, spring semester tuition bill — but the window shopping was great; there were many shops that offered German-made goods and if I could’ve spent lots and lots of money and checked nine suitcases, I would have come home with an entirely new wardrobe. Le sigh.

It was a dream day. Start to finish. Am I punishing myself, reliving it? Or is it giving a gift back to the day to describe it all? There’s a fine line between honoring and wallowing, I think, but damned if I know where the line is or where I’m falling on it now.

Being an adult feels lousy, sometimes. This is due in part because all the beauty of a city like Hamburg can be laid before you — even in memory — and all you see is a rain cloud.

9 Responses

  1. Sarah
    | Reply

    Focus on the pleasing sights of canals and winding streets and make those memories of beauty stick with you after some of the pain is resolved.

  2. Susan
    | Reply

    It is a waste of your memories to mope around and say what if. Wallow in the beauty, the adventure, the love you were feeling at the time and enjoy it. Many memories are bittersweet but they are better than no memories. The more you focus on the good the sadness will fade. Be thankful for the time in Berlin and Hamburg and the person you were with. Claus has filled a need in you and the memory is worth keeping. Life is full of regret but is not the basis of a happy life. It is ok to be sad. But let the joy be stronger. You are strong and you are loved. Give grace for the gifts you have received. I am sure someone in Berlin is thankful to have had a week with you and is also experiencing sadness at you departure. Enjoy the sunshine on your life, it a,ways peeks thru the clouds.

  3. Pam Williams
    | Reply

    This is so hard for you. You are a lovely
    person. I have to label many
    Experiences, conversations with
    the personnel manager, the young
    New lawyer I have to work with,
    Obxious people, men especially
    My busband as things that are a
    Mystery of life. By putting things
    That hurt me or that I can’t understand
    In the mystery of life pile, it temporarily
    Removes my need to understand it
    And it comforts me somehow. The majority
    Of the time this coping skill takes
    Away the problem from the area of
    My brain that wAnts to understand and
    Problem solve. Its like putting it
    In a closet and closing the door.
    I can choose to open the closet and
    Revisit it or leave it there. Sometimes
    When i open mystery of life closet
    A while later, the i feel a little bit
    More able to cope. Anyway this is
    A coping skill that works for me.
    Disclaimer I am not a licensed counselor.

  4. Lindsey
    | Reply

    You were so raw in your last post. This one sounds like a thin membrane of acceptance has begun. I have no comforting thoughts for you. Time and a new semester will help. Hugs…

  5. Pamela Keown
    | Reply

    I could not say it better than Sarah, Susan & Pam. Just remember you are loved. And this is a delicious memory.

    I remain your fan.

  6. Christina
    | Reply

    The last bit is too true. Except the part about being an adult. I think it is true of all people, all ages (at times). Some personalities more often than others!!

    Also, that is a gorgeous photo. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. nadine donovan
    | Reply

    Take a deep breath—let it out slow. Think of three happy things as fast as you can and focus on them for the rest of the day. I hope this helps. You can do this…

  8. […] the rich, albeit somber history of the city and felt very much at home as soon as I touched down. (I did say the other day how much I loved Hamburg, but that post was more about the heart than the vibe of the city and the effect it had on […]

  9. […] What would you have done? […]

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