Saturday, August 10, 2013

First Week in Hamburg

The city of Hamburg is more than just a city, it's a state too. It's formally Hansestadt Hamburg which signifies its part in the ancient Hanseatic league and the independence its citizens value.

Facts about Hamburg:

-They are hockey mad. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, plays field hockey. Once a kid is old enough to hold a hockey stick, they're old enough to play.  My kids play. They're intense.
-Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany (after, you guessed it, Berlin) and the seventh-largest in the EU.
-Hamburg is divided into seven boroughs with 104 quarters.
-Germans are really into the anti-Nazi sticker. Almost every available surface in many of the districts is covered in stickers, some silly, some advertisements, some voting-related, and some anti-Nazi/anti-Fascist sentiments.

I live in the Ottensen quarter of Altona, which is kind of like the Brooklyn of Hamburg. It's super cool to live in Ottensen. The quarter is wealthy, but maintains an edginess from its punk days. It's also very close (20 min bike ride or so) from the Altstadt, the center of Hamburg. Ottensen borders the Elbe, and just a few minutes by foot or bike and one is on a road directly on the river that leads most of the way through Altona, St. Pauli, the Neustadt, and the Altsdtadt. It probably leads through more places, but I haven't ventured quite that far yet!

I was welcomed home with this sweet sign:

My first view of the Elbe:

St. Pauli and Planten un Bloemen:


More to come.

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